When world ski champion Sean Rice visited last month for a training session with the Dolls Point Paddlers, one of his mantras was to relax, let your jaw stay loose & controlled, in order to stop yourself tensing up when paddling.
It reinforced something that I have been long advocating in both sea kayaking & ski paddling, the importance of relaxing, staying calm & enjoying your time on the water. Sometimes it’s only when you point out that a jaw is clenched, shoulders are hunched, does the person alongside you in the water actually realise how tense they’ve become, especially in rough water.
|Sean Rice - "Relax that jaw...!'|
Whilst nutting out the final engineering on the Big Foot Plate system last month, I asked our manufacturing whizz Herschel how hard it would be to mount a stainless mirror onto a Ram suction cup. He worked his magic over the next couple of hours & came up with the Big Face Paddler Mirror. Better than a GoPro because the imagery is in Real Time without the need for batteries or electronics, impossible to doctor up in post production with stabilising software, just pure, brutal honesty-on-a-stick, showing you just how well you’re doing.
Oscar & Boyan testing out the mirror at Tarifa
We thought it would be a good idea to have the mirror big enough to reflect an accurate picture of your face from forward of your legs, and wide enough to act as a rear vision mirror as an extra safety consideration. It had to be made from the same tough marine-grade aluminium as the Big Foot, yet still light enough to be a minimal inclusion onto an expensive super lightweight ski.
The optics on the mirror had to be sharp, and we went for the same mirrors used on Tuna boats in the mid-Atlantic, treated with a Rainex-like anti fog to stop water forming ugly streaks and ruining your view of yourself.
The result was our first prototype, finished about 3 weeks ago, and since then we’ve sent out demo’s to test at the Tarifa ski centre, and even had one tested in the recent King of the Harbour race in Auckland, where feedback was brilliant. Oscar took the prototype for a run when he was here in Sydney recently & had this to say:
‘Fantastic instant feedback, a great instruction tool, and the optics even made me look very passable. I think I could probably make one 35% better than this, but for now this is really excellent!’.
Herschel has the first production batch of 50 finished, and they’re now for sale through our ONLINE STORE for $79.95, with $10 from every sale going to the Derek Zoolander Center.
These first Big Face Mirrors are essentially designed for surf skis, where so far the demand has been incredibly strong, outstripping what we could even have thought possible for something as simple as a full-time mirror pointing back at you. We’re working on a range for sea kayaks, where obviously the mirror will need to be mounted a little further aft to compensate for the general eyesight limitations of the slightly older demographic.
Get in fast to grab yourself a Big Face, and lose the tension…..!