Fenn Swordfish REVIEW

More
10 years 10 months ago #8455 by chriswalkeralive
Review Fenn Swordfish

I’m an intermediate paddler, with intermediate skills, and intermediate experience paddling elite ski’s. So, when I changed down a gear and went from an elite ski to the Swordfish, I did it with some uncertainty.

My concerns were mainly about lost speed on the flat and lost run in swell.

The Ski

My Fenn Swordfish is Carbon... Probably a bit of a luxury given the difference in weight to the vacuum bagged glass model is only a few kilos. However, I love the feel of the lighter more corky ski, and it’s easier for me to carry the 400 meters from home to water’s edge.

As always, the Fenn construction was impeccable.I guess I take this for granted but it’s essential to mention. I haven’t had a chance to test its bulletproof resilience to impacts and shore dump exits, but I do know of a few incidents that validate Fenn’s reputation for a construction that stands up to a huge pounding.

Stability

The advertisement claimed a stability close to the XT and the speed close to an Elite. And this is as close as I can get to describing the Swordfish stability. I could pack a cut lunch and eat it on the deck. It’s an amazingly predictable and stable ski even in big conditions. For me, this was a huge win as I couldn’t really relax fully on my Elite ski.

Speed.

Upwind it’s slower than my Elite. I would say 10% by the Garmin but it is hard to compare conditions at this time of year in Sydney. However, my ability to lay down my full quote of power in any conditions on the Swordfish meant that my times over my known training ground on the Swordfish were always better than the Elite ski in anything more than 10kn of wind... Hence, in all but dead flat windless conditions, I’m faster on the Swordfish than on the Elite... (intermediate paddler talking here).

Downwind, the Swordfish is by far the best ski I’ve ever paddled. The bigger the swell, the more fun I have. It’s like a dodgem car at a fun park. Totally easy to catch the smallest of swells, easy to hold and amazing to turn.. I’ve got to say unbelievable, especially compared to other ski’s I’ve tried.

Comfort

Most people will fit the seat and the hump under the knees is smaller than my Elite making leg drive and rotation better, so, as an intermediate paddler, I’d say paddle ergonomics are great.

Responsiveness

I didn’t try the glass version for long, so I can’t speak about comparison, but the Carbon Swordfish turns on a dime, and accelerates effortlessly. Very similar to my Elite ski and probably better. I simply can’t describe how easy the Swordfish is in catching runs. From baby boat wash to good swells it’s remarkable.
Conclusion

I’m 100% happy to have dropped a few flat water increments in speed from my Elite Ski in order to gain the extra stability and manoeuvrability of the Swordfish.

I’m a great believer in no hybrid choices for my kayaks and skis. So, I still think there’s room for two skis in my garage.. A Swordfish for bigger conditions and maybe a different brand of Elite ski for longer more predictable conditions. Obviously, for an Elite paddler this would not be an issue.

Finally, since buying the Swordfish I have had the opportunity to play and train on a variety of other brand skis. Including Epic, Vajda, Think and Stellar... And I’ve got to say the quality in all these brands is exceptional too. It’s really confusing choosing a ski. I found the Think Evo Carbon an absolute dream to paddle in all conditions and the Epic V10 in spite of it’s Elite ski status I paddled the performance layup and it was as stable as the Swordfish. Vajda Orca is also a dream ski with an elite label but in the glass layup as steady as the Swordfish... I guess this is a real reflection of my intermediate paddling skill. I know, as a raw beginner paddler three years ago, these comparisons would have been completely different.

Ps: I have only taken the Swordfish, the Think Evo and Epic V10 into conditions greater than 4 meter swells with rebound... I call this at the top end of my comfort zone... So, that might define what I mean by intermediate..
The following user(s) said Thank You: ktmbikerman

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8480 by mario
Replied by mario on topic Re: Fenn Swordfish REVIEW
Hi,
Have just read you review and can echo your description after
using my glass vacuum Swordfish for 2 or 3 weeks.
I've paddled it in all sorts of conditions but no massive seas as yet.
I too have paddled most of the Elite skis and I consider myself below intermediate and I find the Swordfish a true gem.
Stable! no more bracing!I now go out in conditions that would have made me apprehensive on a more extreme ski.
Fast - obviuosly not as fast as one of the top Elite skis but I can really pull in the Swordfish.
..and surfs really well changing direction at will
I'm also finding that it responds well to weight shifts.
I find it comfortable but I think some of the bigger paddlers might find it tight.
On retrospect I should have ordered the carbon one.
Very pleased!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8491 by jamo
Replied by jamo on topic Re: Fenn Swordfish REVIEW

chriswalkeralive wrote: Review Fenn Swordfish

I’m an intermediate paddler, with intermediate skills, and intermediate experience paddling elite ski’s. So, when I changed down a gear and went from an elite ski to the Swordfish, I did it with some uncertainty.

My concerns were mainly about lost speed on the flat and lost run in swell.

The Ski

My Fenn Swordfish is Carbon... Probably a bit of a luxury given the difference in weight to the vacuum bagged glass model is only a few kilos. However, I love the feel of the lighter more corky ski, and it’s easier for me to carry the 400 meters from home to water’s edge.

As always, the Fenn construction was impeccable.I guess I take this for granted but it’s essential to mention. I haven’t had a chance to test its bulletproof resilience to impacts and shore dump exits, but I do know of a few incidents that validate Fenn’s reputation for a construction that stands up to a huge pounding.

Stability

The advertisement claimed a stability close to the XT and the speed close to an Elite. And this is as close as I can get to describing the Swordfish stability. I could pack a cut lunch and eat it on the deck. It’s an amazingly predictable and stable ski even in big conditions. For me, this was a huge win as I couldn’t really relax fully on my Elite ski.

Speed.

Upwind it’s slower than my Elite. I would say 10% by the Garmin but it is hard to compare conditions at this time of year in Sydney. However, my ability to lay down my full quote of power in any conditions on the Swordfish meant that my times over my known training ground on the Swordfish were always better than the Elite ski in anything more than 10kn of wind... Hence, in all but dead flat windless conditions, I’m faster on the Swordfish than on the Elite... (intermediate paddler talking here).

Downwind, the Swordfish is by far the best ski I’ve ever paddled. The bigger the swell, the more fun I have. It’s like a dodgem car at a fun park. Totally easy to catch the smallest of swells, easy to hold and amazing to turn.. I’ve got to say unbelievable, especially compared to other ski’s I’ve tried.

Comfort

Most people will fit the seat and the hump under the knees is smaller than my Elite making leg drive and rotation better, so, as an intermediate paddler, I’d say paddle ergonomics are great.

Responsiveness

I didn’t try the glass version for long, so I can’t speak about comparison, but the Carbon Swordfish turns on a dime, and accelerates effortlessly. Very similar to my Elite ski and probably better. I simply can’t describe how easy the Swordfish is in catching runs. From baby boat wash to good swells it’s remarkable.
Conclusion

I’m 100% happy to have dropped a few flat water increments in speed from my Elite Ski in order to gain the extra stability and manoeuvrability of the Swordfish.

I’m a great believer in no hybrid choices for my kayaks and skis. So, I still think there’s room for two skis in my garage.. A Swordfish for bigger conditions and maybe a different brand of Elite ski for longer more predictable conditions. Obviously, for an Elite paddler this would not be an issue.

Finally, since buying the Swordfish I have had the opportunity to play and train on a variety of other brand skis. Including Epic, Vajda, Think and Stellar... And I’ve got to say the quality in all these brands is exceptional too. It’s really confusing choosing a ski. I found the Think Evo Carbon an absolute dream to paddle in all conditions and the Epic V10 in spite of it’s Elite ski status I paddled the performance layup and it was as stable as the Swordfish. Vajda Orca is also a dream ski with an elite label but in the glass layup as steady as the Swordfish... I guess this is a real reflection of my intermediate paddling skill. I know, as a raw beginner paddler three years ago, these comparisons would have been completely different.

Ps: I have only taken the Swordfish, the Think Evo and Epic V10 into conditions greater than 4 meter swells with rebound... I call this at the top end of my comfort zone... So, that might define what I mean by intermediate..

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8492 by jamo
Replied by jamo on topic Re: Fenn Swordfish REVIEW
just curious chris if the epic v10 is as stable as the swordfish and the v10 is an elite labelled ski and competitive with the other elite labelled skis why would you not go with the v10 as it would make you your times faster or is the swordfish quiker than the v10.
i'm waiting for the swordfish to turn up in w.a. as i was considering it for my next ski but after reading your review will have to look at the v10 as well.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8494 by Rightarmbad
Not trying to be nasty, but if you want to call it a review, you gotta point out the bad bits as well.

Stability wise, you say it has the stability of the XT, but then go on to compare it to a V10 for stability.
Huh?

So all those XT riders out there should have just bought a V10 and had the best of both worlds?
More speed plus similar stability to what was recognised as THE stable ski to buy for beginners, until the advent of the newer super stable class recently.

Obviously logic must be wrong and enthusiasm for a new product must be followed from this day forth.

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

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8495 by mario
Replied by mario on topic Re: Fenn Swordfish REVIEW
Yo guys,
It's obvious he is talking about the V10S not the V10!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8496 by mario
Replied by mario on topic Re: Fenn Swordfish REVIEW
You want some of the bad bits?
I think it could empty out a little quicker but then I am spoilt by having Red7 scuppers on two other skis I use.
I hate the look of the rudder but it works well...paddled downwind this morning and it sure goes where I want it to go.Never felt so good in any other ski on a downwind...but then I have always tried to do them on Elite skis and I certainly don't have the ability to do proper downwinds on Elite skis.
The graphics are not the prettiest around.
Not the prettiest ski around either but then I am the type that prefers a thing to work and the looks being of secondary importance....a bit like my old XT500(motorcycle)A bitch to start and ugly but would take you anywhere ;)
Still think Fenn's allen key method of adjusting your steering mechanism sucks.
Still have not tried the remounting but have not fallen out yet but I think there are probably easier models to get back into.
I reckon I would like to try the Carbonology Vault now...and then I would decide wether my decision to purchase the Swordfish was done too quickly

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8497 by chriswalkeralive
Remounting easy .. but I found the Fenn Elite easy... I practiced a lot... the easiest remount is the Think Uno and Evo... don't know why... maybe I was just having a good day. AGree 100% with your comment the allen key think is now superseded with better systems that use chord instead of metal cable ... but the upside is metal cable is absolutely rock solid for that impressive downwind feel you mention. I only adjusted the foot plate once or twice before putting the allen key away... I don't lend my ski and i have, if I want to play with leg length, used spacers between the metal stopper and the pedal... like a clothes peg just for short term testing

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8498 by chriswalkeralive
No, sorry to trouble you. I paddled a Performance layup, stripe design, V10 in the ocean at Noosa... It wasn't a huge swell so, I only tested it in 1-2 meter runners and very predictable rebound... but it was a V10 and it was amazingly stable in that layup... I have tried ski's that are similar to the V10 in carbon and had a whole other experience...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8499 by chriswalkeralive
Absolutely right. If I could afford it, I would really consider the v10 performance as my primary boat... but there's one thing I mentioned that's important. I only tried all these skis in relatively good ocean conditions and not to exhaustion. When I paddled my elite ski, I was always perfectly happy in Sydney Harbour or outside on good days or paddling between outside and beach... but when I got tired like would happen in the last half of an ocean race, my balance (not the boat balance) went to crap and so I chose the Fenn Swordfish because it suited me on the worst part of my paddling, not the best... I did this because I wanted to go solo outside in bigger conditions to get experience.. not win races... if winning races and going fastest on mild ocean and not for more than 20km was the choice I would go for an elite ski, V10, Think Uno Max or Fenn Elite (although with long distances my seat preferences for comfort would have eliminated one of those skis....) I absolutely agree with you, reviews and comments just lead you to try skis, not make choices...hope this helps you... and don't worry about the ugly comments people make on this article...I'm just offering it all in the spirit of paddling fun ... you meet those grumpy people on the water too...very sad life... but paddling helps them too.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8500 by chriswalkeralive
I see the point about comparing the ski to xt and also v10 in the same breath and I understand you are totally right to point it out. However, let me say that the V10 and the Fenn Swordfish are like the XT for me because none of these skis test my balance. So, I am saying that in the conditions I have paddled, as an intermediate paddler there was no difference....for me... between the stability of these skis ... but certainly for a novice or if there were 5 meter rebound .. it might be different. I tried to point out that the comments were not logic but my experience. If you want logic you need independent testing in water tank ... but for me, it's people's experience that matters and when this is qualified by their open admission of their paddle standards, it isn't trying to be a logic ... it's an opinion based on certain water conditions and experience. For example, I find carbon ski models more twitchy than their glass counterpart.. twitchy or corky to me feels unstable and I'd say leads to balance feelings. Is this logical? because the balance of the ski in carbon or glass is the same, the increased instability is not balance issues it's corky and responsiveness issues... hope this helps calm your nerves

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8501 by jamo
Replied by jamo on topic Re: Fenn Swordfish REVIEW
i'm with you on this mario
beauty is in the eye of beholder and if it does want you want then thats all that matters.
lets face it nothing is perfect other wise there would only be one of every thing and there would be nodesire to achieve.
as for the xt 500 says it it all just dont get it wrong when trying to start it either a broken leg or end up in the next town.
i curently paddle an raider-x sea kayak and a v10 sport.i find the sport to wide at the catch so have decided to narrow it down still a work in progress but if it fails i was going to have a look at the swordfish as iam a ferm beleiver that stabilty is the key. and i paddle in the ocean most of the time.
and dont think i have the ability to handle an elite ski in the rough
jamosport on youtube let me know if in the same catagory i classify myself as average

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8502 by chriswalkeralive
I paddled the elite skis in many conditions .. but I want to do this
watch that video and I see incredible skill on runs which I just don't have the balance on an elite ski to do. I kept losing the run because I was doing too many correction strokes. That's why I dropped back to a swordfish but could equally have been a v10s ...or Evo.. I just want to get experience in this situation on a great ski and then move back up when I am ready.. probably six months or more depending on my exposure. So far, my improvement is incredible but I only notice it on runs in decent swell. Otherwise I am generally missing the elite ski.. when I watch the paddlers in that video I see them moving effortlessly from run to run.. and this is my dream... aspiration.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8509 by mario
Replied by mario on topic Re: Fenn Swordfish REVIEW
I certainly feel that on the Swordfish I'll have as much fun as the guys in the video.
I have done the same run in a spec ski and it was big grin time. I have tried it on an Elite ski and I battled since I was hesitant and bracing and generally not pushing enough.
I went out in an area close by in the last few days with winds from different directions (North Wester, and South Wester yesterday evening and today) with decent enough runs and I had a ball and I reckon its only because I was in a ski that gave me enough stability to put more effort in my stroke and because it really goes well, changing direction easily and surfing too.
But then its all a personal thing.
My advice is try as many as possible and find the one that works for you.
The Swordfish really works for me....and I have the luck to try plenty.
...and I agree with you Chris...an Elite ski for flat days for the moment BUT then I don't like flat days

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8526 by harryvolting
For what its worth, another perspective on the Swordfish. I have paddled a Fenn Elite for the past two years and absolutely love it downwind. However, when confronted with into-the-wind paddling and back-wash off cliffs, my ability is found wanting. I am slower than those around me. My only consolation is I catch most of them downwind.
I tested the Swordfish in the flat and found it stable and it's outright speed seemed just off that of the Elite. Then I tested it in bumpy conditions with my usual group. Upwind and in cross chop, I was faster than usual, staying up with most - proving once again that STABILITY IS KING. When I turned downwind, I was just as quick as on my Elite.
I have paddled most of the current crop of boats - the XT, the V10 Sport, V10, V12, Think Legend, Vajda Orca etc. My impression - and this is subjective - is that in terms of stability, the Swordfish is similar to the V10 Sport, but not as stable as the V8 nor the XT. In terms of optimum performance, it seems slightly down on the Fenn Elite, but not by much. So for me, the bottom line is, this is a fantastic boat and would suit most strong intermediate paddlers. For the best of us (the top 10-15%) and that doesn't include me, boats like the Fenn Elite and the Epic V10 are still probably the weapons of choice.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Riggers1973

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8564 by chriswalkeralive
I got permission from Dean Gardiner ... to publish an email he sent me when I was sorting out whether I'd go ahead with my downgrade from Elite Ski to Swordfish ... thought it might help in a general sense for intermediate paddlers looking at EVO 11, Epic 10S or Swordfish .. and others I don't know in the intermediate range of skis.. My question was "should I go for a Swordfish or Elite Ski?"

"Hi Chris

Stick with the sword mate, its fast enough in the flat.

What you want to do is really master the moving water. That will take quite a bit of time.

Over an hour I loose about .5k (500M) in dead flat water on the sword compared to my elite. In my eyes not worth worrying about. In a race situation because of wash riding etc that would be a lot less.

Master the runs mate you need a good platform to do that. I am regarded as good in the runs and I am still learning.

DG"
The following user(s) said Thank You: Riggers1973

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8566 by Michael Smedley
I though I would give an opinion here, I call into this forum on occasion and find most of the content helpful regarding reviews.

I have had my SW for a few months now. I have also briefly owned a V10 and a Vajda Orca. Since this is a review of the SW I will not focus on the other two, only to say they are good boats, however they were too unstable for me to learn.

I find the SW very stable, I would not say as stable as an XT, but stable enough I could put a 15/20 seat pad in and still be ok in rough conditions.

The boat is very comfortable, I use the seat pad for extra comfort and for a raised seat position.

Boat speed is slightly slower than the elite style boats upwind and on flat. However it is important to realise that in open water, if you find yourself bracing an elite style boat more than a few times every 100 meters, you will likely be quicker on a more stable boat.

Personally, my splits are much faster in open water on the SW. More importantly, I am beginning to learn the skills required in runs rather than floundering around.

To be critical the SW is not as elegant as other models I have seen and the cockpit can get swamped on occasion. This could be because of the pilots limited technical skills too. That said you will be thankful of the lower sides should you fall out.

I have fallen out of of the SW 2/3 times in the time I have owned it. On the other craft I would go for a swim most sessions.

Don't mistake the SW for a beginners boat its not. I would totally agree with the email from DG is terms of speed.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago - 10 years 10 months ago #8567 by cdo
Replied by cdo on topic Re: Fenn Swordfish REVIEW
Throughout this topic there appears to be a theme of "the Swordfish is as stable as a Think Evo". Are they really of similar stability?
Just on the dimensions of these 2 skis if it is the case it would be a remarkable achievement of the Swordfish. Can anyone comment? I must admit I didn't give this much credability when the notion of stable as an XT was implied but as stable as an Evo would be impressive enough given the Swordfish's dimensions. I know stability is subjective and yes some say the Evo is not that stable....mainly because of its initial twitchiness.
Last edit: 10 years 10 months ago by cdo. Reason: typos

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8572 by Michael Smedley

cdo wrote: Throughout this topic there appears to be a theme of "the Swordfish is as stable as a Think Evo". Are they really of similar stability?
Just on the dimensions of these 2 skis if it is the case it would be a remarkable achievement of the Swordfish. Can anyone comment? I must admit I didn't give this much credability when the notion of stable as an XT was implied but as stable as an Evo would be impressive enough given the Swordfish's dimensions. I know stability is subjective and yes some say the Evo is not that stable....mainly because of its initial twitchiness.


I tested the Evo 2 for several days prior to the SW. Its a great boat and had it not been for the release of the SW I would have probably got one.

My personal opinion is the Evo is more stable than the SW. The Evos catch is a bit wider and in the tests I did in open water, I went better downwind in the SW.

Since downwind paddling was my priority I chose the SW.

Best thing to do is see what you think. Test them both, I know on the Gold Coast Australia there are demo's boats available for both.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
10 years 10 months ago #8573 by cdo
Replied by cdo on topic Re: Fenn Swordfish REVIEW
Thanks Michael,

I have an Evo in my fleet and I love it.....a really fun boat. What surprised me was the "Swordfish has the same stability as Evo claims".
Your comments on stability between the two are what I would have expected.

Cheers.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics

  • No posts to display.