Tempted by the fruit of another

2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 3 weeks ago #33453 by MCImes
Hey Guys,
I discovered a Glass Vac Fenn Swordfish S for sale around me for a good price. I'm considering selling my XT and getting the Swordy. My only concern in the short term would be missing fun days because I'm stability limited or in a worst case scenario, this will be my boat for the Gorge downwind champs and I would hate to swim repeatedly (or at all) at the Gorge. 

This is a logical step up in the Fenn line that shouldn't be a step too far, right? I'm quite comfortable in the XT. I rarely fall out, only on very wild days and even then its usually because im not paying attention.  Now that light is coming back to the northern hemisphere I should be able to get on the water 3 days a week within the next month or less so will train 2-4 days a week from march thru the Gorge Champs. Think that's enough time to get comfortable? Just do it and dedicate the necessary time to master it? My alternative would be stick with a 48cm boat, just newer and lighter like a Zest.

Anyone want to talk me into holding out for a Huki S1-R, Carbonology Vault, or Vajada Hawx 46 because of superior stability, surfing ability, or other reasons? or do you think the SF-s would be a fine boat?

(I'm 190lb/86kg, 6'1"/185cm tall, been paddling 48cm boats for the past 3 years, still somewhat tepid on the big big days but rock solid in anything below "crazy seas"). My ultimate goal is to get a Bluefin-S for the crazy days and have the SF for Small-medium days, but the SF would be my only boat for approximately a year, so I want to make sure I'm not sacrificing too many good days before I pickup the BF or master the SF stability wise. 

Thanks for any thoughts 

Current Boats: Swordfish S
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 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 3 weeks ago #33454 by robin.mousley
Is there any chance you could have a paddle in the SF S before buying it?

There's no doubt that the SF S is a bit less stable than the XT (I've just spent some time paddling the new XT S for a review that'll be posted in the next day or two), and it's a fine boat, but I find the SF significantly more responsive and satisfying to paddle.

I'd say, go for it.  If you have the time to paddle it 3 x a week before the Gorge, I reckon that's ample time to get used to it.

For me the SF S is the ideal combination of performance and stability - I almost never have have to brace, even in hectic conditions but it also has near-elite capabilities in downwind conditions.  At age 55 I'm still improving my Miller's Run time - breaking my personal best time three times in 2018... I just love the boat.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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2 months 3 weeks ago #33455 by CrabStick
That time frame should be OK to acclimatise to the Swordy but ideally you'd paddle it before buying. The Vac glass is a bit more stable than the lighter builds and the Gorge is unlikely to throw up any big swells from side-on to really threaten tipping you out or struggle to put the power down.
I don't know the Huki but found the Vault to be twitchier than my Swordfish and am under the impression that the Vajda 46 is great in flatter conditions but may not surf as nicely.
The other option that allows you to get out in all conditions is to upgrade to the Fenn XT S (review pending) in a lighter/ stiffer build. 
Your long term goal of Bluefin + Swordfish seems very sound.......a good example of confirmation bias as that is what I'm going for!

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2 months 3 weeks ago #33457 by PSwitzer
MCImes, what are your home conditions big days like?  And have you been to the Gorge before?

If your big sessions are in the ocean, or one of the great lakes paddling along cliffs with lots of breaking water moving around, and you rarely fall out, that's different then, for instance, a really windy day in a semi-protected bay or smaller lake or whatnot.

Gorge could turn out to be totally tame, with waist high fun muffins lining up for days, or it could be like last summer in which there was plenty of carnage for folks that hadn't had bucket time in bigger steep stuff.  

I would hesitate to arrange for a tippier ski than I'm used to for a race in a few month's time.  If you get a more stable boat for the race, the worst that happens is if the course is flat, you lose a few seconds per mile (maybe) but if it's cranking and you don't feel confident, you may not have much fun, and like lots of people last year may even pull the plug if you are worried about safety.  Not worth it!

Just my 2 cents, if I travel for an event I want to be 100 percent sure my equipment isn't going to keep me from getting out there and having a blast
- Patrick 

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2 months 3 weeks ago #33459 by MCImes
My typical waters are mostly exposed ocean with sandybeaches. We are protected from the most consistent north swell generated along
the central / northern california coast, but consistently get 2m+ swell fall
through spring. Check out the google maps pic for my general location

i was out tonight and it was a handfull to stay upright in tri-directional
swell plus a couple knots of rip currents, but i managed. It was about as messy
as it gets around here. If i had a bluefin, it was that sort of night. check
out the wave diagram pic for the conditions.

Anyways, we get steep wind waves from .5 to 1.5m semi consistently, so would
get similar conditions with some regularity. Summer can get kinda flat and
windless at times, but it comes and goes.

I've never been to the gorge before - do the waves and wind line up nicely? Or
is it steep enough that you get more reflected waves? or some of both.

What percentage of the course is clean runs vs confused water?
 

Current Boats: Swordfish S
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 months 3 weeks ago #33460 by PSwitzer
MCImes, from your description of your home turf I would say if you are comfy in that stuff you will be fine on the river.  The year I was at Gorge, it was 20+ knots on the better days and it was a cakewalk compared to a big onshore wind day in California on the ocean.  It reminded me of a good downwind day on SF bay in that it was steep, but all the energy is moving at the same speed, thus nicely organized, nothing hitting you from the side even on the sections that stand up more, like in Swell City.  There were definitely many stretches of the river that were pretty tame, and some sections that stack up more, and if you stay out of the middle of the river you can avoid the tallest/ most fun/ challenging bumps.

That being said, last year was bigger, and one of my good friends who is expert level flipped his OC1 and it took him a good minute to untangle from his drink system and get going again!  But compared to your stomping grounds, the water and air is warm, the riverbank is never that far away and as a strong swimmer you will feel totally safe even if you wind up in the drink.  Carter emphasizes the danger to make sure people who aren't prepared/ don't have bombproof remounts don't get into trouble.  But I am guessing that your remount is pretty solid learning how to paddle ski where you're at.  See you there in July!
- Patrick 

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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 3 weeks ago #33461 by Fath2o
Marcus, so I have been eyeballing that Swordy too. But, with all my age related ailments I am less inclined to pull the trigger. It is only $500.00 less than a new one, but, the pfd and paddle for an extra $100.00 makes it much more enticing.
Rob made a very interesting and poignant comment - 
[font=segoe ui, segoe ui emoji, segoe ui symbol, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif] "but I find the SF significantly more responsive and satisfying to paddle."[/font]
[font=segoe ui, segoe ui emoji, segoe ui symbol, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]A ski that is much more responsive to rudder, paddle and body "english" can have a dramatic influence on perceived stability. When you can make very subtle adjustments/corrections to your ski in confused conditions that immediately result in the ski responding to your desired intentions and keeping you upright can intern make what is perceived as less stable ski into one that performs better for you. IE; improved stability. Well, if that makes any sense. Some skis are very slow to respond and tend to be less manageable and therefore less stable than there perceived superior static stability.
When I paddled the original Swordfish I was so impressed with it's ability 
and willingness to respond to every command that i put to it upwind and downwind. It responded to every subtle nuance without any hesitation.
So, basically, I had no issues with stability and consider it a fantastic ski design. I did have a bit of an issue with "dead leg" syndrome which unfortunately has become a chronic syndrome for me now. I think you would be very pleased with it and it would suit you well.

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