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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2020 8:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:10 pm
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This is a simple enough question, is it possible to simply swim past breakers then pull the AI through them on a rope?

I've noticed that there are many issues with getting an AI though the surf - either one way or the other, so I'm doing as much research as possible before attempting this feat: since I live on the Pacific coast and really don't have too many options!

Lots of great advice and knowledge on this forum, thanks for reading.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:21 pm
Posts: 2498
Location: Central Florida
Kelly Harrison, my old Hobie dealer taught me that here in Hawaii he would stow everything and then drop over the side and hold onto the rear of the boat to act like a sea-anchor to slow the boat in the surf zone. I would never (again) like to be in front of an AI or TI in surf! :o

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:29 am
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I've never thought of that (assuming you mean) leaving the AI on the beach, swimming out with a rope, timing the waves and pulling it out. The only caution that I would have is that they tend to turn sideways relatively easily. One good wave and it would be hard to keep control. Youd probably be better off just timing it well with the AI.

I usually hold the front handle (and hold an additional rope- call it a safety rope in case I lose grip) and walk/run out past the breakers as fast as possible timing it as best as possible. Usually up to 4ft-4.5ft water. I always make sure to walk out past the breakers first so that I know how deep the water is and better think through a game plan. Also, pending on how the waves are breaking, I may pick a spot 200-400ft down the beach- be patient and smart about the location.

The more difficult part is coming back in during similar conditions. I usually do similar process, but in reverse, making sure bow is towards the ocean. If a wave does catch you- I push the AI back into the wave.

(This was my process with a 2012 AI, which cuts through the water much better than the newer 2015+ model). I havent tried Ocean launching in my new AI as of yet, but am nervous with the added volume in the bow.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:52 am
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Getting out is the easy part...it's the trip back through the breakers that'll get ya!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:38 pm
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Location: Pennsylvania - Philly Area
Surf launches and recoveries with the AI / TI are only for the most experienced sailors.

Just completed 10 surf launches in the Atlantic Ocean over the past 3 weeks....not easy going....broke one Aka arm when the TI got pushed sideways returning to the beach. Waves were in the 3 to 4 foot range.

See a few examples of "surf failures" here. Many more also posted to youtube. https://youtu.be/hEr6BgZpA1A

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2023 8:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 249
Location: Orlando!
Reviving an older topic. Over the past several years, I’ve been inspired by our Jim Powers to brave surf launches and recoveries and have a handful under my belt off both central Florida coasts. The gulf is a peach and nothing to remark about. The Atlantic presents its challenges at times.

Punching out i pedal AND paddle with the rudder up and sail furled and that seems to work well. Getting back in is fun.

Once in new Smyrna beach early on I and a friend pedal/ paddled thru the moderate surf in my AI with one ama and tramp and no sail. Getting out was fine. While we were out the surf picked up a bit. The plan to get back in was to get near the breakers, turn around to face the oncoming waves and paddle backwards until the waves came, then briefly paddle into them so as not to get caught surfing the wave which is where things seem to get broken. That was working well until we got caught with a really big breaker that came up right in our face. It was literally staring up at a wall of water. As it hit I turtled expecting the kayak to be flipped over on top of me. After a quick careful inventory while still under water, everything appeared intact and I wasn’t wearing the kayak as a hat so was able to stand up in about 4’ of water. Checked on my friend and she was in one piece though a little more banged up. (nothing serious, she made contact with the rear aka/ ama. The post mortem was that the wave essentially washed us right off the yak. What was surprising was that it hadn’t moved! There it was, facing the ocean and beyond us. Fortunately that was the last wave of that set and we were able to guide it in by hand the rest of the way, retrieving misc items as we went.

With the TI, I’ve always recovered with a drift chute. A method I got from a YouTube video. I made a yoke going from one knuckle to the other on the rear X bar that’s long enough to clear the rudder, and from there about 10’ of line to the chute. When I get close to the breakers, the chute gets deployed and it’s like setting cruise control. I have time to sort and stow the drives, rudder, etc, then enjoy the stable, steady ride back in. Yes at the worst parts I get waves over the stern but nothing that is close to wrecking havoc. I think the length of the TI makes it ideal for this method. The first time I did this a breaking wave popped one of the front akas loose but fortunately the tramp held everything together and after that the retro kit was installed with no issues from then on.

I have to say, besides hitting 8 mph in ideal conditions, surf launches and recoveries are the most excitement I’ve had in this boat.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2024 2:28 am 
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I'd be a bit nervous about it getting pushed sideways by a wave though. When I've launched through surf, I usually try to time it going out alone. Coming back is definitely trickier. Having someone swimming safety backup is a smart idea.


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