Stellar boats. Is this the hot boat now?

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13 years 9 months ago #5239 by wannagofast
I have a V-10. The only thing I can compare it to is a Millenium. The Mill was fast but a handfull! Stellar has a great reviews at Surfskiracing.com Real helpful site. A guy did make a comment to me that the V-10 Ultra was to big for me. I'm 5.7 and 170lbs.
Have any of you paddled the Stellar SES. Its designed for a smaller and shorter paddler. Thanks!

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13 years 9 months ago #5240 by [email protected]
The V10 is not too big for you, but get a V10L if you want a proven racer for smaller paddlers - or even better the V12! Get more opinions other than the Surfskiracing.com site,as that is not an un-biased source for a Stellar review. Note: I'm an Epic Expert,and not un-biased!

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13 years 9 months ago #5242 by wannagofast
I'll try a V-10 L in Bellingham WA. They are having a race up there. I know alot of Epics.up there.
Is the V-12 Perf. less twitchy than a the V-10 Ultra do to added weight?
Is the V-12 Ultra the same initial twitchiness as V-10 Ultra? I know how good the secondary is on both boats.

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13 years 9 months ago #5243 by Dicko
A mate sold his v12 cos he found it too twitchy and too moody. Sometimes it was fast sometimes it wasn't. Tried the stellar and liked it. Would have bought one but was too wide for the seat. Nice looking boat. As for the reputed speed and stability, who knows. Wesley's chart is fairly accurate on most boats. In the end he bought a green 7.

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  • Arnt
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13 years 9 months ago #5244 by Arnt
Get more opinions other than the Surfskiracing.com site,as that is not an un-biased source for a Stellar review, Wesley is a companion in the stellar-company. The funny thing: Think UNO was rated as the fastest one on flatwater speed: 6.1, but after the Stellar review it is degraded to 5.9???

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  • grasshopper
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13 years 9 months ago #5246 by grasshopper
Replied by grasshopper on topic Re:Stellar boats. Is this the hot boat now?
I'd suggest you try the Stellar SES out, also the V10L and V12 to compare.

I've got a Stellar SES and am very happy with it. I've read Wesley's review and now having paddled the ski and comparing it to other similar skis think it is a fair review.

If you want stability with speed and also a ski suited to the lighter paddler I'd certainly recommend the SES, or at least having a demo in one.

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  • grasshopper
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13 years 9 months ago - 13 years 9 months ago #5247 by grasshopper
Replied by grasshopper on topic Re:Stellar boats. Is this the hot boat now?
Forgot to mention I'm 73 kg and 180 cm tall and moved from a high volume boat (not a V10) to the SES and have found it more manageable particularly into headwinds and crosswinds.
Last edit: 13 years 9 months ago by grasshopper.

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  • SS@Bermuda7
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13 years 9 months ago #5252 by SS@Bermuda7
Replied by SS@Bermuda7 on topic Re:Stellar boats. Is this the hot boat now?
I recall that Wesley mentioned pertinently in his review (first paragraph) that he has ties to Stellar - an ethical disclaimer. From what I understand his chart is based on his gps tracks, in other words purely factual.

If you want to cast doubt on the accuracy of his reports on the Stellar then one must assume that he is either fibbing, or he purposefully paddled slowly for the past couple of years so he could have record times in this ski. Both are absurd. I cannot recall whether the Uno was 'demoted' from the joint top spot. I think that the speed of the ski's should be spot on. The stability is however his subjective opinion.

Whether the Stellar skis would be as durable as the established brands remains to be seen. Best thing to do is have a go at a few ski's and see which one you prefer.

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13 years 9 months ago #5253 by wesley
My chart is relative. So every time I review a new ski it is in relationship to all the other skis, so that is why the numbers change slightly with every review. There is no 6.1 now. Furthermore, you have to look at the weights of the boats. The Uno on the chart is 28lbs that I have still have in my garage and know doubt in my mind the carbon Uno is faster than the Kevlar layup. Just like the SES Ultra(carbon 22lbs) is faster than the SES(excel) 26lbs version.

So make sure in looking at the chart, you are referencing the model and layup(weights).

By the way the person that started this thread was someone who called me wanting advice on skis. I talked to him about 30 minutes. I told him any ski including the v10L, Huki, Think, Stellar would fit him better than the v10 based on our personal conversation of his weight and height. I told him fit is key. He and I are close to the same weight and height. Being a novice, he is seeking other paddlers advice, which he should.

As I advocate always on my top selling DVD, Surfski Basics and everyone I talk to, that you need to paddle as many skis as you can before you make a big purchase in a ski.

Furthermore, I owned all these skis with the exception of the Stellars, well before I had any relationship with Stellar. I also as I have pointed out numerous times, that I paid for all my skis just as anyone else does so they were not loaners for a few hours just to write a review. My review of the SES has been confirmed from paddlers all over the world now in just the short time they have been available. Similar feedback has been given on my other reviews. The outlier may have been the Legend which was one of my all time favorites skis which I have paddled more than any other ski that I have owned thus far.

For Clarification: My chart is based on GPS data as well. I just reviewed my 6.4mile time trial course that I use as one of my standards for reviewing and I have done this course 217 times that I recorded, many more that I did not record, since April 9th, 2004. My other standard course I have done 118 times (6 mile course) since October 2003.

My other course is 11.25 course that I have done 65 times to date, not too mention all the races I have done. I go head to head with Tim my training partner of 8 years every week: Stellar SES VS V12 in all types of conditions. I love it! So Tim is my yard stick and vice versa.

So in short, My chart is a great reference point for paddlers to begin to ask the questions about the different skis. The more info you have, the better decisions you will hopefully make. The chart is based on my subjective and objective information that I have gathered since 2003 and based on my skill level at the time of the review.

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.

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13 years 9 months ago #5254 by wannagofast
great response! Thats why I called you for info. I did also like feedback from the other guys. These boats are expensive, (all mfrs.) and pulling the trigger on a purchase is tough. I hope at my upcomming race in Bellingham WA a Steller SES shows up as well as a V10L. Anyone listening?!I'll buy ya lunch.
Wesley keep up the boat reviews. The sport needs it. (atleast I do!)

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13 years 9 months ago - 13 years 9 months ago #5255 by AndyPaddler
I have a Stellar SES in Kevlar layup and a V10L in carbon and previously had a Fenn Elite carbon. My humble opinion is that Wesley's review of the SES is spot on and maybe a little undercooked if anything (I'd rate it a little higher than he did). At 175cm tall and 81kg it is an amazing boat to paddle. Im an ex flatwater sprint kayak paddler (20yrs ago) and only 6mths back to paddling and new to downwind paddling.The shorter length of the SES combined with it's stability make it a joy for me to handle offshore. On the flat in training i am faster than in my previous boats and there are some good guys to compare with in our group with coaching coming from Dean and Yanda.

The only negative I have about the boat is the rudder. The rudder shaft is right at the leading edge which is terrific for avoiding weeds in the smaller or flatter stuff but is a negative in big seas due to the leverage it creates on the rudder post and therefore the effort you have to use on the pedals. I have modified my ski by taking the rudder off my other boat and then creating a new shaft for it to suit the SES steerer tube.....but this was not a simple task. It has made a big difference to downwind with it being much lighter on the pedals and much more responsive to steering inputs.

Those who still think it is some sort of copy of an EPIC boat have obviously never seen one or even bothered to look at the basic dimensions. It doesn't look, feel, perform or even sound anything like an EPIC and I'm an owner of a V10L in carbon layup. They are completely different boats with little to no similarities.

my overall view
If you are a larger elite paddler looking for the best ski for big conditions - FENN ELITE
If you are a smaller paddler looking for speed and stability in all conditions - STELLAR SES
Last edit: 13 years 9 months ago by AndyPaddler. Reason: I'm taller than 75cm !! Typo

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13 years 9 months ago #5256 by mckengmsurfski
I've never met Wesley, but I can say with confidence that he has gone out of his way for the sport in the Eastern USA. When I was just starting out, he took 40 minutes out of his time to speak with me at length on the phone about getting started, ski choices, etc... This was long before he was a rep for Stellar, so he had nothing to gain from our conversation other than helping out a new surfski paddler. Having followed his website and chart basically from the first day I became interested in surfski, I very seriously doubt his review of the Stellar is anything but spot-on. I think his respect for the sport and fellow paddlers far outweigh any desire for him to boost his Stellar sales with biased reviews. I'd also say the best advice he gives is simple; you have to get in a position to try out various skis to make an educated choice of whats right for you based on personal experience. His chart and reviews certainly help narrow it down, but there's no substitute for getting in them and having a go. I paddle a V12 Ultra for various reasons, but the main one is that I was able to demo one to make sure the bucket fit well, it had the feel and finish I wanted, etc... Its a nice ski in a variety of conditions with good secondary stability, and feel that it would be worth considering as well based on your criteria (I'm 6ft 170lbs BTW). Eric B's review of the V12 on this site is pretty well spot on in my opinion.

Mark

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13 years 9 months ago #5279 by Trilobite
>I recall that Wesley mentioned pertinently in his review (first paragraph) that he has ties to Stellar - an ethical disclaimer. From what I understand his chart is based on his gps tracks, in other words purely factual.

If you want to cast doubt on the accuracy of his reports on the Stellar then one must assume that he is either fibbing, or he purposefully paddled slowly for the past couple of years so he could have record times in this ski. Both are absurd. I cannot recall whether the Uno was 'demoted' from the joint top spot. I think that the speed of the ski's should be spot on. The stability is however his subjective opinion. <

A wise man indeed... I recall, some years back, when Rob and compatriots attempted a comparison test (aka 'Shootout') of skis; how much friendly fire they received. Still, despite variables (There will ALWAYS be variables despite how controlled your empirical data attempts to be...), there were many, many pearls in that comparison.

I can tell you I do know Wesley, and have had the pleasure of working with him for race write ups, etc. on the site. I also have the honor of calling him a friend (This is my ethical disclaimer if you will-feel free to hit the 'delete' key now...). He is honest to a fault, and has contributed greatly to growing the sport of surfski in a plethora of ways via his website, the dvd, and most importantly his 'cabbages from his pocket' support for the industry. To hear that he spent 45 minutes on the phone advising and assisting someone on what might be the right choice for them is not even remotely surprising-he's freely shared his experience and knowledge readily over the years-the guy loves the sport. Another individual who comes readily to mind here is Pat, of Onnopaddles-he'll help you at every turn. Funny, at the L2L race yesterday, someone commented on the parade of cars leaving the beach party, and how you could point out this ski and that ski, declaring it a former 'Wesley boat.' For years, he's purchased practically every model and layup of the hot skis out there via his hard earned cash and run them through their paces on his courses referenced, for longer than one go. I thought his collected data GPS runs numbered above 300, having seen the Microsoft Excel data spreadsheets displaying timed runs, conditions notes, etc. in full living color over the specified courses, but I stand corrected at 217 'official' ones. ;) For those who feel feel it an ethical breach to review a boat you have affiliations with, well surprise, surprise...it happens all the time in every other realm of industry, usually by virtue of advertising. Unless you've lived under a rock and this is an epiphany, take everything you hear with a grain of salt, take away from it what you yourself consider valuable, and perhaps most importantly, get first hand experience with the product itself to make an informed decision before pulling the trigger on a purchase. What Wesley and Rob continue to do, amongst so many other services to their readership, is to provide their audience (And thank you both!) with a wealth of info which can help focus your choices. Unlike car shopping, the bottom line is that it's difficult, if not well nigh impossible, to sample all the 'different flavors' of boats out there. And it wastes valuable time weeding out those that clearly do not fit the bill. This is where reviews come in...

Timed runs are timed runs-certainly variables like current, etc., exist, but outside of tank generated drag figures, welcome to the real world of things that can, and potentially do change. Still, we seem to be able to agree on certain subjectives. I strongly doubt there's a person out there who would vehemently oppose the suggestion that a Fenn Elite is subjectively less stable than a Mako XT. Where things get grey are the more subtle details of one boat vs. another. Fit, in particular, is wildly variable, and fit, as you know, for anyone who's ever shoehorned an arse into a bucket they deemed 'unreasonably tight', or slopped around in one 'large enough to raise a family in' can testify to. An elite paddler can paddle damn near anything fast-witnessing Sean Rice power his Uno (a stable boat, I think not...) through the mess of the East River at the recent Mayor's Cup Race will lay testament to this. For anyone less than this group of Gods/Demigods (and Goddesses too), this is where reviews come in... Elites paddle what they do for two main reasons-they can win on them and for sponsorship purposes, and sometimes, yes, they have other business affiliations and ties also. Lo and behold, if they do have affiliations with a particular brand, it's because they believe in that product, too.

Had the opportunity to paddle a Stellar yesterday, for quite a while. As one reviewer stated, it feels and looks nothing like an Epic (except for the fact that both are long and skinny and appear very well made). So for those reading Wesley's review/s, make your own judgements as much as you like as to bias, but also tap into the reviews of others who both own or have paddled the boats (see above, scroll up, please). Perhaps the best scenario is seek one out to try yourself, before dismissing all opinions as biased. If you don't like, or would prefer a Fenn, Custom Kayaks, Think, or Red 7 for example, hey, wonder of wonders, it's a free world. You earned your tamales, so do with them what you wish. What's not acceptable however, at least in terms of ethics, is to attempt to discredit others because of decisions they've made that you might personally disagree with. Frankly, that's just wrong, in MY opinion. There are always sides to each story. One of the best things about this sport is that even globally, it's a fairly small community comprising some pretty damn good people. At every race I'm reminded of this.

I guess what one takes away is that words are opinions, and those opinions invariably contain some truths, and elements you may not be in agreement with. Use them as intended, as tools to forming your own. Read a bit, talk to others, and most importantly, if you can, try the product yourself before making your own decision. Many thanks, compadres Wesley and Rob, for doing what's not always popularly received, but still fighting the good fight providing such a valuable service to consumers and aficionados of the sport itself.

~Mark

"Nice? It's the only thing," said the Water Rat, solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."
'The Wind in the Willows'~Kenneth Grahame

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13 years 9 months ago #5280 by wannagofast
Wow! again. I began this thread and have read every post. I persnally know some epic responders who question Steelars Mfr. This had me concerned about the ethics of buying a possible? black market-ish boat? I live in the Northwest and paddled with many friends of the Bartons. That would be awkward!
As I read more posts it seems as though the Stellar boats have unique features that seperate it from the Epics. Then I considered maybee the China factory used only some of the Epic info? Well, doesnt every boat Mfr use a little of the other guys successful features? when they see the boats doing well at races? Yeah, they do. If not, we wouldnt have mfr making new models to keep up with each other.
I do hope the China facility isnt drafting there boats right off the blue prints of Epic. Since I'll probaly never know for sure the truth on this issue.

I have sometime to decide on my next boat. I am leaning towards a Stellar SES. I also want to point out my great conversation with Wesley. He spent 30 minutes with me on the phone and answered all my new guy questions. Thanks for the Web site.

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13 years 9 months ago #5281 by semdoug
Wannagofast,

Not to confuse the issue but since you are from Bellingham have you spoken with Sterling at Sterling's kayaks. In case you don't know he is a local Bellingham area sea kayak and surf ski manufacturer who builds an excellent product. I love my Vector surf ski and it is worth a look if you are unfamiliar. Plus if you do have any issues, he is in town and very easy to deal with.

www.sterlingskayak.com/index.shtml

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13 years 9 months ago #5282 by wannagofast
excellent! I'll look them up on Net. I'm from Wenatchee.

Thank you

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13 years 9 months ago #5285 by ejpoulsen
wesley wrote:

My chart is relative. So every time I review a new ski it is in relationship to all the other skis, so that is why the numbers change slightly with every review. There is no 6.1 now. Furthermore, you have to look at the weights of the boats. The Uno on the chart is 28lbs that I have still have in my garage and know doubt in my mind the carbon Uno is faster than the Kevlar layup. Just like the SES Ultra(carbon 22lbs) is faster than the SES(excel) 26lbs version...


No doubt, Wesley has done a great service with his reviews and chart; it takes hard work and a lot of guts to try to quantify and catalog as he has done. Really appreciate the service he's done/doing.

There was some question about the prior relative speed rating of the Uno, so FWIW here is a copy of the original review chart:

globalsurfski.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/chart1.jpg

The chart is pre-SES, but it does look like the Kevlar Uno's rating slipped relative to some of the others on the new chart:

www.surfskiracing.com/Reviews/Think_Uno.html

...Wesley needs to get his hands on the Carbon Uno...

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13 years 9 months ago #5288 by Rightarmbad
Wesley did it by the book.
Declared up front any interests and his general background.
You simply cannot get any better than that.
He certainly has earned my respect.

We have all seen and used his charts to some degree and I believe that the surfski community in indebted to him for taking the effort to produce it.

Whether or not it is accurate, I cannot say as I certainly have not the experience or the access to all the various craft to say any different.
But from what I have paddled it rings true.

It is one mans opinion, a very good one.
It should be taken as that.
Nobody else has even come close to producing something like this.

We all thank you Wesley.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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13 years 9 months ago #5289 by Rightarmbad
So back to my original question.
What would guys and gals competing in 'open', think when the top five guys started turning up in 5KG wonderboats custom made for them?
Designs that only fit them and will never see general production.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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13 years 9 months ago #5292 by wannagofast
Not enough money will be made to justify the expense. Unless molds and material would become like home beer making. Then yes personal customizing would happen. and just like home made beer, some of these boats would stink!

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