Vega Flex

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10 months 1 week ago #39437 by pilotdov
Vega Flex was created by pilotdov
I’m currently using a fin Mako XT. I started on the Mako and it was my first ski , I probably could’ve started with something wider, so it was a steep learning curve, but I was able to get comfortable after a few months . Now that I’m doing More Leg drive and hip rotation, I’m seeing that the older model ski with the bigger hump does not allow me to get the leg drive and hip rotation that I need, so I feel like I’m ready to go to the next level of ski.Some friends that I’m skiing with are using the Vega flex and they are very happy with it. I tried it as well and found it to be a very easy ski, very stable and seemed to surf easy. However I’m wondering with my weight if the ski has too much displacement for me. From what I understand if I’m too light and the ski is not in the water enough especially the bow it will be harder for me to go upwind or to go cross wind, as you can see from the photo I attached, I have this issue with my current Mako XT.One of the dealers here in South Florida suggested that I look at either a swordfish or the Carbonology Vault. I tried the swordfish and I don’t like the new bucket and find it very unstable, I hear the older swordfish would be a better fit but I can’t find any. .The vault specifically is a lower volume ski and meant for lighter paddlers like myself, I weigh about 155 pounds. I also tried the Fenn spark S and I really liked the spark and instantly felt like I was driving something very fast, but I think it might be too much of a jump for me because it was much more unstable but I was able to handle it in flat conditions. I think in choppy conditions I might not feel so comfortable. i’m wondering if a lower volume ski like the vault or the Fenn spark S would be a better fit for me versus the Vega flex which is a higher volume ski. I know it’s a great down-winder, but going up when the in Crosswind is also important. let me know what you guys think. 
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10 months 1 week ago #39438 by tve
Replied by tve on topic Vega Flex
The question I'd have for you is what are you looking for in the longer run? You challenged yourself by starting with the Mako XT, do you want to continue the challenge and master more advanced skis? Or have you reached a "I now want to have it easy" stage?

I have not paddled the Spark S but it sounds like it somehow clicked for you. What's the problem if it feels a bit unstable? Are you looking forward to the challenge and excitement of learning the next level or do you want to be able to relax? Nothing wrong with either choice, it's yours to make. I think that determines your path... You have the XT for big days as long as you don't feel secure enough in the new boat, right?

From my experience I would always favor ergonomics over "it surfs well" reputation. Do you fit well into the bucket? Does the seating position feel good and well connected to the boat? Does it allow you to apply good power to the paddle? For me the Vega and Vega Flex fail both of these tests, it doesn't matter how beautiful the boats are (and they are) nor how well they surf, they're a complete non-starter. Others have a different body and evidently feel different, and it's great that we all have skis to choose from!

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10 months 1 week ago #39440 by Atlas
Replied by Atlas on topic Vega Flex
If you will keep the XT then it makes sense to buy something a bit higher performance. A Spark is a huge jump in performance and frankly I'd be surprised if you could get anywhere near the full potential out of that ski since it is designed primarily as a downwind boat. A Vault seems to me to be more logical if it works for you. That's also a downwind ski of course but more stable. I haven't paddled one but I love paddling my Carbonology Sport Boost LV X in wild downwinders. I believe the Vault is an excellent ski and it is definitely on my radar.
I really do think that you are on the right track looking at low volume skis. I weigh 75kg and I'm very lean so I have a skinny arse. I paddle mostly in rough conditions. I'm a bit of a slow learner so it's taken many years and thousands of dollars to work out that I just love the way low volume skis behave in crappy conditions with head winds, cross winds and confused waves. Unless I'm paddling purely downwind (and have a car shuttle waiting for me) then I'm faster and I have more fun in low volume skis.
If you plan to have only one ski then obviously you will have to think very carefully and demo paddle as many skis as you can. Particularly if you actually want to become a better paddler. If that is the case then you simply must have stability. Unless your XT is full carbon; then an ultra light and stiff ski of the same or similar lateral stability will be a small but noticeable performance upgrade in downwind paddling (the difference is less pronounced in flat water). If you just want to prove to yourself that you can stay upright on an elite level ski then something like a Spark might be a bit of fun but it will not help your paddling technique one bit.

Current boats
Epic V10L Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost LV X, Fenn Bluefin, Nelo 510, Fenn XT double, Nelo 600, Expedition Kayaks Azure

Previous boats
Spirit PRS, Fenn Swordfish, Fenn XT, Fenn Swordfish S, Think Zen, Epic V10L Club, Epic V9 Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost LV
Most with DK rudders
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10 months 1 week ago #39441 by pilotdov
Replied by pilotdov on topic Vega Flex
Thank you for the feedback.  When I tried the Fenn Spark S it just seemed to fit my smaller body type. I am narrow at the waist. I also liked that I had more room under my leg for the drive and compared to the Elite it felt more stable. I did also try a paddle friend's Elite. The Spark S just felt right, except more wobbly than what I have, but less wobbly than the Elite.

I am going to get to try the Carbonolgy Vault in the next week so will make a decision after that. One of the things I ask myself when I see conditions is, would I feel comfortable going out in those conditions? Of course in my current ski, I would feel comfortable in almost anything, but if I jump to the Spark it will take time to build up that same comfort. I think since the Vault is more of an in-between step, I would get to that place quicker and could focus then more on my stroke. With that said I did take a jump to the Mako and could have gone true beginner with a Blue Fin and now with the experience on the Mako I do have a lot of initial stability built up. I don't k ow, I think I will just see soon enough when I demo the Vault. 

The thing that gnaws at me is that the Spark S I demoed is second-hand and has a really good price tag. It only weighs 18lbs, it's the pro layup. I like getting things second-hand because in my mind it provides the best value. The Vault would be a new and heavier layup at around 25#. I am also not sure how the Carbonology build compares to the Fenn. 

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10 months 1 week ago #39442 by [email protected]
Replied by [email protected] on topic Vega Flex
A couple of thoughts:

The Vault is designed for folks < 80kg so it would be right for you.  It's also intended to be an "intermediate" boat, and should be a lot more stable than the Spark S.

Not that it would help you much, but the current Fennix Swordfish S now has a deeper seat and is extremely stable.  I suspect that you tried the high-seat Fennix SF S, which was indeed as tippy as the Fenn Elite!  Lovely boat but I wish they'd make one more modification and cut out the back of the seat a little more.  At my weight (82kg) I find it helpful to lean back on big runs to keep the nose out (I have the older Swordfish S) and I can't do that on the Fennix because the back of the seat is so vertical.

I recently paddled both the Vault X - which I liked but found too narrow for my fat arse - and the Zest X (which I was lucky enough to have for a couple of months, doing dozens of Miller's Runs).  The Carbonology boats are very high quality these days, rivaling (in my opinion) Chinese built boats for finish.

I'm betting that you'll like the Vault!

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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10 months 1 week ago #39443 by pilotdov
Replied by pilotdov on topic Vega Flex
Thank you for the reply. I will be demoing the Vault soon and will make a decision after that. I do think that a more advanced ski will take me more time to master as far as balance goes, but from the little time I spent on the Spark S, I think it could help me with my paddle techniques because already I saw that had better leg drive and the ski just seemed to fit me. For example, on my Mako XT, I'm kind of small for it and seem to be swimming in the seat pan. I never really felt connected to it. In the Spark, I felt it hug my hips more and could feel the skin in more than just my feet and lower back. I'm hoping that the Vault will have the same feeling and with the added stability of a slightly wider ski.  

Based on all that you and others have said, it does seem obvious whether I go with the Vault or the Spark S that for me a lower volume Ski would be a better fit.

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10 months 1 week ago #39444 by pilotdov
Replied by pilotdov on topic Vega Flex
I did try the newer Swordfish and felt that it was more wobbly than even the Elite that I tried. I heard the older Swordfishes were better and that would be a good jump from the XT, but being that the seat pan design has changed, that is why I am considering skipping the step to the Spark S or going to the Vault. 

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10 months 1 week ago - 10 months 1 week ago #39459 by OceanDC
Hi I have a Vega Flex and the new Deep seat Fennix Swordie S (launched in November 2021).  This is the 2nd edition of the Fennix Sowrdie S, is far more stable and planted in heavy conditions or refracting waves.

Swordie give you higher sides, and wide leg room compared to the Flex. The Swordie also has dual Venturi holes (however I am led to believe Vega Flex venture hole has been updated and much better now).  

The Vega Flex also has a god awful foot well system that relies on a bank style clamp system, if its not tighten correctly you footwell push through quite easily which not what you would want along the Millers run.  

The Vega looks better made and a 3 kg lighter, however to get this weight saving the paint work has been stripped back and can scratch more easily if not treated right

But to achieve fantastic performance in downwind and heavier conditions Fenn have sacrificed a very small amount of flat water speed, probably 0.1 km/hr (if my Garmin is tracking correctly).  Frankly most people do not use Swordies for Marathon flat water paddling anyway, so anyone saying this ski is slow on flat water is completely missing the point of why you would use this ski.

The Flex on flat water (for me) is about 0.3-0.4 km/hr faster, but in heavier conditions the Swordie seems to go better.  According to my Garmin watch I get between 3.8-4.5m per stroke in the Vega and 3.8-4.2m per stroke in the Swordie.

The Mako XT's replacement XTS I'm hearing (from friends who paddle them in Sydney) are very good and they are very happy with them.

If you find the Swordie S tippy, do not go in to the Flex. It will be suitable quick in down winds if you can stay on the Flex in downwind its worth considering, but you need to be able to balance adequately on the Vega in side chop and refracting ways for this ski to be a viable option for you.

For the record Vega Flex is quick in flat, lighter or following conditions (at any strength), however as soon as the conditions get heavier and confused you will want to be in Fennix Swordie S (ie the one launched in November 2021 onwards).  You can get used to the Vega in more confused conditions, but the transition will take you about 3-4 months to get used to.

The Vega is a little slower to turn around for Ins and Outs, both have good steering control when you are on a wave or linking runs.

Both milk runs really well, and I am to link multiple runs with 60%-70% effort through my Braca IV 735 Benentt Australia made Paddle.

In my books The Swordie has restored its title as a great all rounder surf ski, the Flex is a great ski if you can make use of its performance in heavy conditions.  If you can afford both, I would suggest buying both.
 
Last edit: 10 months 1 week ago by OceanDC.

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10 months 6 days ago #39472 by BigFish
The new Fennix Swordfish S - is the seat narrower and more rounded at the back by chance? (i.e. more like the original swordfish seat)

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10 months 6 hours ago #39488 by John Ski
Replied by John Ski on topic Vega Flex
I tried the Vault and the Spark.  The Vault was easier to balance but heavier to paddle.  I ended up getting the Spark cause it fit better, for my light weight.  I think it took about 3 months before I could paddle out from flat to the open waves, but even now, I don't have complete confidence I wouldn't get thrown in when the waves get crazy.

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10 months 3 hours ago #39491 by tve
Replied by tve on topic Vega Flex
Getting thrown in is not a problem, it's part of the sport ;-). Not being able to remount is a problem, though (as is not being confident that you can remount). Thus at every outing jump in at some point and do a remount. If you're alone do the practice remount in calm water near shore, if you're with a buddy be a bit more daring. Pretty soon remounts will feel a lot easier. Also, overall, it just takes time to train the instinctive reflexes that keep you in an elite boat in rough water, so take it slowly but do push yourself when you can do it safely.

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9 months 2 weeks ago #39545 by pilotdov
Replied by pilotdov on topic Vega Flex
I did get the Carbonoligy Vault and I think it was a good move. The Ski for me does seem like the next step from the Fenn XT that I have and I am really glad that I did not get the Fenn Spark because that would have been too much of a leap for me. I think the Vega Flex would have been good, but I needed a low volume ski because of my weight and I suspect that the Flex would have been too corky for me. 
The skit has less initial stability than the XT but has great secondary stability. I just need to get used to it.

Thank you all for your advice, it really helped with making a decision.

so far I have mostly taken the Vault on flat and small downwind and will try this weekend on more substantial swell and downwind conditions of conditions allow. I'll report more after that, but so far I think it was a good purchase. From the little bumps I got, it seems that it surfes with less effort than my XT.
 

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