Is surfski harder than it needs to be?

4 years 9 months ago #33250 by d0uglass
Since this thread is getting updated I should give an update on my surfski progress.

*I gave up on the Epic v12 and got a Stellar SR 2g, which felt downright easy after struggling with the v12. I was quite comfortable in rough water and downwinds on the SR once I got my seat pads and such worked out.
*After a few months of that, an opportunity came along to trade the Stellar SR 2g for a Stellar SEI 1g. I took it, because I was looking for more top-end to help me keep up with the good guys in flat water.
*I feel comfortable on the SEI 1g in terms of balance, and recently got a 13.4 kph average 10 km downwind run on it. 
*I think compared to the SR 2g the SEI 1g is less tolerant of funny angles and maneuvers when downwinding. For example, if I drift just a few degrees off of perpendicular to the wave crest on a run then no amount of rudder or paddle dragging seems to bring it back. I'm not sure how much of that is the SR vs. the SEI, and how much is the 2g vs 1g, and how much is just a thing that all displacement-nosed craft are prone to do on a wave ride.
*I'm using the standard 8" stellar rudder. Maybe a surf rudder would help, as others have suggested.
*I gather that some of the newer generation skis have a little different rocker profile and rudder and cockpit position to make them more forgiving and maneuverable for their length. 

Anyway my new take on surfski is: Yes, it's hard, but if you start with an easy boat like you're supposed to it's not so bad, and boat design seems to be slowly evolving to be a little more user friendly, at least for beginner / intermediate boats. 

Stellar SEI 1g

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4 years 9 months ago #33251 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Is surfski harder than it needs to be?
Just thinking back on this thread - if you look at the survey results here: the answers to the 6th question say it all. That is, the answers to "How dedicated are you to improving your form" show 2/3 of people are Very dedicated and 1/3 are Somewhat dedicated with only a tiny fraction (less than 2% combined) reporting they have little interest in improving their technique. Just extrapolating that a bit, this sport almost exclusively attracts people that are analytical and 'improvement focused'. So is it harder than it needs to be? probably not, however I think there is far too much emphasis on sub 43cm boats, as these advanced/elite skis are much less approachable to the masses. Almost anyone could paddle a 50cm boat though, and be nearly as fast as an elite on a downwind.

As for the Gen1 SEI steering and broaching, I had a gen1 SR and I have never seen a boat that surfs worse. The gen1 Stellars should be called flat water boats. In fun conditions, they turn like a battleship, the stock rudder is junk (doesnt turn well and stalls easily), they dont catch a wave well, the bucket is huuuuuge and floods easily and takes forever to drain (but it was very comfortable). Although I liked the SR a lot for its rock solid stability, the awful performance in waves led me to sell it. 

I;d highly recommend you invest in a DK rudder if you decide to keep the SEI. It will help a lot with the steering and somewhat with the broaching, although the rocker profile on the boat is a limiting factor. Im picking up a DK for christmas. I think Im going with a 9" high chord style for good control in short, steep waves

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