Surf skis v's ocean skis v's SOT sea kayaks

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5 months 2 weeks ago #39383 by WulfKeeper
G'day all

I'm new here, although not a complete double-ended-paddle n00b. Please go gentle :) I'm looking for sage advice on the right type of boat to buy. Not looking to start a holy war between rival factions either ;)

After an extended period away from the endevour (30 odd years - yeah, I'm old), I'm about to get back on the water. I used to paddle a racing surf ski (5.4m spec Hayden, 50cm wide) around the local lake (Lake Macquarie in NSW). The conditions used to get a bit rough. Defintely not flat but sure not ocean-scale 'rough'. I've done a bit coastal sailing so I've got an idea about what coastal waters can be like.

I'm after a bit of an all-rounder. Something that'll cope with coastal ocean trips but also is still enjoyable to paddle around the local lakes and waterways.I'm a stocky build (around 100kg). I also have some decent composite materials skills too (glass, kevlar and carbon don't scare me in the slightest).

The trouble is I'm not sure what type of boat best meets that need. So here's a good example: Mirage 583 v's Epic V8 v's Ozflyte (DD3) MAXX. The Mirage is a SOT sea kayak with a typical sea kayak shape (traditional 'ship' bow). The Epic is more of an ocean ski shape (wave penetrating bow). The Ozflyte is an ocean/wave 'surf club' style racing ski.

I think they'll all do the job. But what's the relative strengths and weaknesses of the designs/approaches?

Just to spice things up a bit... the surf skis (Ozflyte and similar) are really cheap 2nd hand for a boat in good knick.

Thoughts, comments and suggestions very much appreciated.

Cheers
W

 

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5 months 2 weeks ago #39384 by waverider
Sea kayak if you want to carry stuff or stop and take photos, kick back etc or want to deal with biggish bumps when you dont have the stability to do it on a ski. Heaviest option and probably need a trolley

Spec ski if you want to bash in and out of breaking surf, upswept bow and stronger build.

Ocean ski if you want the fastest boat with most glide in most situations. Also much lighter to manhandle. However more easily to damage. 

Take into account also dimensions for storage and transportation.

Yry each and sea what you fall in love with
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5 months 2 weeks ago #39385 by WulfKeeper
Thanks Waverider, just tthe sort of input I was after. Much appreciated.
Cheers
W

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5 months 2 weeks ago #39386 by Atlas
If you are motivated by value for money then I recommend you buy an Epic V8. I know this sounds arse about because you definitely won't find one cheap. However the reason they are not cheap is that they are probably the most well known and popular ocean ski ever made. In the unlikely event that you don't love it; you will have no problem selling it. If you buy what seems like a cheap spec / surf ski; that is money you will probably never see again because once you have found out for yourself why not many people like them; you will find it hard to sell.
As for the Mirage 583; not a bad concept but unlikely to be as much fun to paddle as an 11 kilo V8. They are very expensive too and I think it would be hard to sell if you change your mind.

Current boats
Epic V10L Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost LV X, Fenn Bluefin, Nelo 510, Fenn XT double, Nelo 600, Expedition Kayaks Azure

Previous boats
Spirit PRS, Fenn Swordfish, Fenn XT, Fenn Swordfish S, Think Zen, Epic V10L Club, Epic V9 Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost LV
Most with DK rudders
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5 months 2 weeks ago #39387 by STC67
I think Waverider has it right. If you want to do touring or carry euipment a sea kayak is the way to go. These are really heavy :(

If you are interest in fitness and shorter paddles (2 hours). then an Ocean Ski is the winner. I can't see why anyone would get a spec ski if they weren't competing in SLSC or wanting to surf waves.

If you looking for social interaction, see what clubs are nearby and visit. probably doesn't matter what you are paddling if it is the same as everyone else.

Have a look at the Expedition Kayak website as lots of good info there. There are a bit of a hike from you but will let you demo everything. 
 

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5 months 2 weeks ago #39388 by mrcharly
Nelo 510 or Epic V7

Both have compartments large enough to carry a weekend's camping gear.

Both are stable enough for photography.

Both enable a little downwind-style paddling.

Easy to remount.

Downsides are:
Limited speed, so getting on larger waves is difficult.
Heavy, compared to racing skis (but still a few Kg lighter than many sea kayaks).
Windchill - as with all sit on tops, your legs and waist are exposed and hence you will be colder than if paddling a sit in sea kayak.

I have a nelo 510. There are times when I wish I had something lighter and faster, but the most fun I have had is on rougher days, or noodling around craggy islands. Neither of which I'd want to do on a skinny fast machine.

Get a good wing paddle and preferably get some instruction on an efficient forward stroke. 
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5 months 2 weeks ago #39389 by waverider
What you are hearing here is there are different beast for different jobs with a few hybrids in the middle. It comes down to what you really want it for the most, if you compromise on say performance for a functionality (say storage) that you rarely use then for most of your paddling you will have compromised on what you enjoy doing the most.. So it comes down to what you really like the most. In an ideal world you have multiple boats each best suited for their intended use. 

Believe me if you get the thrill and buzz of the glide and performance of a genuine Ocean racing Ski, you will end up with one eventually, as a hybrid version is compromised. A bit like road racing with a commuter bike you would carry the shopping on..just not the same, so you never really get that buzz...

Most folks start off with a cheap secondhand basher and see were their paddling takes them and where they derive most pleasure, which is not always were we thought it would be, then go down that path
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5 months 2 weeks ago #39396 by Craig M
Hi, for my money a V8 or Bluefin is what I consider the best starting points for ocean skis. They are harder to come across because they suit almost everyone. I went the long way around and paddled difficult skis before I got a V8. Where abouts on Lake Macquarie are you? If you can get up to the Central Coast I’ll go for a paddle with you if you like and you can try a V8.
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5 months 2 weeks ago #39397 by WulfKeeper
Quick update for those still playing along at home :)

Over this past weekend I paddled a Mirage 583 (Kevlar prepreg) thanks to a generous owner. I reckon it'd be a crackin' coastal touring option.Ran my eye over the Stellar S16 (although I’d probably go the 18 if I went that way) at C-Kayak. Unfortunately they didn’t have the Think Ace but will have a demo before the end of the month. See how I’m tracking.

While the impression of the 583 was still fresh in my mind I went down to Pro Kayak at Narrabeen (on the lake). The bloke, James, was incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, friendly and patient. Made it well worth the trip. 

I tried the Epic V8, Nordic Exrsize and Fenn Bluefin-S. I found the Epic more stable than expected. The Fenn just didn’t ‘fit’ right, never got comfortable (well depth?). The NK was the surprise. A little less stable (IMHO) than the V8, but given my time away from the sport I reckon I’d have no issue longer term. The ‘fit’ felt great and the glide seemed longer. A bit of a surprise as I didn’t know much about the marque. Mind-numbingly beautiful build too. All just my impressions! :)

I want to try the Think Ace and the Carbonology Cruise before making up my mind…Waverider your comment regarding factoring in a consideration that won’t get a lot of use and therefore lessening the value elsewhere really made sense. In my case, it might come down to an ‘n+1’ scenario for the coastal touring requirement ;)

Thanks everyone for your input.

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5 months 2 weeks ago - 5 months 2 weeks ago #39398 by Atlas
The Carbonology Sport Cruze can be special ordered with hatches and / or interchangeable rudders (over stern and under stern). I haven't paddled that model but the Carbonology Sport Boost LV X is a sensational rough water and down wind ski. I suspect the Cruze would also be an excellent ski.

Current boats
Epic V10L Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost LV X, Fenn Bluefin, Nelo 510, Fenn XT double, Nelo 600, Expedition Kayaks Azure

Previous boats
Spirit PRS, Fenn Swordfish, Fenn XT, Fenn Swordfish S, Think Zen, Epic V10L Club, Epic V9 Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost LV
Most with DK rudders
Last edit: 5 months 2 weeks ago by Atlas.
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