Ski/Kayak Advice

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5 years 1 month ago #33917 by Matt13
Ski/Kayak Advice was created by Matt13
Hi 
I’m new to paddling.
6’4 @100kg
started paddling a borrowed sea kayak to compete in an adventure race and have got into paddling and after a boat for myself.
have been doing all paddling in a calm protected river
i borrowed a friends V12, bit unstable first paddle but managed 10kms on 2nd paddle staying upright, did find I was skipping strokes every now and then.
Trialed a long recreational class kayak which I found more stable and similar pace over 5 km, it was very light at 10.8kg

i did find that on the ski due to my feet constantly under the strap I got numbness at times in my legs where I was able to move my legs slightly in the ski to relieve the numbness.
Also even on the calm waters the ski was quite wet compared to the kayak. Question if a kayak would be better for winter paddling.

i do hope to do more adventure races in rivers, is a ski ok in small rapids or are you better with a trailing rudder?
i have noticed ski seem much more popular than kayaks, and I do live on the beach, so maybe down the track want to do some ocean paddling but for now see me only paddling in the river.

Would a more stable ski be more suitable?
sorry for lengthy post, any advice would be much appreciated.
cheers

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5 years 1 month ago #33918 by [email protected]
Replied by [email protected] on topic Ski/Kayak Advice

i did find that on the ski due to my feet constantly under the strap I got numbness at times in my legs where I was able to move my legs slightly in the ski to relieve the numbness.

The thought that immediately springs to mind is whether you have the correct length set on the surfski and whether the footstrap is too tight.

The footplate should be adjusted so that it's just long enough for you to rotate comfortably as you paddle.  Your knees should be rising and falling naturally with the stroke and the knee that is lower - that is on the side that you're stroking - should just touch the top of the "hump" in the cockpit.  You don't want the footplate so far that you lose touch with the footplate as your rotate, nor do you want it so close that your knees are high and you feel cramped.

Very few people paddle with a tight footstrap - if your feet are feeling cramped, just loosen it completely.  Most people use the footstrap mostly as a carrying handle!

is a ski ok in small rapids or are you better with a trailing rudder?

You want a trailing rudder if you're going anywhere near rocks.  Some skis have optional fittings for trailing rudders.

for now see me only paddling in the river.

To me the overriding concern is rocks...  If you're going anywhere near rapids, you want a trailing rudder.  Ideally then you would get a ski that has the fittings for a trailing rudder.  You can switch to the conventional rudder when you paddle on the ocean... which you will want to do as well!  Trust me, downwind paddling on the ocean is where it's at!!!

Welcome to the sport!  Where do you live?

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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5 years 1 month ago #33919 by SpaceSputnik
Replied by SpaceSputnik on topic Ski/Kayak Advice
Sea Kayak vs Ski is a very big question here. Let me try to ramble about it a bit.

1. Self-rescue. Sit-in sea kayaks is something you wear, not ride. Your lower body is tucked under a deck. Thighs, knees, feet, bum are in a pretty tight contact with the boat. You are attached to the boat with a spray skirt. Ski is something you sit rather on top and can fall out at any given time. In a kayak falling over means getting inverted, pulling a strap on the skirt to pull it off and "taking off" the kayak kinda like a pair of pants. I does not mean it is excessively hard (can be if your boat is too tight like a Greenland style kayak). personally I find this totally unpleasant, especially in cold water which means often around lake Ontario. Lots of folks are fine with it though, but it needs practice.
If you are serious about paddling a sea kayak you need to invest into a reliable roll. Reason being is that if you do wet-exist, you end up with a cockpit full of water. You can't paddle it like this as it affects stability significantly. In order to get back in you need to employ a paddle foat or a cowboy rescue, slide in and pump the water out. It is energy and time consuming and you are more prone to re-capsizing while you are doing all that, so it's not very fitting for active conditions. Roll is quicker but it requires a significant amount of practice to master it to a reliable degree. And it requires a calm execution of a technically complex body motion while inverted. I personally do not like relying on that but many sea kayakers are ok with that, so it is personal.
A ski remount is far easier to learn and execute (although it does require a bit of a sustained effort and ongoing maintenance). If you are diligent you will learn it quickly. No need to get upside down, fall off, remount, paddle. I sometimes do it just to break the monotony of a paddle, it's a bit like standing up evety so often when you sit at a desk all day.

2. Winter paddling. Yes, a decked boat is warmer. But we need to qualify what temperatures we are talking about. Last season I was paddling alongside my kayaker friends into the very late December. Even with all the right gear the toes are getting to be a problem somewhere at maybe 3C air/water mark because they are exposed. I was certainly feeling it after a couple of hours. However, none of the aforementioned sea kayakers made it further into the year anyways because we came into the deep freeze shortly after our late December excursion, so maybe not a huge difference practically speaking. But it was easier for them to keep warm. 
Another thing to note that in a ski you may have a problem with freezing rudder lines when the air gets below freezing. Happened to people.

3. Comfort. I did not enjoy the seat of my sea kayak for more than 1-2 hours. My bum was getting numb and painful and I had to land to walk it off. In my ski, I never have to, it is very comfortable. But a lot of people spend many hours in their kayaks, so I suppose it can be worked out.

4. Stability. On average sea kayaks are more stable. They tend to be wider and shorter. I have not seen many kayaks longer than 17 feet and narrower than 21 inch. There are hull differences and some of them are tippy because of the hull shape (flat bottom is tippy), but on average they are more stable, 17/21 is the beginner level boat in the ski world and it usually translates to a tippy-ish sea kayak but is considered a bathtub by surfskiers. 

5. Rivers, rocks, ets. You don't want to use a ski in those places unless you are in a plastic boat like an Epic V5/V7. Even with that, I am not sure talking a carbon wing paddle is going to work that well. They are tough, but don't like being speared into hard objects which is likely on a river in scenarios like pushing off a rocky shore. And using a kayak Euro or Greenland paddle in a ski is kinda odd, as skis were designed for a stroke technique that makes most sense with a wing paddle specifically.

6. Storage capacity. None to speak of in a ski unless you own Epic V6, so camping trips are questionable.

It's a personal choice between very different boat styles build for different purposes. 

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5 years 1 month ago #33922 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic Ski/Kayak Advice
I agree with everything SpaceSputnik said. I transitioned from sea kayaking to surfskis. I raced my sea kayak once and was required by the race organizers to wear a skirt. Not fun popping a skirt and running to the finish line. (Race was primarily SUPS and surfkskis). I love my surfski. It's lighter, faster, and everything better. It's not for week long camping trips or plowing through rock gardens. If I was racing on a river where there are rocks a boat like the Epic v7 with a kick up rudder would be better. I only use me sea kayak now when my son paddles with me. He likes the ski better. 

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5 years 1 month ago #33924 by Matt13
Replied by Matt13 on topic Ski/Kayak Advice
Thanks for all the advice, very much appreciated .
im on the nsw mid north coast.
probably need to clarify I’m not looking at sea kayaks more of a marathon race kayak or ocean ski.
could someone advise the difference in stability levels between the V12 (which I’ve paddled) vs v10 vs v10s?
i only paddled the v12 in the river, was at its least stable when I was stationary, just wondering how it compared with the 2  v10’s (or think Evo)
there is limited opportunity to trial skis/kayaks where I live. I will try and travel to demo, just trying to narrow it down to right ones.
thanks again

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5 years 1 month ago #33925 by SpaceSputnik
Replied by SpaceSputnik on topic Ski/Kayak Advice
I can't answer your questions directly but I can tell you I was agonizing over exact same thing most of the last year and the beginning of this year. The sense I have gotten is that it really depends who are you talking to.
Being in Toronto, test padding a ski is not a practical option due to lack of availability, so after much trepidation I committed to Evo which is getting delivered within next couple of weeks. I would have gotten a V10s or a V10 if those were available used too. V10s would have been my safe choice, V10 a "pushing it" choice and Evo somewhere in the middle. I was also considering a Nelo 550 but my legs are too short for that boat.
I am mostly on lake Ontario which can be a nasty little handful at times. If I was on a calm river I would probably risk a tipper boat.
But again, it depends. I am short which I think helps with balance. I never felt a stability challenge on my V7 while I know of larger people who at first felt quite unstable in the same boat on the same water.

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5 years 1 month ago #33927 by Matt13
Replied by Matt13 on topic Ski/Kayak Advice
There is a 2nd hand Kevlar Evo 1 for sale local. Any info on suitability of these or anything to look out for?

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5 years 1 month ago #33938 by SpaceSputnik

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5 years 1 month ago #33956 by Topender
Replied by Topender on topic Ski/Kayak Advice
Matt,
You should have a look at the Stellar SR Multi-sport or the Stellar SEI Multi-sport if you are getting into Adventure Racing as you can fit kick up rudders to them as well as use surf rudders off-shore for training. They have stronger hulls to handle hitting and scraping on rocks.
The SEI is probably equivalent to a V10 in stability and speed and the SR similar to the V10S. The V12 would be the faster of the three but less stable obviously. Epic make good boats but refuse to make a good multi-sport boat apart from the V7 which has its place but is slower and heavier.
I have a SR Multi-sport and an SEI Advantage which I use for Adventure racing depending on the river or lake I am competing in. I would like to try one of the Kiwi multi-sport kayaks like a Flow kayak but hard to find around here.
I did a multi-sport race about a month ago in my SEI and I was passed by a V10S so its also about the paddler, not just the boat.
A few options to consider anyway;
Cheers,

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5 years 1 month ago #33959 by mcnye1
Replied by mcnye1 on topic Ski/Kayak Advice
+1 for Topender's recommendation regarding an SEI in the Multi-Sport layup.  I have an SEI in the Excel layup that I use heavily for racing/training in Florida Rivers.  I love the boat but have to be really cautious regarding obstructions.  I recently bought a Stellar Rapid-S in Multi-Sport and find that layup much better suited for waters with underwater obstructions.  The Rapid-S may be worth your consideration if you have the skill to keep it upright.  

You never did say how long your races are.  If they are multi-day unsupported events where you must carry all of your water & food, plus camping/safety gear, you will pretty much need a kayak.  It is hard to get more than about one day's worth of water on a ski.  You may consider the Stellar S18R.

I would also suggest a thorough study of the rules for the races that you are interested in.  Here in the US the adventure races have significant safety gear requirements which basically force you to paddle a kayak.  Also check to see if there are any boat classification systems.  Make sure that the boat you choose is not the very slowest in the division that you will be competing in.  Lastly, looks at the results from the las several years and see what the winners have been paddling,

I greatly appreciate SpaceSputnik's discussion regarding the differences between kayaks and skis.  I would respectfully submit that his discussion is based on the more traditional low volume/Greenland Style Sea Kayaks.  There are a number of kayaks out there that are designed for racing which could be called Fast Sea Kayaks.  The S18R, Epic 18x and QCC700 are examples.  Generally speaking, these boats have surfski style footbraces with raised front decks and large cockpits to allow for good leg drive.  They have hatches for gear storage and tend to be more stable than similar skis because of lower seating.  The lower seating also gives you a lot more options when it comes to adding padding for comfort on very long races.  In rough weather you can wear a skirt but you won't need one for most river conditions.  I have a Wahoo FSK (18.5' x 20.5") which I have been racing for 3+ years.  Speed wise, it is competitive with boats like the V8/V8Pro.  For long races, I find my carved foam seat to be much more comfortable that the bucket of my SEI.  I also have a Nelo raised rotating seat that I use for shorter races because it allows better leg drive.
 
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5 years 1 month ago #33962 by SpaceSputnik
Replied by SpaceSputnik on topic Ski/Kayak Advice
Well, I was speaking of what is typically known as sea kayaks, not necessarily greenland boats.
They are not all that low volume. Greenland kayaks is a different category in my mind, they take a sea kayak approach to an extreme level. There's next to no wiggle room under deck and the fit is tight throughout. I have seen folks getting into these things, it's scary how tight that is. In this boat the mantra is to never wet-exit no matter what, roll roll and roll. That's what these guys do with their spare time - learn yet another fancy roll technique (not my cup of tea, but hey it's a sport too).
I think the key difference I was trying to discuss is whether a boat is decked or not. I can certainly see what Epic 18S or Stellar Racer boats are about, but they are still decked boats, i.e. you would still apply somewhat heavy-handed self-rescue sea kayak techniques. But storage volume and additional warmth in winter.

In regards to expedition and endurance paddling in a ski, you may want to check out what Traci Lee Martin did in 2017 in her Stellar SR. I understand some parts of her journey included multi-day wilderness survival, however I am not sure for how long exactly. At any rate, her experience may be relevant if one insists on a ski specifically.
www.justaroundthepointe.com/

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5 years 1 month ago #33963 by Topender
Replied by Topender on topic Ski/Kayak Advice
Hello MCNYE1,

Just after your thoughts on the Rapid S.  Is it much faster than the SEI and what about the stability compared to the SEI given its 4-5cm skinnier?

Cheers,

Topender

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5 years 1 month ago #33964 by mcnye1
Replied by mcnye1 on topic Ski/Kayak Advice
The Rapid-S is a great boat but probably not for everybody and not for all waters.  When I bought it I was looking for something faster than the SEI and better suited for the river paddling/racing that I do.  I paddle in a lot of obstructions and in spite of trying to be careful,  I was beating up my SEI (Excel) pretty bad.  I had previously paddled the SES and SEL but found the SES a bit too unstable and the SEL bucket way too big.  I went with the Rapid-S because it has the same (fast)  hull as the SES but a lower seat which makes it more stable.  After a month or so, I replaced the standard backless bucket type seat with a lower custom carved foam seat.  This improved both stability and comfort.  Even with the new seat, it is not nearly as stable as the SEI but more so than the SES.  Speed wise, I find the Rapid-S about 10-15 seconds per mile faster than my SEI.  

The two real big negatives with the RS are boarding and self rescue.  The rather high cockpit makes it a bit challenging to board until you get used to it.  It is very much like getting into an ICF K1.  This is also a boat that you can't re-enter in deep water.  There are no bulkheads so the hull fills with water when you capsize.  There is flotation so the boat won't sink but you have to swim it ashore, pump it out, then reboard.  It is not stable enough to reboard when filled with water.  For this reason, I only paddle this boat in rivers or near shore.

The difficulty reboarding is significantly offset by the lower CG which makes capsize pretty rare.  I have over 270 miles on the boat and have only fallen out twice.  Once was a motor boat wake and the other was when I hit a log with my paddle.  I have a skirt which would have allowed me to right myself in both cases but I don't like wearing it.

For adventure racing, these is some room to pack extra supplies behind the seat but not much.  

My Rapid-S has the Multi-Sport layup which means carbon/Kevlar hull and with kick-up rudder.  The boat has held up wonderfully paddling my obstruction laden waters.  I highly recommend it.

You are a bit bigger than I am so you might find the RS a bit tight.  If you are going to go with an elite boat, I would suggest trying either the SEL or SEA in the multi-sport layup. 
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5 years 1 month ago #33965 by Topender
Replied by Topender on topic Ski/Kayak Advice
Thanks for that, mostly as I thought.
I reckon I'll keep my SEI and look to upgrade the SR Multi-sport to an SEL or SEA in Multi-sport layup given 70-80% of my paddling is in the ocean.

Cheers,

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