Nelo 550L vs Epic V10 Sport - anyone paddled both ?

6 months 3 days ago #33817 by uk gearmuncher
I haven't tried the Nelo 550L yet (hoping to soon) but having currently got an Epic V8 pro (and finding that more than comfortable) and then just having tried the V10 G3 (and found that a likely step too far), I was likely heading off to get a V10 Sport. However, I've been recommended to try Nelo's 550L. 

Has anyone paddled both and have any thoughts ?

Previous Boat Journey: Gaisford spec ski, then Fenn Bluefin, then Epic V8 Pro, Now a Epic V10 Sport and a Nelo 550L coming in soon.
Recent Demo's: Epic V10 G3, Nelo 550L, Epic K1t

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6 months 3 days ago #33819 by SpaceSputnik
I haven't paddled either but learned first hand that 550 ML has a bucket that is tight enough to be a problem with my winter gear on and, in L i flat out can't reach the footrest. In ML I can but it has to be at the very shortest setting. 5'6" 160-165 lb, inseam about 30-31 inches.
Nelo doesn't like short people :D

Current: Think Evo II
Past: Epic V7

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6 months 3 days ago - 6 months 3 days ago #33821 by MCImes
Hey UK,
I paddled the V10S briefly a couple years ago, and the 550 last summer for a short trip, so im far from an expert on either boat, but here is what I thought. 

The two boats are in different stability class in my opinion, with the 550 feeling more like a 45cm boat than a 48cm as the 46cm beam suggests. I thought the 550 primary was very loose, and the secondary was still somewhat light. Recently, I just picked up a SF-S and although it is 1cm skinnier than the 550, I thought the stability profile was much better for my size paddler. (Im 84kg and love the SF-S. My friend with the 550 is probably closer to 72kg. He likes the 550 more and thought the SF-S was too much volume for his weight / felt corky in the water. I had the exact opposite feeling, so maybe a lot has to do with your weight).
Also, I wonder how much of that is changing perception though, as I now have close to another full year paddling open ocean and I'm sure my skill has advanced since I paddled the 550.  I'll have to swap boats for a short paddle again and see if my feelings on the 550 have changed next time I see him. 

The V10S was noticeably more stable than the 550 in small conditions. I didnt paddle either in bigger stuff, so the lower stability of the 550 might actually help in messier waves. But on the flats the V10S felt much more planted overall. 

I would think if you were stability limited in the V10 you won't be much better off in the 550, but it may be dependent on your weight. I think if you're on the lighter side the 550 might be ok. If you're heavier, I highly recommend you try and paddle a Swordfish-S vs V10S. I went from an XT to the SF and actually think the SF feels better than the XT in confused water, though it is 3cm skinnier. I have not paddled a V10 so maybe someone could compare a SF-S to a V10 and help you decide if its worth pursuing that angle. 

Overall, i think if you're on the borderline with stability, go with the V10S and master it in messy conditions, then step up to a 45cm boat if desired. Im interested to hear other's opinions too. 

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"
The following user(s) said Thank You: uk gearmuncher

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6 months 3 days ago #33822 by Henning DK
I guess you can say I have paddled both - not 550L but 550ML but apart from this, I have done some thousands of km in both of them.
In short, I find the Nelo 550 about the same flatwater speed, but more agile with super acceleration and maneuvrability, more fun in the waves. The V10 Sport is a little bigger, and it feels like that. The Nelo 550 feels closer to a K1 somehow, less like a "ski", but is very easy to handle in the sea.

If you have access to facebook, see my 550ML review. It's the text for the photo album:
www.facebook.com/henning.hansen.7771/med...t=a.1852634408086610

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6 months 3 days ago #33823 by d0uglass

MCImes wrote: Hey UK,
with the 550 feeling more like a 45cm boat than a 48cm as the beam suggests.  


I believe the beam on the Nelo 550 is 46, not 48. 

Stellar SEI 1g

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6 months 3 days ago #33825 by Ranga
Raced both skis, paddles Sport for 3 years then switched to the 550. As speeds go in downwind I can't tell where the switch in skis happened, my numbers are identical, Average speed (a touch under 15km/hr), Top speed, Heart rate... However that said they are very different skis. The 550 is very fast on flat water, I would have no problem using it for any flat water race. In the runs it is exceptionally agile, something you have to get used to, especially when you get the speed up. It has a very different personality at speed. Stability is different, a touch more unstable initially but gets easier the longer you paddle it, the Sport is a touch more benign. 

Build quality very similar but a shorter ski is easier to handle and transport off the water.

Either ski would be a great purchase.

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6 months 3 days ago #33829 by uk gearmuncher

Ranga wrote: Stability is different, a touch more unstable initially but gets easier the longer you paddle it, the Sport is a touch more benign. 

Build quality very similar but a shorter ski is easier to handle and transport off the water.

Either ski would be a great purchase.


How heavy/tall are you ? A touch doesn't sound like much though. Easier than a V10 ?

Previous Boat Journey: Gaisford spec ski, then Fenn Bluefin, then Epic V8 Pro, Now a Epic V10 Sport and a Nelo 550L coming in soon.
Recent Demo's: Epic V10 G3, Nelo 550L, Epic K1t

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6 months 3 days ago #33830 by Ranga
I am 85kg and they are much more stable than the V10
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5 months 2 weeks ago #33903 by uk gearmuncher

Ranga wrote: I am 85kg and they are much more stable than the V10


I got hold of a demo 550L yesterday to keep for a while and gave it a whirl for the first time tonight (harbour and flatwater first, ocean later in the week).

First Impressions:
- Stability was much better than I was expecting. Very planted on flatwater. As someone said, a touch less than a V10 Sport but a bit more than the V10 G3 (and I normally paddle a V8 Pro). No twitchiness at all.
- Weight is impressive.
- Build quality is as good as Epics and you get Ultra weight for the cost of the Performance lay-up.
- Footboard adjustment is really good. Great system. I found the footbar a bit tight on my feet though (I had boots on). This is adjustable but I'm already at the max setting.
- The solid footstrap is great - you find yourself pulling on it with your leg drive like a rowing stretcher. 
- I don't like the rudder lines. They stretch too much which makes the steering feel spongy (even though the boats short length makes it turn on a dime).
- The seating position is very different to Epics. Very deep bucket but I felt very well supported. 

Onto the sea next !

Previous Boat Journey: Gaisford spec ski, then Fenn Bluefin, then Epic V8 Pro, Now a Epic V10 Sport and a Nelo 550L coming in soon.
Recent Demo's: Epic V10 G3, Nelo 550L, Epic K1t

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4 months 1 day ago #34251 by Paddlesport1
Have Paddled both boats both on flat water and in the Ocean at 115kg The Nelo 550 is unfortunately dragging at the stern I love the 550L and live in hope that a 550XL will one day appear. Or that I lose more wieght. 

The V10 Sport is very slightly faster over a 10 km flat water time trail and marginally motre stable. I think the V10 sport whilst a classic is now dated and needs more rocker it is a stable flat water Ski but needs more rocker for  the Ocean

I again live in hope Epic will intrpoduce a V10 sport similar in style to the new V10 3G 

If you are over say 105kg I believe the V10 sport is a better option otherwise the 550L is a shoe in

Both of these boats are exceptional and both very well made.

I have gone down the 520XL route it is a total dream.  And am working on a V103G as it has 140kg Payload.  

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4 months 23 hours ago #34253 by uk gearmuncher

Paddlesport1 wrote: Have Paddled both boats both on flat water and in the Ocean at 115kg The Nelo 550 is unfortunately dragging at the stern I love the 550L and live in hope that a 550XL will one day appear. Or that I lose more wieght. 

The V10 Sport is very slightly faster over a 10 km flat water time trail and marginally motre stable. I think the V10 sport whilst a classic is now dated and needs more rocker it is a stable flat water Ski but needs more rocker for  the Ocean

I again live in hope Epic will intrpoduce a V10 sport similar in style to the new V10 3G 

If you are over say 105kg I believe the V10 sport is a better option otherwise the 550L is a shoe in

Both of these boats are exceptional and both very well made.

I have gone down the 520XL route it is a total dream.  And am working on a V103G as it has 140kg Payload.  


You're the first person I've heard from that feels that the Epic V10 Sport is faster than the 550L. I wonder if that is purely because the Nelo lacks the volume you need ? The Nelo is narrower and with a narrower catch area (providing better biomechanics) so I always felt it surely had to be faster than the Epic.

Previous Boat Journey: Gaisford spec ski, then Fenn Bluefin, then Epic V8 Pro, Now a Epic V10 Sport and a Nelo 550L coming in soon.
Recent Demo's: Epic V10 G3, Nelo 550L, Epic K1t

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4 months 13 hours ago #34258 by BigFish
I've paddled both. The v10s is more stable and easier to remount. Although it's not that different to a V8pro really.

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3 months 1 week ago - 3 months 1 week ago #34441 by DenSki
I have switched from an Epic V10 Sport to a Nelo 550. I started surfskiing in the Epic because it was the boat my son left behind when he went to college. I found I could balance well in it and get up some speed in flat water, but it always felt like a tanker to me. Good for stability but harder to maneuver as I started going out in bigger conditions in the bay. People in the ski community here told me the boat looked too big for me (I'm 5'7 + 125 lbs), and I agreed. I heard from a similarly sized woman that she loved her Nelo 550, so I tried that. I love the seat of the Nelo for a particular tailbone/coccyx problem I have; I love the lack of a knee bump; and I like its shorter length for quick turns and "fit," which seems like an elusive quality. I feel high in the boat, which gives me more incentive to lean forward and reach to get the paddle in.

I am happy to read others' comment on its maneuverability in waves. I am just now learning true downwinding skills in the Columbia River Gorge, and I experience the 550 like a horse. How much to hold the reins, how much gentle (or strong) work with my feet to use the rudder (8 inch DK rudder for big conditions), how much should I lean. I feel like it screams down wave faces, maybe faster than I'm ready for, but then I also feel like I have a sense of how great it will move with just a subtle lean or push of the rudder when I have more confidence.

All to say, for my size person, I think the Nelo has a lot of potential. The Epic was never going to be my forever boat because of my discomfort in the seat and its barge-like feeling.

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3 months 1 week ago #34442 by NikGo
I've paddled the Nelo 550ML for a year after the V10 Sport (and a V8 previously). While it feels just as stable in the flat water, the Nelo is much less stable in the waves. Part of the problem is the rudder. Even in the flat water, operating the standard rudder causes the boat to roll quite a lot. It actually causes instability in the waves too. When I switched to a DK rudder (8" high cord), it improved the stability in the waves a lot. The other issue I'm guessing is the short length or the hull shape. Nelo tends to be disturbed by any waves around you, which is very distracting. As someone mentioned earlier, it's very "reactive". It took me a few months to get comfortable in the waves. Still working on that. In the small waves, the Nelo works very well.

It was interesting to switch back to the V10 Sport for 3 weeks recently. I loved how it surfed (had at least two DW in 25-30kt conditions). Much easier to hold diagonal lines, no barge feeling at all, more stable. And this was an old generation V10 Sport, with a super uncomfortable seat (for me) and less stable than the current generation. I'm relatively short - 5'5", so the seat needs a lot of padding on the sides. The wind will rotate it sideways more easily than the Nelo, but this could be expected because of the longer length and larger side area. But other than the seat comfort, which is personal, it's a very nice boat.

I've also had some experience with the Carbonology Vault lately. Felt very comfortable in it and it surfed great. Easy to remount too.

Have to say, the Nelo quality is pretty bad in my experience. The flexible plastic footplate is horrible. Try to ask the dealer for a carbon one, it's much better. The line adjusters are bulky and bump against the hull, damaging it in the process. The gel coat falls off after peeling a sticky tape (pipe wrap tape) or after a small bump.

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3 months 1 week ago #34447 by Paddlesport1
Hi Muncher

Apologies for the late reply I don't get on here often.

Yes you are quite correct the 550L did not have the requisite capacity for me at 118 Kg and was dragging at the stern.

The V10 for was faster for me ( Given my Wieght)

I now paddle a 520XL which is perfect.

Do I buy a Epic V103G 144Kg capacity
Or wait until the inevitable New Shape V10 sport appears.

Or if the Surfski Gods favour us I live in hope that Nelo produce a 550XL.
Upwind the V10 Sport is a Drier ride. 
The beauty for me of the Nelo offering is the availability of a  selection of sizes and colours  in each model type rather than Epics one size fits all approach.

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3 months 1 week ago #34453 by uk gearmuncher
Having liked the Epic V10 Sport so much for bigger stuff (but not liking it when things get calmer) but also liking the 550L so much when things are flat or choppy (but not so much when things get chaotic or lumpy), I gave up and just ordered both in the end !

Previous Boat Journey: Gaisford spec ski, then Fenn Bluefin, then Epic V8 Pro, Now a Epic V10 Sport and a Nelo 550L coming in soon.
Recent Demo's: Epic V10 G3, Nelo 550L, Epic K1t

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