In search of my next boat

1 month 3 weeks ago #31965 by uk gearmuncher
I'm on a similar journey. I started in a Fenn Bluefin, migrated to a black tip Epic V8 Pro. I like it a lot but I'm finding the carrying weight (circa 15kg) tiresome. I'm also at the point of being ready to move on to another ski but its hard to know how big a jump you should or shouldn't make. I'd been set on going for a V10 Sport (red tip this time) but people have told me that that's virtually identical in performance to a V8 Pro. A V10 would seem to me to be too big a jump. The Revo R3 looks tempting too but I'm a 6ft 3 89kg paddler so I like a bit of volume.

How big a jump do people make when they progress in a boat ? (by the way, due to storage, it needs to be one in, one out !).

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1 month 1 week ago #32073 by tve
MCImes, if you're still looking, perhaps this is of interest: santabarbara.craigslist.org/for/d/surfsk...fish/6638226876.html

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1 month 4 days ago - 1 month 4 days ago #32107 by MCImes
Short version; how well does the V8 Pro surf 2-5' (0.5-1.5m) short interval wind waves, (like 7-9 second interval) compared to something like a Fenn XT? (seems like the higher rocker of the XT plus a tiny cockpit made it surf 100x better than the SR).

Longer version:
I was out paddling in some fun conditions last night; 16 knot wind with 3-5' swell at ~8 seconds, and was finally thrown off my boat unexpectedly for the first time! All my remounting practice served me well as I got back on my first try, but did manage to tangle my leash slightly. Now I understand more what you guys are talking about with leash entanglement, but I think I just needed to take a second longer and arrange the leash before remounting. Overall it went pretty darn smooth for being my first remount in the largest conditions I've practiced in, learned a couple small things along the way too.
Surfing last night was a blast, but it again reinforced my burning, passionate hatred of the SRg1 cockpit. the waves were steep enough that when a steep peak of a wave passed, it partially broke on me (which went pretty well overall) and i was left sitting in 10 gallons of water. Have you ever tried to catch the next wave when you're suddenly 70lbs heavier? It doesn't go so well :(

I missed out on the Custom Kayaks Horizon that was near me. Thanks TVE for the swordfish link but I need a boat in the 19-20" range, not a micron below 19", as im already at my 'form starts to suffer' threshold in choppy conditions in a 19" beam SR. The V8 Pro Ultra is still available near me (unable to test paddle it unfortunately), but here is why am not jumping on it:

It seems to me that American and European designed boats (Epic, Nelo, Stellar) all lack the rocker that South African and Australian boats commonly have (like Fenn). When I paddled Kirk's XT, it sat in the trough of the wave and surfed soooo much more naturally. Im marginally hesitant to buy another low rocker boat, as I really want my next boat to be a surfing monster (that's the fun part of paddling!). I also observe it seems low rocker boats nose dive into the next wave more readily vs a higher rocker boat which matches the shape of the wave more closely and is less likely to bury the nose.

So, to anyone with some V8 Pro seat time, does it 'sit' in the trough of a wave nicely more like a Fenn design, or do you have to keep working to maintain speed and direction?
Cheers

Current Boats: Stellar SR Gen 1 Advantage
Past Boats: Epic V10 Gen 0 Performance
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all" - God from Futurama

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1 month 4 days ago #32111 by Atlas
Hi MCImes.
You’re suspicions are exactly right. I have paddled the V8pro on several (small) downwind runs. It is a really nice ski for general paddling but I have zero interest in paddling it downwind again because in my experience it constantly nosedives into the wave in front. I’m happy to accept that it is probably a combination of my lack of skill and the lack of rocker (I’m 78 kg so I don’t think weight was a factor). However, having paddled the XT and Bluefin in more downwinders than I could count, some big, some small and some huge conditions; I can confidently say that these Fenn skis are just unreal in the waves.
I know the price might be a problem but I really think the Bluefin is what you’re looking for.

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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1 month 1 day ago - 1 month 1 day ago #32146 by MCImes
Great info. Thanks for the feedback Atlas and thanks to everyone who's chimed in. Very helpful stuff. The V8 Pro is still available but I dont think I can talk myself into it especially since you confirm what I suspected. the new epic designs finally seem to have some rocker, but that design is only on the elite boats so far. (dear epic, intermediate paddlers need rocker too!)

So, I'm definitely looking for a SA/AU/NZ designed boat. I'm very open to Fenn, but also want to cast as wide of a net as possible to increase the chance I find a suitable ski on the used market until I gather the funds to buy one new.

Can anyone comment on how a Carbonology Boost or Custom Kayaks Horizon compare to the Fenn line in terms of surfing and downwind handling? Both look like they have an acceptably rockered design from pictures and the Carbonology is priced pretty well here in the US.

I like the look of the bluefin but at 21" I wonder if that is too wide for small/medium conditions. We dont get consistently large swell, so on calm days I feel 21" may be a tad boring. the Mako XT isnt listed by the dealer here in SoCal, and paddling Kirk's older XT it was more tippy that I want. I really think 20" is the sweet spot im looking for, which the Boost hits perfectly (and V8 Pro minus the flat keel line). I wish Fenn had a 50 or 51cm boat, as that's what I think would be perfect for me...

Anyone want to sing the praises of the Boost downwind? I think I'm setting my sights on the Boost until someone talks me out of it :)

Current Boats: Stellar SR Gen 1 Advantage
Past Boats: Epic V10 Gen 0 Performance
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all" - God from Futurama

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1 month 1 day ago #32147 by tve
If I were you I wouldn't discard shorter boats, like the Nelo 520 or 550. (I believe the 550 is too tippy for you.) They have quite some rocker and being shorter they maneuver very nicely on small waves.

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1 month 22 hours ago - 1 month 22 hours ago #32162 by Fath2o
Wife and I just got back from week long boat trip to Islands off So Cal.
Had SUP's, surfboard, fishing poles, snorkeling gear, surfski, etc. Used them all!
Got back to Santa Cruz Island and anchored for two days in a protected cove next to "Windy Lane". Got on the old double foot well XT and headed up wind. Got some fantastic runs on the downwind legs. Just too much fun. I just think this old ski is fantastic. I have had it so long now it is like a part of me when I paddle it. It is so rare to even feel like I will fall out. Not that I don't. If you never fall out your probably not progressing.
I had 15 - 20 knots with 3 meter short interval somewhat confused conditions and the XT just seems to match the contour of the ocean surface.
Glad to see Fenn is coming out with a new version.
Marcus, I think if you spent some time in the XT you could quickly overcome any stability issues.
Good luck with your search.
Oh by the way to all readers, as is repeated on this forum consistently. Don't buy a heavy ski, you will most likely regret it, IMO.

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1 month 21 hours ago #32164 by MCImes
Hey Kirk, I paddled by your dock and was wondering if you were out and about the last few days, i dint see your boat there so I figure you were exploring. I did enjoy your XT quite a bit; I think part of my apprehension was, the day we paddled had somewhat confused bi-directional swell at almost 90° that didn't help things. I think with clean directional swell the XT would feel a lot better. I agree downwind it was a blast and one of the better all around intermediate boats.

I see the Mako XT listed on Fenn's (atrocious) website but its not listed for sale by Ocean Paddlesports. Is it new enough that he hasnt gotten any in yet? Any improvements / refinements / changes compared to your old XT? if the new design has a hair more stability, I'm all over it.

I am torn between getting something slightly more unstable (like an XT, Horizion or Boost) or something more in the 20-21" range (Bluefin or 520). I do want to push myself stability wise and definitely see benefit in challenging yourself, but on the other hand I want a boat that i can confidently take out in winter swell when everyone tells me the fun 6'+ waves come out. Plus I like kicking my feet over the side in the harbor and drinking a beer on occasion, which is quite easy in the SR stability class, I can literally lay back and chill with a beer which is nice after a hot day on the water.

Really I'd like 2 boats, an XT for small/medium conditions and group paddling and a Bluefin for medium/large conditions solo paddling (Solo is the norm for me). But 2 boats aren't in the cards at the moment. I just strained my middle finger last night putting my boat away (wtf!) so i'll probably the the rest of the week off, but we should paddle this weekend if you're around.

Current Boats: Stellar SR Gen 1 Advantage
Past Boats: Epic V10 Gen 0 Performance
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all" - God from Futurama

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3 days 18 hours ago #32379 by MCImes
A new boat popped up in my area and Im somewhat tempted.

Its a Fenn Mako 6 with a Huki Gull wing, 27lb layup. I am quite sure the boat is far too unstable for me at ~17", but the gull wing makes this intriguing to me.

Is there any wisdom about a tippy boat with a stability aid? Is this just training wheels that one becomes reliant on, or is it viewed as a good way to stability train? Im going to test paddle it this weekend, but wondering what you guys think about tippy boats with a gull wing for an intermediate paddler.

Current Boats: Stellar SR Gen 1 Advantage
Past Boats: Epic V10 Gen 0 Performance
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all" - God from Futurama

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