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

Advice on my first ski purchase....

1 month 1 week ago #37985 by Quack
Hi All
My first post here. I'm new to the sport (~2-3 months) and I'm looking at getting my first ski of my own.
I'm keen to get advice from your experience about the best approach - I'll soon narrow down to a few to go try.
I live in inner west Sydney (Australia) close to the river/harbour so there is lots of quite flat water near me with lots of ferry/boats to create some swells etc. So, I would imagine most use would be in this sort of water. 
However, I want to be able to go and paddle off the beaches, Hawksbury, etc where you can expect lots of chop/wind/swell and action.
So - for my first ski, should I be looking at the most 'advanced' ski I can handle (and grow into) on flattish inner harbour water OR go very stable and have a ski that I can use in the sea, have fun, develop my skills and not spend my time trying to manage balance.
For reference about my ability so far, I currently use Epics (with SHSC  - excellent outfit) - an Epic v8Pro out of Rose Bay  in Sydney in training and V8 for any open water.  I do sometimes fall in. I am 52, ~77kg, 178cm.
Naturally the  next question once I decide what sort of ski (beginner or intermediate), will be what brand and model. I'm doing lots of googling and there are so many and also a few other feature consideration such as venturis vs bailers (does this matter much?), handles etc.  I welcome any real world guidance/experience here. 
Carbonology - Cruze/BoostLV
Fenn - Bluefinn/Swordfsh
Think  - Eze/Ace/Six
Epic - v8/v8Pro/v9
Allwave - Nirvana/Mistral
NK - Exrcize/Squall

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 1 week ago #37987 by robin.mousley
Pretty sure you'll get a ton of other opinions but...

- Go for one of the more popular brands - so that you can sell the ski more easily when you want to move on.
- Go for a more stable boat.  That way you can get your stroke and technique right and the muscle memory ingrained.  It's difficult to execute the correct technique in a more tippy boat.
- In a stable boat you're going to have more fun, more quickly...
- Try before you buy, if at all possible!

Good luck!

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...
The following user(s) said Thank You: Quack

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 1 week ago #37989 by Epicpaddler
If you like the v8pro, I say go for that. That was my first ski and I loved it. Very stable, but fast enough to keep it interesting. For me, it was a great 'do everything" kind of ski. I like Epics, but that's mainly because that's about all that is available near me. I don't think you would outgrow it too soon and resale is great on a popular ski like that.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Quack

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 1 week ago #37990 by MCImes
Any boat around 50cm beam is probably a good place to start. That includes the likes of a Epic V8 or V8pro, Fenn Bluefin, Think Eze, and others.

If you falling over in a V8 in open water, you still have a lot of stability to learn. If you go with a skinnier boat you will have a longer learning curve, possibly develop bad habits, and have less fun initially.

Its better to just climb the ladder down in stability one step at a time. Start with a 51-55cm boat. Master your stroke, master stability in rough, confused water, then step down to a 48cm, master it in rough water, 45cm, master it, etc.

Luckily there is high demand for beginner/intermediate used boats so if you buy used you can probably sell it for the same you bought it for.
Once you get to 43cm elite boats, the demand is much less unless its a current model, as typically the only ones paddling elite boats want the highest performance, and new hulls are much better than old hulls, so old elite boats have very little value. But that is several steps away for you if you ever care to train to that point.

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: Quack

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 1 week ago #37996 by manta
Hi

I am still paddling my beginner boat - Fenn BlueFin. It has been three years and I am still in the same boat. I have thought about upgrading, have tested (long term) various boats and I have stayed with the Bluefin. The main reason is how well it surfs. I do quite a lot of down winding and due to my work schedule I often can go when no else can so I am alone. The boat is super stable and I haven't fallen out (about 2 years) even in gale force. 

I had a V8 pro for about 3 weeks. I loved the speed in the flat, it was noticeably faster on flat water but downwind the rocker was an issue. We have some pretty steep waves here and it kept nose diving. I am sure with a lot more time on the water in that boat I could have figured it out but the Bluefin is so natural. 

If your conditions are not as wild then go for something a little narrower like a v8 or Carbonology boost. I have found the Bluefin is slow when the conditions are easy especially in the flat. So if you want more speed out of the gate then the Bluefin is maybe not the best choice. If you want to surf big water and go out in anything, then the Bluefin will work well.

Please note I am totally biased so take that into consideration.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 1 week ago #37998 by MCImes
Manta makes another good point - regardless of beam, consider the conditions you want to paddle in.

As he says, a ski with low rocker and a pointy nose (like a V8 Pro) is better on the flat, but surfs waves poorly, is less maneuverable (very important in linking runs), and may be more prone to nosedive.

A boat with high rocker and a higher volume nose can be slow on the flats, but surfs waves like a boss, is highly maneuverable, and less prone to nosedive (though user error can still make it happen).

So in addition to the width consideration, also factor in where you want the boat to perform its best - on flat water or surfing waves. Typically the better a boat is at one, the worse it is at the other.

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: Quack

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 3 days ago - 1 month 1 day ago #38036 by Atlas
Hi Quack.
Lucky for you; you live in one of the best cities in the world for buying an ocean ski (new and particularly used) so you can be as fussy AF. Test paddle them all!
Some very good advice so far.
IMO it depends (among other things) on whether you want to be the best paddler you can be as soon as possible or whether you just want to have fun right now in the conditions you normally paddle in using the fastest ski you can stay upright on.
If you want to be the best paddler you can be as soon as possible you simply must have a stable ski. Technique is by far the most important component of your development (particularly at your age - I'm a similar age so I can relate). There is no way in hell you can fully develop your technique if you are in any way struggling with stability. Some guys on this forum (they're always guys; girls are too smart) will buy an advanced ski they think they can "grow into". They will struggle to stay upright on that thing and spend months imprinting appalling forward stroke "technique" which might take them years to correct (if they ever manage it). At the same time they will be restricted to protected water and calm weather.
You have access to some pretty awesome paddling conditions so it would be a shame if you bought a ski that precluded proper downwind paddling. A Fenn Bluefin, Carbonology Sport Cruze or an Epic V8 will not be the fastest skis on flat water (although they will be at least as fast as "fast" sea kayaks). If you're not racing anyone you probably won't notice. However any one of these will be confidence inspiring in rough water and amazing in proper downwind conditions. For pure downwind paddling the Bluefin is hard to beat although I think the V8 is probably a better all round ski. I haven't paddled a Cruze but I'm a big fam of Carbonology Sport skis. They are very much designed for ocean paddling not just going fast in calm water. If the latter is what you want then a V8pro would be excellent. I don't like that ski at all in proper downwind conditions though because it nosedives pretty badly when things get steep and or messy. Forget about a Swordfish. Awesome ski but you really need some serious skill to get the best out of it.
You could of course buy two (or more) skis.
There is a lot to be said for having a good margin of safety. By that I mean paddling a ski that you virtually never fall out of and one that you are comfortable in when conditions are as rough as you ever paddle in. Some paddlers see a stable ski as a missed opportunity to paddle a tiny bit faster on flat water. That's fair enough. We all have different perspectives. After some poor boat choices that resulted in a couple of very uncomfortable situations miles from shore, I don't see it that way. I get great satisfaction in being comfortable and confident in conditions many paddlers wouldn't even venture out in.
Most (male) paddlers can't resist the temptation to buy a slightly faster ski than they can truly handle. I'm as guilty of that as anyone and my paddling development has suffered.
Smart people learn by the mistakes of others. The rest of us just have to learn the hard way.

Current skis:
Epic V10L Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost LV, Fenn Bluefin, Nelo 510, Fenn XT double

Previous skis
Spirit PRS, Fenn Swordfish, Fenn XT, Fenn Swordfish S, Think Zen, Epic V10L Club

Most with DK rudders.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 2 days ago #38038 by BrettD
I would agree with most of the other posters that one of the stable skis like a bluefin , v8 or think ace or eze are a great first boat and in many cases you won’t ever completely outgrow them, you just take the out in more wind and bigger waves. Then you buy a second narrower ski for the flat. I’ve had a few skis including  a think ace, epic v10 sport, v8 pro elite and currently have a carbon bluefin and a hybrid  swordfish s. I would say that I have developed my paddling the most in the past 18 months in the bluefin getting out and comfortable in larger conditions with a larger margin of safety and confidence. The only caveat I would say is that I weigh about 110kg and probably found the v8 pro too low volume for my size. You might be different results. 

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 days 1 hour ago #38192 by Quack
Thanks everybody.  I took advice and went fairly conservative.
I have ordered an Allwave RS590 (590 x 51.5).
I tested a few different skis in the stable intermediate range and liked this best.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 day 18 hours ago #38195 by robin.mousley
Congratulations!

Keep us posted on your progress!

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...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics

For UK paddlers - the RYA SafeTRX app (1 Posts)

1 day 8 hours ago
robin.mousley's Avatar

Advice on my first ski purchase.... (10 Posts)

1 day 16 hours ago
mickeyA's Avatar

LS surfski vs...... (2 Posts)

1 day 19 hours ago
Protected by R Antispam