Kayak for a surfski guy

  • Stanton
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12 years 4 months ago - 12 years 4 months ago #9802 by Stanton
Kayak for a surfski guy was created by Stanton
I am currently Paddling a V8 and while some of the hardcore experienced surfski paddlers may consider this a pretty tame boat I can say that it has completely changed my experience of double ended paddling. I am a FL guy and I have recently accepted a position that has taken me to TN for a couple of years. Primarily the Knoxville area although my landing spot for the next couple of months will be in Nashville. Anyway, I am really bummed about being away from my open water playground but it is a great work opportunity. So I plan to paddle mostly the larger rivers and lakes as I don't have any experience on moving water. Definitely don't feel comfortable paddling the V8 where I would have too many potential hidden obstacles under the surface that could punch my rudder through the hull. Been looking into a good composite SK that I could also use at home in Fl when I am done in TN. Been looking at the Valley Etain especially. However, the V8 has ruined my desire to paddle with my legs splayed out. I keep looking at an 18X or 16X as it would seem to keep me in my newfound paddling position with knees up. You guys have any thoughts about this? Thanks in advance, Eric.
Last edit: 12 years 4 months ago by Stanton.

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12 years 4 months ago #9804 by wesley
Replied by wesley on topic Re: Kayak for a surfski guy
The Stellar 18R is the next generation performance sea kayak. It is as faster than V8's, Ez, and more comparable to the speed the intermediate surfskis. It is faster than the 18X. I have one now in my garage now and in the Excel layup is 32lbs. The production models will have full plate like in the surfskis. They will be in the shops in April. See my thoughts on the Stellar facebook page or at the bottom of my site SurfskiRacing.com, and yes I am a Stellar Rep.Don't take my word though, try one for yourself, you will not be disappointed. Wesley Echols

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.

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12 years 4 months ago #9805 by gstamer
Replied by gstamer on topic Re: Kayak for a surfski guy
Eric,

The 18x Sport has the same hull as your V8 but without the understern rudder. If you like the V8, it would be a natural choice.

The 18x (not the sport version) offers slightly more performance with slighlty less stability. I use an 18x in the "fast sea kayak" class and also have a V12.

While you heart is set on open water now, consider heading to the Nantahala Outdoor Center in NC and take a whitewater class. It's a blast and you have some great whitewater there, might as well take advantage of it. What you learn in terms of bracing, surfing and boat handling will make you a better paddler.

When in Rome....

Greg Stamer

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12 years 4 months ago #9809 by Kayaker Greg
How wide is that Stellar 18R Wesley?

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12 years 4 months ago #9810 by semdoug
Replied by semdoug on topic Re: Kayak for a surfski guy
Eric,

Not meaning to talk you out of a sea kayak, but why do you think your V8 is in more danger of hitting a submerged object in TN than in FL? TN has some good size rivers and large lakes, shouldn't be much of a problem. Plus, you could probably have Huki build you a 4" flatwater rudder for your V8.

I have to echo gstamer's comment about whitewater. TN is a mecca for some in the whitewater community and a used plastic whitewater kayak can be had for as little as $200 plus a little extra for gear and paddle.

It is a little hard to recommend a specific sea kayak, there are so many out there now to choose from. I really liked my old Valley Nordkapp but sold it to buy a surfski (wish I had kept it). In addition to fit, price point, available brands in your area, and new versus used may help with recommendations.

You may want to check the West Coast Paddlers community forums for some ideas. It is mostly a Pacific Northwest group but there is some good information on boats and gear.

www.westcoastpaddler.com/community/index.php

Good luck with your search.

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12 years 4 months ago #9812 by wesley
Replied by wesley on topic Re: Kayak for a surfski guy
Greg 21 inches. Very narrow catch, low profile deck.

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.

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  • Stanton
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12 years 4 months ago #9813 by Stanton
Replied by Stanton on topic Re: Kayak for a surfski guy
Semdoug, I did a river paddle on the Little Manatee with a buddy of mine and it was a mess. Bet I was off the ski at least 10 times _bending_ the rudder shaft by hand after a mild strike of an unseen fixed object just below the surface. Besides being very frustrated it was nerveracking wondering if I had done major damage each time. Just took all the fun out of it. When I am out in the open saltwater my chances are much lower of a strike plus I can see the depth of the rudder with ease. Plus I want to leave the V8 at home to use on the occasions I get home on the weekends.

Gstamer, thanks for the nudge on the Nantahala. I do plan to do this as well when the temps warm a little. You know how it is living in FL. We/I get very accustomed to the warm water. I have seen you mention paddling your Greenlander Pro in a knees up position. Any thoughts about a boat like the Etain and a knees up position. I actually retrofit my P&H Sirius with Patrick Onno's bar between the Yakima foot pedals back in the day. But with the tiny ocean cockpit on that boat there was no chance of getting a knee up. But I did like being able to get my knees together when paddling it.

Not to beat a dead horse but the core rotation afforded by the V8 has transformed my paddling into a workout rather than a bird watching event. Not that I have anything against bird watching.

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12 years 4 months ago #9828 by semdoug
Replied by semdoug on topic Re: Kayak for a surfski guy
Stanton,

I can't specifically comment on the Etain, have not paddled one yet. In my Nordkapp I was able to paddle with my knees up similar to what you are describing. If I'm reading Valley's specs right, the Nordkapp's depth is 3/4" deeper than the Etain, meaning the Nordkapp's deck is 3/4" taller. So, leg length may be a factor, my inseam is 35".

In looking at the pictures of the Etain on Valley's website it looks like there is some sort of day hatch/compartment just forward of the cockpit. Will that interfere with what you are looking for in knees up paddling?

If you are a Valley fan, the Rapier may also fit your needs, if you can find one. Though, that's not a traditional British style sea kayak if that is what you are looking for.

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12 years 4 months ago #9829 by Hipgrave
Regardless of what kayak you end up getting, look us up when you get relocated. There's a good crew of endurance paddlers across eastern TN & western NC and especially in the Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga & Asheville NC corridors. Good number of races too.

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  • Stanton
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12 years 4 months ago #9830 by Stanton
Replied by Stanton on topic Re: Kayak for a surfski guy
Hip, thanks for the response. I assume you will be paddling in the Volunteer 80 right? I have traded email and such with Charles regarding the race. A couple of questions. As an endurance paddler where would you paddle in the Nashville area. Charles' routes for his race have given me some insight to the Knoxville/Eastern TN area but everything I have seen around Nashville seem to be shallow/rocky and what not. Also, please give me an idea what boats you guys are paddling for these endurance efforts.

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12 years 4 months ago #9831 by Hipgrave
I'll either do the two day French Broad Classique or the Vol80 that weekend. Haven't decided which yet.

I live in western NC and paddle there and eastern TN a bunch but don't get to Nashville much. I'll make some calls and find out for you.

I race a V10, just sold a Nelo Sea Vanquish (and haven't decided on a replacement yet) and a wildwater kayak for whitewater/moving water races. I see a lot of Epic Endurance 18's around here and Van Dusen Moken's too. Westside Boat Shop designs are also pretty popular too. Otherwise its a hoog-poog of boats.

Hope this helps.

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12 years 4 months ago - 12 years 4 months ago #9832 by postal256
Nashville paddling tips. Percy Priest is a good lake. Plenty of easy put ins (free ramps, or walk it in, etc), but go to Hamilton Creek yacht club first and just use the rowing docks. Lake is 8' lower in winter, so be cautious when within about 25' of shore. There are very minimal stumps/obstructions. Worse case is hitting random rock near shore during winter. Below the dam, the Stones River is typically too shallow to paddle with an understern rudder. If it is high, it means the water is running and the current will make it very difficult to get back to your car. Old Hickory has more floating debris since it is a navigable waterway (locked dam). Not lowered in winter to any extent that matters. Watch debris in parts of the channel. Stay 30' from shore in general and you'll be just fine. Plenty of free launch ramps. Watch for 90mph bass boats on either lake during evening tournaments. Large barges/towboats on Old Hickory.. nice surfing waves from the faster towboats. Lake is rough on windy days. Cumberland River is deep and has bit of current from Old Hickory Dam to Cheatham Dam. I've paddled the whole distance in a day (10 hours).. good endurance paddle if you have someone to pick you up.

I want to add, carry a PFD with you.. the TWRA patrols the water in TN (in addition to the USCG on bigger rivers) and even though their handbook says racing kayaks are exempt from PFD requirement, NONE of them know about that rule. They don't care about whistles.
Last edit: 12 years 4 months ago by postal256.

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12 years 4 months ago #9843 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Re: Kayak for a surfski guy
If it's just the rudder at issue, you may consider adding an overstern option and remove the understern. For flat water the voerstern would do just fine and will not break or damage the boat moving forward if you hit something underwater.

If the water is slow moving and wide, you can manage in just about anything - get something you like in terms of qualities such as maneuverability vs. speed and ergonomics. If you paddle rocky areas, composite will last but will look bad pretty soon and may require repairs. Plastic might be more forgiving.

And as suggested, some moving water/WW experience can be a lot of fun, if you are the kind that enjoys getting upside down in their boat (I do). For that a boat like the P&H Delphin or Aeris or the WS Zephyr would be great. But short ones like these are very agile in moving water but somewhat slow and not optimized for straight line paddling over a long distance on flat water; longer boats are the opposite - faster but non-maneuverable, so you got to decide for yourself what you want to do with it...

Kayaks second hand in FL seem to be a lot cheaper than everywhere else - I've seen so many good deals posted there that I'm envious (as a buyer).

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  • Stanton
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12 years 4 months ago #9848 by Stanton
Replied by Stanton on topic Re: Kayak for a surfski gu
I really appreciate all the great feedback on this.

The mention of the French Broad Classique prompted me to google the event. My search returned mostly info on the French Broad Classic which is a bike race. At first this seemed appropriate as I know a lot of paddlers are also cyclists. But the dates didn't jive with the Volunteer 80. Then I refined my search with the correct spelling and found the Classique. Damn, that looks like fun and let me say the YouTube footage of Lecky Haller with that quick stroke was impressive. Being a SUPer as well I was really impressed with the cadence he was able to maintain. Dang!

Also appreciate the info on the Percy Priest. I haven't ventured to that side of town yet. Am I safe to assume that the entire 42 mile length of the lake is navigable and safe for a fixed rudder boat? And the Cumberland may be promising too, huh?

The discussion of the P&H Delpin is interesting too. All of the video I have seen for that boat looks like it would be a hoot in moving water.

There may be hope yet. Being an avid open water/saltwater guy I was beginning to get a little downhearted knowing that type of paddling wouldn't be available. But when I see that there are guys _endurance paddling_ that turns me on. My cycling background has ingrained the all day efforts that I love on the water as well. In fact, as I have gotten older I really prefer the water brand of endurance as my upper body is simply a better machine. Years of hammering on the bike have resulted in a lot of overuse injury. Teamed up with 50 something year old tendons doesn't make a very resilient lower body. Have been loving using my more powerful upper body and really have enjoyed learning to paddle with the rotation. One of the SUP instructors that I follow describes using the arm as a lever and then pulling the paddle through with the core. I use a similar movement on the Epic and surely do love the result. Plus I find that I have a lot of staying power when I paddle this way.

Thanks again guys. This is making me thing that Greg's recommendation for the Epic 18X might be the best compromise for now. It will allow me to have an enclosed boat to get through the colder weather. Gimme some slack, I told you guys I am a Florida boy. And the 18X will allow a more familiar paddling position. Then when the water and weather warm up a bit I can get serious about a Stellar SR and maybe a plastic play boat. This may not be so bad after all.

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12 years 4 months ago #9849 by postal256
Priest is plenty deep all the way back to interstate 840 (it is essentially a river at that point). Like I said, just don't hug the shore too much. Cumberland R. is deep.. no issues there. Stay away from the Harpeth R or Buffalo R unless you are in a boat you don't mind dragging bottom (ie, no understern rudders). Save those rivers for a fun canoe ride.

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  • Stanton
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12 years 4 months ago #9850 by Stanton
Replied by Stanton on topic Re: Kayak for a surfski gu
So would these shallow rivers be a good candidate for the marathon type canoe?

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12 years 4 months ago #9851 by postal256
I think they would. They vary wildly in depth so always check. Last time I was on the Buffalo, we only scraped bottom a few times. I just moved out of town, but lived right next to Priest, so it was my main training water. Great place to be.

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12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #11186 by pirates
Replied by pirates on topic Re: Kayak for a surfski guy
Following post is useful. I will keep these things in mind whenever I purchase a new kayak. Thanks guys
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Last edit: 12 years 2 months ago by pirates.

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12 years 1 month ago #11450 by duncangroenewald
Check out the Vaaka SK1, Nelo Sea Vanquish(with over stern rudder and WWR layup of course) or one of the JKK multisport kayaks which are designed for downriver racing - make sure you get a Kevlar layup designed for hitting the odd rock. The Nelo might be a bit tippy compared to a V8 - availability in the US may be a problem for the NZ boats.

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12 years 1 month ago #11459 by Trilobite
The above are all great suggestions. I might also add in any of Doug Bushnell's Westside boats. The venerable Thunderbolt and its detuned sibling, the EFT (Extra Fast Tourer), would be great choices. Their Kevlar hulls shrug off rocks and logs as well-they are by no means fragile craft, as evidenced by the proliference of Westside products in downriver races. And they are fast-the T-Bolt is easily as fast as the fastest skis.

This is by no means a blatant attempt at a sale, but I have an almost mint EFT on the classifieds block; I just don't paddle it.

Beyond that, Ted van Dusen's Mohican is arguably one of the fastest flat(ter) boats made, shy of a K-1. Through the shallows they are phenomenal. They're not inexpensive, but quality rarely is. ;)

"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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