I just thought I would mention something about the contrasts in all of our training locations, I've got to say I'm rather envious of Chris, here Harry and I are, both freezing our butts off to get on the water, when in fact Chris is mentioning about the amounts of fluid he loses during a training session. Anyway I've just got back from a surf session in the Taran, I was going to do some endurance work but the surf was peachy clean and way to tempting. Size was about a surfers 3 occasionally 4 ft. Longer swell faces, so not so steep as the other day and easier and longer rides which were picked up well outside of the surf zone, giving me rides of 200meters plus. I used my Lendal paddle this time instead of the wings, also I made sure that the rudder didn't jam with pebbles before heading out, a different state of tide meant no dump to negotiate. The Taran catches the waves very easily, the rudder works superbly to lock the flat mid section in place, especially on the longer gentler sets and maintained steerage either side of straight by about 10 degrees. Altering the body position and leaning back releases the fore foot considerably, leaning forward and it grip well then tracks both ends, release the rudder and the stern slips down wave.
Without the rudder I would occasionally slip out off the wave because of the flat mid-section but this may well change with a heavier ladened boat.
I started to experiment with the rudder, thinking if it was up when bongo sliding this would help protect it if I hit the beach, but the wave action tends to crank the rudder over and then this served to hold me on the wave and I ended up surfing backwards at 45 degrees on several occasions (any tips from anyone with rudder experience here would be most welcome), in this instance the best way off the wave for me was to capsize with the wave, so next few runs I left it down and this then gave me a degree of control whilst bongo sliding and I could maintain diagonal runs much easier in the white. As I approached the beach I'd have to jam the shaft of the paddle under my stomach and brace one handed whilst lifting the rudder blade for protection. When the stern is free of the wave and your still biased towards the face the flat bottom works really well and you can just drop the chine to determine direction. I have a bit of a bad back at the moment so I didn't work on edging to much but its certainly stable enough to edge with confidence (next time).
I can't wait for you guys to try this kayak out, I hope you have as much enjoyment as I've had today out of it. Yesterday I went out and did the measured mile between Pendennis point and Fraggle Rock and at a strong expedition pace I managed to do it in a little over 10 minutes. I'm impressed.
My personal assessment is that there is still lots for me to learn with this boat, especially the rudder, which definitely improves this kayaks performance. Today I probably had one of my best surf days, ever, the boat is very impressive.
Anyway back to you Chris, seems like your living the hard life, I hope you don't mind but Im going to post those photographs of the training hardships your having to endure. Final shot is one for the ladies