I'm 1.83m tall, 75kg, have a 32" waist, and am lucky enough to have a 560 and 560M in my garage. I have paddled both the 560M and 560 in open ocean downwind conditions, in the flat, and in harbor chop. I am at the absolute limit on the 560M leg length but the bucket fits perfectly and the position ergonomically is spot-on. I find that in 1M swelling I bury the nose quite a bit and the ride is very wet and less stable than in the 560. I'm definitely faster downwind in the 560, at my size it goes downwind great, is very maneuverable, great secondary stability, and is the easiest ski I've ever had for remounting. So, for open ocean paddling I grab my 560. For very small downwind conditions, harbor conditions, flat water, and most races I choose the 560M b/c it seems slightly faster and the ergonomics work for me in smaller conditions, chop, and flat. Downwind I feel like I'm a bit heavy for it to be as efficient and maneuverable as I'd like.
The bucket design of the 560M is an ergo design, it's a narrower fit for smaller hips but it's tapered to also accommodate larger hips. I had to pad the Spark, I do not have to pad my 560M. My wife couldn't even get into the Spark, but can fit the bucket of the 560M nicely.
Like most shorter paddlers, the hump of the Spark was totally getting in my way, but the hump is nearly non-existant on the 560M.
Anyone's who has been on a Spark Downwind will tell you that it surfs really well - and I concur. The 560M accelerates faster, and responds even better to direction changes. I enjoy the 560M even more in all DW conditions.
Flat water speed was the easiest to compare: The 560M is amazingly faster: I don't feel bored, and it doesn't feel like I am pushing water. The Spark is quite fun DW, but a "drag" for training on flat water. It's rocker doesn't help there.
Acceleration was pretty easy to compare as well between the two: as soon as I compared accelerations on the 560M against my usual paddling buddies, the difference was obvious. The GPS started showing numbers I had never seen before. I care very much about acceleration, especially in DW conditions where seemingly, that is ALL I DO.
Downwind speed is more tricky to compare, but I have ample data, enough to clearly say:
The 560M is more agile, requires less effort to link waves and to accelerate: hands down, it's faster.
You'll be "drier" in the Spark, but it will take much longer to drain its cockpit. You'll get more wet in the 560M but the cockpit will dry before you can look at it again.
Moving your body fore and aft will affect the 560M. Moving my 57 kilos forward or back didn’t do much to the Spark. Downwind, I save tons of paddling energy by simply leaning my body on the 560M.
The 560M is even more fun. Don't get me wrong: if you were to remove the 560M from available skis today, you'll probably agree with me that the using a Spark DW is one of the most fun you will have. If you can handle the 560M, you won't be looking for another ski.
As a side note, I actually find the 560M more stable DW - like it's on rails.
I used to say that the 560M was a clear choice for paddlers who were 75 kilos or less. I take that back, because it’s more tricky than that. Now, and from having place several paddlers in the 560M, I will recommend the 560M to paddlers that are specifically:
Less than 70 kilos for rough water.
Less than 75 kilos for calm water (including flat water).
Short or long legs.
Narrow hips, or a little wider.
Paddlers who do not mind being part of the environment
Who are willing to use their bodies, instead of just “sitting there…”
Paddlers looking for a ski that doesn’t toss them around with side wind.
They are two super fun skis - the Spark is one super fun ski in Open Ocean as I find it more agile than most skis, but the 560M is even more responsive due to its size.
With its much deeper bucket, the Spark is a little more stable.
The 560M is still more stable than the V14.
The 560M is pretty much in a league of its own, and very well suited for us smaller humans: more fun on Downwinds, and faster on flat water.
nelo rep says midsize 560 is coming out in 2017 - received my 560 this week
would have preferred in between size but not keen to wait
very impressed so far with stability, acceleration, quality finish / features / performance!
That would be great!, that midsize model will reduce the overall volume of the L? Or is just a cockpit resizing in order to keep the ski in control in downwind conditions?? This last week, two mates told me they are impressed with their 560L, but they feel too loose while downwind.
On the other hand, after reading your message,i asked about to this my Nelo area dealer, and he told me that there's not any resizing "on the horizon", as he phoned directly to Portugal.
Any Nelo rep on this forum has something to say about??
I haven't been told about any resizing of the 560L; there's been a rumeur about having a 560 ski that would fall between the current L and M, but a rumor is all it seems.
Keep in mind that I am usually one of the last one to know.
Logically, however, there would be a long list of NEW SKIS coming out of Nelo. Here's what we may see in the next 18 months:
New K2 ski
New 510 PE ski
New Intermediate ski (Large)
New Intermediate ski (Medium)
That would bring the grand total to about 8 skis in the first two years of Oscar's arrival; a great accomplishment if it happens.
I bought a 560L. I am 6 feet and 185 pounds. There are a lot of boats I can not fit in due to hip width. My waist is only 32 inches, but the bones of my hips apparently protrude. I also have a V14GT, and I fit in just a tad bit tighter than I would like. The 560L has tons of room, and I don't hit at the hip bones at all. This is great for flat water, but I was concerned about the chop. I was very surprised. When I got into the chop I had room to spare in the hips, but I did not go off center. The seat does a great job of keeping you centered without constricting movement at all. So, I would say try it before you write it off as too wide. I tried the 560M and could not move at all.
Just to touch on what others have said and to add my two cents: The M was significantly less stable than my L for me. They felt like two completely different boats, and the hulls look different to me. There is a major difference in volume too. The M really had a K1 feel. I really liked the M and wished I could fit in it, but would use my 560 in conditions anyway as I am not the most stable guy in the world. My 560L is significantly more stable than my V14. Acceleration is hands down better. The Epic offers a drier ride, but the lower sidewall of the Nelo makes it easier to remount. I can paddle my 560 in flat water and keep my backside dry for a whole session if I am careful. The bailer is the best of any boat yet, hands down. I am not a fast guy. I marathon around 7mph. I find the cruise speed for me is about the same for the two boats. The Epic may have a nominal advantage in dead flat water, but with the acceleration of the Nelo, it means I am harder to drop on the wash, and I can catch waves that would otherwise slip away. Paddling position is the best of any ski I have tried. I can switch back and fourth to K1 without as much shock as with other skis. Since I got this boat, the V14 and K1s have pretty much been sitting. Also, don't underestimate the convenience of the shorter hull. Really handy for storage and hauling. I bought this boat site unseen based on a few reports from fellow paddlers. I am not disappointed at all. Awesome boat.
I bought a new lightweight 560 L this fall from the same shipment as Cliff did. I echo all of his comments in that the 560 is a really fun and comfortable boat to paddle. Also like Cliff, I'm not that big a guy (5'10" and 195 lbs) but my hips are quite wide or maybe it's just that I don't have much of an arse to lift me up into the wider part of the seat bucket. Boats like the V14 are too narrow as are most racing K1's. The V12 fits me well. The Uno Max gen3 fits but is way too confining for me.
The 560L seat takes a bit of getting used to because the upper part of the bucket is wide and the rear part of the bucket angles away from you, so you're really only touching the bottom of the seat. Like Cliff, this was fine on flat water. On rough water, it took about 10 minutes to get used to but then I liked it and felt pretty comfortable in the wide seat and didn't get tossed around because the seat more or less centers you.
On flat water, the ski accelerates really well. It also wash rides wonderfully and picks up and stays on tiny waves well.
I spent three separate sessions time trialling it on flat water against a V12 that I had at the time. I'm talking flat, flat water and on water with minimal wind chop that had a really short wavelength and wave height of only a few cm's. I used a HRM and an NK Speedcoach and recorded data at moderate to moderately hard efforts of between 7.0 and 8.0 mph for up to one mile (1.6 km) distances. While it was tough to parse speed differences between the two skis, I'm confident in my data as it was reproducible on three different days. In that speed range, I feel that the V12 is about 0.1-0.2 mph faster at the same effort/HR. Below 7 mph, I think they're about even, and also, above about 8.0 mph, they're about even. If that sounds a bit confusing, it is - and my guess is that it has to do with the introduction of suddenly higher wave drag that occurs in that range with the shorter wavelength of the 560. Compared with prior tests that I have done with the V12 and V10, I would put the 560 at about the same speed, again on flat water and in the 7-8 mph range of speeds, with the new V10.
Interestingly, I got similar data as did the reviewers from here:
But, I'd add that I'm not as powerful a sprinter as they are so I could only eke out about 0.1 or 0.2 mph more in the 560 compared with the V12. I would agree with everything they wrote in their review, too.
I haven't had the opportunity to race the 560 on flat water yet but my sense is that it would be a good boat to use if you foresee racing in a group where the 560 should be nimble and wash ride well and allow for easy accelerations to keep with the groups speed changes. If I thought that I'd be on my own in a time trial, I'd probably go for a V12 or something like that.
I've only done one downwind with the 560L - 8 miles in 1 meter (3 ft) waves and I had more fun in the 560 than I can remember having in any other ski. The needle nose buries easily in the wave ahead, but the bow is so skinny that your bow pops out moments later and you hardly lose any speed at all. I think the needle-like bow and the exceptional acceleration also allows you to run through more waves ahead of you than in higher volume skis. I continually found myself arriving at the end of my pre-planned path through the waves ahead of me only to be a bit confused as to where to go next. In other words, the 560 downwinds through small waves faster than my brain can navigate, so now I have to start looking further ahead of me.
All in all, it's a really fun and comfortable ski to paddle.
I am waiting on my new 560M to arrive shortly. In the meantime, we have super cold 4 degrees C air temperatures, with heavy fog. I decided to combat the cold with shorts, and work on technique a bit, which is still better than waiting on the couch.
This helped a bit:
Running on the beach before grabbing my ski
Launching sprints to keep the blood flowing thin
(my feet were kinda of frozen)
The water temperature is like 10 degrees C.
We are in mid-January, and I can't say that this is a typical winter - YET.
To be fair, we should start a new post about Nelo's intermediate ski. There's no info yet, but it will come out eventually. You may want to consider that the ski max width is not at all relevant (in this case). We are talking about Nelo, so regardless of the width, you can pretty much bet that the front-end will be narrower than most other Intermediate ski (making for a really fun intermediate ski, regardless if it's gonna be 46 or 48cm in width).
Some of the best things about Nelo's new Intermediate skis will be:
- Nelo's renown built quality (construction No. 4 and construction 7)
- Nelo's prices that I deem "super reasonable"
- Skis that do not weigh a ton