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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:49 am 
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:38 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Pennsylvania - Philly Area
Surf Launching ….in the Atlantic Ocean….with the Hobie Islands can be interesting.

I have been surf launching kayaks (paddle, mirage drives) in the surf for over 30 years.

The past few years I have been surf launching with the Hobie Adventure Island and the past three years the Hobie Tandem Island.

Every launch and recovery in the surf is unique with constantly changing sea conditions, rip currents, sand bars, crossing waves, winds and tidal currents.

The joy of surf launching, and surf recoveries is wonderful experience.

The risk is real and I recommend only experienced kayakers take their Island into the surf for launches and recoveries.

One of the best ways to learn is to observe others and learn from both their success and mistakes.

Action cameras provide an excellent way to share experiences. I have put together a number of 4k videos along with data feeds from my Garmin Virb XE and Hero 5 action cameras. These videos are lengthy and represent segments from over 50 surf launches and recoveries in the Atlantic Ocean.

The video show both success and failures…..

The failures always seem to me more interesting and certain offer many learning opportunities…..

The type of failures are varied….. If you wish to dance with the tigers (Ocean Surf) you occasionally get bit….and…. some bites are bigger than others. The failures are mostly self-evident in the 4k videos….but several are hidden and need a bit puzzle solving to figure out….. A few of the failures include the following:
- AKA Arm fold overs and breaks
- Rudder pin snaps
- AKA join separations ….. and
- Capsizes in the surf
The failures sometimes are recognized quickly ….. other sneak up on you with no warning …. Taking precious seconds to recognize to figure what is happening …..all in the middle of crashing waves…..where every second count.

A few failures come in bunches….with several in play at the same time….

Again – surf launches are for the experienced!

Safety is important. In most cases I have multiple safety lines installed to protect the Island…..

Enjoy the videos links below. The videos are long...and contain a string of surf launches and recoveries.

Many more Island videos can be found on my YouTube channel.

Please share your tips for launching and recovering Islands in the surf!

Wind Watcher (WW)

Hobie TI 2016 - Offshore rig - Outboard
Hobie Kona 2014
Hobie AI 2015 - sold
Hobie Rev 13 2014 - sold
Hobie Outback - 2008 - sold

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:00 pm 
Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:45 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Thanks for taking the time putting those videos together. Very interesting.

This is quite topical for me having just capsized my TI for the first time a couple of days ago trying to beach launch off a local island here in eastern Australia (northern part of Bribie Island for those of you familiar with south-east Queensland). Normally the surf is pretty sedate and I got onto the beach the previous afternoon ok but it blew a pretty strong easterly all night resulting in a significant wind chop the next morning.

My first attempt resulted in a broken rudder pin. No problem - soon replaced. My second attempt saw me get caught by a wave just as it was cresting. It threw me and the boat up and over. Finding myself dumped in the wash and the boat on its side, my first thought was to stop the mast digging into the sand to prevent some serious damage. I managed to get it upright and back to shore where I could assess things. End result, two broken rudder pins, one broken aka shear bolt, one snapped ama shock cord assembly, a lost paddle and a lost pair of ray-bans. No other damage and nothing else lost (I was on a three day trip so had a bit of gear) but I wasn't going anywhere. Wife wasn't happy spending her Saturday driving our 4WD up the beach with the trailer to rescue me!

Takeaways. Love how a pretty significant capsize, in surf, on a boat that's not really made for that resulted a few cheap, replaceable things breaking. It will cost me about $50 to get it back on the water. Hats off to the engineers who designed the fail-safes. The worked a treat. I know from reading the excellent contributions on this forum that some of your replace these fail safes with stronger bolts/pins etc. I wouldn't like to think what would've happened if, for example, the aka shear pin didn't give way. Probably a lot more expensive! Same goes for the rudder pin. So I'll be keeping my plastic rudder pins and shear bolts for now.

As for launching in the surf, I don't like capsizing so I'll be more careful next time. Basically, if I can't walk it out into deep enough water so that I can put the drive in and rudder down before jumping in, then the surf is too big. Before the capsize, when I was pushing it through the surf, I got set back on my ass a couple of times by a waves that just drove the boat and I backwards. In retrospect, that should have been a sign the surf was too big for me.

Anyway, still a great couple of days and no serious damage done. A cheap lesson!



Last edited by Digga67 on Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:54 pm 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:18 am
Posts: 3005
Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
To be perfectly honest, a lot of us offshore guys cheat by any means possible to make life just a little easier. Many of us have outboards which make surf launch and landings a very simple affair.
What we do is clean up everything, (ie.. put all my sails away and pull the mirage drives, and release the rudder lock, ( I hold the rudder down cord)) just outside the breakers. I then power straight into shore. Adjust your speed to stay between sets if you can, (easy with an outboard). Lol, yea the bottom of my boat looks like crap, who cares.

Our beaches are very soft sand, and my outboards are mounted very shallow, as I come onto the beach I cut the throttles to idle, (or kill the engines), the motors tilt up automatically if it's really shallow. I often jump out in 6 inches of water and guide the boat in the rest of the way in, pulling it above the surf. Yea I sometimes come in really hot.

When launching I leave the sails furled and the mirage drives out. I back up walking the boat a few feet from shore, bow pointing toward shore. I then start my outboards leaving them idle. Standing just behind the rear left aka bar, and holding hull and aka bar I can easily spin the boat around and control it even in surf, (lots of leverage). I don't recommend pulling with the bow, never ends well for me. I wait between sets, then jump in, I crank the throttles and drop the rudder. I power out thru the surf, holding the rudder down line, once I'm clear of the breakers I lock my rudder down, put the mirage drives in, and unfurl all the sails, easy peasy. If it's a nice sailing day, (ie... good wind), I'll kill the outboards and tilt them up. The outboards tilted up don't effect sailing performance at all. If the wind is like crap, (which is more normal around here, very little wind), I'll powersail all day. I refuse to do 3-4 mph, I'm too impatient, much prefer 8-10mph sailing minimum speeds.
Might not be proper, and against all the sailing purists thinking, but hey it works for us. Especially in the huge keys where a good day for us could be a hundred miles. We mostly dive and snorkle.
I'm chicken and don't try to launch in big surf, on those days I launch on the intercoastal then drive out to the ocean, (outboards).
That's what we do.
Edit: many times we kill one of the motors and tilt it up before coming in or going out, (you don't need all that power and speed), the boat works just as good with a single, just not as fast, and much louder. The second outboard is for double reduncy, Several times I've had one motor die when it submerges under waves, (air starved), but have never had both quit.
The main reason for dual outboards is to significantly reduce outboard noise, outboards at high rpm are very loud and vibrate, which is unacceptable to us. Two outboards running quietly just above idle propel the boat to the same speeds as a single running at high rpm, (loud). At very low rpm run time per tank of fuel is greatly extended, going from 1 hr run time up to 2-3hrs runtime per tank, (I hate to have to stop and refuel out on the water). Sometimes understanding the reasoning behind things helps explain them.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:28 pm 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:25 pm
Posts: 384
Location: Jaco, Costa Rica
To add to what Bob said, I like to come in hot, motor full blast (eyes on the set in case I need to pause), heavy duty cart already in place. Yeah, it slows me down but it's one less thing to monkey with when time is critical.
On the launch I start the motor before entering the water, air cooled Honda, pull the TI out on the heavy duty cart till it floats well, yell at my passenger to jump in or if solo, work my way to the back in an opening and hop up onto my Atwood, push the choke in and blaze away straight into any oncoming surf. If straight, worst that can happen (Rogue wave) is your knocked back about 20ft, but keep the throttle open. Pull the heavy duty cart once past the break.

Costa Rica Kayak Guide
Tandem Island- 2013
Sport - 2014
Revolution 11-2015

PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:36 pm 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 8:53 am
Posts: 716
Location: Paoli Pennsylvania - East Coast USA
powersjr2 wrote:

Hopefully I will never, ever have to take my AI through even the smallest surf.

But I have to wonder if backup lines like these on my AI would have prevented that first ama loss in the first vid.

OTOH, maybe something further up the line would have broken....

Also, I am going to take a wild guess and suppose that you break quite a few aka pins....

If that is the case, keep-out lines like Chekika's would seem to be a worthwhile addition:

For me, the trick with keep-out lines is getting the balance between adequate shock absorbtion and too much stretch so that the allow the akas to fold inwards far enough that the boat turns over.

2015 AI in "Dune" - "The Grey Pig"
2017 Trailex 450 Trailer
Pre-September 2015 cradles
(anybody want to buy a slightly-used AI SpinKit?)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:29 pm 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:18 am
Posts: 3005
Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
Actually in the OP's first video at around 2 minutes in, he capsized to the right side, (his left ama had fallen off).
The 3-4ft breaker that hit him broadside would have likely capsized him anyway, even with the other ama on, (lol don't do that, (ie... hit a big breaker broadside)).
I've been in that situation many times, the only way I know to prevent capsize is dive out on the left tramp. If you stay in the seat your going over for sure.
All the keep out lines and aka bar keepers outlined work great and I highly recommend using them.

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