Boat for 120KG Intermediate Paddler

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5 years 1 month ago #29393 by Eastmtn
I believe that this is my first ever post even though I've been lurking for 7+ yrs. I'm researching my next surfski and wanted to get some opinions from other "big boned" paddlers out there or anyone who knows one.
I recently donated my Stellar SEL 1st gen to my local club due to fitment issues. 2 back surgeries and a shift work desk job have helped me gain a few Kg's so the SEL has gotten too tight for proper hip rotation.

I'm looking for any info on the Zeplin, the unicorn of USA, or any other boat worth trying for us big guys. I paddled an Epic V10S, and Stellar SEI a few years back after finally deciding on the SEL but wonder if it might be worth revisiting those due to the wider bucket. I've heard a heap of good comments on the Zeplin on this forum. Unfortunately I just don't know of anyone in the Western US who owns one or of any dealers who sell them so that I can try before I buy.

I have a Fenn, Epic and Stellar dealer within 6Hr's driving distance of me. Think might be a possibility as well. Supposedly the North American Revo dealer will be based nearby and I'm hoping to try the R2 and R3 when they become available stateside.

I live near the Columbia Gorge so do a majority of my training there with the occasional trip to the Oregon Coast to paddle ocean swells. I'm a strong believer in paddling upwind first to enjoy the downwind so I'd like an all arounder that does well at both. Any recommendations or opinions are appreciated.

Jarone

Epic V8 2G
Epic V12 2G

RIP:
Stellar SEL 1G

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5 years 1 month ago - 5 years 1 month ago #29394 by LakeMan
I have an answer you weren't looking for. It's called intermittent fasting. It's super easy and the extra pounds will drop off. Eat a whole food diet with no sugar, then eat all your meals within a 5-6 hour window every day and do not snack the other 18 -19 hours. This will force your body into ketosis so it can burn fat instead of using the contents of your stomach as energy. It's simple, saves money and as long as you do it correctly it works. I simply don't eat breakfast, ever. I eat lunch and dinner within a 6 hour window and nothing else. And has many more health advantages than just losing weight, it cuts down on inflammation which will help your joints feel a lot better. Even though I didn't need to lose weight I've been doing it for a year and it changed my overall health to an amazing degree. Everyone I know that does this has dropped the weight off and stopped any medications. It works ns no one gets rich from it but you.
As for the ski I can't help you, but I can suggest to wait until you're at the weight you want to be.
Good luck on your quest.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill
Last edit: 5 years 1 month ago by LakeMan. Reason: Incomplete

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5 years 1 month ago #29396 by photofr
I can't help with Diets... but perhaps this will help:

Think Kayaks:
Evo III (although you may find the bucket a little tight - so you'll have to try it out).

Epic V10:
Not the Sport, just the standard V10.
It will have a huge bucket, and plenty of volume.

Nelo 550L:
This is a new Intermediate ski - and I wasn't going to ignore it (especially from the raving it's currently getting from around the World). The "L" has a super comfortable bucket (tested me a rather BIG GUY). If testing it is within you range, you may want to consider it. Lots of volume, and will carry your weight without a doubt.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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5 years 1 month ago #29400 by Eastmtn
Lakeman,
It's funny that you mention the intermittent fasting. I've been trying that for nearly a month now with inconsistent results. I do the 16Hr fast. I like the idea of it because my problem is with quantity of foods timing of meals and sleep rather than the quality of foods I eat. I've been eating Paleo since 2011, before it was considered cool and haven't looked back. My energy and alertness is markedly better.
Photo,
I had completely forgotten about the V10 sans S. I disregarded it years ago because I was new to the discipline and wanted to focus on technique and stability for good habits. I will add the V10 and Evo to the list of boats to paddle.

I'll admit that I know very little about Nelo and their theory behind the shorter length surfski's. Can someone explain? I've always been of the mindset that stability and experience aside, longer boats are for bigger guys.

Epic V8 2G
Epic V12 2G

RIP:
Stellar SEL 1G

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5 years 1 month ago #29405 by BrettD
I too fluctuate about 110 to 120 kg. I currently have a think ace which fits well and is rock solid stable. I also have a gen 2 v10 sport which has plenty of bucket space and enough volume to carry the weight. I did have a Zeplin for a few months at one stage and found that I just couldn't get comfortable due to a very high hump, so my legs really were always in contact with it. Ultimately I thought the v10 sport was just as stable, fast and more comfortable for me so I sold the Zeplin. May well try the think Zen as well when that is released in Australia. Brett.

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5 years 1 month ago #29406 by Eastmtn
I'm on my third attempt to post to my own thread. One day I will be smart enough to get it to post.

Lake man thanks for the tip. I've been doing the intermittent fast for a month now.

Ludovic,
I'll add the V10 and Evo to my list of boats to test paddle. I know nothing of Nelo except that they are typically shorter surfski's. How is that an advantage?

Brett,
Thanks. Those are the kind of insights and opinions I'm looking for. I didn't know that the hump in a Zeplin is high. Whether it's too high for me or not a problem is something I hope to find out.

Epic V8 2G
Epic V12 2G

RIP:
Stellar SEL 1G

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5 years 1 month ago #29407 by [email protected]
Sorry Easty, new posters have their first two posts moderated - it's the only way to keeep spammers out. Your two posts have been approved, you're away! Thanks for the contribution.

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 #29408 by Eastmtn
No worries Robin.
With a one man juggernaut like you at the helm fighting off spammers left and right I can afford the wait!

Epic V8 2G
Epic V12 2G

RIP:
Stellar SEL 1G

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5 years 1 month ago #29409 by photofr
EastMTN:
There are lots of different ways to look at ski lengths.
People will argue that longer skis are faster by merely pointing out that top paddlers like Hank, Jasper et Al. are doing very well on longer skis. I'll merely point out a few things:

1. Every single craft will have pros and cons.
2. You gain some overall speed with a longer ski, but you gain faster acceleration to get on a bump with a shorter ski - thus you are potentially able to really take advantage of the ocean with a shorter ski.
3. Can't deny that shorter skis are easier to store, transport and handle.
4. Your V8 is a "short ski" - and that thing is a blast on big downwind conditions (for smaller or heavier paddlers). There's nothing slow about it - with the right technique.
5. For an Intermediate ski - and considering that you aren't exactly a feather - I wouldn't necessarily place you in a 4.10 meter ski - however, a ski like a Nelo 550 is 5.50 meters long - with PLENTY of floatation (tested with great success before my eyes).
6. Nelo isn't the only manufacturer to create shorter skis. No one would have followed this "movement" if it didn't work for big guys. Oscar (previously 115 kilos) would have opted for a much longer ski - although he's done some of his fastest ever runs on a ski that's 5.20 meters long!

Everyone's different - so make sure that above anything else, your future ski is very comfortable for you:
Bucket
Stability - for your paddling environment and for your ability

Better yet, keep you V8 for rougher days, and get a ski that will challenge you a bit more (or a lot more). Ultimately, the key should be: paddle a lot.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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5 years 1 month ago #29416 by Eastmtn
All good points.

Regarding the matter of bucket comfort:

I was doing drills on the local lake today and took out my Epic seat pads at one point. I realized that the bucket got tighter when I took the pads out but it wasn't in my hips. It was actually my thighs that were feeling the squeeze. I hadn't thought that my problem with my old SEL may not have actually been hip rotation because of hip width, but more likely due to thigh width.

I finished the drills and paddled another 3Km without the pads to see if I had rotation issues. My cruising speed was on average 1kph slower over the 3K with the same heart rate. My stroke rate also suffered because driving my heels into the footplate to rotate was met with more than typical resistance. I hadn't realized this before because I never paddle the V8 without a minimum of a 3cm pad. I typically have them stacked at 6-8cm to work on stability. Also, I've never paddled the SEL with a seat pad.

The engineer in me went nuts and I set about collecting empirical data mainly in the form of body measurements inside and outside of my V8, with and without my padding.

I know that I have strong fast twitch legs. Even today despite 2 lumbar surgeries I can squat 140Kg comfortably. So I measured my thighs in the boat to a width of 45cm. I then measured again while standing and they were 40cm. The width of a V8 for advertising is 54cm but inside the cockpit from the thigh to the bum area is 41cm at the top. My hips are 37cm, using a makeshift caliper, which also leads me to believe that my comfort is not a hip width problem.

I wrote all of that to ask if others are padding the bottom of their seats to help with hip rotation?

Epic V8 2G
Epic V12 2G

RIP:
Stellar SEL 1G

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5 years 1 month ago #29444 by TaffyMick
Same, same as I vary from 112 to 122kg. The ski I have settled for is the Stellar SEI which fits me perfectly. My SEI is one of the cross over boats from the 1Gen to 2Gen that has the double venturi and seat slightly forward, but not the low volume and handles. Have tried the 2Gen SEL and love it. Great fit and will be my next ski.

Most larger paddlers I associate with appear to gravitate towards Stellars. Seem to suit us big boys better. In saying that I also paddle an Vajda K1 XL size in the Club layout.

Then again I am lucky in that I do not have big thighs so bucket fit is not a problem or issue for me.

Good luck mate with your deliberations!

Mick

Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1

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5 years 1 month ago #29446 by Eastmtn
Thanks Mick. I was hoping that you and the others like Big Al would chime in. You and Sean "The Fat Paddler" are what turned me on to the Stellars in the first place. All of the Stellars that I tried, including the SEL I eventually bought, were all 1st gen so a different bucket indeed. One problem I had with my SEL was the bum rub because of the gradual lip at the bottom of the seat. What differences did you notice between the 1st gen and 2nd gen boats as far as bucket comfort and remounting?

Epic V8 2G
Epic V12 2G

RIP:
Stellar SEL 1G

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5 years 1 month ago - 5 years 1 month ago #29447 by TaffyMick
Actually find the 2gen boats to be much more comfortable. The bucket being moved forward and much reduced volume compared to the 1gen boats "locked" me in. This improved my stability as you become more a part of the boat and the flow on effect, in terms of improved catch, stroke and recovery. My previous 2 gen SR in Excel layup became a part of me. The only issue I had was that it was slightly too light and I was sitting on the maximum weight limit for the hull.

My current SEI, as stated previously, has the improved bucket, but not the lower volume. However, one thing I can do in calm water on the SEI is steer the ski or make slight directional adjustments by "edging" the hull similar to a sea kayak. Never been game to try that on other skis. In reality if the SEI I bought was a full 1 gen I probably would not of bought it.

Remounting is like all Stellars, have your good days and bad days due to the Swede hull design Lol!!!

Mate of mine from Sydney who trains spec ski paddlers and is of the same weight as us tried my 2Gen SR and found it too tight as his thighs were too big. Paddling a spec ski this was not too much of an issue. However, he ended up buying a second hand 1Gen SR and is loving it due to the extra volume that allows his thighs to fit comfortably. Try to source or buy a good second hand 1Gen SR or SEI is very hard, as they are quickly snapped up by larger paddlers.

Hope this makes sense and is of assistance.

Cheers,
Mick

Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1
Last edit: 5 years 1 month ago by TaffyMick.

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