In search of my next boat

2 years 3 months ago - 2 years 3 months ago #31904 by MCImes
Hi gang,
I currently paddle a Stellar SR G1 Advantage. I paddle on the California coast in 1-4' waves most of the time, with occasional larger waves during the winter and from storms south of us.

I'm fairly satisfied with my SR, but there are a couple things it leaves me wanting:
1. Foot operated bailer (id like to be able to drain the cockpit without taking a hand off the paddle)
2. Smaller cockpit. Stellar boats in general all have massive cockpits. I like the smaller volume appearance of Epic and Nelo boats. (a G2 SR has a slightly smaller cockpit, and I like my G1 so would still consider another SR, but the G2 is still high volume compared to others)
3. Better rudder - the SR rudder blows. I know I can get a DK one that is much better, but I may just get a new boat in the process
4. Lighter - I carry my boat 1/4 mile to the water from my house. something ~25-30lbs would be much nicer than the ~35ish of the advantage layup
5. (Possibly) 1" more beam. I am definitely only looking for a 19" or 20" boat. Currently, when the ocean is really messy I'm right at the limit of my stability ability on the 19" SR. in the moments where im at my limits, I wonder if a 20" boat like a V8 Pro would give a little more reserve so that I could power through the waves instead of tentatively paddle forward. That said, I've still never taken an unintentional swim, so I can handle myself respectably in a 19" boat and paddle 4x a week and am gaining skill quickly, so another 19" boat is ok too.

So, im wondering if you think I would get a worthwhile performance upgrade from a newer boat design, like a SR G2, V8 Pro, or Nelo (550?). the boat MUST be no longer than 19' (5.80m) (garage limit) and I am only interested in 19" or 20" beam boats (48-51cm), as I feel this width is about right for my skill level and desires.

I could sell my boat for and exchange it for a V8 Pro Ultra on craigslist for not much money out of pocket, which is what prompts the question.

If it helps, I'm 6'1" (185cm) and 190lbs (86kg)

Any thoughts on if its worth the trouble?

Cheers,
Marcus

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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2 years 3 months ago #31905 by zachhandler
Back here in Mpls the v8 ultra is our dream boat for lake mille lacs. It is an awesome boat. Surfs increadibly well. I don’t think you can do better in the class of boats you are considering. I am certain that that bathtub bucket on the SR g1 is holding you back. It is a terrible horrible bucket. The 550 will be too tippy.

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2 years 3 months ago - 2 years 3 months ago #31906 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic In search of my next boat
Thanks Zach. I can blame this all on you (for taking me out on my first ski =). Thanks for chiming in.

upon closer inspection, I was thinking of the Nelo 520, not 550. Although a quick search says there is no Nelo dealer in the greater LA area? Think the 520 is worth putting effort into test paddling if I can find one within an hour or 2 of me?

I kinda figure the V8 Pro in Ultra is about my ideal boat. The steep waves we get here swamp my cockpit pretty much every time i turn to go down wind so the smaller epic bucket and foot operated bailer would be very much appreciated. I'll have to take a drive down to Long Beach and test paddle the V8 Pro in the near future.

Any other Sub 5.8m , 48-52cm beam boats that im forgetting about? (that are somewhat available in the USA?)

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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2 years 3 months ago #31908 by tve
Replied by tve on topic In search of my next boat
> Although a quick search says there is no Nelo dealer in the greater LA area?

Paddlecal.com in Newport Beach.

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2 years 3 months ago #31911 by kwolfe
Replied by kwolfe on topic In search of my next boat
I have a 550 and it would be tippier for sure than what you are looking for. The 520 would be worth a paddle. I have really enjoyed my 550. Good fit and finish and at 18ft fits in my garage (OC1 and V14 live outside for now).

As for speed, the V8 pro might have the edge over the 520 if you are concerned about it.

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2 years 3 months ago #31924 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic In search of my next boat
Like idea of v8pro but you could consider one of these too:

oceanpaddler.com/paddler-item/fenn-xt/

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2 years 3 months ago #31933 by Newbflat
Replied by Newbflat on topic In search of my next boat
Both the Fenn Bluefin S and XT are both only a few inches over 19 feet. And both will out surf your SR g1 .. no contest. I had a SR g1 and now a SR g2 and there is a big difference between the two. About the only thing they have in common is they not surf much better with a DK rudder on it when paddling downwind. The SR g2 is a much better ski in every way but you do take a hit in stability. If your primary concern in performance in a downwind then you should try a Bluefin if you're interested in mantaining stability. It hold be even more stable than the SR g1 but surf much better, so it will most likely be faster in conditions.
While a lever type bailer is nice, the small cockpits of... well everyone but stellar, drain fast enough with twin venturies.

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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2 years 3 months ago - 2 years 3 months ago #31938 by Jef58
Replied by Jef58 on topic In search of my next boat
I may not be as qualified to suggest a certain ski over another, but on paper, the Think Zen may be something to look into. Under 19 ft, 20ish inches wide with a nice bailer. They come in pretty light in the river and elite layups as well.

Good luck in your search.

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2 years 3 months ago #31940 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic In search of my next boat
Thanks guys. good thoughts

I dont know much about the Think line up but will see if I can demo the Zen.

Same with the Fenn XT. everyone seems to agree they surf medium to small swell very well which is a big consideration of mine.

So I need to attempt to demo the V8 Pro, XT, Zen, SR G2.

Kirk or tve, what boats do you have or paddle in this area?

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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2 years 3 months ago #31941 by zachhandler
The 520 is also worth trying. That said, by the time you demo all those boats that v8 pro ultra will no longer be on craigslist. If that is being offered at a good price I would jump on it.

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2 years 3 months ago #31942 by Paddle California
Hi there
We are Nelo West Coast, and have the new 520 XL available to demo right now.

So far, everyone who has been in it, loves it agility on the downwind, as well as its stability!

Let us know if you'd like to try it out.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We also have a video of the 520XL on a smallish downwind day in Newport Beach up on our YouTube account.

regards
Michele

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2 years 3 months ago #31943 by Heald
Replied by Heald on topic In search of my next boat
How about a V10 sport and an extension on the garage...?

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2 years 3 months ago #31944 by seajak
Replied by seajak on topic In search of my next boat
I'm also looking for my next boat and have demoed both the SR2G and Zen. Of the two I much prefer the Zen and am on the waiting list for the next shipment. The SR2G is a nice boat but it is spoiled by the large bucket. I've been paddling a friend's Evo ll for a while (on flat water) and have got used to the tight fit of the Think seat, so I felt as though I was rattling around in the SR. The Evo seat fits me like a glove and is the most comfortable I've used. The Zen is reassuringly stable but moves through the water very nicely and the ergonomics are superb. Here is a video of a Zen surfing


cheers,
clay

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2 years 3 months ago #31958 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic In search of my next boat
So,

PaddleCal, I'll see when I can make it down to OC for a paddle. I'm a couple hours north in Ventura.

No V10 Sports in my future :) The 19' 6" limit of the garage is fairly set in stone (quite literally)

The Zen is an interesting boat I overlooked as well. A large of this decision will be based on what I can find around me used, as unfortunately I dont have $3000+, and I dont see any Think boats around me, but its worth a look

I tried Kirk's Fenn XT yesterday and have a couple thoughts:
Stability, definitely lower than the SR. I was bracing regularly to stay upright in waves but didnt capsize. I like the shallow V hull for upwind paddling. I like the low primary/high secondary stability mix, but I think due to the stability, its not quite what im looking for right now. Its a strong contender for mt next-next boat though.
Surfing: Wayyyyyy better than the SR. The high rocker design really wants to sit in the trough of the wave. I was able to catch more waves and ride them longer than the SR. A really fun boat downwind.
Other: A very wet ride due to low sidewalls, though easy to remount due to the low sidewalls. foot well is soooo much smaller and drains so much faster than the bathtub that is the SR.

Overall what I learned paddling it: I see my ideal boat as similar to the XT, with medium-high rocker, small footwell, shallow bucket, but more stability for the time being.

The Nelo 520 has me very interested as it sounds close to this in a few ways, but the V8 pro is the only used boat in this category in my area...decisions decisions.

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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2 years 3 months ago #31959 by Newbflat
Replied by Newbflat on topic In search of my next boat
"Overall what I learned paddling it: I see my ideal boat as similar to the XT, with medium-high rocker, small footwell, shallow bucket, but more stability for the time being."

Well that’s simple.... a Bluefin.

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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2 years 3 months ago - 2 years 3 months ago #31960 by Fath2o

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2 years 3 months ago #31961 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic In search of my next boat
Nice find Kirk! Im seeing if I can test paddle his Horizion this week. Sounds like what im looking for and definitely the right price!

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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2 years 3 months ago #31962 by Atlas
Replied by Atlas on topic In search of my next boat
Newbflat hit the nail right on the head.

Current skis:
Epic V10L, Think Zen, Fenn Bluefin, Fenn XT double

Previous skis
Fenn Swordfish, Fenn Swordfish S, Fenn XT, Spirit PRS

Most with DK rudders.

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2 years 3 months ago #31963 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic In search of my next boat
Only problem is , it might be hard to find Bluefinn for $900.00

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2 years 3 months ago #31964 by Newbflat
Replied by Newbflat on topic In search of my next boat
Let see... ok then do what I did to my SR g1. First and foremost get a DK rudder. Like an 8” 15° normal or wide cord rudder. This will make the ski handle much better and you will have much more aggressive controle of the ski. Foam the back and sides of the bucket to move you as far forward as you can get comfortabley and still have stability as you go up in hight. This will help the ski catch runners easer and carry speed a little better. Add foam to the cockpit to take up the excess volum. Fill the whole area in front of the foot board and down the sides back to the seat. In the photo I have the area in the front filled but not the sides built up yet. It make a huge difference to bailing time. Remember the SR is still faster than both the the Bluefin and XT on flat water and will be a better ski than it was with the mods.. especially the rudder Do thoes things and save more money to buy somthig better.

Oh.. cheapest foam I have found is to buy the cheapest foam yoga blocks on eBay from China. Contact cement together and cut to chape.

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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