Surfski vs. Fast Kayak

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12 years 2 months ago #11113 by acroreef
Dear Folks,

As I have never paddled a surfski, please enlighten me regarding the relative speed between a kayak and surfski. For comparison, use a 18' Epic 18x vs an Epic 18' surfski (or any other 18' surfski). Assuming the paddler is the same in both and length of boat the same, how much faster would a surfski be? Would the paddler notice the difference? (I have to limit size to approx. 18' because of storage space). Thanks to all who respond.

Dave

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12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #11114 by DougMar
Replied by DougMar on topic Re: Surfski vs. Fast Kayak
Most of the current crop of 18' "surfskis" (I do not consider them true skis, but this is merely semantics) are typically of the same hull as the parent company's 18' sea kayak offerings. Therefore you will probably not feel any substantial speed difference, though comfort level and ergonomics will most likely be different (better or worse, depending on your preferences). Due to the pedal steering system, the ski may be more yawl-controllable than the kayak version. Weight differences of the ski version will most likely be somewhat lighter for the similar published lay-up. The surfski model will definitely be easier to re-board after parting way with the craft. Some may go as far as to say that a surfski type of kayak is safer than an enclosed kayak, especially if those people are roll-challenged paddlers.
And that's my gist on the subject.
Last edit: 12 years 2 months ago by DougMar.

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12 years 2 months ago #11154 by waterbornewarrior
As mentioned by Doug, the 18x and V8 should identical. However, there are other 18' skis that should be substantially faster. If you can handle an extra 4", the Huki S1-A and Nelo 560 come to mind. The S1-A (18' 4" x 16") is about as fast as any 21' ski - if you fit and balance it. Nobody on the forums has mentioned the 560, which looks very interesting. It appears to be the same length as the S1-A, but a bit wider at just under 17". Also, both of these skis can be built 16+ pounds lighter than the 18x, which is a big deal. I'm not recommending either of these skis for you because I don't know enough, but to answer your specific question, there are 18' (+4") skis that are significantly faster than an Epic 18x.

Don

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12 years 2 months ago #11155 by mckengmsurfski
The other thing to consider is the size, shape, and location of the rudder on the surfskis compared to the sea kayaks. Even if the hulls are identical rudder position/size/shape can make a significant difference in how the boats paddle.
I agree with waterbornewarrior, if you're looking for speed there are some promising skis out there under 19 feet right now (not sure how far you can push the 18ft limit?). Whether or not they'd work for you depends on your skill level and the type of conditions you paddle. Skis that come to mind are the Carbonology Atom and Vault, the old Honcho Guevara, and the new Nelo 560 ski. I'm guessing 2 of these 4 are pretty darn tippy but I can't say for certain as I've only paddled the Guevara.

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12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #11174 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Re: Surfski vs. Fast Kayak
The paddler matters a lot. A heavy paddler even if they manage to fit in a short (18 foot-ish) skinny (16-17") ski will likely overload it and encounter some additional resistance while paddling it compared to a lighter paddler. A big person will be better off with a larger volume ski.

One more comment, the Epic V8 is based off the 18x Sport, not the regular 18x (which is an inch narrower). Don't know how much difference there is b/w the 18x and the 18x Sport in terms of speed but I guess there is enough that folks who want speed over stability go for the 18x and the rest for the 18x Sport. The V8 will likely be very similar to the 18x Sport since both offer enough ergonomics for good leg drive and rotation. The cutouts on the V8 at the paddle catch might offer a small advantage. And as mentioned, the understern rudder is a big advantage when surfing down on following waves where a stern-mounted rudder loses control often on steep waves.
Last edit: 12 years 2 months ago by Kocho.

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12 years 2 months ago #11177 by acroreef
Replied by acroreef on topic Re: Surfski vs. Fast Kayak
Thanks to all who responded. I should mention that I'm 5'8" and 160 pounds. Also, most of my paddling is done on inland lakes. So I can encounter rough chop but not usually large waves. Still, I love the thought of paddling fast for fitness and the enjoyment of nature. From what I read, mounting back onto a surfski upon a capsize is pretty safe, once one has the technique down. Would you say safer than a roll in a sea kayak, assuming that I dress for the water? Also, I probably can go up to 19' for a surfski. Thanks again to all the kind folks for the helpful advice.


Dave

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12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #11178 by mckengmsurfski
If you're competent at rolling then it's probably a wash safety-wise, though if you can roll and you have a skirt on you're less likely to be separated from you craft. That said, in warm weather, skirts are hot...
If you want something under 19 feet that goes fast and is fun for fitness paddling and you're paddling on flat water then you have lots of options. I think it depends on your comfort level in a less stable boat and/or you willingness to put in the bucket time to become adept at paddling a faster (which usually equals less stable) boat. You could even consider something like one of the more stable K1s that are built to Danish Touring boat racing specs. Here's an example: www.vajdagroup.com/products/touring/tour...6-14102-k1-civet-cat
Where are you located? That would help in pointing you in the right direction.
Last edit: 12 years 2 months ago by mckengmsurfski.

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12 years 2 months ago #11179 by acroreef
Replied by acroreef on topic Re: Surfski vs. Fast Kayak
I live in Michigan (U.S) not near the Great Lakes but plenty of fairly large inland lakes.

Dave

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12 years 2 months ago #11180 by mckengmsurfski
Hmmm... Not sure who would have what boats around there for you to try.
I'm on the coast in S.C., if you're headed down here anytime soon there are several of the boats mentioned on this thread in this area.

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12 years 2 months ago #11181 by markjlyon
I notice on the Think Kayaks site that their midwest dealer, Superior Surf Systems, in Duluth Minnesota, also carries Fenn, Epic, and Stellar products. It's still pretty far from you, but might be worth a look: www.superiorsurfsystems.com/a/j/

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12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #11182 by EK Sydney
I've paddled the two boats that are leading the 'fast kayak' resurgence, the Epic 18X and the Rockpool Taran extensively over the past year. I also regularly paddle my V10s and our V8 demo (I'm an Epic dealer in Sydney).
I think you need to understand the difference between these modern kayak designs and the skis that inhabit the same waterline length. If you have a strong roll then a kayak is way safer than a ski in the event of a capsize. I'm assuming your lakes aren't too tropical and immersion is to be avoided right?
Speed wise, a comparison between the 18x and the V8 isn't going to show a clear winner, although I'd argue that the superior ergonomics of the ski give you a better chance of a good stroke, which will help your speed.
As Mckeng mentions, down sea the rudder position of the ski makes it superior once things steepen up. I've only experienced this in extreme conditions though, not something I'd expect to occur on a lake, even one with a big fetch.
Don't underestimate the touring capabilities of the kayak. Skis are essentially one dimensional, fitness and fun boats for shorter bursts and training or surfing. A kayak gives you the option to journey, carrying gear for multi day trips, and the faster ones mentioned don't slow you down too much in comparison to the skis of similar dimensions.
Mark.
Last edit: 12 years 2 months ago by EK Sydney. Reason: typo

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12 years 2 months ago #11183 by wesley
Replied by wesley on topic Re: Surfski vs. Fast Kayak
Keep in mind the new Stellar 18R Kayak and the New Stellar 18S Surfski both have the same hull which is 21 inches by 18ft. I reviewed both on SurfskiRacing.com and John at Superior Surf Systems should have the 18S in a few weeks for you to try. Wesley(NE Stellar Rep) also.

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.

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12 years 2 months ago #11184 by Kayaker Greg
I think that Stellar 18S surfski would be a great option!

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12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #11225 by DougMar
Replied by DougMar on topic Re: Surfski vs. Fast Kayak
As for the kayak roll verses ski re-entry: I consider myself to be a very good roller. I practice rolling every time I take the SK out. However, when the seas are up and my heart and breathing rate are maxxed, rolling can be tricky. Many a time when I find myself inverted in a kayak, it’s usually during a jubilant downwind frolic, and my heart rate is through the roof, and I have to calm myself down quickly. In these situations, I prefer the ski re-entry. And it depends on the volume of the kayak as well. A large volume kayak has the propensity to keep you firmly under due to the large inverted righting moment. I.e., it’s very difficult to lie on your ear to catch a breather in the heavies. If in a very low volume SK, the reduced buoyancy will allow you to more easily lie on your ear, so to speak, catching a quick rest while recovering your breathing rate. However, the very low volume SK can be a very wicked craft to control in heavy seas as they may submarine often, erasing any semblance of transverse and longitudinal stability.

When paddling in the Albemarle Sound (relatively shallow, up to 70+ miles of fetch, lake-like body of semi-brakish water), the waves can become very confused and very choppy. My ol' Necky Looksha II (20' long, 20" wide, 52 lbs) with it's over-the-stern rudder has issues while careening down waves with the rudder slashing at the air. My V12 has no issues in these conditions or worse, and amazingly quite controllable in knarly conditions with the small weedless rudder installed (though I prefer the 9" surf rudder in heavy stuff).

Too bad I’ve never thought about loading up the Looksha with camping supplies and heading out over the horizon. I have way too much fun chasing powerboats and fast sailboats.
Last edit: 12 years 2 months ago by DougMar.

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12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #11226 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Re: Surfski vs. Fast Kayak
On the remount a ski vs. roll a kayak, the answer is "depends". In general, a dependable roll is much faster and works in more conditions. I've taken my Epic V10s on some Class II+ white water, not too technical in terms of obstacles but with large pushy wave trains in fast rapids. The particular rapid is actually rated class III but is short, the rest is II+ going down to II. There was a large smooth wave that could be srfed on a sea kayak or slalom boat or surf ski. I did stay on it for a few seconds, then broached and tipped over, as expected. There is no way to remount the ski in that rapid - have to float downriver to a little calmer area. On the other hand, I have no problems rolling up in my sea kayak there (granted it is a playful one, P&H Delphin).

But rolling is not all roses. In a poorly outfitted or racing kayak that just does not have proper support for you during a roll, I much prefer a surf ski remount. Such as in downwind conditions. I used to paddle a Rapier 18 kayak that I could roll in calm water fairly well but my roll was not 100% in rough conditions, where I feel comfortable remounting the V10s. That said, with my Delphin I would probably never flip in those same conditions that might throw me off the ski or the Rapier, but if I did capsize, I would roll back up in a couple of seconds and that would work pretty much every time on the first try, or perhaps on the second try.

To sum it up, a good roll is faster and works in more conditions than a remount. But if the roller is not comfortable enough with the kayak and the conditions, then a remount on a ski might be the better and safer option.
Last edit: 12 years 2 months ago by Kocho.
The following user(s) said Thank You: DougMar

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