Stellar SES information

5 years 5 months ago#11899by Paul600
I'm a 5'9", 70kg, 12kph on the flat, type of paddler and I'm after a new ski.

I'm down to either a V10L(ultra) or a Stellar SES(Excel) and whilst I like the V10L and am comfortable in it in most conditions, I've not been able to paddle the SES to make a direct comparison.

I don't know if there are many similarities but I've had a quick paddle in the SE, which although too big for me, was comfortable, seemed quick enough and was so stable it was hard to believe it was in the V10/Elite performance catagory.

So, can anybody who's paddled the SES tell me how it compares to the V10L? All things being equal, the SES is considerably less expensive than the Epic and although I'd have a wait to get one, I'm prespared for that if it means I get the right ski.


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5 years 5 months ago#11901by Kayaker Greg
I had the V10L and at the time was 5'8" and 76kg, the V10L felt like a big ski for me but the main issue I had was the leg hump being to high and causing sore hip flexors. I moved to the Stellar SES Excel with the lower leg hump, the ski feels the right size for me and I prefer it over the V10L. It doesn't turn around the cans as fast as the V10L but there are a few things that can be done to the pedal and cable set up that help here. The SES is a bit twitchy on the initial but good in the rough, if your a 12kph paddler in the flat I doubt you will have any problems with it.

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5 years 5 months ago#11902by AGA
I’ve got a similar build at 5’9’’ and 70kg and paddled a V10 for several years and an SES in Excel for the last 7 months.

On comfort, both are similar in a good way. The relative height of the seat and feet work well, providing the ability to comfortably drive your weight forward through the feet and heels. I have never had a problem with numb feet in either ski – which is important. In other makes of ski I’ve experienced numb feet.

The pressure point at the back of the seat is similar in the V10 and SES, and I find sticking a high density foam back pad to the rear of the seat is worthwhile. I went with the original (smaller) SES seat construction which has about the same compact feel as a V10.

On stability, the skis are about the same – but not identical. I suspect the SES seat is fractionally lower in the ski, which creates the impression of more initial stability. The secondary stability seems about the same. The extra length in the V10 seems to help in messy multi-directional chop, while the slightly shorter length makes the SES feel a bit more manoeuvrable – so similar but slightly different.

As my comparison is between the SES and a V10 with the larger bow than the V10L, I find the SES is slightly less wind sensitive, but suspect the reverse may apply with a V10L.

There are plenty of comparisons out there on speed between the skis, with the conclusion that any difference is slight.

Remounting works fine in both as I just discovered. I fell out of the SES for the first time this Saturday after riding a swell around the back of a moored cruiser without realising some guys had fishing lines out – went across the lines and tipped myself out when I turned around to apologise. Backed it up by falling out again shortly thereafter in a more genuine manner, and found the ski worked well in a remount in some swell and wakes.

The bucket in the SES seemed to carry a bit less water than the V10 immediately after remount. The SES drains moderately fast and starts to gurgle at 9kmh.

Overall I like the concept of a ski that scales up/down size and weight to maximise efficiency for different builds of paddler – in the same way they do for rowing sculls. The SES attempts that.

In conclusion I think they are both very similar skis and if you like one you are likely to find the other good as well.

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5 years 5 months ago#11903by RICHARD PHILPS
HI PAUL where do you live? as the Stellar Agent for South Africa we can assist if local?

We had one of our top lady paddlers race the SES Ultra over the weekend ,i will ask he to give you feedback on what she thought of the SES Ultra.
She is paddling a fenn elite carbon f.y.i

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5 years 5 months ago#11904by AR_convert
Yes, where do you live Paul?

Just wondering if you have considered the Carbonology Atom? They were designed with smaller guys in mind.

I came from a V10L, which I loved, it was a great flatwater ski!

I really need to go and paddle the SES again, I am now looking to upgrade from the Vault and the SES would fit my brief for a low volume flat water ski. I don't know why but we just don't see them around my area and as they say "out of sight out of mind".

Current - Carbonology"Flash" Vajda "Supersonic K1" Previously ~Finn"Molokai Mk II"~Knysna "Vantage Pro K1' Carbonology "Vault"~Epic"V10L & Sport"~ [/b]Fenn"Mill Double" ~Spirit"PRS"~Finn"Affinity"
Always looking for the next boat :)

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5 years 5 months ago - 5 years 5 months ago#11905by Marieski
Hi Paul.

I had a V10L Elite and changed it for an SES Advantage. I am 5ft 6 and 56kg ( funny how we do height in imperial and weight in metric). I found that at my weight, the lay-up makes a huge difference, so my impressions need to be interpreted with this in mind. The Elite certainly cured me of carbon skis.

The hump is higher in the V10 but manageable, that of the SES being comfortably low. I think at your height, that won't really matter.

I don't think their flat water speed is appreciably different. I haven't measured the dimensions but the SES feels narrower at the catch for me.The SES seems to get better in bigger water, the V10 less so but that might again be because the thing was riding so high, being light and not really low volume as advertised.

I find the smaller volume bow in the SES much more manageable in wind. Though it does bury more easily downwind, the tradeoff favors the SES in my opinion.

The V10L steers better.

The cockpit drainage is less quick in the SES and the bung in the hole system is a pain.
You are usually needing to fiddle with it at exactly the wrong moment anyway.

I would love to have an Atom. It feels like the size suits me the best of any ski I have ever paddled. It is incredibly quick and responsive and I could do what it takes to get used to it's instability. But it is difficult if not impossible to remount and I can't buy a ski I can't remount.

The SES is easier to remount, though neither is particularly difficult.

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7

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5 years 5 months ago#11906by Paul600
Thanks for all your comments.

I live in the UK and Stellars are pretty thin on the ground here, in fact, I think the SE I paddled is the only one in the country.

The UK rep can order one in and although I wouldn't commit to buying before I've even paddled it, I want to be fairly certain its the best boat for me before I ask him to go ahead.

I too like the idea of a ski designed specifically for the smaller/lighter paddler and from the feedback so far is would appear that the SES would suit me very well and doesn't have any major vices (not that the V10L has either). In fact, in a web trawl last night I couldn't find any significant negative comment (is the SES really that good)?

Where I live we generally have wind generated, relatively steep waves so the shorter length may be of benefit. I appreciate that the tendency to bury is a combination of boat length and nose volume but does the SES have appreciably less volume in the nose than the V10L?

The Atom sound awesome and a great boat for flatter days but even if there were one in the country, it's sounds too unstable for me when the going gets rough.

Thanks again

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5 years 5 months ago - 5 years 5 months ago#11907by isotopez

I will do my best to answer any questions you have as well regarding the SES. I recently made the switch from a V10L performance lay up to the SES advantage. The weights of the two skis are almost exactly the same so I feel I can comment on the differences and rule out any variances regarding lay up weight.

I find the v10l to be more twitchy in rough water, I feel the SES is more predictable in the way it reacts and rolls.

Contrary to everyone elses opinions on the steering, I find my SES is much more responsive on bumps and doesn't have the steering lag my epic did. With my v10l I would push on the pedal and have a lag in response unless I had the surfing rudder on. I have not tried a surf rudder on the SES yet and think I would only need it if it was a pumping downwind.

I also noticed that after paddling the SES I am not getting tight hip flexors like I was in the v10l.

I do agree with the concensus that one of the reasons why the SES is more stable for me @ 5'9 and 155 pounds is that I sink the Stellar more than I did in the v10l. The waterline is designed for a lighter paddler in the SES whereas the v10l hull is the same as the v10, except with the v10l they moved the seat forward a few inches and dropped the deck volume. None of which change the waterline to benefit a smaller person.

If you are ever in Southern California you can try mine out :)


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5 years 5 months ago#11914by Rightarmbad
I'm taller and heavier than you, but some things will ring true across all sizes.

The SES is way more 'chuckable' than the V10L.

It also seems to be very efficient speed wise in the 12 to 14kmh range on flat water.

The ultimate top speed goes to the Epic though.
The surf rudder is the only one to use on any of the Epics.

My only bad comment on the SES is a worry that it may not have enough volume up front for some conditions.
It does have a unique two position bucket though.

You can sit normally with your legs together and a normal rise or just flip your legs out and low for a more stable semi braced position.
Hard to describe, but it works.

The SES has a narrower catch.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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5 years 5 months ago#11915by Paul600
Definitely going to try the SES now. I've often thought that much of the primary twitchiness for me is because so little of a full volume boat is below the waterline compared to, say, a 95kg paddler. The same applies when being pushed about by the wind. I would have thought that having an SES sitting lower in the water would help considerably.
I appreciate the trade off of lower nose volume but a bit of burying I can live with if the conditions are that big.
Just got to find out how long it's going to take to try one now.
Thanks again

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5 years 5 months ago#11916by wesley
Paul, I would have to agree with all the comments about the Ses on this thread with the exception of the bow volume and the top end speed in comparison with the Epics that Rightarmbad claims. I have not heard of or personally experienced the volume being too low in the SES and I am at 178lbs. My experience is that if the nose does bury and that is rare, it immediately is trying to rise to the surface unlike some other ski I have paddled. My experience and extensive time trialing is that the SES in comparable layup is faster than the V10L. At this point I have more time in an SES than any ski I have ever owned. I have to admit it has been awhile since I time trialed a v10L and undoubtedly am faster in any ski than I was a few years ago, however I was in a v10L just last week. Separately,It would be fun for me to go back retime trial all the skis I reviewed years ago. I am guessing I would be faster in all the skis but the margin of speed difference would be closer on the intermediate class of skis. Just thinking out loud. Glad you are going to try an SES. Wesley(Stellar USA,

Wesley Echols
Former Stellar Kayaks and Surfskis, Performance Director, USA ,, #1 in Surfski Reviews.

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5 years 5 months ago#11918by Rightarmbad
Wesley, I'm around the 90kg mark and the SE has a higher top end speed than the SES on flat water for my weight.
But the SES does seem to have a sweet spot in that speed range.

I haven't personally experienced a lack of nose volume, just suspect that maybe it could be an issue for bigger types. It may very well be totally unfounded when put to the test.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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5 years 5 months ago#11934by Watto
Recently purchased latest model SES (arrived April Perth) and improvements on previous model tested include changed rudder (pin closer to centre) for greater precision and lack of "vagueness" and improved rudder line alignment through footplates (nil slippage, easy adjustment, wooohooo).

Agree with Kayaker Greg about initial twitchiness but this disappears at about 1.5 kmh - eg once up and running the boat is magic. AGA says secondary stability about same as V10; in my experience both about same if not tad more in SES on the flat, but V10 definitely less stable in rougher, bumpier conditions. To qualify I am intermediate level paddler 85kg 6ft. SES hugs me baby, fits my hips etc. Part of V10 instability for me came from fit, moving around in boat rather than boat being me, however no question in my mind the V10 less stable in the bump in general, rather than on waves downwind which I won't debate.

To be precise too, that tested V10 was THE boat Clint Robinson paddled to win the 2009 Doctor - corky carbon fibre 9-10kgs. My SES is Excel layup weighed in at 10.95kg. (If you buy Stellar go the Excel, the difference is huge in so many ways.)

Manouevrability: love the new rudder, better than previous and more nimble for me than previous model SE and SES. Question yet to be answered - will I be pitched out on a decent face as immediacy of response tilts boat instantly if I stab at a pedal?

Stability: secondary enormous, huge, mind buggering, seriously. I reckon it's at least as stable as my PRS, bloated beautiful plastic that it is (I put that down in part to good fit in SES). Hangs on one rail no drama.

Remounting: Easy like Oscar getting into a V8. Disadvantage potentially that as a result of not having a deep bucket the boat takes more water in big stuff. Can't comment yet.

Draining: seems slower than most even with new bullet etc. Starts working around 9 kmh as mentioned in other posts here. Not a problem but you have to be on the move before it starts sucking.

Fit: as above very sweet for my 33" waist (84 cm) and reasonably tight arse. Weight as mentioned 85cm. Leg length I'm halfway up the track, with my 6'3" skinnny-arsed son at full extension. By the way, young Simon (24 y/o) has paddled maybe 6-8 times all up in fat plastics and spent an hour on the flat in the SES with one initial swim only.

Volume: can't comment on downwind bigger stuff but in very blowy river side winds up to 50kmh not the nasty dramas of a high volume boat like the SE or some downriver boats.

Weight: put on car, take off car repeat X 10. Mmmmm 3 calories. Sensational in all regards - jumps quickly for swells, wash hanging, chasing onto a double as it slides past etc. Magic.

Catch: for my money wider than I would care for. I like the inner canting of the Swordfish upper hull for example; on this wider boat there seems to be a narrower catch. While the SES narrow at 41.6cm there are narrower catches out there. Same the amount of space forward of pedals - could be reduced a la many others. I don't have enough exprience to rate the extent to which this impairs performance or otherwise.

Hump/fit: found V10 and V10S very comfortable if not roomy. Hump seems same SES but tighter. Think you can be longer but not fatter in SES.

All the best in your boat hunting Paul600.

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5 years 5 months ago#11935by Kayaker Greg
RE the initial stability. I've struggled in the SES in a year of paddling it in certain conditions. Always felt to me like it wanted to be on one side or the other so after a year of persisting with trying to keep it on the level I began looking for another ski but couldn't find anything that ticks all the boxes like the SES does for me, except for my issues with the initial stability.
Recently following the other thread about leg drive and the resulting discussion on power circles and the torso swinging, not just rotating, I've had a quantum leap in my paddling experience in the SES. The tender initial stability that was throwing out my stroke technique has now proven to be an aid in the torso swinging technique and it seems that the SES initial stability was not a weakness in the ski but an aid to using improved technique and the fault was mine, not the skis. Now very happy with the SES in all respects. No longer looking for the perfect ski, I've found I already had it.

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5 years 5 months ago#11962by Bolt
Recently got the the chance to paddle and SES in prepreg carbon layup in Durban !

First impressions:

Build quality and attention to deatail is superb !great looking in black nude carbon and yellow.

Really clever and simple footplate and pedal adjustment.

ridiculously light !


extremely comfortable and stable, as stable as a swordfish but feels quicker and more responsive in the runs !

The seat position is higher and helps with leg drive.

Has more volume in the nose than the V10L. V10L is significantly twichier and is not great in big downwind, Will interesting to compare it to the Swordfish in a downwind.

A number of the top female paddlers have recently paddled and raced it in Durban and all have commented that its great that there is now a stable fast boat specifically built for lighter and shorter paddlers.

Its great to see another manaufacturer in SA ! Gives paddlers more choices. Demo boats and full range are available at Republic Sport in Durban and more details on !

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5 years 5 months ago#11963by JonathanC
Hey Bolt, thanks for the mini review. Please don't take this the wrong way but are you just very excited about the Stellar or do you have some commercial interest in them as well. Just nice to know if that's the case.
I'm really keen to try an SES out too.

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5 years 5 months ago#11968by Bolt
Hi JonathanC

FYI I have no commercial interest in Stellar Kayaks whatsoever ! HOWEVER my brother is involved in importing then into South Africa.Yes he is my brother but that does not mean I have to paddle his boats or even like them !!!! I paddle Fenns and have always been a FENN fan. I own 4 at the moment, 2 doubles and 2 singles(Elite and Swordfish Carbon).I have in fact just taken delivery of new Fenn Carbon Hybrid Swordfish this week.I was intially sceptical when he said he was looking to bring them into SA as they are relatively unknown here and have had bad publicity on this site due to them being manufactured in the same factory in China as EPIC previuosly were.( see previuos forums for more info on the dispute bewteen EPIC and the manufacturer)

I happened to paddle the carbon SES at a local DUC dice in the sea last week (course had a combination of crooswind, downwind , and into wind) because my new boat had not been delivered yet. My comments on the SES were related to my initial impressions of the boat. I was honestly impressed and my thoughts were and still are that it is a great boat for shorter , lighter paddlers. This was confirmed by both lady paadlers (both regular top 3 finishers in the local series),who like me battle to be totally comfortable in the longer buckets of the Elite and V10 for example.

Jonathan C, Try one and decide for yourself.

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5 years 5 months ago#11972by JonathanC
Thanks Bolt, appreciate the time you put into explaining that! The Stellar's have a good reputation in Melbourne and because Im small I'm really keen to try an SES. Because I'm basically a beginner intermediate I'm pretty sure it will be too much for me for a while, but I believe some of the bigger boats are tippier for smaller/lighter people because they sit higher in the water.

Swordfish is certainly on my list as well. Again, thanks for the explanation.

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5 years 5 months ago#11973by Kayaker Greg
Can I suggest you try an SEL as well? I have not tried one yet but I know many that say they are way more stable than the SES. One friend of mine had to step back from his SES into a EVO and has now gone to the SEL and reckons its not much less stable than his EVO but is faster.
Another friend who had a SES for about 18 months has also stepped back to an EVO. I'm thinking of getting a SEL on the back of these two guys experience and having the option of choosing between the two Stellars for where I paddle.

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5 years 5 months ago#11979by AlanW
I am Gregs mate with Stellar SEL. After years of being a very average triathelte I started paddling surf skis 22 months ago - XT, then Evo, then SES.
The SES was beautifully crafted but too much much for me on anything but calm days, so went back to the Evo.
SEL became avaiable in NZ and after reading all the reviews, performance charts etc I bought one.
Only marginally more tippy than the Evo but faster and catches runners beautifully.
For the intermediate paddler looking for manageable step into a HPS, the SEL is a winner.

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