Surfski Innovation

6 years 3 months ago #24386 by Scode
Surfski Innovation was created by Scode
Just watched the Clint Robinson video Rob posted to the Surfski Info Facebook page.

For me it poses the question- How much innovation is left in surf skis? Especially in the elite category. They can't be made much longer or narrower and modern designers must've squeezed just about all they can out of hull shapes.

At the end of the day Dean Gardiner still holds the Molokai record on a slightly modified spec Burton ski which he set around 18 years ago. It must've been an awesome downwind day that day but, in the ensuing 18 years with the advances in skis and the materials used to build skis, I thought it would've been broken by now.

Any way just food for thought.

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6 years 3 months ago #24388 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Surfski Innovation
Looking at the on going development in just about every area of sport ie bicycles, motorbikes, sailing, cars, any sport that uses some sort of vessel for transportation, I would guess that there is still a lot of innovation, fine tuning and development still to come that we have not even thought about.

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6 years 3 months ago #24389 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Surfski Innovation
I'll take the opposite side and say I think we're near the limits of human powered hull design. with powerful CAD modeling programs, you can quickly stimulate the effects of any hull modification, and since fluid dynamics are fairly well understood, I am less hopeful that some revolutionary concept is around the corner. look at the speed improvements of recent elite skis. they're generally .1 mph faster than their predecessor at the sacrifice of even less stability.

also, you can't get much faster than a k1. has their design changed much lately? lighter, Ya, but a different hull shape? you can't do much better for fluid dynamics than a 16" beam round bottom hull... can you?

I'll give it to Greg though, maybe the next big thing is so big my mind can't comprehend it. as a lover of the Large Hadron Collider, I'm very open to the idea that we understand very little of the universe

Currently paddling a Kai Wa'a Vega Flex in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10g1, Stellar SRg1, Fenn XTg1, Swordfish S
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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6 years 3 months ago - 6 years 3 months ago #24390 by MaxB
Replied by MaxB on topic Surfski Innovation
I think racing ski development is going backwards. There are literally kilograms of junk on the ocean ski I paddle today, compared to the spec skis I was using 10-15yrs ago.

The fancy adjustable footplate mechanism on my ski has literally never been touched since I bought the boat (3 yrs ago). The various bungees don't get used. Don't even start me on overcomplicated bailer systems with all their fasteners and moving parts. And my new pet hate from an ever increasing number of manufacturers.... bow and stern handles! On lightweight composite craft, these are the most pointless additions yet. What's more, I want my racing ski to LOOK like a racing ski, not some recreational canoe that I need my family/friends to help me carry to the water!

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6 years 3 months ago - 6 years 3 months ago #24391 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Surfski Innovation
It really is coming down to each manufacturer offering skis for different conditions now.

Look at how many variations Fenn has now.

You can go an all round ski that does everything pretty well or get a ski that is super maneuverable downwind and skips from run to run but is not so fast in the flat conditions, or vice versa.

Like surfers carry around a handful of boards depending on conditions eventually surfski pro's will have the same options.

I wouldn't be surprised if they were already messing with individual elite athletes boats regarding bucket placement, rudder placement etc to suit them.

Always looking for the next boat :)

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6 years 3 months ago #24392 by Crossey
Replied by Crossey on topic Surfski Innovation
I think the key is that while speed in flat conditions are dependent on ski design records such as the Molokai are going to be set on days when other factors (wind, swell, paddler skill) play a bigger part. It's also likely that the ski that's most suited to those conditions won't be the fastest flat water ski.

One of the things I like about ocean paddling as a sport is that the conditions can be a great leveler and also one of the reasons that I think the race for the lightest, skinniest ski sometimes gets overblown.

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6 years 3 months ago #24393 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Surfski Innovation
Just like in cycling where the biggest component is the rider, in paddling the biggest component will be the paddler, however in a consumer market change will always be promoted as the next best thing, necessary to get the most out of your paddling, we have already seen this in previous years with each model touted as being faster, more stable etc, however the top guys would still win on ski's that are ten years old.

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6 years 3 months ago - 6 years 3 months ago #24394 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Surfski Innovation
MaxB - we each have our own opinion and I thank you for yours. My opinion is the opposite of yours. I use my bungees everytime i paddle, for my flip flops when i am on the water and for my paddle when I am off the water with the ski on my shoulder. I love an easily adjustable footplate because i like to let other people use my ski. I love a bailer that closes because i live in a cold part of the world and a bucket full of ice water is not a great way to start a flatwater paddle. (The new bailers also drain much faster). And i wish my ski had handles. Makes double carrying in a stiff wind so easy.

Current Skis: Kai Wa’a Vega, Nelo 550L g2, Epic V12 g2, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X

Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy
The following user(s) said Thank You: Steve Hansen, Newbflat, Spacehopper, Murphy

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6 years 3 months ago #24395 by Dicko
Replied by Dicko on topic Surfski Innovation
There can't be a lot left in the design of the hull. Maybe a tweak here or there.

I reckon the next innovation has to be in the fins and rudders. I would love to have the time and expertise to try 3 small fins (surfboard style) as opposed to one large rudder.

Would it improve tracking and speed across a wave? It did in surfing.
Would it make skis more stable? The rudder is the single biggest drag on a ski. I wonder if placing 2 small thruster fins and a smaller rudder on a boat would decrease drag.

Has anyone tried this?

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6 years 3 months ago #24396 by ErikE
Replied by ErikE on topic Surfski Innovation

I'll take the opposite side and say I think we're near the limits of human powered hull design. with powerful CAD modeling programs, you can quickly stimulate the effects of any hull modification, and since fluid dynamics are fairly well understood, I am less hopeful that some revolutionary concept is around the corner. look at the speed improvements of recent elite skis. they're generally .1 mph faster than their predecessor at the sacrifice of even less stability.

also, you can't get much faster than a k1. has their design changed much lately? lighter, Ya, but a different hull shape? you can't do much better for fluid dynamics than a 16" beam round bottom hull... can you?


Mostly I agree; I don't expect any radical improvements either. But regarding the question "has [k1] design changed much lately?", I find Nelo's new Cinco quite interesting, and it clearly differs enough from their previous design, Quattro, that it can't be viewed as just a slight adjustment:





But I must admit I don't know if it's much faster. Probably slightly, but not necessarily a lot.

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6 years 3 months ago #24397 by craigDBN
Replied by craigDBN on topic Surfski Innovation
I'm surprised hydrofoil hasn't been mentioned yet.....I think there is still plenty scope for improvement in this field of design.

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6 years 3 months ago - 6 years 3 months ago #24398 by Newbflat
Replied by Newbflat on topic Surfski Innovation
LOVE my Epic fancy smanshy bailer. Other people paddle my ski sometimes so adjustability is a good thing. Handles come in suprisingly handy and I Love the mid ship ones on my S18s. My bungees are used on nearly every trip. They hold a water blader sometimes , my sandals, PFD at times. Holding the end of my paddle while carrying the ski is reason enough to to have them.


The evolving stability to speed ratio has been a steady improvement and I hope it gets better. Better safty features and options for light touring. More colors!.. I'm sick of white skis. Better stronger and lighter construction...

FENN Bluefin S
FENN Swordfish S carbon hybrid
Epic V8 double gen 2
Lot and lots of DK rudders.


Had:
Stellar SEL excel (gen 2)
Stellar SR excel (gen2)
Stellar S18s g1 (excel)
Epic V10 Double (performance)
Stellar SR (gen 1)
V10 sport (gen 2)
V10 (Gen 2)
Beater SEL (gen 1)

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6 years 3 months ago #24399 by Spacehopper
Replied by Spacehopper on topic Surfski Innovation
I'm sure there'll be something that will come out of left-field sooner or later.

Probably true that there's a limit to the speed increases that you can get from a human powered craft.

However, it also seems that many paddlers are more fitness than technically focused. Which is perhaps why, despite the ski and flatwater rules being very open, there seems little culture of amateur level tweaking and tinkering - where there's more opportunity to try something off the wall, compared to a ski manufacturer with a need to produce a saleable product.

I might be wrong but I get the impression that even the K1s used in the Olympics are largely 'off the shelf'?

There's maybe some mileage in working on the rough water manouvreability of skis. I'm not sure the single rudder is the optimal solution.

The hydrofoil option is often brought up, away from the idea of flying the whole boat there is the more subtle option of a single rudder foil and it's interaction with the stern wave. It's now used in some sailing dinghies, that move at not dissimilar speeds to skis, but there are obvious differences in hullshape and rudder position that might rule it out. And it would probably prove a great weed collection device... :)

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6 years 3 months ago #24400 by Spacehopper
Replied by Spacehopper on topic Surfski Innovation
And all this focus on skis...what about a better paddle???

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6 years 3 months ago #24401 by red_pepper
Replied by red_pepper on topic Surfski Innovation
Maybe, much like America's Cup racers, we'll go to catamaran hulls and have speed and stability! :)

Newbflat: if you want colors, you're going to be ecstatic over the new Stellar color options. See the attached new SR image. :)
Attachments:

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6 years 3 months ago #24402 by Newbflat
Replied by Newbflat on topic Surfski Innovation
@red_pepper

Your right... I love that color scheme. I almost ordered one from HUKI with that green. The new SR is a very appealing package.

Bill

FENN Bluefin S
FENN Swordfish S carbon hybrid
Epic V8 double gen 2
Lot and lots of DK rudders.


Had:
Stellar SEL excel (gen 2)
Stellar SR excel (gen2)
Stellar S18s g1 (excel)
Epic V10 Double (performance)
Stellar SR (gen 1)
V10 sport (gen 2)
V10 (Gen 2)
Beater SEL (gen 1)

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6 years 3 months ago #24403 by Newbflat
Replied by Newbflat on topic Surfski Innovation
Just some rambling thoughts on the state of ski paddling.

At the moment skis seem to be on two tracks only, ether spec skis or ocean racing skis, both designed for racing and little else. . It took some time for both Sea Kayaking and Whitewater kayaking but both over time developed lots of specialized boats. Some for creeking, surf play, hole play, rock garden and tide race play etc…. While i paddle a number of different skis i do so for different reasons. My V10 for skilll building and racing in flat to moderate water, a V10 sport for rough water, racing and general paddling fun and my S18s for pure fun. I have more fun in the Stellar s18s than the others because it surfs really well, is very maneuverable, is surprisingly quick and totally care free to paddle… Its the only boat where everything doesn’t become a race mostly because i just can’t be bothered as I’m having so much fun surfing some boat wake or piddly wave… or …dropping off some big over steep wave into some big hole that would have me on edge in my V10 or sport. I can throw it around and be all caviler when in it. Its pure fun and find myself laughing out loud when paddling it. I suspect this is the same for most beginner boats as well.

Whats my point?… There is room to invent fun boats, a new class of skis.

In a perfect world I want a ski sort of like my s18s but to have a spec ski like bow (at least somewhat) and with a hard chine aft and a flatter run from the seat aft so it surfers even better and will hang on to a wider surfing angle. I want a bit more rocker and a rudder with a bit of a canted axis to help it in those wide angle surfers. And maybe an inch narrower.. This would be my go too fun ski, no nod to racing or squeezing out a touch more speed at all, just surfing heaven and wave linking goof off fun… I would also like an option of a spec type ski with honest touring hatches for light costal touring and general beach surf fun. I want a ocean type ski designed for fast long distance touring with a load. One that is made of solid glass with no or little coring and a thick gelcoat (yes, a tank) so i can drag it up a rocky beach loaded like a touring kayak and it can be bumped around in the rocky surf without getting holes. My s18s would last 2 days doing that in the Pacific NorthWest. A true tough fast expedition ski.

Maybe my examples are not everyone's tast but I hope you get my point.

There is such a push to be in a “faster” tippier skis and to get faster and closer to the podium. It seems most people are over skied as it is and on some level struggling. Sometimes i feel many people forget about just having fun out there. If there were more options , more diversity in ski choices i think it would appeal to more people. As is it seems to be all about racing and if your not into racing and lots of training then its not for you. The new crop of beginner skis have definitely helped change this perception but most are still dedicated paddling crafts only. The s18s and new V7 are on the right track i think.

I still paddle/train 5 or so days a week and train because i want to. But more and more I’m paddling wider skis and spending more time just having fun and not worrying about racing (not that i did that much anyways). In the end I’m enjoying the sport more and also wishing i has more options for “play skis”.

I don’t see surf skis as having matured out of racing. Absolutely zero wrong with racing but there are other things to do in a ski besides race.

Bill

FENN Bluefin S
FENN Swordfish S carbon hybrid
Epic V8 double gen 2
Lot and lots of DK rudders.


Had:
Stellar SEL excel (gen 2)
Stellar SR excel (gen2)
Stellar S18s g1 (excel)
Epic V10 Double (performance)
Stellar SR (gen 1)
V10 sport (gen 2)
V10 (Gen 2)
Beater SEL (gen 1)
The following user(s) said Thank You: Fath2o, Spacehopper

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6 years 3 months ago #24404 by Spacehopper
Replied by Spacehopper on topic Surfski Innovation
Great post Bill.

Certainly room for innovation in the outlook/organisation of the sport in terms of attracting more people.

At present kayak racing in general just seems to be based around everyone aspiring to paddle the tippiest boats and it's just hard cheese if you can't...

Compare that to cycling or sailing, both having much greater participation globally, where the majority of racing is conducted in very 'middle of the road' equipment that somebody with a basic level of competence can use. The modern accepted wisdom in sailing is that fair racing can only happen in identical boats.

So maybe there's an option for either a one-design racing class or a specific set of rules - control on waterline beam, short overall length to ease storage issues(!), a mandated hatch to encourage boats that are multipurpose and a sensible minimum weight to ensure durability and long racing life.

The manufacturers are skirting round this already with the boats that are appearing, but it needs race organisers and elite paddlers other than just Oscar to push it and give it some validity.

There are certainly far more V8s sold in the UK than we ever see at the races here, suggesting perhaps that people are put off by the perception that they'll just be left behind by the guys in the fast boats. Giving them a separate prize to race for would create a bit of motivation to sling the boat on the roof and come and join in the fun...

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6 years 3 months ago #24405 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Surfski Innovation
great thoughts bill and hopper. I like standard boat classes. it comes down to the paddler then.

you make me wonder if I should get a v10s, sr, or a v8 for a fun boat...

Currently paddling a Kai Wa'a Vega Flex in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10g1, Stellar SRg1, Fenn XTg1, Swordfish S
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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6 years 3 months ago #24406 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Surfski Innovation

So maybe there's an option for either a one-design racing class or a specific set of rules - control on waterline beam, short overall length to ease storage issues(!), a mandated hatch to encourage boats that are multipurpose and a sensible minimum weight to ensure durability and long racing life.


I hope this idea does not take off (at least not in Cape Town).

I would hate it if my recreational Miller's Run ski "had" to be heavier, less manoeuvrable, shorter or whatever, just because the rules dictate these things.

I think the current environment is totally "fair" enough - nobody gains any real advantage with faster hull shapes. The guys in the faster boats would destroy us no matter what hull shape they use.

IMHO it would be bad for the sport.

Always remember, the race speed is less about the hull speed and more about the paddler. Anyone can paddle a V8 faster than a world champ can swim next to a V14.

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