My comparison...feedback please

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11 years 10 months ago #12651 by JJ2
Hi all... I am a beginner to surfski and looking for my first ski. Recently I paddled an Epic V8 and a Fenn XT. Both boats were paddled in flat water. My first impression after paddling both was - Wow...how different! The Epic V8 really feels very similar to a South African kayak I already own..(ski top and kayak hull the Kaskazi Skua AR) It is wider than the Epic so the Epic only felt a little tippier at first to me. After paddling the Epic, I felt I got really comfortable in it in a short time. The Epic felt a lot more stable than the Fenn XT. After paddling the Epic, I felt like I might grow out of this boat but not having paddled it in any waves of any size, I don't know how it would handle. I purposefully tipped the boat over just to see if I could get back in it and I accomplished that very easily.

The Fenn on the other hand felt very tippy from the minute I sat in it. I have to say that I paddled the Fenn in a canal and the water was flat flat flat! Hardly a breeze either. I was given a tip to make sure I looked at the horizon and keep paddling. Following this tip, I started off and paddled it very caustiously. Being someone esles boat and not having a leash on it, I was nervous about flipping it so I kept paddling back and forth. Finally at my last trip out I was able to extend my arms more and try for a more proper stroke. I accomplished this without tipping the boat. After my trial was over and I was in the car going home, I realized I was disappointed that I didn't flip it because now I don't know if I could get back into it.

I'm wondering what ski to get. Something tells me that I might outgrow the V8 after a while and I know the Fenn XT is going to require a lot more attention and practice to be able to be good at paddling it as well as a lot of time in flat water just to be comfortable in it. I like the idea of actually paddling a ski hull instead of a kayak hull. The learing curve is higher in the XT but might be more rewarding later. This is where I ask for your feedback and/or opinions please? I'm a 61 year old male that still likes to think he's a kid sometimes. A little over weight but not terribly. Most of my paddling is for my own enjoyment and probably won't be racing but if I got good enough, who knows. I just love paddling and being on the water. Most of my paddling with my Skua has been in the back waters but something about going out in the Gulf (of Mexico) really interests me. Looking forward to your opinions. Apologies for being so long winded....

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11 years 10 months ago - 11 years 10 months ago #12652 by FalllGuy
JJ, I also come from a Kaskazi paddling background and created a website promoting Kaskazi boats and other South African kayaks.

I have owned a few Kaskazi Dorados, QCC Q700, as well as Mako XT and now own a Epic V8 and an Epic V10 Sport.

The V8 instills confidence quickly in flatwater because of it's flat hull, but it's wide backed Swede shape can have her dancing around a bit when she gets in slop and chop to the point where she can be fun and still present a challenge for quite a while.

But I do think she would be very close to the Skua overall and not as much of a leap as you may be looking for...

The V8 is great for developing paddling skills needed to paddle a ski, but if you already have years of experience and good skills and handle the Skua well, you may also like a Z cockpit V10 Sport, or a if you can find one locally, a Stellar SR which I paddled and felt it fits right between a V10 Sport and the V8.

I personally never took to the XT that I owned. But a lot of people did start out with them over the years and they seem to be thought of fondly for that reason.

I do think that if you can get a chance to paddle a Stellar SR, a Z cockpit V10 Sport and compare them to the Mako XT that you will probably find the boat you are looking for amongst those three if you are looking for a boat to "grow into".

But for me personally, if my choice was only between a V8 and a Mako XT, I would choose the V8 because it is more comfortable, as fast or faster than the XT, more stable and easier to remount, and overall more enjoyable for me to paddle.

Try to get into a Stellar SR and Z V10 Sport if you can...
Last edit: 11 years 10 months ago by FalllGuy.

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11 years 10 months ago #12653 by [email protected]
Both boats have good resale value.

It also depends on what kind of paddling you're going to do. I find the V8 an easier boat to paddle and if you're only going to get on the water once or twice a week, it's probably the way to go. I've paddled it in a gale-force downwind and found it handled well and was pretty-well bullet proof in terms of stability. (You can't really capsize it, you more or less have to fall off the side of it!)

If you're serious about getting into racing, there are faster intermediate boats - but there will be a learning curve which at times might feel frustrating.

So given that you are trying surfski for the first time, it might be better to go the easier (read "more fun, sooner") route knowing that you'll probably find it pretty easy to get rid of the V8 if you do outgrow it.

But you'll get a wide variety of opinions on this forum!

The main thing is: welcome to the best paddling discipline on the planet! May the force be with you!

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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11 years 10 months ago #12654 by Dicko
There's only one thing more important than being able to paddle a ski, and that's being able to get back into the ski. The older...and more weight challenged you become, the harder this is. If you can remount the v8 I reckon that's a good reason to buy one.

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11 years 10 months ago #12656 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic Re: My comparison...feedback please
Agree with both gents! The learning curve you want to take will lead you to make the right choice & above all try both & others, don't ignore the little known & fin beginners' ski, the Honcho Guevara, it helped me learn the proper technique without too much trouble with my stability & it's easy to get back into & cheap due to low demand for them. Cheers , JDF

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11 years 10 months ago #12666 by Rightarmbad
And don't forget, it's gotta fit your arse!

The last thing you want is numb legs or sore backside.
Try and get an extended demo and put 4 or 5 km's in the boat if you can.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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11 years 10 months ago #12667 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic Re: My comparison...feedback please
JJ, I re-read your initial note and it seems to me that you are looking for a challenge, fun and an opportunity to grow with your ski. for those reasons, i would go for a ski which will meet all those needs and don't forget that this is an addictive sport and once hooked you will want more challengers, you will go out of your comfort zone and also you will no doubt start to loose weight. i find myself so hooked in summer that i paddle 5-6 times per week, muscle tone increases, posture improves< you get fitter, you have a clear mind... surf ski offers more than one imagines. i find that when i paddle in challenging conditions or encounter whales, dolphins or other wild life offshore, i am more productive at work and generally happier and more relaxed. there are a number of crafts out there that foot the bill, try them all in varied conditions for an extended period as test driving in flat water ma give you a false sense of security and comfort is a big thing too.

i also recommend getting a few lessons to get the basic technique, ie leg drive, hip, shoulder rotation, catch, draw, exit. once you have that (4-6 lessons), practice, practice< practice

i, too, came from a sea kakak, and guess what?! i had 2, sold them all! then went on to own in succession 7 different skis, making some mistakes along the way in terms of choice, that's why it is important to try in different conditions before you buy, not be swayed by other people's advice, recommendations. skis are very personal items as everybody is different, it depends what drives you

good luck mate and have heaps of fun.

please report back on progress and choice ;)

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11 years 10 months ago #12676 by Dooley

JJ2 wrote: The learing curve is higher in the XT but might be more rewarding later. This is where I ask for your feedback and/or opinions please? I'm a 61 year old male that still likes to think he's a kid sometimes. A little over weight but not terribly. Most of my paddling is for my own enjoyment and probably won't be racing but if I got good enough, who knows. I just love paddling and being on the water. Most of my paddling with my Skua has been in the back waters but something about going out in the Gulf (of Mexico) really interests me.


JJ, I think you have hit the nail on the head here. If you are looking to develop skill with ocean skis then you should probably push the comfort zone - just a little - provided you have others to paddle with who can share their own experiences and skills in ocean skis.

The XT is a stable boat, though you may not think so at the moment.

If you go down that path it may test your patience for a while, but the rewards will soon follow. And every cloud has a silver lining - if at first you fall in a lot then you will become very good at remounting - a much under-rated skill on its own. :)

The V8 is a good stable boat for someone new to the sport, but if your doubtful about whether it's just a bit too similar to what your already familiar with paddling then you may not get as much challenge/reward from it in the medium term.

There are many good beginner ocean skis about now - so check out what is available locally and try and paddle as many as possible to compare.

This is a great sport, so get that ski and enjoy...

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11 years 10 months ago #12689 by JJ2
Thanks everyone for your feedback. As always, I am never disappointed with the information I get from all you here.

FalllGuy - Finding a Stellar SR is going to be tough. Dealer here says probably won't have one till Winter...around November. I was hoping to get into one much sooner than that. We'll see, I'm still looking. I have talked with an Epic rep recently and can try out a Z cockpit V10 Sport beginning of next month. I'm wondering if that is going to be more unstable than the XT though. I like the looks of the V10 better than the XT. Finding a V8 doesn't appear that's going to be too difficult if that's what I settle on.

Robin - The resale of the V8 concerns me a bit. Not being a ski hull, I'm wondering if it would resell well. I appreciate your insight. I may be only paddling once or twice a week for a bit. Not sure yet. I have read here and other places to not to trade off stability for speed. I doubt that I would get into racing. I would use it mainly for my own pleasure paddling and fitness. I love to just be out on the water and see dolphins and such.

Dicko - I agree, getting back into the ski is probably the most important thing. I would shy away from a boat if I couldn't get in it fairly easily.

JeandeFlorette - I would probably get out 5 or 6 times a week if my lifestyle permitted but that's not going to happen for a while. I'm probably going to be able to get a few lessons I think. That'll be good! I'm going to need them! I am finding out that skis are personal. Thanks for the advice with encouragement!

Rightarmbad - The XT fit pretty snug and so I'm not sure it that would be a good choice. The V8 seemed to fit me very nicely and so I'm hoping the V10 Sport will too. I did get to paddle the V8 4 or 5 km's and it remained comfortable.

Thanks again all...

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11 years 8 months ago - 11 years 8 months ago #13475 by dyno
After a lot of reading these boards, as a fast sea kayaker transitioning to ski, it seems like the key criteria for beginners is how many days a week you will paddle. If 1-2 days per week, V8, or Stellar S18S. The 2ndary factors are how much wind, chop, tide, boat wake do you encounter? If alot, V8, or S18S. Even if you are going to compete or race, the V8 & S18S will place you in the fast sea kayak group, so for building confidence through results that is the way to go.

The only way to go more advanced is if:
a) You are determined to go out 3x or more a week.
b) You are confident in your waters on a tippy boat.
c) You want to get to an advanced or elite level fast.

Let's face it a v8 or s18s go down wind and surf well, and the top end speed is not that different from an elite until the paddler becomes "elite".

I'd get the Stellar S18S. Finally, I think the resale value on the S18S and the V8 will be higher because a) They are new boats, and there's a big audience getting into faster paddling. on the other hand, we see many used elite boats around with few who can paddle them! :)

Sandy Hook NJ - Any one ski paddling?
Epic v10 double
Epic v10 sport * 2
Epic v8
Epic v8 double (summer '17)
Last edit: 11 years 8 months ago by dyno.

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11 years 8 months ago - 11 years 8 months ago #13479 by Kocho
The resale may be good but if you get bored and resell in 6 months it's wasted money. So, consider used if you can find it, unless of course, money is not an issue. Many people enjoy the V8 in the long term, so I'm not saying you won't too. But I personally skipped the V8 (felt too much like a sea kayak to me) and went for the V10 Sport, which is more challenging, yet people with decent kayaking skills can paddle it on flat water from the start (although it may not be a pretty sight initially), and get comfortable in it a short while later. After about a year, of let's say 1/week in it, the V10 Sport still offers me a nice challenge in rough conditions without being a pain in the but to paddle like a less stable ski would be (by challenge I mean - I have not fallen off it in rough conditions; the challenge is to get maximum power and a good stroke and be centered). That 1 time per week is misleading, because I do a lot of white water in-between, which also teaches me good bracing and balance, so I would say the equivalent for me is I'm doing 2-3 times a week for a couple of hours at a time. Now the V10 Sport feels extremely stable for me on flat and in mild conditions so there you can totally work on form or just enjoy the day without thinking about balance. And I'm tall - shorter people, especially if heavier than 75kg/175lb or so will find it even more stable than I find it with my high center of gravity at 6'4" (192cm).

On the other hand, if you will be doing more of a leisurely paddling, the V8 will be perfect (as a less stable ski might keep you on edge for a few months while you learn it, when all you really want is to just enjoy the view).
Last edit: 11 years 8 months ago by Kocho.

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