× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

Surfski stability vs K1

2 years 1 month ago #27546 by daplew
Hi all,

I've never paddled a surfski before, and in december I am going to be spending a fair few weeks in South Africa on Langebaan Lagoon. I paddle 6-7 times a week at home in the UK in a top level sprint K1 on rivers and canals and am keen to keep training when in SA. Consequently, I've found someone who's willing to lend/rent out a Fenn Elite to me for the time. Before I go ahead with it, I'd just like some advice as to whether I'll actually be stable in this boat. What is it like in comparison to a K1? I don't plan on doing any downwind, just flattish water training on the lagoon really.
Any advice much appreciated.
Thanks in advance,

Aspiring paddler.
Slightly quirky.
Proudly South African.

Current boats - K1 Plastex Fighter 2012, K2 Marsport Stiletto

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2 years 1 month ago #27547 by robin.mousley
You'll be just fine in terms of stability. You may find the seat position somewhat lower than you're used to... But a top level K1 is more tippy than a Fenn Elite...


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 years 1 month ago #27549 by TaffyMick
Replied by TaffyMick on topic Surfski stability vs K1
Hi Dan,

I have gone the other way somewhat in that I have recently purchased a Vajda K1 Voyageur (replacement for the Civet Cat) Masters hull. For pure flat water speed I cannot fault the K1. Sitting higher up I am able to really power into my stroke. Stability does not seem to be a problem and have only tipped out once since I purchased it. Nothing to do with stability more of adjusting my backside on the seat without bracing (forgot it was a K1!). Something I do not have a problem paddling my Stellar SR or a friend's SEI that I borrow on the odd occasion.

Therefore as Rob alludes to, being lower in the seat you will have no problems with stability. Also, when in doubt... feet out, instant stability. You will be fine and enjoy the transition to surfskis.


Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1

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2 years 1 month ago #27551 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Surfski stability vs K1
The fenn will feel like a trainer k1 in terms of stability.

You will not like the paddling position of a ski at first, especially a Fenn, as the seat is low and the hump high. I think this takes a few months to get used to coming from a k1. If you want to enjoy paddling the ski you have to tough it out through the first weeks when it is slow and uncomfortable. Your body will adjust if you stick with it.

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2 years 1 month ago #27553 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Surfski stability vs K1
Everyone's pretty much nailed it, and I agree: the Fenn will feel different, but very stable on dead-flat water.

No doubt, you will quickly venture away and probably want to experience downwind, or at least ocean paddling. Before this happens, I will merely recommend:
- practice your remounts on flat water
- practice falling out and getting back quickly in the ocean

After doing both, your confidence will make you even more stable - most helpful when it gets rough.

NEVER be afraid to get wet... it's "all good"
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(Brittany, France)

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2 years 1 month ago - 2 years 1 month ago #27554 by SurfskiEstonia
Hi, Daplew!

This topic is particularly close to my heart, because a year ago I was trying to imagine how tippy would a surf ski (Nelo Ocean Ski or Epic V14) be in relation to an old-school german K1 with a triangular shaped behind.

One thing is for sure, if You can paddle a K1 (especially a top boat like a Nelo Cinqo etc), then You will be infinitely stable in any surf ski. That is like a different kind of boat all together.

In the internet surf ski community, people tend to differentiate flat water and the ocean. That is definitely an important point to bring out, but not so much because of stability per se, but a necessary set of skills to paddle in marine conditions with waves, wind etc. You will always be super stable in a surf ski (because managing to paddle a tippy K1 with some bumps or small waves, is nowhere near paddling a surf ski in much larger waves - K1 is SUPER DIFFICULT), but if You don't have experience paddling through braking waves or surfing waves, You may be in danger by getting out on a top ski and not knowing what's gonna happen.

This summer, I lent my ski (Nelo Ocean Ski) to some young K1 paddlers to play on the beach with braking waves. All of them were super stable, but couldn't simply handle waves, because they didn't know what was possible on a ski. While all of them paddle top boats, which I will feel very unstable about, they were constantly falling out of the ski. Me, on the other hand, much much worse on a K1 on the flat, but was able to stay in the ski all of the time in waves.

So, to make a short story long.. don't even think You'll have problems with stability on a ski, but if planning to go out downwinding etc, please go with experienced people, check Your calf leash is on and strong, and be aware that the ocean or open sea is a serious place.. Paddle safe :)

P.S. I once too was planning to use the surf ski on flat water, but that changed very quickly.. so these posts talking about downwind are not a waste of time :)

Nelo Ocean Ski L, Jantex Gamma Mid, Jantex Gamma Rio Large Minus

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