Custom Kayaks Mentor?

14 years 4 months ago #2461 by buffy1270
Has anyone tried this ski? I will be moving to a surf ski from an Epic 18x Sport. The 18x Sport was a little too high volume for me to make good use of it. I felt lost in it. I am 5'5" and 125 pounds female. This will be my first surf ski. I have tried an S1A - way too tippy - and an S1X - tippy still but no quite as bad but felt big for me. I would like something relatively fast. I will probably not do open ocean races or Molokai or anything like that. I will use this for training, off road tris, kayak races on rivers, tidal rivers, ocean bays and harbors, and choppy lakes so I'd like it to be speedy or at least speedier than the 18x Sport. I also may use it in USCA Nationals next year. I am thinking of the following skis:

Custom Kayaks Mentor (I like the length but haven't been able to find any info on its performance)
Fenn Mako XT
Epic V10 Sport
Think Evo

I am getting this ski in addition to a winter training boat. Unfortunately, where I am located, I probably will not have a chance to test paddle anything but the Epic V10 Sport.

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  • StuartXpat
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14 years 4 months ago #2462 by StuartXpat
Replied by StuartXpat on topic Re:Custom Kayaks Mentor?
Hi, I use the Mentor in my surfski school in the Caribbean. It is stable enough for most beginners to have control of it in an hour.
Most people say that it is more tippy than the XT although it does seem to be a lot faster. Some of the smaller paddlers feel that the seat is too big - but that probably applies to most skis.
The V10 sport may be a bit faster but is a "bigger" boat overall. A weak point is the foot plate, which feels flimsy and can't really be pressed against. I have modified our skis to fix this. i have heard that a deep seat version is also available now which is a lot more stable than the standard model, so make sure that you aske which version you are buying.


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14 years 2 months ago #2575 by YBA/Jim Murray
Can I have some comments and comparison between entry level/intermediate surf skis. eg. Mentor, Stealth Strika, Fenn XT,Honcho Guevara.
To start, I suppose the boat should fit into a 20' container. Would like to hear general comments about quality, stability, handling, overall comfort for bony butt.
Thanks all

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14 years 2 months ago #2588 by Perth ski chick
I've paddled a Mentor for a year now - I got this ski because I only had 5.6m of storage space so it's definitely got an advantage there! It's also the only Molokai I've ever paddled so it's hard for me to compare stability/speed.

It is definitely not a beginner's Molokai though and I've never seen any beginners able to balance in it in an hour! When I've put beginners in it they fall out immediately, same for people I consider reasonable kayak paddlers.

My friend who has paddled an XT for a year just got a Mentor and tipped out of it so much last weekend in relatively calm (ocean) conditions that I thought she was going to quit halfway through our paddle. So the XT is definitely more stable!!

However I'm going pretty well now with the Mentor and it is fast on the waves, faster than the XT without a doubt. It's also lighter, 15kg with the XT being 17kg from memory and the difference is quite noticeable when lugging them around.

The Mentor has a bowl-shaped seat that is quite a bit wider than my bum and this contributes to the tippiness as even a little wobble can have you swimming when you slide around. This is not an issue on flat water and rivers but it is in the ocean.

If I had a choice I'd get this boat again but then I was very determined to sort the thing out and not easily put off by all my swims. Someone less stubborn may not feel the same . . . .

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13 years 8 months ago #3311 by txbuckeye
Replied by txbuckeye on topic Re:Custom Kayaks Mentor?
Now that I've had my Mentor for a little while I'll add my .02 cents. I've also got a Fenn XT and a Fenn Mako 6. I think the Mentor, at least for me, fits solidly in between them stability wise.It feels similar to the Mako 6 with a lower intitial stability but a solid secondary. The Mentor is noticeably narrower overall than the XT. Bucket is also narrower than the XT but for me still needs a small pad to snug it up for rough water.

As far as speed goes, the Mentor might be slightly faster than the XT on flat water.....maybe. I think the XT gets a bad rap on it's speed. It's a very capable boat speed wise and may suffer in speed reviews from novice paddlers who only paddle it a short time before they move up to "faster" boats. I'm sure the speed varies from paddler to paddler but for myself it's pretty close between the two of them.

Where the Mentor really shines in my opinion is downwind. The boat seems made for rough water. It picks up waves very readily. It doesn't swamp easily and if it does get washed over the boat is not upset much at all due to the low volume of the footwell. It's also easy to re-enter. The freeboard, in pictures, looks very low but in reality is similar to the XT in height and the ride is similarly wet/dry depending on the conditions. It transfers from wave to wave very well and works well in our Gulf of Mexico conditions.

It think the Mentor is a great intermediate boat and because of the type of stability it has I believe it to be a fantastic boat to bridge the gap and makes the transition of getting into the 17" boats considerably easier. I've made excellent progress in rough water in my Mako 6 because of paddling the Mentor. It's a great boat and worth a look to someone wanting to help make the jump easier to the narrower boats.

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  • Franklin
  • Visitor
13 years 8 months ago - 13 years 8 months ago #3314 by Franklin
Replied by Franklin on topic Re:Custom Kayaks Mentor?
Hi buffy1270
I've owned the XT, The V10 Sport and the Evo.
The XT is the most stable, the Sport picks up waves the best and the Evo was the fastest on flat water. The Evo is the most comfortable boat I've ever paddled.
The XT and the Evo would like a smaller paddler. The Sport's seat is the widest and it likes bigger guys/gals.
I hope this is helpful.
Good luck
Post script. I've never paddled the Mentor but have heard it is a nice boat.
Last edit: 13 years 8 months ago by Franklin.

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13 years 8 months ago #3323 by Trilobite
Replied by Trilobite on topic Re:Custom Kayaks Mentor?
Hi Buffy,

These are all excellent choices; have owned an XT and paddled a V10 Sport Ultra at length, an Evo for a short time, yet never the Mentor. Buuuuut, just to confuse things a bit more, maybe throw the Huki S1-R into the mix. I've owned one for about three years now (in addition to a V10L, Legend, etc.), and it does everything well.

I see you're doing a mixture of river, ocean, etc. The Hukis allow you to swap out rudders in thirty seconds or less, and Pat from Onnopaddle's work of art P-41 overstern rudder just drops right in to a pin hole at the back for the really shallow/rocky stuff. Plus, at Huki, you can have Jude build you a boat that's as light, or as bombproof as you like. His build quality is amongst the best in the business, and you can put hatches, etc. anywhere for drinking systems, and the like. Yes, I'm a fan, but it's rightly deserved. The R is supremely stable, feels 'lively' and responsive on the water, and absolutely loves big conditions (at least as big as we see them here). The downside is the Hukis tend to be a bit pricier than some of the others, but IMO, in this case your return for your cabbages is well spent. I love this boat.

"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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