Boat Help

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8 years 1 month ago #25961 by bukeit
Boat Help was created by bukeit
Hi Everyone,

I used to do flat water sprint kayaking a decade ago, I used to paddle the equivalent to Nelo's Cinco. I know that its like riding a bike, but it has been a decade since I have paddled more than a couple of miles a year.

I just moved to the gulf coast, and will be living with access to the ocean. I feel like this is a perfect opportunity for me to pick up kayaking again. :) The only shame is that I cannot find any clubs close to town... SUP seems to be the go to sport.

What boat should I be looking at? I competed internationally in flat water sprint racing, and my technique isn't too bad. :) I presume my balance is still good, but I do not want to be falling out all the time!

Any advice you can give would be appreciated. I can't find any local clubs that sell surf skis for me to try.

Thank you!

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8 years 1 month ago #25962 by Atlas
Replied by Atlas on topic Boat Help
Hi bukeit. It sounds like you haven't paddled on the ocean very much. It also sounds to me like you may be paddling alone. If this is the case my advice is to buy yourself a proper beginner boat. As you said: you don't want to be falling out all the time. A lifetime of flat water paddling wont properly prepare you for paddling on moving water. Having said that; you are sure to improve quickly given your experience.
The Epic V8 is a really nice boat in this category. Stellar's s18s is a well made and supremely practical boat. If you're looking to get into down wind paddling the Fenn Bluefin is in my opinion the best boat for learning to paddle in such conditions. There are of course other nice boats in this category. It may come down to what is available locally.
I'm sure you will be tempted by slightly "faster" boats. I'm not going to tell you what to do other than to say that if you buy a beginner boat and outgrow it; it will be easy to sell. It is also a great feeling to buy a new boat that you have genuinely graduated to.

Current boats
Epic V10L Ultra, Epic V9 Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost X LV, Fenn Bluefin, Nelo 510, Fenn XT double, Nelo 600, Expedition Kayaks Azure, Mirage 732.
Previous boats
Spirit PRS, Fenn Swordfish, Fenn XT, Fenn Swordfish S, Think Zen, Epic V10L Club, Carbonology Sport Boost LV

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8 years 1 month ago #25963 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Boat Help
You can pretty much get any high end surfski: none of them will seem tippy in flatter water. Obviously, you'll want to ease back into it, so I would start choosing the sessions carefully: flat water, calm days, shorter distances...

Soon enough, you will be looking for a little bit of wind, then a normal ocean day, and eventually downwind.

Basically, it's not what ski you can handle.... because I think you will be able to handle any ski.

Here are some of the things you will notice right away:
Many surfskis will seem very wide up front. This will affect your stroke and balancing - a lot.
Seating position will seem so low compared to your heels. There aren't a lot of skis out there that will give you the feel of a K1... it's gonna be a different sport for sure.
You are going to get a lot of different advice, but in the end, I highly recommend that you meet up with a few people and JUST TRY a few surfskis on flatter water.

If you are confortable in one, you will love the sport - and ultimately go very fast after you spend a good bit of time in the ocean world.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)
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8 years 1 month ago #25965 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Boat Help
I would recommend looking at more intermediate level boats. For example something like the new V8Pro or maybe V10S. Fenn XT's are pretty widely available second hand in the US.

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8 years 4 weeks ago - 8 years 4 weeks ago #25968 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Boat Help
Out of curiosity, why would you recommend an intermediate ski to a paddler who has competed on the international level with flat water kayaks?

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)
Last edit: 8 years 4 weeks ago by photofr.

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8 years 4 weeks ago - 8 years 4 weeks ago #25970 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Boat Help
For someone new to surfskis and ocean paddling.
Seems like a good place to start - instant gratification/enjoyment. Bukiet also said he didn't want to be falling out all of the time. From his post I figure he is already beyond a beginner surfski. I don't think that I would recommend an elite ski to anyone. Better they figure that out on there own.
The nice thing about a good intermediate ski is you can keep it fore ever. Always enjoyable to paddle no matter the conditions.
Just my thoughts from my experience for what is worth.
Last edit: 8 years 4 weeks ago by Fath2o. Reason: add text
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8 years 4 weeks ago - 8 years 4 weeks ago #25974 by Atlas
Replied by Atlas on topic Boat Help
One of the guys I occasionally paddle with is a former world champion sprint kayaker. After quite a few years off the water he recently decided to get into ocean ski paddling. On advice from a mate he bought an Epic V10. Not surprisingly he enjoys paddling this boat in calm conditions. Windy and or rough conditions are a very different matter. After an unpleasant but illuminating paddling / swimming experience he promptly ordered an Epic V8. He could probably have handled a slightly "faster" boat but who cares? He often paddles alone and he is now rock solid in really rough conditions. He can now paddle when ever he wants to. He has a fast boat for calm to moderate conditions and is already getting into a bit of downwind paddling on the V8. He will outgrow the V8 pretty soon but he will be able to sell it for not much less than he paid. He will then take the next step whether that is a V8 pro or a V10S. He will now be able to handle his V10 downwind much sooner than he would otherwise have been able to.
There is no right or wrong answer to the age old "which boat" question. I just like the idea of staying safe and having fun straight away. Learning curves are part of learning. However I don't see any point in making them any steeper than they have to be.

Current boats
Epic V10L Ultra, Epic V9 Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost X LV, Fenn Bluefin, Nelo 510, Fenn XT double, Nelo 600, Expedition Kayaks Azure, Mirage 732.
Previous boats
Spirit PRS, Fenn Swordfish, Fenn XT, Fenn Swordfish S, Think Zen, Epic V10L Club, Carbonology Sport Boost LV
Last edit: 8 years 4 weeks ago by Atlas.
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8 years 4 weeks ago - 8 years 4 weeks ago #25975 by Dicko
Replied by Dicko on topic Boat Help
Can someone enlighten me where the good old XT fits into the scheme of things. I paddled one in some fairly lumpy conditions as my first ski and I think I fell off once. Is it a beginners ski, an advanced beginners, a beginners intermediate or an intermediate. Perhaps it has a category all of its own. "The ski that we ALL used to learn on category". THE beginners ski, cos there was nothing else, literally.
A world class kayaker should start on something a bit tippier like a v10. I reckon a v8 would frustrate the hell out of me. I think I owned the XT for 3 months before it needed to go and I am a long, long ,long way from a world class paddler. Someone with a bit of talent will feel comfortable in a couple of weeks.
It depends where you paddle. Falling out in the Bahamas doesn't seem quite as unpleasant as some of the places people paddle.
So is it faster , slower, tippier, heavier, or just forgotten?
Last edit: 8 years 4 weeks ago by Dicko. Reason: grammar
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8 years 4 weeks ago #25976 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Boat Help
The XT was probably one of the best all-around boat money can buy. My impression is that Fenn produced a different boat that was more stable (the blue fin) and that is said to be faster. Did they mean faster on flat water? Perhaps, because honestly, the Fenn XT was plenty fast in real open ocean.

The XT doesn't have a very good primary stability, so beginners have some difficulties in it when the water is anything but flat. Intermediate paddlers are really challenged with it in the open ocean, and they can usually progress pretty well. Advanced paddlers can still get a kick out of the boat that surfs really well.

I would place it as an easy Intermediate ski.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)
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8 years 4 weeks ago #25977 by Atlas
Replied by Atlas on topic Boat Help
The XT seems to be a bit out of favour these days. However I quite like it. As a low intermediate paddler it is my go to ski for really rough conditions. I'm yet to get completely confident in my Swordfish on big downwind paddles but I feel super confident in my XT.
My partner is a complete beginner. She doesn't paddle much (and only does it to humour me). She can paddle my Bluefin reasonably confidently. She will fall off occasionally in rough conditions but can remount without too much trouble. She can only paddle the XT with any confidence in glass flat conditions.
I'm only guessing but I would call the XT an advanced and or ambitious beginners boat. Or maybe a low intermediate boat.
I feel that the XT is still a viable bridge between true beginner boats like the Bluefin and the Epic V8 and intermediate boats like the Swordfish and Epic V10 sport. The XT seems to me to come alive in rough and downwind conditions. There may be better boats in this category for paddling in flat to moderate conditions.

Current boats
Epic V10L Ultra, Epic V9 Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost X LV, Fenn Bluefin, Nelo 510, Fenn XT double, Nelo 600, Expedition Kayaks Azure, Mirage 732.
Previous boats
Spirit PRS, Fenn Swordfish, Fenn XT, Fenn Swordfish S, Think Zen, Epic V10L Club, Carbonology Sport Boost LV
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8 years 4 weeks ago #25986 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Boat Help
Probably no surprise, I am a big fan of the XT, (with a 10" surf rudder). I had always referred to it as a beginner/intermediate ski, but, I'm inclined to refer to it as an intermediate ski with all the true beginner boats available now. I have had some of my most exciting surfski adventures in the XT. Due to it's tendency to nose dive and be a wet boat, (with my fat arse in it), I'll pull out my EVO when the fecal matter hits the fan. I am much more comfortable and confident with the extra foot and half of length and added volume. It's interesting the EVO hull looks like it came out of the same mold as the XT just longer.
The new V8Pro looks like it may well be an unwitting improvement of the XT.
Anyway bukeit, hope that all these posts help you to decide what direction you want to go in with a surfski purchase. I'ts tough when there aren't a lot of surfskis available to test drive. If you can make it to the surf ski champs in San Francisco on July 15 - demo day. You can paddle a plethora of surfskis in calm to moderate conditions. You can even rent a surfski for the long or short course on the 16th. The other cool thing is you can meet some of the best paddlers in the world!
Good luck!
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8 years 4 weeks ago #25987 by Joseph Di Chiacchio
Replied by Joseph Di Chiacchio on topic Boat Help
If you're interested, I'll be heading down that way in a few weeks and will have a few boats available for you to try. Just shoot an email and I'll set you up.

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8 years 4 weeks ago #25991 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Boat Help
Elite surfskis, with the exception of the old model nelo 560, are much more stable than a level 1 stability icf boat. You will have zero issues with stability in any surfski on the flat. In the waves, you will not likely fall out of the boat, but you will take a longer to learn to read and surf the waves in an elite boat. If your expectation is to mostly paddle in the calm at first and then gradually figure out how to paddle in incrementally large waves, then an elite boat is fine to start. If you want to get into the waves and surfing straight off the bat, you would be better served with an intermediate boat I think. Besides, if you are not racing the boat, then who cares if it is 0.1 or 0.2 mph slower on the flats. As you may know, superstar flat water paddlers sometimes jump into surfski races, and unless they have a surf background they are terrible going downwind. The limitation is not fitness or stroke; it is simply not knowing how to surf and link the waves.

One very serious word of caution: elite kayakers get into trouble with surfskis as they never fall out and thus never develop a good remount. I have heard of international level kayakers coming out of a tippy surfski in rough water only to discover that in several years of paddling ski they never learned a remount. You can die of hypothermia that way.

So as you are learning, you have to make a point of practicing remounts often. Learn to do it from both sides and in rough water as well. Learn to do it without letting the paddle out of your hand. Always use a leash, but remember that leashes occasionally do fail, so as you capsize your first move is to grab the boat. Ideally you have an arm around the boat before you are all the way into the water.

Good luck. You will have lots of fun.

Current Skis: Epic v10 g3, NK 670 double, NK exrcize, Kai Wa’a Vega, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X
Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Nelo 550 g2, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy
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8 years 4 weeks ago #25992 by bukeit
Replied by bukeit on topic Boat Help
Thank you everyone for your help! Luckily there is diversity in the water here and I will be able to be on flat water before venturing out.

Hopefully I can find other paddlers in Pensacola. :)

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8 years 4 weeks ago - 8 years 4 weeks ago #25996 by Uffilation
Replied by Uffilation on topic Boat Help
It was actually this video that motivated me to make such remounting training regularily ... I mean besides a few with every paddle, doing many in a row once in a while. Doing many cowboys and side straddle remounts in a row was also what made me figuring out, that cowboy works best for me in chop and I can do many more than side straddle (for a vajda hawx, narrow higher side walls).

25 re-entries ...
vimeo.com/74149110
Last edit: 8 years 4 weeks ago by Uffilation.
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8 years 4 weeks ago #26005 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Boat Help
We also have to remember that watercraft will be significantly more stable on calm "lower density fresh water" vs lumpy "higher density salt water". That's my experience anyway.

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8 years 3 weeks ago #26010 by Stew
Replied by Stew on topic Boat Help

zachhandler wrote: Elite surfskis, with the exception of the old model nelo 560, are much more stable than a level 1 stability icf boat. You will have zero issues with stability in any surfski on the flat. In the waves, you will not likely fall out of the boat, but you will take a longer to learn to read and surf the waves in an elite boat. If your expectation is to mostly paddle in the calm at first and then gradually figure out how to paddle in incrementally large waves, then an elite boat is fine to start. If you want to get into the waves and surfing straight off the bat, you would be better served with an intermediate boat I think. Besides, if you are not racing the boat, then who cares if it is 0.1 or 0.2 mph slower on the flats. As you may know, superstar flat water paddlers sometimes jump into surfski races, and unless they have a surf background they are terrible going downwind. The limitation is not fitness or stroke; it is simply not knowing how to surf and link the waves.

One very serious word of caution: elite kayakers get into trouble with surfskis as they never fall out and thus never develop a good remount. I have heard of international level kayakers coming out of a tippy surfski in rough water only to discover that in several years of paddling ski they never learned a remount. You can die of hypothermia that way.

So as you are learning, you have to make a point of practicing remounts often. Learn to do it from both sides and in rough water as well. Learn to do it without letting the paddle out of your hand. Always use a leash, but remember that leashes occasionally do fail, so as you capsize your first move is to grab the boat. Ideally you have an arm around the boat before you are all the way into the water.

Good luck. You will have lots of fun.


I would agree with this. As a K1 paddler, none of the elite skis will pose a challenge in the flat. I'd look at anything from intermediate and above to get started in the rough stuff if you were an elite k1 athlete. Do get a smaller paddle though, those old 220cm big blades don't work well on a ski. :laugh:

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8 years 3 weeks ago #26011 by Cryder
Replied by Cryder on topic Boat Help
A couple of quick questions I'd ask are 1) your disposition, and 2) the amount of time you are planning on spending on the water, as both of those things will impact your progression quite a bit, and progression is the name of the game. If you want to race, get a ski that will ask more of you and inspire you... Even if you are just racing yourself. The saying in the yachting world often applies to us full-retard surfski racing types: "buy your second boat first... ".

If you want to learn the art of going downwind offshore, then something that forgives your mistakes can be a major asset. Especially if you are forced to go solo often. You'll pick up the runs more easily, surf, have fun and feel a lot more at home in a new home.

A word of caution: I've paddled with a number of people from different water sport backgrounds (white water, rowing, ICF, OC, etc.), and while there are typically a few things that do crossover (fundamentals), most of what you'll be learning is an entirely new language in a place that doesn't always treat foreigners too kindly... In this event I suggest you get a good translator in the form of a stable ski that inspires you.

Cheers,

Cryder

fasterfarther.com

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