NK Storm review vs Fenn Swordfish S

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4 months 1 week ago #39526 by Scott S
I couldn’t find reviews on the web for the Storm. Thought I’d add my opinion and experience  for anyone else who may be looking.

My ocean ski history is a Stellar SR before my current Swordfish S, 14.5 kg fibreglass version which I’ve paddled for 18 months now. My regular playground is Moreton Bay which is devoid of surf and large ocean swell but full of short confused wind chop that can get up 4 foot.

A generous friend offered me his NK Storm for a month long test paddle then the opportunity to buy it as he was convinced I’d fall in love. This NK Storm 610 is their heaviest Carbon version weighing 10.5 kg.

This isn’t a fair comparison as it’s the old Swordfish S fibreglass and the current carbon Storm and it is my personal experience and opinion. I didn’t measure the rocker differences. I’m using manufacturer’s weights. The seat height and bow volume are my observation rather than a definitive measurement.

Compared with the Swordfish S the Storm is lighter, stiffer, higher seat, less rocker, more bow volume, has a deBrito bailer, rear deck bungee, lower angle plastic foot plate/rudder pedals, some sort of spectra/dynema cord rudder cables and a half exposed rudder bar.
My overall paddle experience was what you’d expect from the design differences.

Compared to my Swordfish S it was a more comfortable seat on longer paddles. The higher seat to feet position had me more over my stroke. As a life long sloucher I found the seat position made me more upright and better still when I was fatiguing I was less inclined to slouch back.
The plastic footplate and pedals are less vertical but felt more solidly in place. There is a little flex when leg driving hard on my Swordfish footplate and I was glad to not feel this in the Storm.
Each paddle stroke in the Storm feels like there is less resistance. It’s hard to quantify but it feels like the water is thicker when I paddle the Swordfish and there is more effort required to pull the ski past my paddle blade. My friend also noticed the same difference. This perplexes me as I wouldn’t have imagined the two boats to have such a significant difference in drag and displacement. Perhaps its a combination of weight, stiffness, drag and even the paddle position.

My feet were dry! The bailer holes on the Swordfish aren’t at the lowest part of the footwell and are always open. I loved having the deBrito bailer that drains so well, can be opened or closed and having dry feet instead of the little bit of water always in the Swordy.
The water bottle holder is positioned perfectly between your legs just forward of the seat. I cold put a 750 ml bottle there and not be aware of it at all whilst paddling. It was easy to access and put back. The Stellar SR has a bottle holder in the same place but you can feel the bottle and it is more difficult to get it in and out for a drink.

I recently replaced the stainless steel rudder cables on the Swordy. Sick of cleaning the rust water stains from the inside of my footwell. It was a bastard of a job. I’d preference the Storm’s rudder cord any day with no perceivable difference in effectiveness. The half exposed rudder bar doesn’t allow you to see the rudder cord at the rear but it does let the well get rinsed out and dry between paddles instead of the yuck I find under my Swordy rudder bonnet when I take it off. Even the half cover for the rudder is curved for what looks like no other resign than a nicer aesthetic design.

Downwind the differences are interesting. With a few power strokes this Storm responds with acceleration beautifully to catch a wave. By comparison my Swordfish S isn’t as responsive but it doesn’t need the same effort to catch the wave. The whole reason I bought a Swordfish S after my Stellar SR is I noticed the Swordy just loves to jump onto a wave. This holds true in my experience compared to the Storm. My Swordy just doesn’t require the same power strokes to get that feeling that you’re starting to glide with the wave. With less rocker the Storm tracked straight and took lots less direction correcting than the Swordy. The Storm held its line on waves better than the Swordy, broaching less. The times the Swordy does broach is a factor of my still developing skills. The rudder was responsive and it felt every bit as nimble on waves as the Swordy. To be fair I assume a carbon Swordy would also probably accelerate better than my fibreglass version.

The higher volume bow meant the Storm was more affected by cross winds and took diligence to stop it blowing a little off course when the wind was side on. It pops higher over waves taken head on with the occasional bow slapping down on the other side. The bow slapping is not as much as the Stellar SR but certainly something that rarely happens on our smaller waves in the Swordy.

The secondary stability of the Storm surprised me feeling every bit as solid as the Swordfish. I think the Swordfish S will lean a little further before hitting the secondary stability point.

A sidesaddle remount was the same on both ski’s with one exception. From both feet beside the boat as soon as I put my first leg into the Storm and heel against the footplate it suddenly feels rock solid which I don’t quite feel in the Swordfish until I’m properly underway.

The leash attachment point is on the far right of the foot strap which I like. A tiny difference but it requires less adjustment to have the leash in a position where it is completely unnoticeable.
The paint finish on the Storm is more susceptible to small aesthetic scratches and they do occur despite taking lots of care.

I love the thought that has gone into the NK Storm. The extra details make it a wonderful boat.
I am sticking with my Swordfish S though. As I’ve read on this forum so often, stability first. This lighter weight, stiff Storm has a corky feel for my level of skill that I didn’t get comfortable with. Into and with the wind it’s not an issue and I’d choose this Storm every time over my Swordfish. When the chop is angled or side on the stability was an issue for me. I found myself less able to apply power to my stroke. In anything other than perfect conditions I am more relaxed and faster in my Swordfish S. I did try the Fennix Swordfish S once when it first came out and found it too was a stability step up for my skill level compared to the previous model Swordfish S which I have. I’d be curious to try the new lower seat version Fennix Swordfish S.

If Nordic Kayaks come out with a model just a touch more stable than the Storm I’ll be diving on it, in my opinion NK have lifted the standard of both functional and aesthetic design.
 
The following user(s) said Thank You: Watto, Rod Thomas, kvort, Dratz

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4 months 1 week ago #39527 by robin.mousley
Nice post!

A couple of comments as a Hybrid Swordfish S paddler....

>> The Storm held its line on waves better than the Swordy, broaching less.

One of the things I've often done with Fenn boats is to replace the stock rudder with a more assertive one.  I used the DK rudder for a couple of years, but last week some lurker starting the Seadog race behind me in the surf managed to wipe off both the rudder and weed deflector in one shot, so I'm back to using a big elliptical rudder.

For me that cures the propensity of the SF S to wander (and to broach).  For me the bigger rudder isn't for turning - it's for keeping the boat straight.

If you're using the stock Fenn rudder, you might like to try a bigger rudder.

>> I’d be curious to try the new lower seat version Fennix Swordfish S.

It's incredibly stable.  Perhaps even more stable than the older SF S.  I did a couple of hectic Miller's Runs in it when the prototype came to Cape Town, and felt absolutely rock solid.  I think the changes to the Fennix hull do make it a slightly better boat overall; the deep seat version is identical to the first Fennix boat except for the seat.  I found the seat a lot more comfortable too - except that the back of the seat is quite vertical and it's not so easy to lean back - which I tend to do quite a bit on the waves.

Happy paddling!

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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4 months 1 week ago #39528 by Scott S
Thanks for the feedback Robin.
I knew I wandered in the SFS and didn’t hold a straight line well even in very mild conditions compared with my paddling mates. I thought it was me until I tried the Storm.
I ordered a DK rudder 2 days ago for my SFS. Can’t wait to try it.

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4 months 1 week ago #39535 by Rod Thomas
Is the " the new lower seat version Fennix Swordfish S" named the same? Apart from directly measuring the seat how can you tell them apart? 

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4 months 1 week ago #39536 by robin.mousley

Is the " the new lower seat version Fennix Swordfish S" named the same? Apart from directly measuring the seat how can you tell them apart? 

It looks identical and there is no way to tell them apart save by measuring the seat (or paddling them!  The difference in the stability is massive.)

If I were Fenn, I'd call it the Fennix Swordfish DS...  But I'm not Fenn!

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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4 months 6 days ago #39537 by BigFish
What are the measurements?

Current - Fenn Elite S, Think UnoMax, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10 Double
Past - Fenn Elite Glide, Think Ion, DD3 Albatross, Red7 Surf 60, Epic V10 2G

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4 months 6 days ago #39538 by Rod Thomas
Well here is the depth of the bucket on a Swordfish S (bought in 2015) measured from a straight edge across the gunwales to the bottom of the bucket, 206mm. see pic 
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4 months 6 days ago #39539 by JohnK
Rob,
I tried the Fennix S last year and did not gel with the seat so I waited to get a chance to try the deep seat version. a few weeks ago i got to try it and I found it to sit very high in the water and the stability felt similar to the Elite S. I wonder if the ski I tried was actually the deep seat now that I see your comment. Objective measurement is the only way to know I suppose. 

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4 months 6 days ago #39540 by JohnK
For clarity, I was writing about the Fennix Swordfish S.

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4 months 6 days ago #39541 by robin.mousley

I wonder if the ski I tried was actually the deep seat now that I see your comment. Objective measurement is the only way to know I suppose. 

I'm absolutely convinced that it wasn't the deep seat one!  Truly, the difference is massive.  The high seat version - similar feeling to the elite, deep seat version, very stable, if anything more stable than the older SF S!

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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4 months 11 hours ago #39548 by CrabStick
It's quite a relief to hear that the latest iteration of the Fennix Swordfish has similar stability to the SF S just in case I ever have an unfortunate loss through theft or breakage. It is absolute goldilocks for me in terms of the brilliant stability profile and handling in downwind conditions.
I also use the DK rudder. When I first got it I really enjoyed the pinpoint steering but as I have improved my stability with another couple of years experience, I'm trying to rely a little less on the rudder and use small leans to one side to track in the opposite direction. This works best while actually surfing on a runner downwind, presumably with a bit of speed up and keeping the bow out of the water. So when my original DK got bent and I had to go back to the Fenn rudder for a few weeks, I was happy enough with the steering.....However, as soon as I got the new DK rudder back on I certainly noticed much improved tracking across the face of a wave. Just like Rob M said, it is great for keeping it straight and avoiding broaching.
I wonder, is there a noticeable difference in tracking behaviour with the Fennix hull due to the increased V shape out front?
Right now, as much as I love trying new boats, I'm not tempted to veer away from the Swordfish S, DK rudder, Gara Odin S combo. At least if I'm ever needing to get another Swordfish the improved stability of the newest (deeper seat) Fennix may enable me to upgrade from hybrid to full carbon.

CrabStick, Perth Western Australia

Current Boats: Epic V9 ultra, Fenn Swordfish S, Fenn Spark S
Previous: Think Eze, Stellar SR, Carbonology Boost LV, Fenn BlueFin S

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  • Fennix Swordfish S, Epic V10 Sport
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3 months 3 weeks ago #39551 by fitz
When did Fenn start manufacturing the deep seat version of the Fennix Swordfish S?  My Fennix SFS arrived in the US in June of 2020 and then was reshipped to me in Panama.  So I’m going to assume it’s the less stable higher seat version.  For me transitioning from an Epic V10 Sport G2 was challenging.  It took 6 months of paddling 3x a week and many swims to get comfortable.  DK 9” high chord surfing rudder definitely helped stability, 

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2 months 3 weeks ago #39615 by Scott S
Would one of you Swordfish S owners please do me a favour?

Could you measure and post the diameter of the Venturi drain holes in the Swordfish please?
Thanks

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2 months 3 weeks ago #39616 by robin.mousley

Would one of you Swordfish S owners please do me a favour?
Could you measure and post the diameter of the Venturi drain holes in the Swordfish please?
Thanks

Approx 17mm.


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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