Topic-icon Advanced Surf Ski for a beginner

6 months 2 weeks ago #27804 by LakeMan
First let me say thank you to all of you on this forum for your invaluable information on skis. Trying to learn about them has been a fun adventure and you've all made it more enjoyable.

I've been sea kayaking for 3 decades so I'm no beginner to the sport. However I have only been on one ski and that was a demo day on the Atlantic. I fell in love with them right there and this was at least twenty years ago. The boats have come a long way since then. I am in the hunt for my first one now.

My question and comment is this... why the push for beginners to get "beginner" skis? Is it to sell more boats? Is it because people will give up if it's too challenging? If a man wants a corvette we don't say "buy a Miata first until you get used to sports cars" or if someone wants to take up tennis we don't say "go to Walmart and get a $30 racket until you learn the sport and then get a Wilson Hammer". Yet we do it with kayaks. I say buy the best you can afford and learn to use it. Are the higher-end skis tippy? Heck yes. But so was learning to ride a bicycle when I was five. We learn, we adjust. What happened to having some backbone?

These are my thoughts. I'm looking for something thin and fast. No beginner crafts for me. There are a lot more but I don't want to bore you any further.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27815 by robin.mousley
Hey LakeMan

Yep, we used see many people buy skis that were too advanced for them; they'd get frustrated and give up.

Conventional wisdom is that for many people it's better to get something that you can get to grips with fairly quickly, have fun and develop paddling technique, then trade up to a more "advanced" ski.

Don't forget that for many people, the only place to paddle is on relatively rough water; it's much easier on flat, inland lakes.

But sure - if you're determined to go up a steep learning curve, or if you've already developed your balance and technique, go for it!

Rob

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6 months 2 weeks ago - 6 months 2 weeks ago #27818 by photofr
Welcome to the surfski World!
Here’s my view on the subject (with couple of feedback on experience). I hope you find this useful.

Most people purchasing their first surfski will have this in common:
Wanting to have fun
Wanting to go fast / faster
Wanting some sort of exercise

To be fair, swimming can be quite fun and enjoyable for some, but swimming next to a surfski isn’t that much fun - ever.

Speed-wise, and from my experience teaching surfski paddling: People will paddle faster on a wider and more stable surfski on ALL BODY OF WATER (Rough Ocean, Calm Ocean, and even dead-flat lakes) during their first couple of months. After about 60 days, it seems that flat water paddlers will be faster with a faster surfski, however, the same paddler will still be slower in Rough Ocean, and often in Calm Ocean. After about 2 years of serious paddling, most paddlers will still be faster on a wider and more stable surfski in Rough Water.

Summarizing: Figure out where you will be paddling 90% of the time (flat water or Open Ocean) and decide for yourself.

Looking at more logic:
You want to get a ski because you want to paddle. However, do you really want to get a ski that you can only paddle on certain days of the week? With a stable ski, your ability to go out on the water and enjoy will increase by many folds.

To be fair, everyone wants a faster car, and you’d be very surprised to see that more than half of today’s paddlers are on a ski that is just too tippy for them. Even years later, they are still not getting the most out of their skis.

It’s really like alpine skiing: you cannot debut the sport on downhill racing skis – it’s just not wise, and it has nothing to do with selling you more equipment.

Ocean Kayaking vs. Surfski
It's another subject altogether, but I assure you that paddling a surfski and paddling an Ocean kayak is as similar to Alpine skiing and Cross Country skiing.

No matter what you decide, try to spend a lot of time on the water.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27821 by LakeMan
Thank you for your excellent advice. It makes a lot of sense. In ski reviews it seems they use the terminology of "beginner", "intermediate" and "advanced" when they really should be saying "flat water", "rough water" and "big swells". (or something like that)

I've lived most of my life in the ocean but work has taken me to the mountains. Even though my kayak is "advanced" I've been in some big seas that gave you that "this is how I'm gong to die" feeling. It sure is a lot of fun. My quest for a ski will mainly be for flat water but I still want to take it to the coast. I like the challenge of learning and as an Italian I don't give up easily (stubbornness in the dna).

I'll keep reading the posts and reviews to learn more. Thanks

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27823 by rhainan
Three decades in a sea kayak can mean a lot of different things. It could tell me you are ready to jump right into a V14 or a V8 might be the better choice. Without eyballing you, most ski paddlers in the know will always recommend a beginner boat because it is a choice that can't backfire. You will likely be able to safely paddle it in most conditions and you will have fun on it. You can start learning good technique right away without spending a lot of time learning to stay upright.

Nobody has ever told me they regret buying a beginner boat. I have sold V10/12/14 to people who quickly resold them and came back to me to buy a more stable ski.

If somebody can safely drive any car they should have the ability to safely drive a corvette with little or no difficulty (at the speed limit). They will probably be safer in the corvette due to better brakes and higher technology.

Similarly, if you know how to ride a bike you should be able to safely pedal any two wheeled bicycle. Fast bicycles don't handle much differently than slow bicycles. As long as the clip in pedals are swapped out for flat ones, you shouldn't have any problems riding a bike from the Tour de France.

Most people I deal with can't just hop into an elite surf ski and successfully make it across a lake, even in benign conditions despite having the ability to paddle a kayak.

Western Pennsylvania Epic Kayak Dealer

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6 months 2 weeks ago - 6 months 2 weeks ago #27824 by Uffilation
Hi Lakeman, my 2 cents:

"I've been sea kayaking for 3 decades"

Did you start in the skinniest kayak right away? Wait, are there skinny sea kayaks?
Whatever, with a 30y headstart in balance and paddling, you should directly hop into anything sub 43cm and not something almost as wide as a sea kayak :whistle: ;)

However, on beginner skis: many of those who think of starting with surfki often are also beginners in paddling ... and some even beginners in water sports and don't have that 30y paddling headstart.
Learning proper technique on a more stable boat and getting confident is not a bad thing then, esp. if a wider ski allows them to get out more often even when conditions are a bit more demanding ... esp. for those that don't have a lake/sea behing their backyard.
Yep ... or get a tippy ski and add a fin under the seat for stability in the beginning/conditions, which is what I'll do for my next step.

However, others might very well start with K1 training right away and next hop into the tippiest ski around, like surfksiestoniaski here. Also a preference, talent thing or what other sports people did before ...

A surfki manufacturer would want to get as many folks as possible into that sport, so lowering entry barriers for real beginners makes sense as by that more people will get hooked by experiencing the fun right away, instead of turning away after some swims ... why artificially creating an "elites only"- sport? yep, surfski manufacturer's also have an interest in ... selling surfkis, which is why providing easy entry into that sport is not evil, imo. And there are even those advanced/elite paddlers, that are happy to fall back on such stable skis in unreal conditions or for whatever ofer reasons.


rhanin: "Nobody has ever told me they regret buying a beginner boat"
I also did it the other way round, first a skinnier ski, then a stable one as I realised I was missing out many days due to conditions on which I did not dare to take the skinny boat. Now I am very happy to have two to select from for whatever mood I am in as there are those days, where you just want to "hang out" on the water. racing/mountain/touring biking thingy

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27825 by photofr
REF: Did you start in the skinniest kayak right away? Wait, are there skinny sea kayaks?
Whatever, with a 30y headstart in balance and paddling, you should directly hop into anything sub 43cm and not something almost as wide as a sea kayak.

QUESTION: Are you saying that he should be getting into an easy Elite ski? Did I misunderstand you or is that what you meant to say?

If that's what you meant, by all means: you are totally entitled to your opinion. However, what's your recommendations based on?

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27826 by rhainan
Based on wise advice I started in a V8 (1G). I enjoyed it for a year and was convinced I was ready for a faster boat. Of course I ran out and bought a V10S (1G) and was absolutely shocked I did not have the ability to paddle it across the lake.

Back then there were no opportunities to test any boats before buying. My previous kayaking experience was some limited time in a wide sea kayak so I was pretty much a raw novice and I did not possess any natural talent or balance.

I hated that V10S. I probably paddled it six times the whole year. Anything but dead calm was too much for me. To be honest I was embarrassed to fall in and my core could not handle the stress of staying upright.

I did end up finally paddling a (2G) V10S the following year. However, it took me the whole season to surpass my speeds in a V8. That was a lot of time and money to get slightly faster.

I then went to a V10L. That was even more money to go slower for another season and to now be slightly faster. I now have a V12 (2G) on order. By now I am fully aware I am spending a lot of money to actually go slower. Perhaps not the smartest move but otherwise I would just buy a corvette.

Western Pennsylvania Epic Kayak Dealer

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6 months 2 weeks ago - 6 months 2 weeks ago #27827 by Uffilation
Ludovic,
seems I forgot to put the text in [irony]....[/irony] additionally to the two :whistle: ;) smileys I used. I
But even if I had made the irony clear that way, I get the feeling, we are on different planets anyway, must be my wording, whatever.
Read the opening post again, 30y sea kayak experience, I asked if he started that in a "skinny" sea kayak those days. The wording of the last par. in that post "needed" at least a sub 43cm (meant thinner than 43 cm by that) comment lol > :evil:

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6 months 2 weeks ago - 6 months 2 weeks ago #27828 by photofr
That's a lot clearer now.
I didn't see the smiley faces, therefore the ironic tone went over my head - before you edited your post.

What country are you from anyway?
I have been wondering about that one for a while...

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27829 by kwolfe
LakeMan,
Lots of opinions here and they are have their own points. I think it really boils down to what you want to do and how much effort you are willing to put in to do it.

My experience comes from going from a V8 to a V14 this year. I was going to go to a V10 but decided that I wanted the challenge. Trust me, a good day for me on the V14 is a 5mile paddle at good pace (flat water) without falling in. However, I am determined to tame that ski by the end of next season. I still have my V8 for days where I just want to paddle and not think but I also have the V14 for "training".

If you have the drive and determination then go for it. I think some people just want to paddle and not have to work on it. Nothing wrong with that at all. That's why I paddle my OC1. It's just fun and easy to paddle.

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27830 by LakeMan
My first kayak was not a fat tub but quite sleek and fast, however it was a poly boat. My current kayak is very thin and fast. Although I have no issues with it everyone who has ever used it got a lot of water up their nose. As far as sea kayaks go it would be considered advanced.

By what I am learning from your posts I can see the reasons for starting with a wider, more stable craft. For me I'm going to go with something a bit for quick since most will be on flat water.

So here's my next question: I am 5"10 and weight 160. How much does weight play in stablizing a ski that is long, narrow and lightweight? ei, Is a fiberglass better for someone who doesn't weigh a lot?

Thanks again for all your input. Feel free to recommend skis too, even if you're a manufacturer or a dealer.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27831 by photofr
If you are going to be 90-95% on flat water - like lakes or such - then you'd be surprised what you can get away with!

Surfskis were primarily designed for ocean paddling... but they turn out to be very stable on lakes or flat water - very stable when compared to their counterpart: the flat water k1. For this reason, and with your experience, and not to forget your stubborness, you could in fact have a lot of fun with an advanced ski.

Models
Newer skis will have a tendency to be faster and offer more stability than say older ones. You would do well to try one first, but you'd probably find enjoyment and challenge with:
Nelo's brand new 560M or the slightly more stable 560.

We are talking about speed, so forget about ocean paddling for quite some time.

Other alternatives to get your adrenaline going:
Epic's V10L
Think's Uno

I'd stay away from Fenn - great skis too, but haven't found them very fun on flat water.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 months 2 weeks ago - 6 months 2 weeks ago #27832 by Uffilation
not all lakes are allways simply flat water though


@lakeman, I agree with some of that reg. weight
www.surfski.info/getting-started/tips-ot...in-your-surfski.html

a discussion on layup/weight was also here
www.surfski.info/forum/2-announcements/1...ki-a-better-ski.html

I started surfski paddling with an intermediate carbon ski (after one summer of sea kayak, no previous paddling experience) ... with my weight of 76kg+-, the glass version would have been more stable though as I learned later ... (generally I think a first stable boat is better a GF version (which becomes a keeper m.b.) and then later go for a skinnier carbon),
for the windy/wavy/winter conditions I got a PE beginner ski later that also allows for rivers, and sold the sea kayak ... got a bargain 2nd hand skinny GF ski, but sold it and stayed with the carbon ski
I am planning for the next step (nelo 560) next year = 3rd of paddling.
I am rather "average" talented for any sport I do.

Since you'd have your sea kayak as a fall back option for those days when you don't want to be challenged by balance and just hang out on the lake, you can do things. different than "starters" that buy their first boat.

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27833 by photofr
Uffilation Quote Message:
why does everyone think that lakes equal flat water?

LakeMan mentioned that he was from Italy, and that he intended on paddling on flat water. In making my recommendation, I chose to include and remind his new ski's intended use: Lake - and to be sure I made myself clear, I mentioned FLAT WATER.

Clearly, not all lakes offer flat water - but one would argue that the majority of lakes are ideal for flat water paddling.

We could also argue that there are very few lakes in the World that could remotely compare with Open Ocean paddling.

It's like this:
A square is a rectangle, but a rectangle isn't a square :)
Perhaps your lake is not always flat, but I am pretty sure that LakeMan's lake is flatter than Lake Michigan. If I am wrong, I am also pretty sure he will tell me.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27834 by LakeMan
:) You are correct Ludovic, my lakes are almost always flat water. Usually sheltered by the mountains and unless there's a big pop-up storm it's nothing like the open ocean or Lake Michigan.

I'll check out the boats that have been mentioned. I'm surprised to hear that Fenn was not good on flat water. Is this a common understanding or a loan opinion? I've heard they are great boats.

I may or may not race the boat (yes there are races but to my understanding not many). So too speeds may not be necessary. At my age I would never win except maybe in my own age group. I sure won't be quitting my job and doing the race circuit. B)

By the way I'm Italian but live in the U.S. like most of them. We need jobs too.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27837 by photofr
Fenn really make some great skis, but with a stopwatch in hand, I just never found them very fast on flatter conditions. They are however a must to at least consider when it comes to Downwind paddling - but to be clear: I am not yet in a position to recommend them for flat water paddling.

Since you're in the states, I'd recommend making a short drive to a surfski dealer and trying a few models.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27838 by LakeMan
That's good to know. So I'm looking for a ski with less rocker and more waterline? Stability is nit the main factor.

It may surprise you but there are no shops that sell skis within hours of my home. I will be going to the coast soon but testing will be limited since most of the shops are not located on the water and with winter in the northern hemisphere they may not permit customers to die of hypothermia. Most of my information will have to be gathered from this forum and reviews.

I have the ability to try out a Vajda Hawx 43 which may be good on flat water. They sure look nice anyway. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27839 by photofr
You should mention the nearest major city from your home on the board: this may help you more than you think. You may just find someone willing to meet up with you and let you try their personal skis.

The surfski community is usually pretty cool - unless you tell them you have no intention of taking care of their skis.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 months 2 weeks ago #27840 by LakeMan
Good advice. I've added the info. I do find outdoor people to be good natured. It's the indoor crowd we need to keep an eye on.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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