Stellar SEL vs Fenn Elite, Elite SL, Uno Max

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11 years 8 months ago #13585 by SimonF
I've got that "I can only have one boat" dilemma in that I mostly paddle flat water, but once or twice a month I get to the ocean or Bay. So I am unpractised for the rough and am thinking EVO II etc, however I can paddle more advanced skis easily where I predominately go.
I have read the feedback re: Stellar both here and on Wesley's Echols web site. There is great insight to be had by Wesley, but time has elapsed between his comparisons and his skills have improved. The conditions he describes differ from Australian conditions.
What I would like to know is has anyone compared the SEL to the Elite class of ski's such as the Fenn Elite and Elite SL, Uno Max, V10, specifically in Australian coastal and bay conditions. This can be Moreton Bay, Port Phillip Bay and East coast in that short steep wave pattern. Flat and offshore speed, handling, nose diving etc. are of interest.
As a reference:
I currently have a glass Legend, and while I like the ergonomics, it is unpredictable in the rough (even with 9" rudder) and my flat water tests (over a few km's and flat water) show Stellar SES, Fenn Elite SL and even an EVO II to be significantly faster, by up to 2 kmh, and way faster in a short sprint (kept thinking there must something on the rudder when I sprinted the Legend).
I would consider my technique to be ordinary compared to balance as I still lack leg drive.
I am 189 cm tall, 80 Kgs, and I feel a little restricted in rotation in the Legend, more so in a SES unless on a seat pad.

I am terrible at maxing decisions so any help is greatly appreciated.

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11 years 8 months ago #13589 by Dicko
Buy a Vault and use a small rudder on the flat. There, that should confuse you more.
SEL is pretty quick on the flat.
If you want to win races on the flat, buy a pointy,tippy ski. If you want to have fun, buy the evo, sel, or vault. Personally, I like to catch waves and stay upright. Done the tippy thing, much prefer the stable thing.

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11 years 8 months ago - 11 years 8 months ago #13593 by Kayaker Greg
Coming from a V10L and a Stellar SES I was looking at something that I could paddle more comfortably in all conditions, I asked a fellow club member who has had about 28 different ski's including the Vault and all the Think skis and he recommended the Stellar SEL which improved his race results and general paddling from what I've heard, which is what I have now and I absolutely love this ski. Another friend who has the SEL and an EVO reckons its close to being as stable as his EVO which he uses on real rough days, but really I've found my SEL to be so stable in comparison to any ski I've owned so far and I'm now going out in much more demanding conditions.
I have not paddled the other ski's you mention, so take what I say for what its worth to you.
Last edit: 11 years 8 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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11 years 8 months ago #13598 by red_pepper
I'll have to agree that the SEL is a very impressive ski. More stable than the V10L and slightly faster. I've owned a Think Evo, Think Legend, Epic V10L, Huki S1-X, and now a Stellar SE(besides my wife's Think Fit and Stellar SR). I've enjoyed all of the above, but the SE/SEL is really a phenomenal combination of stability and speed. The Evo was a really sweet hull, but I find my SE is nearly as stable. I've borrowed an SEL to play in the waves of Lake Michigan a couple of times (short, steep waves in Traverse Bay), and where I was swimming a few times in the V10L (coming off primarily flat water) I felt utterly confident in the SEL. I race my SE primarily on flatwater, and the speed is on par with the other elite skis. On the waves it tries to surf everything, and has the stability to encourage you onward. :)

At any rate, if you want just one ski you can use for everything and grow with, you won't go wrong with an SEL.

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11 years 8 months ago #13607 by Watto
This post related to current thread if someone considering purchasing Stellar SE/SEL maybe SES.

How is the Stellar SEL any different in stability to the SE when advertised dimensions are length same (6.55m), SEL narrower (44cm SEL vs 44.6cm SE), and SEL depth shallower (SEL 35cm vs SE at 41cm)? According to Stellar site advertising "We have lowered the bow deck, narrowed the catch, and increased the length of the footwell compared to the original SE Surf Ski. With the same hull as the SE, it maintains its stable platform and great speed." Repeat - same hull as SE. How then is this boat then apparently so much more stable than the SE?

Before my final purchase of an SES I paddled both SE and SES extensively (no SEL available at the time) and found it difficult to differentiate between stability of SE and SES. At 86 kilos and upper end of recommended fit, I find SES bucket just right and boat much easier to control than SE which I feel I'm swmming about in. SES stats: length 6.2m, beam 41.6cm (quite a bit narrower) and depth 35cm - same as SEL.

Kayaker Greg, can you shed light on this? Love my SES but would not call it stable in the rough (been doing bugger all paddling for awhile now so doing some re-learning too). Why then SEL so stable as reviewed? (I paddled SE and while not finding significantly unstable would not call it an easy intermediate boat.) Why SES so much less stable in comparison to SEL? These questions I will direct to Wes E too. KG your views?

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11 years 8 months ago - 11 years 8 months ago #13617 by Kayaker Greg
I have not paddled the SE, although I know a few guys that do. Not sure how much one should rely on posted measurements and advertising claims but I do know this, I'm unlikely to ever paddle my SES again except for up a creek where I don't want to bang up my SEL.
Its so much a better ski for me, I really can't believe it. I've had my SES 18 months and would have liked to move onto the SEL 6 months earlier but had to wait for the new stock to arrive. I would have thought 1 year would have been enough for me to master the SES, my paddling has improved so much in 1 month in the SEL and I imagine that even though the changes might appear modest and despite the posted dimensions which only really list the maximum beam, depth and length, its the fact that the volume/beam maybe extended further along its length? The bucket length in my SEL is no bigger than my SES (I was surprised after reading that this was the case)but it is wider, also behind the seat the beam is obviously wider its easy to see and it extends wider further back, this is where I believe the added stability comes from mostly. Looking at the hulls from underneath they look very similar.
Again, I really can't believe the difference between these two ski's and can't stress to anyone enough if considering an SES that you try an SEL before making your purchase.
I too was floating around in the bucket of the SEL but made my own seat and hip pads to eliminate this, also to push myself slightly forward as the leg hump is higher and further forward than the SES, which is what I loved about the SES, the low hump and the cockpit made for a smaller paddler. Also to me, the SES seemed to get onto a wave easier than the SEL, I figured I needed some more weight further forward as a larger paddler would have, so my seat has pushed me further forward, I can also pull myself forward when trying to get onto a wave, the ski is stable enough to allow me to do this.
Last edit: 11 years 8 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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11 years 8 months ago #13620 by red_pepper
With all else being equal, the SE and SEL are similar with regards to stability. The hull is the same in the water; the SE just has more bow volume. That extra bow volume catches more wind, but it also ensures the bow won't bury.

The SES is a different animal: shorter, narrower, and designed for smaller paddlers. I am surprised at how stable it is for such a narrow ski, but the SE/SEL are definitely more stable.

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11 years 8 months ago #13622 by Dicko
Watto, I think the stability difference between the SE and SEL is in the bucket. The SE bucket is just big. You sit in it but it has no feel to it. The SEL is a more conventional bucket. It is a tighter fit. On the flat it makes no difference, but when it get rough you have more control of the boat with your hips. So stability is probably the same but you have more control of the boat because of better ergonomics.

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11 years 8 months ago #13636 by SimonF
Thanks for the feedback so far.
I can see and feel how a snug bucket makes one feel connected with the ski. This is how I felt in the SES, however I was getting pinched at the hips and sore after a short time and could not rotate. A 20mm seat pad made it more comfortable, but I was not able to test it in the bumps to verify, if I was up to the challenge of balancing it with a higher CoG.
It sounds like I could use a SEL as effectively in the rougher stuff as an Evo II, but I just hope the bow will stay up as well.
Has anyone tried the cockpit covers?

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11 years 8 months ago #13639 by Watto
Cheers chaps, good informed comments. Kayaker Greg are you WA - if so and you're not planning to shoot up that creek soon with your SES, text me as a mate might be interested 0420 998 166. Thanks again all.

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11 years 8 months ago #13649 by wesley
Simon, the SEL has plenty of volume for the appropiate size paddler in the ocean. 165-200 approx is target weight for ocean. Tim Altman, of Australia paddled an SEL in the Molokai and placed 10th. I have now paddled my SEL in all types of conditions with no problem. The covers do work. I rarely use mine beside in the winter freezing months where warmth is the great consideration.

Watto, I have now plenty of comparative racing times in both the SES and SEL. My goal this year was to see if I was in fact faster in my SEL ultra in rough New England ocean races of 2 hrs or more where boat fatigue comes into play. My times were extremely close within 1:30 of my best SES times and in one race I was faster in SEL by a few seconds. Most notably was I not as fatigue at the end of those races in the SEL due to the extra stability it affords. No surprise here. A couple of caveats that brings my SEL times closer to my SES times. First of all my SEL Ultra(pre preg unidirectional carbon at 22lbs) is faster than the SEL Excel layup and I most often can get away using my 4 inch flatwater rudder in virtually all conditions since I find the SEL so stable. We don't have much big downwind, so when it is rough, it is messy chop 2-3 ft so the rudder for me does not get overwhelmed and I am faster than if using the 8 inch or 9 inch. So I My SEL ultra is a wonderful all around ski for flat and ocean and super easy to remount. In those races when I was in the flat sections of the races, I did lose some time compared to my SES's. Like Greg I have my SEL padded out for a perfect fit since the bucket as is, is too big. My padding is not up to Gregs however!

The SES is computer designed for smaller/med paddler like Red Pepper said. It is a faster ski and has better glide than the SEL with wonderful, predictable,linear secondary stability if you fit in the bucket comfortably. While I can paddle my SES in all conditions, I could not paddle it in the rough water with a pad, flat water yes. So if you have to pad it up for fit, you may want to consider the SEL and pad it out for a perfect fit. Hope this helps. Wesley, Surfskiracing.com and Stellar

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.

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11 years 8 months ago #13650 by Kennneee
Here are some mods I did to my SEL including the cockpit cover. As it comes from the factory the cover has some sharp edges and the velcro is a not up to the task. The cover is great in the cold but does make re-entry a bit harder,
picasaweb.google.com/1050284608942431080...v1sRgCI6r6MvHmZuV2QE

Ken

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11 years 8 months ago - 11 years 8 months ago #13656 by Kayaker Greg
Watto, I am in New Zealand.

Kennneee where do you carry your water bladder?
Last edit: 11 years 8 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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11 years 8 months ago #13658 by Kennneee
Greg,

I have a PFD with a hydration pack built in.

Ken

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11 years 8 months ago #13666 by Rightarmbad
Liking that rear sliding leash!

Do you think that the bungee cord mounts are up to it?

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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11 years 8 months ago #13672 by Bill L
Ken,

Nice pictures, thanx for posting. You have obviously put a lot of thought into your mods. I really like the bow hole/loop as I have been thinking of doing something similar (but kind of afraid to actually take a drill to the ski) :unsure: .

I also like the rear attachment for the leash; however, I am a bit wary of the 4 bungee attachment points failing, as I think they are just thru the deck without any reinforcement underneath. But I suppose that the way you did it, all of them would need to fail for you to become separated, so, the scheme does have a lot of merit.

As I have not been impressed with the plastic coil type leashes, I have begun using Novabraid polyester shock-cord to make leashes - a 1/4" diameter cord has a rating of 226 lb and you can go even higher than that with thicker cord. All the other parts I use are rated at 200 lbs or much higher, so the I figure that the leash would rip out of the boat before the leash itself breaks.

Bill L

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11 years 8 months ago #13684 by Kennneee
I thought about the bungee mounts not being strong enough. I can't say for sure, but since the load is in shear and it is being shared by more than one, I think they will hold up. Since the leash ring slides to the stern this should prevent the boat from being broadside to the waves. The load on the leash mount should be less than attaching midship.
I don't like the light coil leash I am using and have been planning to come up with something stronger. I am not familiar with Novabraid, but it sounds like a good solution. Any more info on it would be appreciated.
Measure twice and drill!

Cheers,

Ken

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11 years 8 months ago - 11 years 8 months ago #13685 by Bill L
Ken,

novabraid specs are here:

www.novabraid.com/rope/novashock.html

Another benefit besides strength is that polyester is more UV resistant than the nylon that covers most shock-cord. Of course, with shock-cord, you won’t get the coil action meaning any leash will likely be a bit longer.

I then use 1000 lb test sport-fishing swivels and mate these with small 200lb+ stainless carabiners.

My “body leash” attaches from the leash attach point in the bucket to a stainless D-ring I have sewn to my PFDs. I am aware that a large broadside load could be the effect from this set-up, but have not had a problem to date.

In the past couple months I have been testing the whole set-up extensively, including in winds 20-25 knots off-shore with waves up to 10 feet. It has been my experience that even in large breaking waves the broadside load is not that bad, but this is in the ocean where the waves start breaking but then are "consumed" by the next swell/wave and so the load imparted is less than it otherwise might be. In a shore-break area at the coast though, I would definitely detach the body leash as I am sure the broadside loads would be too great - in that case your design would be superior.

I also use a paddle leash, shorter and of less-strength construction as I do not want to be picking up any excess weight with each stroke.

Of course, with 2 leashes, tangling was initially a concern, but I have not found it to be an issue, even when the wind is so strong that I have to flip the boat over my head to get on the upwind side. There is a certain “best way” to configure the leashes before a side-saddle remount. As soon as I determined and practiced that, the whole thing becomes 2nd nature and the remounting takes as little as 10-15 seconds.

All things considered, a reinforced "hard point" leash attachment point aft of the bucket, far enough back so the ski would not stay broadside in a dump, would be a great idea if any ski builders are reading this.

I continue to look for ways to improve the whole safety set-up without imposing too much of a weight penalty, so I think it is great when people post their ideas as you have.

Bill L
Last edit: 11 years 8 months ago by Bill L.

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11 years 8 months ago #13705 by Watto
Cheers Wesley, detailed comments much appreciated. Don't need to pad it up though, as you mentioned ("So if you have to pad it up for fit, you may want to consider the SEL and pad it out for a perfect fit."). Don't feel any need to get higher for more kayak-like purchase. As far as fit goes at 86ks one wouldn't want to be much heavier though. As far as height goes (just under 6ft/181cm) , stacks of room left. With wetsuit paddling shorts I'm a tight fit, bathers on perfect.

I know the thread has moved on since those earlier posts however for me, feeling part of the boat, connected and for the most part in control for me is a huge stability factor. Agree too with your Swordfish comments - really enjoyed the short paddle I had in it (I'd already purcased SES). Sensational stability.

Hey try a Nelo K1 for tippy. Bjasus it feels like half SES width in the water with zero steeering.

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11 years 8 months ago #13727 by Kennneee
Bill,

Thanks for the info. I will look into the Novabraid. Enjoy.

Ken

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