Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1

2 weeks 6 days ago #37594 by mrcharly
I've been a K1 racer for a couple of years now and enjoyed it.

However I'm moving to a new area (Scottish Islands); no racing and no suitable places to paddle a K1.

Never learnt to roll, even though I used to paddle on fast flowing water (about grade 2-3 I guess) a lot and in an estuary.
Had a bad accident on said flowing water and whenever I go upsydownsy I get PTSD. It is over 30 years ago, but the panic still grips me.
Had a couple of sessions in a pool trying to learn to roll - not really coached (curse you, Covid), but doing drills at pool edge. Nearly getting there but still, that panic kicks in.
Starting to think that maybe I shouldn't think of using a sea kayak, that they wouldn't be suitable for me.
I confess that I've never paddled a ski. Don't have any worries about re-entry - I can re-entry a stab 1 K1 from waist-deep water. A ski won't be as difficult.

The other option would be an OC1. Rare in the UK, but I kinda like single-blade skills. 

A lot of the paddling I'd do in Scotland would be skirting coasts, dodging sea stacks and islands. 

Is an OC1 or Ski at all suitable for that?

Really can't contemplate the sort of 'sit on top' used by many casual paddlers. Giving up too much performance.

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2 weeks 6 days ago #37595 by agooding2
Replied by agooding2 on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
A surfski would definitely be a good option, others can chime in with their favorites but a boat like the Nelo 540/550/560 will not feel that much different from your K1 in seating position.  Kape and Vajda also make some K1 like surfskis that should be easily available in Europe.  I also never mastered the roll and a surfski was a godsend in that way. 

An OC-1 would seem more bulky and less maneuverable to me, but I little first hand experience with them.

Main thing is get something with a little rocker if you'll be dodging a lot of seastacks, some boats are much better at going in a straight line, and get a larger rudder for stability and maneuverability out in the waves.

-- Andrew

Nelo 550L, Think Fit, Nelo Viper 55

Braca XI 705 EL blade, 17K shaft
Braca XI 675 marathon blade, 19K shaft
Braca IV 670 soft blade, 19K shaft

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2 weeks 6 days ago #37596 by Arcturus
Replied by Arcturus on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
IF you decide sea kayaking will fit your desires, learning to roll a la Greenland style methods will be less daunting. They start with exercises such as balance brace (and practice it on both sides!). The result is that instead of thinking of anything but sitting upright in the kayak as the only safe position, you get comfortable with having the upper body flat, back floating on the water and head tilted back to keep your “breathing side up.” And comfortable with getting back up sitting, too. Both done without using a paddle.

Sculling with the paddle (it can be a Euro blade—does not have to be a Greenland stick)  is another step of this process towards learning the basic roll.

Technique matters above all. NOT upper body strength. However, flexibility matters a lot, too. A good instructor makes a world of difference, so IF you pursue this, find out who you can hire to get you started.

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2 weeks 6 days ago #37597 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
At various times I have extensively paddled Canadian Canoes, OC1/2/6, and Surfski. I ended up on ski because its the most fun you can have in a boat, IMO.

A sea kayak could work, but you would probably need to control your panic response enough that you can reliably roll in a panic-inducing situation (more than just being upside down, when you get rolled you'll probably be in rough water and undoubtedly it will happen at a bad moment per murphy's law. will you still nail your roll in those circumstances?)

OC is fun. I liked it because stability is no concern at all and you can put all your effort into surfing. You can certainly capsize still, as soon as you lean to the non-ama side you'll be swimming before you know it until you learn an instinctual single blade brace. Overall though, I did not like OC1 in steep rough water, or in beam seas. The ama is not always a godsend. I'm imagining conditions around me when waves start breaking in open water. I can stay upright after being hit side-on with a 1-2' crumbling wave top, but that would likely flip an OC due to the ama.

Which brings us to ski. (we're a slightly biased crowd, of course), but ski is the best rough water/cold water boat there is. If you can handle a masters k1 you can easily jump to a 45cm ski. For the cold and notoriously rough water of the north atlantic something with 45cm beam and lots of rocker would probably be my first choice. That would include a Swordfish and V10g3. Maybe a new nelo 550 (but not the old one). although you can probably handle a 43cm boat no problem I'd recommend 45cm as its almost as fast but has much more stability to rely on when its 2 meters at 7 seconds with reflected waves coming from every direction and cold water.

If you'll be in steep seas, order a HUGE rudder, like 9"+ with high chord from Don at DK Rudders. It makes a huge difference in control

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: mrcharly

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2 weeks 6 days ago #37598 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
Thanks.
That's terrific input.

I'd probably go towards the more stable ski, just so I can stop to look at scenery and wildlife, without having to be bracing. 
Kape do a ski with access hatches - that is very handy to bring along some bits and pieces. Warm dry clothes in a drybag, food and drink: for an extended coastal trip.

Probably heresy; what are the thoughts on stern rudders?

I used to have one on a marathon boat in Australia - very handy for shallow rivers, and when leaving shelving beaches.

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2 weeks 5 days ago #37599 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
RE the over stern rudder, if you often get short period or steep waves, an over stern rudder will often be out of the water at the moment you need it most. This happened on my ooold Fenn XT with shark fin rudder. Since it was very near the stern of the boat and the shark fin meant it had minimum surface area when it was not fully submerged, I had very poor or no rudder control in steep waves. Also, when your rudder comes fully out you lose a lot of stability unexpectedly, often at them moment you're balancing at the top of the wave when you are most unstable to begin with.

On long period or less steep waves it would not matter so much, other than reduced turning response since the pivot point is farther back.

Over stern is very popular for river skiiers when it is expected there are a lot of logs, debris, sand bars, etc. For the ocean an under stern is better unless you think it is likely you will hit objects or the ground

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 weeks 5 days ago #37600 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
Getting on-off shore is my main concern.

The closest cove to my new house isn't a nice sandy beach, it is a rocky gently shelving beach. A bit dodgy in a fragile boat with a rudder sticking out of the bottom.

Hmm. Adding together all the comments and my concerns - leads me to an Epic V7. Might be just the compromise I need - can withstand the odd bump against a rock, still has some sportiness, stable enough for sightseeing. 

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2 weeks 5 days ago - 2 weeks 5 days ago #37601 by agooding2
Replied by agooding2 on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
If durability is your main concern the V7 will be a good option.  I have a Cobra Eliminator I use in similar situations, though it gets wet at my 90KG weight. 

P&H and Nelo make similar, slightly narrower options as well if you can locate them:
www.performancepaddlesports.com/2018/06/...510-plastic-surfski/
www.phseakayaks.com/us/kayaks.php?model=valkyrie which is the same hull as the below: www.surfskinews.com/review-blog/2016/9/1...nitro-chris-hipgrave

-- Andrew

Nelo 550L, Think Fit, Nelo Viper 55

Braca XI 705 EL blade, 17K shaft
Braca XI 675 marathon blade, 19K shaft
Braca IV 670 soft blade, 19K shaft

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2 weeks 4 days ago #37602 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
An Epic v7 isn't  bad compromise. It's built like a tank, has a hatch so you can carry a few things, and is reasonably fast. The biggest downside is its weight. Almost 50 lbs which is heavy by surfski standards, but not terrible compared to fiberglass or plastic sea kayaks. I came from a sea kayak background, so when I got into surfski paddling a couple years ago I thought I'd keep my sea kayak for really rough water or winter paddling. Turns out the surfski can do it all and more. I'd rather fall out of my surfski and do a quick remount than cowboy rescue myself on a sea kayak and then have to bail out the cockpit (assuming you can't roll). Good luck in your decision. Any time on the water is a good time no matter what kind of craft you're in.

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2 weeks 4 days ago - 2 weeks 4 days ago #37606 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
'built like a tank' and 'durable' are key factors for me.

I've seen enough videos of people breaking skis going over steep waves, or pitchpoling into sand to put me off a lightweight racing machine.

I want a boat I can trust in any conditions, and know I'll be able to safely return to a possibly rocky landing. 
Candidates now include:
Epic v7
Nelo 510
Pyranha Octane / Think Nitro (however one retailer has this notice on their shop "DUE TO HIGH PYRANHA DEMAND PYRANHA HAVE REMOVED THE OCTANE FROM THERE FACTORY BUILD LIST TILL FUTHRE NOTICE")

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2 weeks 4 days ago - 2 weeks 4 days ago #37607 by agooding2
Replied by agooding2 on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
My impression is that the Epic V7 is probably more durable than the Pyrhana Octane/P&H Valkyrie.  I say that because it is heavier and also as there is a local paddler who lost the nose of an Octane (and fixed it) when it came off his car.

Never seen the Nelo 510 in person so if you have  chance to paddle one let us know what you think.

-- Andrew

Nelo 550L, Think Fit, Nelo Viper 55

Braca XI 705 EL blade, 17K shaft
Braca XI 675 marathon blade, 19K shaft
Braca IV 670 soft blade, 19K shaft

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2 weeks 4 days ago #37608 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
I've only been able to find construction details for the Epic v7. It uses layers of PE, foam, PE.

The description of the Octane and Nelo sound like they are a single layer.

Sounds like the v7 might be stiffer.

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2 weeks 4 days ago #37609 by agooding2
Replied by agooding2 on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
that would make sense, the V7 did feel a good bit stiffer and more substantial than the Octane/Valkyrie to me.

-- Andrew

Nelo 550L, Think Fit, Nelo Viper 55

Braca XI 705 EL blade, 17K shaft
Braca XI 675 marathon blade, 19K shaft
Braca IV 670 soft blade, 19K shaft

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2 weeks 3 days ago #37611 by SpaceSputnik
Replied by SpaceSputnik on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
I suggest not giving up on learning to roll a sea kayak. There is a hump in that skill that need to be crossed over but right after it it's a totally different story. You need several one-on-one sessions with somebody who know what they are doing, preferably a friend willing to help. I had such help available most of this year and now roll for fun in cold water (with a drysuit and neoprene hood on).
So, the point being, you need to spend time on it and it will pay off. Everyone panics at first, it's absolutely normal and you are not special at all here. Once you start getting it, keep practising and at some point you will realize that the panic went away and you actually want to capsize and roll up. It might return here and there, especially when you start challenging yourself more such as rolling on your non-dominant side, going for a second set up after a botched roll or taking a crack at a different roll, but my point is you will lose the anxiety and that will improve your technique in it's own since a setup is the most important part and you need to be able to do it slow and methodically while under. Everyone I know who is consistent in their practise gets it eventually. Once you are not wet-exiting your comfort grows exponentially as you start packing in more and more rolls every time you are out.

Another thing I suggest examining is whether you are coming to surfskis for the right reason. Nothing wrong with trying things out of course, but surfski culture and mindset (similarly OC1) predominantly consists of two things: a) going fast b) riding swells (note how I am not using term surfing because that often means surfing breaking waves like what board surfers as well as sea kayakers do). This is very different from a sea kayaking culture, that is more about exploration, self-sufficiency and team work. In other words, the surfskiers I have met are primarily skilled performance athletes who tend to be individualistic and sea kayakers are more like a team of marines. Very different personalities, very different attitude and priorities. After my tenure as a surfski paddler I realized that I get along with sea kayakers much better. Not because they are sea kayakers but rather the people who stay in the sport are more like me. It may very well be different for you or anyone else. For me, it doesn't take much to become friends with a kayaker and I am still to develop a solid friendship with a surfski paddler. Just doesn't happen somehow.

I started with skis also as a way to avoid the sea kayak capsize anxiety but eventually realized that it's not just a slightly different kayak, but something that comes with a whole different legacy and mindset. Frankly, if that doesn't fit, learning to roll all of a sudden is starting to look like a small price to pay to be where you feel like you belong (If you belong with that crowd to begin with).

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2 weeks 3 days ago #37612 by manta
Replied by manta on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
Hi

I would not agree completely with SpaceSputnik. I am of the slower surfski paddling variety and although I am almost exclusively at the back of the pack I have found the surfski community to be very welcoming. Yes, the surfski crowd all like to go as fast as possible but there are slower paddlers in every group and we stick together.

I used to SUP and found that to be a lot less welcoming group of people. When I started to surfski I found capable, fast athletes that just wanted everyone to have a good time. When I DW with the group, I am last sometimes by 20 minutes but I have always had people wait for me at the end and make sure I made it. 

Lastly, every activity is what you make of it. If you want to compete and go all in, there will be people ready to do the same. If you want to hang back and take it easy, there will be people ready to do the same. It really is up to you what you want to get out of anything in life.

Surfski is awesome and well worth having it as part of your waterman life experience.

M

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2 weeks 3 days ago #37614 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
Thanks, Manta.

Apart from this (very friendly and helpful) forum, I've not had much contact with people who exclusively surfski (some people in my canoe club have surfskis).

Where I am now, there is a thriving group of K1/K2 racers. Train together about 3 times a week (well, before covid they did). So very friendly and accepting of slower people. There are people in that group who can do 10km in 50 min, and some who take over 70. It's all good. Time trials on Thursdays and pizza afterwards.

I'm not expecting to find the same community up in Scotland. Far fewer people on the islands. 

I'll be living a short walk from water's edge, on one of the sea lochs. A few km of water available without going offshore (ie, there are 'escape routes' on 3 sides).  So being able to be safe when solo paddling is important - and I like to paddle hard. 

Reviewing the evidence, and my skillset, that points to a surfski being a safer boat.

I do have concerns about the fragility of the fast, light composite skis. I don't want to be limited to only going out in calm waters - there are multiple videos of people breaking a ski when going over a steep wave and crashing down. A stable PE ski would seem to be sensible (even though part of me likes the idea of steaming along in a 20ft eggshell). 

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2 weeks 3 days ago - 2 weeks 3 days ago #37616 by Arcturus
Replied by Arcturus on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1

manta wrote: Hi
... [CUT]
Lastly, every activity is what you make of it. If you want to compete and go all in, there will be people ready to do the same. If you want to hang back and take it easy, there will be people ready to do the same. It really is up to you what you want to get out of anything in life.
[CUT]
M


I 100% agree with this. As a slow newbie to surf ski but a not-so-slow longtime sea kayaker, I am satisfied with my progress in the last five months...for now. My slowness is just something to continue working on, and I am doing it without the support of either a surf ski or a sea kayak community. Where I live, there is neither of those.

No doubt the paddling in Scotland, which sounds wonderful, will provide incentive just by being itself. Good luck with whatever you choose, mrcharly.

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2 weeks 3 days ago - 2 weeks 3 days ago #37617 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
Hmm
I've been offered an epic V10 sport at a decent price. Glass construction (black tip).

Part of me is saying 'fastish ski, fun'. 
Part of me is saying 'Not a ski for stopping and watching wildlife, or noodling through sea stacks/arches'. 
Also, sometimes my spouse might want to go out in something other than her washtub. I'm pretty sure she'd be ok in the 510 on a calm day. Not ok in a v10s

Still waiting on finding the price for a nelo 510. 

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2 weeks 2 days ago #37621 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
In calm-ish water a 48cm/19" ski like the V10S is stable enough to relax, take pictures, drink a beer, whatever if you're at intermediate skill. A noobie could have trouble depending on their natural ability, conditioning, and determination. I started on a 19" stellar SR and literally never fell out on small water.

I went to a 19" Fenn XT on the ocean and fell out semi-regularly for a year. I moved to the 45cm/18" swordfish and occasionally fall out, but almost always its my fault (not paying attention, chasing a 3' very steep boat wake from a 60' ferry, surfing shore break, etc).

So a V10S could be a good boat for you. On flat water is should be fine. As you approach big water (as in cannot see over the wave in front of you) if you have average or better balance, determination to improve, and moderate skill you can adapt pretty quickly. If you're wife lacks any of those things, (developed balance, determination, skill) she likely will not have a good time in a 48cm boat.

Personally 48-50cm is a good place to start in small/medium conditions in my book

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 weeks 2 days ago #37623 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic Sea Kayak/surfski/OC1
If you want to be launching and landing on rocky shores you may be better off with a multisport construction ski, they will take a few more knocks and fitted with kick up rudders (i have punched an under stern rudder through bottom of hull hitting a rock). Not quite as stiff as a regular composite ski so may be a small drop off in performance, but shouldn't be an issue if you are using for recreation rather than racing.

Main drawback of skis for touring is lack of hull storage. If you do need storage and a higher degree of primary stability for floating around with paddle down, taking photos etc, there is always the fishing skis such as the Stealths, though they dont have the performance of an ocean ski, they may be better than the plastic skis. If you are used to performance boats they would feel like tanks, even the manhandling of them

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