Recreational paddlers

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6 years 6 months ago #25847 by rpdubb
Recreational paddlers was created by rpdubb
Now in my 70's and a recreational paddler. I have paddled surf skis for 57 years including 255km long distance races in my earlier days. My difficulty after a number of spinal fusions which has affected my balance is finding a light weight surf ski that does not need to be super fast but one that I can easily get back into if falling off. I still enjoy catching decent waves so a really wide and flat bottom ski is not really the answer. I shall be in South Africa in May where surf skis are about a third of the price compared to Australia, with less than $1000 to ship. Any recommendations would be most appreciated.

Many thanks in advance.
Richard Dubb

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6 years 6 months ago #25848 by [email protected]
Hey Richard

Where in SA will you be? If you're coming to Cape Town, give us a shout and we'll take you out...

Easy to remount? In my experience:

- V10 Sport
- Fenn Swordfish
- Think Evo II

All boats in the intermediate category. Stable and easy to remount, but all behave well downwind, they're not just flat bottomed barges. (Just did a Miller's Run in the Evo II where I came within a minute of my best time ever).

The new V10 also has quite a shallow, wide bucket, also easy to remount.

Cheers
Rob

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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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #25850 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Recreational paddlers
The Fenn XT is also a great fun in the surf boat that has real low sides and is quite easy to remount. Probably lots available is SA too.
Oh yeah, and at 5.8 m makes it a little easier to store, transport and handle.
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Fath2o.

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6 years 6 months ago #25851 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Recreational paddlers
Flat bottoms can actually surf pretty well too, thinking of one of my 5.2x.54 sea kayaks that is fun in the surf. SUP's and surfboards have flat bottoms and surf pretty good too. How about a Bluefin? Unlikely to fall out of one of those and would be suitable for a rec paddler.

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6 years 6 months ago #25853 by rpdubb
Replied by rpdubb on topic Recreational paddlers
Thanks very much guys. Much appreciated. Just for interest sake, I recently was given an Epic to try out. Not sure which model but it was not the very slim and fastest model. Once I was "wedged" in, it felt really comfortable and I found it really fast - in fact making it into a wave from a fair bit behind which my current ski could not have done. Only problem is if falling off and with steep sides, it would be difficult to get back in. If I was back into competition, the fastest 9kg version would be hard to beat. Again for interest sake, herewith weight and prices:
15 kg- A$4000
12kg - A$5000
9kg - A$6000.

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #25855 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Recreational paddlers
Another possible consideration when contemplating the purchase of a begginer/intermediate type ski is the width and the ability to carry it under one arm. Something most of us probably take for granted. The bluefin might be on the cusp, for example, without some kind of cockpit handle. Like trying to carry an SUP w/o a handle in the deck.
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Fath2o.

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6 years 6 months ago #25860 by leebee
Replied by leebee on topic Recreational paddlers
Richard, I am also in my 70's and understand the issues. You might look at Wesley Echols "surfskiracing.com" web site. In his ski ratings he has a column for ease of remounting on many skis, this might be of interest. I recently bought a Stellar SR, and I added a strip of RSP rail tape along the edge of the bucket, primarily for protection of the catch area from the paddle. I ran it to the rear of the bucket, and it adds a lot more grip for remounting. It also protects the finish from scratches as you climb back in.
(RSP is used for stand up paddleboards).

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6 years 6 months ago #25861 by rpdubb
Replied by rpdubb on topic Recreational paddlers
I appreciate the many suggestions. Robin, at this stage will only be in PE and Plett but if necessary may take up up your offer, so thanks for that. leebee I like the idea of the rail tape. Perhaps a handle on the side of the ski could also prove useful and can't see that it would get in the way especially if it was approximately 30cm behind the foot strap.

Fath2o I agree that the width is important in being able to carry it under one arm but when finishing a workout, I find it best to carry the ski on top of the shoulder. If possible I am going to try to get the 9kg weight and just hope that the ski will be strong enough.

Is there anyone who is currently paddling a 9kg ski and whether you believe that they are generally strong enough?

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6 years 6 months ago #25863 by [email protected]

Is there anyone who is currently paddling a 9kg ski and whether you believe that they are generally strong enough?


Depends on the conditions! If you're playing in the surf (like in Durban) I'd be loath to have a 9kg boat - but here in Cape Town where we seldom go out through waves, a light boat usually has no problems.

A very light boat is tricky to carry in a strong wind too!

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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6 years 6 months ago #25864 by rpdubb
Replied by rpdubb on topic Recreational paddlers
Thanks Rob, food for thought. I don't intend paddling in either huge surf or very heavy winds, although anyone familiar with the surf at Bondi, will know just how hard those waves can dump.
Not sure if anyone remembers but going back some years in Port Elizabeth, a canoeist built a few surf skis called a Pacer. This was the best fun ski I have ever ridden. Very fast and narrow in front with a small lift in the nose so almost impossible to nose dive in the steepest of waves. A deep seat also difficult to fall out of but not difficult to get back in. This is a ski that you could easily perform cutbacks in a wave and if by some miracle someone still has one of these, name your price!!

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6 years 6 months ago #25867 by leebee
Replied by leebee on topic Recreational paddlers
Richard, another point on the rail tape. I also put a strip about 8" long (inside the cockpit) just under the main piece which runs along the top edge of the cockpit, with a piece of 3/8" square plastic under the tape mounted horizontally at the balance point, and this provides a great carrying handle. I prefer to carry the boat with one hand this way. A similar set up where you would put your forward hand when remounting might help a lot.

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6 years 6 months ago #25872 by Hacker Mike
Replied by Hacker Mike on topic Recreational paddlers
Hi

I recently acquired a Fenn Bluefin Carbon Hybrid for the simple reason that I wanted a ski that I could easily re-mount. I anticipated the ski would be a barge (slow) but much to my surprise I was 10% quicker on it than on my Swordfish when the conditions became sloppy. The handle on the side is really convenient for caring the boat (much more so than I expected). Speaking to Peter Cole at Orka Paddles, he believes the Bluefin to be faster than the XT in most peoples hands. I would suggest giving the Bluefin a try. You may be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Oh, enjoy Plett. Amazing place for paddling.

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6 years 6 months ago #25873 by rpdubb
Replied by rpdubb on topic Recreational paddlers
Thanks Hacker Mike. I'll certainly give it a try.

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6 years 6 months ago #25874 by portmanm
Replied by portmanm on topic Recreational paddlers
Your spoilt for choice in Sydney with lots of local dealers willing to demo.

Stable options IMO

- Fenn Bluefin or XT
- Stellar SR
- Think Eze
- Epic V8
- Vajda Hawx 52
- Carbonology Cruz

Next Step up

- Fenn SWordfish S
- Stellar SEI
- Think Evo II
- Epic V10 Sport
- Vajda Hawx 46 (could be a stretch)
- Carbonology Zest or Vault

Pretty much all of them come in light weight layups $$$$$

Centre and bow/stern handles are becoming very popular, very good for windy days or trudging up the beach.

Plenty of 2nd hand stock floating around on GearTrade - why not buy two :-)

Goodluck. Matt

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M

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6 years 6 months ago #25877 by rpdubb
Replied by rpdubb on topic Recreational paddlers
Much appreciated Matt for all the info. I will certainly give the Fenn Bluefin a tryout and GearTrade is definitely worth a shot.

Now for all you wave mad enthusiasts, suggest you put this on your bucket list. Having lived in Port Elizabeth, South Africa for 43 years and surfed both boards and skis almost every day and if you want EXTRA LONG rides, you will have to travel far to beat the following best surfing spots, especially for surf skis. The Lighthouse and Rinkaan- you will have the ocean to yourself - and a little more crowded, Millers Point and Pollok Beach. Plenty underwater reefs so no dumping waves. Best time of the year - early January to 1st week of August. Rest of year can be windy but usually after midday. Excellent downwind paddling in those months. Warm seas from November to end of March. Winter months not too cold, requiring just a light top. Excellent B&B accommodation for approx. $75 night close to beach. Obviously further afield there is also good surf, IE Cape ST Francis and Jeffrey's Bay, the latter more radical being a beach break. Also almost everyday sightings of dolphins who often will be surfing the same wave as you. Also regular sightings of whales in season. Living close to Bondi Beach, I yearn for that unspoiled coastline and therefore visit every few years whilst still able. Finally no guarantee but I normally try to be there when it is full moon with much more chance of bigger waves. Anyone wants more info, happy to oblige.

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #25878 by Skiwalker
Replied by Skiwalker on topic Recreational paddlers
Hi Richard

I have an XT and I was recently contacted by a 70 year old v. experienced paddler who wanted to give it a try in his pursuit of finding the right ski. He spent a bit on time on it but in the end he also went for the Bluefin. My primary ski is a Think Evo II and its noticeably tippier that the XT and a little more tricky remounting. Just further food for thought...

If you are going to be in PE perhaps give Carbonology a call. The Cruze also seems to be a great stable ski, if that is what you will be looking for, and it is shorter than the Bluefin so might be easier to load and carry.

I was also considering importing a Carbonology ski to Australia about a year ago and I contacted Jason at the factory to discuss options. He offered good advice and at the time they were able to assist in wrapping the ski for transport. I'm not sure where they currently stand with regards to local (Aus) agents and whether they are able to sell directly to you for export. I know Fenn aren't prepared to and some local (SA) retailers won't if they know you intend to ship it yourself. There is a shop in Johannesburg that could perhaps assist, that is if you are considering airfreight.

Richard, how you must have a world of stories to tell about the evolution of this sport! - where it all started, shaping skies and breaking them in the surf, PE/EL race etc. Perhaps there needs to be another category of post on this forum called "stories from the old days" (or something like that) where folk like yourself can share your wisdom? Its easy for Average Joes like myself to enjoy this sport now because of the early pioneers. Just two days ago I met a chap originally from East London (like myself also) who shaped and paddled skies in his youth. It was fascinating listening the stories.

Is the Eastern Cape SA where it all began? I'm sure most Aussies will disagree :laugh: Although I did meet an Aussie paddler ( I was looking at buying his ski at the time) who said without a doubt that the Ocean racing type surfski paddling began in SA. He had done the PE/EL a few times 30 or so year ago... sorry to digress from the topic here.

Good luck in finding the right ski.

1.Fenn XT
2.Think Evo 2
3. ...
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Skiwalker.

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6 years 6 months ago #25879 by OSS
Replied by OSS on topic Recreational paddlers
Don't forget the new OCEAN Surfski range. These skis combine stability with speed, and according to customers, very easy to remount.
Definitely worth coming to Manly and give those a try.
(Unfortunately, not available in SA yet).

New, innovative, different!

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