Vajda Oscar Review

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10 years 11 months ago #9314 by Bmax
Vajda Oscar Review was created by Bmax
Well, I want to dispel a few myths. I have just taken delivery of my new Vajda Oscar and I think it only fair that I try and provide some feed-back.

I haven’t paddled for more than 20 years and wanted to get back into paddling. I have occasionally paddled a P&H capella RM 166 over the last few years, but now living in Coogee near the beach and harbour, I decided I wanted a surf ski instead of a sea kayak.

My aim is to train for the 2012 Hawkesbury Classic so I wanted a kayak that offered both reasonable speed and good stability.

Over the last 12 months I have read every article and review I could find and test paddled a lot of the kayaks available in Australia. In the end it came down to 2 kayaks, the Epic V8 and the Vajda Oscar. Obviously I had to wait until last week to see and test the Oscar for the first time.

I agree with everybody that on paper they seem very similar. The Oscar is a little narrower and, in reality, the same length. Based on my research and testing what I was most interested in was if there was any difference in the seating/comfort. I am 135kg with a wide pelvis and large “tight head prop" thighs. I was assuming the stability would be similar.

Here are my observations.

1. When looking at the boats from the side and/or top they basically look identical.

2. When I took the Oscar for a paddle the seat was a better fit for my backside as it is a little flatter and possibly slightly higher and wider – this is subjective but I’m certain someone else can verify. I didn’t get as much pressure on the sides of my hips.

3. As I said before, I think the seat is slightly higher. It is still a “deep well” so I put a 25mm pad in it to lift me higher so I now feel like I am paddling a more traditional kayak probably not ideal for stability but it suits me as it compensates for my lack of flexibility allowing me to get a more forward purchase/reach.

4. As for stability I paddled the Fenn XT, Spirit PRS, Epic V8, V10, V12 and V10S, I didn’t get a chance to paddle the Think, Eos or Carbonology skis but from everything I had read it seemed the Fenn and Epic were enough for a comparison. I am definitely not ready for fully competitive ski like the V10, V12 or Orca and found the V10s seat a little bit uncomfortable, narrower, rounder and deeper but with a 25 mm pad it probably wold have been fine. The V8 was definitely a lot more comfortable and seemed more like the V12 seat position. There is no doubt the V8 is a nice ski. Stability wise I found the Oscar to be a little bit twitchier than the V8 but it has as good secondary stability. It is 3 cm narrower that the V8. Talking to the guy’s at the shop they think the Oscar might be slightly quicker but for me that is hardly relevant because I am still struggling to get all my power into my stroke without losing balance.

5. I want to dispel any ongoing suggestions the Oscar is a rip off of the V8. Yes its true on top other than the actual seat they look similar but when you turn them over and have a look at the hulls the execution is completely different. What I noticed is the V8 has a much wider flat area under the seating area with much more squared off sides. The Oscar is more rounded with a less distinct flat bottom and a slight ridge running the length of the centre line.

In the end I decided to buy the Oscar for the following reasons.

1. I personally found the seating position slightly more comfortable and a little bit wider.

2. For me the Oscar is as stable as the V8

3. The Oscar is “quicker” ok I just added that in to tease you all as I have no real grounds to make that statement

4. Because I can’t see inside the ski I decided to look at the Vajda K1 and K2 kayaks which are beautifully finished so I am assuming the quality of the Oscar matches Vajda’s Olympic kayaks.

5. For the same construction and weight they are slightly cheaper than the equivalent Epic V8

6. I also think it is a beautiful looking ski

7. I think it is a bit unfair to call the Vajda Oscar an “Epic V8 rip off” if anything it is a bit of a cross between the V8 and V10s

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10 years 10 months ago #9436 by Bmax
Replied by Bmax on topic Re: Vajda Oscar Review
:) Ok so now for an update after living with the Oscar for the last three weeks. I have had four sessions in Rose Bay for an hour to two hours at a time. On all occasions there was a small swell running which was breaking on the sand bank.

On the first two sessions I fell in 4 or 5 times, by the last 2 hour session I only fell in once.

I then went up the coast to Sawtell where I paddled it up the creak for two hours in only a wind chop. I didn't fall in once

We then went up to Noosa where I paddled straight off the beach in a small 1ft swell. I did this every afternoon for four days. I tipped over a lot on the first two days in the swell but I have perfected my remount and can get back in the Oscar easily. By day four I was catching the runners and then takinging them right into the beach without falling out. I even managed to run across the wave and turn around and paddle back out through the small break without falling off.

I can only say that in the space of three weeks I am now confident enough to take my ski in off Coogee where as before I was a complete beginner. I cannot recommend my Vajda Oscar over another ski but can say that it is performing encredibly well and has me paddling in the open ocean in under a month for up to two hours at a time in comfort.

The quality of construction is excellent, the boat is easy to handle as it is quite light, I find it easy to mount and dismount from the side and it glides and accelerates onto runs easily.

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10 years 2 weeks ago #14446 by richardh
Replied by richardh on topic Re: Vajda Oscar Review
Hi Bmax.
How are you finding the Oscar now?

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10 years 2 weeks ago #14447 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic Re: Vajda Oscar Review
Interesting how this forum is used for 'independent' reviews... B)

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10 years 2 weeks ago #14448 by Paul600
Replied by Paul600 on topic Re: Vajda Oscar Review
Why imply that any review of a ski cannot be independent? As long as you remember that they used their hard earned cash to buy it and therefore will more than likely be positive about it, then what's the problem?

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10 years 2 weeks ago - 10 years 1 week ago #14453 by Bmax
Replied by Bmax on topic Re: Vajda Oscar Review
Well, I realise there are all sorts of ways information can be biased but I will try and be as objective as I can.

1st remember I do not claim to be anything other than an ordinary guy who is paddling to get fit and lose weight. i paddled kayaks 20 yrs ago at uni and then paddled a sea kayak in the UK for a few years.

Because I live in Coogee I wanted something I could launch from the beach and when I capsized I could easily right and climb back on board hence a surf ski.

I then spent two years reading every review and paddling as many demo skis as I could to try and relate what I was reading to what I was personally experiencing.

I finally came to the following conclusion.

1. Buy a ski from a reputable retailer and well represented brand with factory backing.
2. Each ski fits differently and everyone has a subjective point of view on this so paddle as many skis on demo days and/or rent them for an hour or two. Given you are going to be spending $2,500 or more, its worth doing the research
3. Ask a lot of people how the ski is holding together after 12 months of use, just like I have been asked.
4. Remember no matter which ski you buy it will always be a compromise, so don't worry, just get out there and paddle it.
5. The second hand market for good quality skis seems they hold their value so buy something paddle it for a year, then you can always trade up. That is what I eventually plan to do.

As for my Oscar, I am generally happy with it. Given I don't really have anything to compare it to it is solid, easy to side mount off the beach and for me seems stable enough.

Flat water is now easy while I still struggle a b it in confused chop but that more about me than the ski.

The gel coat is good with no bleaching or deterioration and from what I can tell there are no soft spots of any areas of damage but then to be honest I wouldn't really know if I have a problem.

There is no water leaking into the boat so it’s always dry when I take out the bung and the foot board still seems solid. It does move under my feet a bit when I really push hard to move myself back in the seat but then I am 130kg's.

I also have installed a 25mm pad under my bum to lift me a bit higher to compensate for my stomach and less than flexible back. This means I can get a good stroke and rotation. Strangely it hasn't seemed to upset my stability.

I hope this is useful but basically the ski does everything I expected of it and although it was one of the first Oscars manufactured it seems to be holding up well

Regards,
David
Last edit: 10 years 1 week ago by Bmax. Reason: Spelling mistakes

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10 years 2 weeks ago #14455 by richardh
Replied by richardh on topic Re: Vajda Oscar Review
Hi David.

Thanks very much for the detailed update.

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10 years 1 week ago #14486 by CyberSki
Replied by CyberSki on topic Re: Vajda Oscar Review
..and CONGRATS on losing 5kg since you started paddling it too!!

:)

Scott

Fenn Swordfish and Epic Midwing.

Past skis include Stellar SR and SEL, KC Zeplin, Think EVO, and in-between version of Epic V8 Ultra. Jantex Gamma is my sword of pain..though my elbow may force me to a smaller blade now. :-(

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10 years 1 week ago - 10 years 1 week ago #14488 by Bmax
Replied by Bmax on topic Re: Vajda Oscar Review
Thanks Scott,

I'm now just starting to nudge 125kg's on a regular basis so my dream of getting back to my competitive weight of 92kg's is on track albiet a bit slower than planned

David
:)
Last edit: 10 years 1 week ago by Bmax.

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9 years 4 months ago #17793 by Bmax
Replied by Bmax on topic Re: Vajda Oscar Review
Ok I thought I'd provide another update about my Oscar. I am now down to 110kg's and just gotten back onto my ski.

Wow what a difference now I've lost a total of 35kgs. The Hawksburry Classic is looking doable. I'm on track to hit 100 kg by October. Back to my Oscar

Since losing the weight all I can say is the ski is significantly more stable then when I last paddled back in Dec, and that's not becausevim better but simply being lighter has changed the whole feel of the ski.

I'm doing a three hour paddle tomorrow so will let you all know

Regards
David

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9 years 4 months ago #17797 by Newbflat
Replied by Newbflat on topic Vajda Oscar Review
Well done on your weight loss. I'm curious on what you have been doing to loose 35kgs in the last year and a half. What percentage do you attributing to paddling and what to diet changes or other changes?

Bill

FENN Bluefin S
FENN Swordfish S carbon hybrid
Epic V8 double gen 2
Lot and lots of DK rudders.


Had:
Stellar SEL excel (gen 2)
Stellar SR excel (gen2)
Stellar S18s g1 (excel)
Epic V10 Double (performance)
Stellar SR (gen 1)
V10 sport (gen 2)
V10 (Gen 2)
Beater SEL (gen 1)

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9 years 4 months ago #17804 by Bill L
Replied by Bill L on topic Re: Vajda Oscar Review

Bmax wrote: ...all I can say is the ski is significantly more stable ...


the SKI is more stable?

Give credit where credit is due. Good job.

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9 years 4 months ago #17823 by ManicNewbie
Replied by ManicNewbie on topic Vajda Oscar Review
Brand new at this game, been looking at V8 and Vajda Oscar...

I chatted to a mate about the comments in this thread vis a vis flopping of the V8 and he sent me some pics.

I'm no expert and I don't care one way or the other - but I would say that the odds of a ski designer coming up with something that looks so like the V8 would be close to impossible. So, in my mind anyway, the Oscar is a flat out copy of the Epic boat.

Should I care? If I go down to the beach with one of these things, am I going to be mocked, or worse?

Clearly they're close to identical, so in terms of a boat to start, price is the defining issue. So I'd go for the Oscar - but for this copying issue. Do I need to worry?

As I write this I do feel a bit as though I should care... How much effort gets put into designing one of these craft? Why doesn't Epic get a copyright or whatever on the shape of the boat?











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9 years 4 months ago #17825 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic Vajda Oscar Review
As far as I know all Epic skis are registered designs, the issue is trying to fight it in court when there has been a slight change in the design.

The main issue is a conscience one and that is down to the individual.

Just a few questions you should ask yourself. For instance would you buy a fake pair of running shoes and try and pass them off as the real thing and be happy with yourself? What process did the said manufacturer go through to produce the fake? Did he have a huge multinational corporation with engineers and designers in expensive buildings to design and produce the part at considerable expense or did they just flop it, negating the expense and the intellectual (brain power) need required to design such a part?

There are obviously more questions you can ask yourself. The fake MAY be of the similar quality, however unlikely due to the unscrupulous nature of the such manufacturers. They will also tend to continue with such practices.
The following user(s) said Thank You: ManicNewbie

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9 years 4 months ago #17826 by ManicNewbie
Replied by ManicNewbie on topic Vajda Oscar Review

did they just flop it, negating the expense and the intellectual (brain power) need required to design such a part?


Read you loud and clear. Hadn't really thought it through. I've just been told too that the name of the boat is a dig at Oscar Chalupsky of Epic... That's low.

Decision made.

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9 years 4 months ago - 9 years 4 months ago #17831 by Bmax
Replied by Bmax on topic Vajda Oscar Review
Hi Guy's

Firstly, thank you for your support re the weight loss. To be more accurate I have gone from 43% Body fat and 46% muscle to 20% body fat and 71% muscle, I have in effect lost 45kg of fat and put on 10kg of muscle. In total changing from 145kg down to 110kg. I still have another 10kg to lose of fat which should bring me down to about 10 - 12% body fat. (I actually put on 10kg after I bought the ski and started paddling which was very frustrating)

I realise that doesn't answer your question directly but there were two distinct parts to my journey. The first was losing a considerable amount of weight from a controlled diet with light exercise and then after 6 months I ramped up the training.

I do a combination of medium but high repetition weights as I am trying to lean out and slim down. I also do two to three spin sessions a week for cardio. The rest of the time I paddle.

I am now changing my bias more to paddling now that I have dropped most of my weight and have good core and upper body strength.

So in short its both, a good healthy controlled diet, approx 1000 kCal a day for the first three months to break the sugar/carb addiction and to mobilise the fat cells. Then as you ramp the exercise you can start to increase the level of calories to match.

I went to a specialist who helped/managed me while I was on the VLCD - Very Low Calorie Diet. I wouldn't recommend doing it without medical supervision. The one thing he said was its not what you eat but how many calories you eat.

Back to the Oscar. I paddled both the Epic V8 and Oscar at length before deciding on the Oscar. I think I mentioned this earlier but let me tell you my thoughts.

I believe buying a ski is very personal as everybody's anatomy is different.

I found the Oscar to offer a more comfortable seating position as the seat was higher and the feet lower.

The seat was also a better shape for my bum and is cut away at the back offering room to rotate without any rubbing.

I felt both boats were of equal quality given Vajda's extensive experience with Olympic and white water kayaks

When you approach the kayaks their decks look similar, some say identical. I would argue just about all kayaks look the same or similar.

When you turn them over and "measure" the hulls you will see that they are quite different as I mentioned in my first entry. The Oscar has a lower volume hull than the V8 with slightly less wetted surface area, due to less beam and a slightly rounder bottom.

The Vajda was also more keenly priced than the epic V8.

Now that I have paddled it at 110kg I can also add that it is has good primary stability and excellent secondary stability, but then I am certain so does the V8. In fairness I haven't paddled the V8 recently.

My recommendation - They are both good ski's and well supported by the factories so buy the one that you are the most comfortable in and accept the fact that after 12 months of paddling you are going to want to upgrade. Both have good resale value.

As for the issue of copying I won't get drawn on that accept from the waterline down they are very different hull shapes. Whether is actually makes any difference to the performance or not I wouldn't know.

Regards,
David
Last edit: 9 years 4 months ago by Bmax. Reason: missed a point

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9 years 4 months ago #17839 by Ole
Replied by Ole on topic Vajda Oscar Review
Hi Bmax,
impressive!
Unfortunately, out of experience (I bought my Epic ski 2nd hand when it was 3 months old) Epic does not provide any service to 2nd hand ski owners.I spoke to Big O about it a few weeks ago and even he was surprised. This is very frustrating and certainly a reason for me to look into alternatives next time (although I am happy with the performance of the ski). Damien from DD3 for example is really trying to provide good service and after my experience with Epic I can only say that it really does not have to be one of the "big" players when chosing a ski (at least in the 2nd hand market).
How does Vajda handle such issues? Any experience?
Best,
Ole

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9 years 4 months ago #17840 by ManicNewbie
Replied by ManicNewbie on topic Vajda Oscar Review

Epic does not provide any service to 2nd hand ski owners.I spoke to Big O about it a few weeks ago and even he was surprised. This is very frustrating and certainly a reason for me to look into alternatives next time


What sort of service, Ole?

What should one look for in terms of after-sales service? What might need to be done to a surfski once you've bought it?

Thanks

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9 years 4 months ago #17841 by Ole
Replied by Ole on topic Vajda Oscar Review
Hi ManicNewbie,
I bought the ski (actually two V8's) from an older guy who (and his wife)had use it 3 times on flat water, in total maybe 2 hours. After 4 to 5 more uses (also flat water - rinsed after every use, stored out of the sun in a dry, darker, protected area, polished as recommended)the gel coat started to come off. First, on maybe three spots, in the meantime (after 3.5 months of use - yes, the ski are just 7 months old) at more areas, mostly areas I am not getting in contact with during paddling at all. I know that this can happen and it is not easy to produce an even gel coat - still frustrating if you buy an nearly brand new ski.

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9 years 4 months ago #17842 by Bmax
Replied by Bmax on topic Vajda Oscar Review
Hi Ole

Yes your right, I shouldn't have been so narrow with my recommendation. What I should have, and meant to say, was look for a good local store that carries a range of quality skis and equipment. If you like the people and you feel they will offer you good advice, service and support then work with them even if it cost a few $'s more. Its worth it in the long run.

At the end of the day it is the store owner who is going to be the one that looks after you and sorts out problems with any ski or equipment you buy.

I'm not certain what Vajda does re warranty and if it is transferable or not. I know from some of the other threads that a few people had issues with the first few batches of skis in Australia but I don't know how they went resolving the issue. Whether it was with the ski shop or Vajda directly.

I also agree with you that you don't need to buy from a big factory and that there are a lot of good quality smaller players in the industry that have fantastic products and offer great service and support.

Because I was new to skis I ended up relaying on my local store, which is one of the bigger better stocked ones in Sydney and haven't ever had an issue that wasn't resolved. I was also able to paddle most skis available on the market at the time as often as I wanted until I was ready to decide on which one I wanted. This was invaluable in making certain I was truly comfortable after an hour of paddling.

As I tell people, stop looking and start participating. It doesn't matter what ski you paddle as long as it floats, is comfortable and you can get out there with your mates. In time you will develop a broader knowledge of what does and doesn't work for you and then you can upgrade.

Regards,
David

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