Unofficial Review of new Stellar SEL

3 years 8 months ago #25118 by portmanm
Before I start, some background. I’ve been paddling for 4 years, > 90% in the ocean in varying conditions up to 3-4m swell and 30-40 knots, paddle about 50km per week and do regular racings – I class myself as an intermediate paddler with aspirations. Six foot, 47 years young and about 90kg.

For the last 2 years, I’ve paddled an Epic V10 Elite (2nd gen) – great boat for me. Other boats I’ve paddled are Epic V12, V10S (old & new gen), V8 (old & new gen) and 10L (new gen) plus small stints in Vajda Hawx 46, Think Ion and Fenn Swordfish (old gen). I’ve had the opportunity to spend lots of time in Stellar boats over the past 12 months – SEI (my wife’s), SES (new and old gen), S2E and now Stellar Australia has lent me the new SEL (Advantage layup) to demo.

Over the past week I’ve paddled over 50km in the Stellar SEL in varying conditions – flat, confused water, strong head wind, chop and downwind (<2m swell, <20 knots) – those who have been paddling with me stated I seem more comfortable and a little quicker than my regular Epic – maybe I’m in a good head space too, that always helps.

Things I like for me

- Picks up runs easily, small and large bumps, well-trimmed, I can push it over the run when I need to
- Stable for me, I was quite surprised as this boat is skinnier than my current ski. It’s definitely between SEI and SES in stability, the Advantage layup might be assisting too – be interested to test Excel layup as it might be a little more flighty
- Slices through the chop
- Seat is comfortable for me (others that have tried, some get numb bum, others are fine but you get that across all skis)
- Dual venturi’s drain well
- Thought the drink bottle location might get in the way of the leash point and inhibit leg movement but it was ok
- 3-point anchor for footplate – bombproof – however, I find it challenging changing leg length for other people, jams easy – Epic have the best adjustment setup IMO – if you demo a lot of boats, you’ll understand this more, not a big deal if you’re the only person paddling it
- Handles are very handy, however, when you bury the nose in bigger conditions lots of water catches around the handle, maybe I just need to angle slightly and not bury the nose
- Tested a remount in confused water, no issues

So, would I buy one – YES! It’s on my short-list along with another Epic V10 (2nd gen) and Vajda Hawx 46. I’m interested to see what happens with new Epic V12 and what Oscar is doing with Nelo but I could be dreamin’ I can paddle them effectively in the ocean conditions I typically paddle in.

Anyway, contact your Stellar dealer and give the new SEL a spin, make sure you have more than 2 sessions.

Cheers, Matt

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M
The following user(s) said Thank You: Newbflat

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3 years 8 months ago #25120 by Newbflat
Interesting. This ski is on my short list as well. Can you compare it to the V10 2nd gen in terms of stability and surfing? Which ski do you feel more stable/ comfortable in in rough conditions. Is it looser on the face of a wave than the V10? How about the catch in comparison ...

Bill

FENN Bluefin S
FENN Swordfish S carbon hybrid
Lot and lots of DK rudders.


Had:
Stellar SEL excel (gen 2)
Stellar SR excel (gen2)
Stellar S18s g1 (excel)
Epic V10 Double (performance)
Stellar SR (gen 1)
V10 sport (gen 2)
V10 (Gen 2)
Beater SEL (gen 1)

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3 years 8 months ago #25121 by Rob0870
Hey Matt,
If you had to pick between the v10 2nd gen and the new SEL, which one would you choose?

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3 years 8 months ago - 3 years 8 months ago #25122 by TaffyMick
Hi Matt,

Couple of things you said struck a chord with me in respect to comfort and stability of Stellar vs Epic. This is something I picked up on between the old V10S 2 gen and the SEI (exel) I used to own.

While I am 10% ocean and 90% flat water (2 gen SR Excel) and 20kg more and 12 years older than you, I can relate to the exact same observations. Also, I am a firm believer that the Advantage layup has a lot to do with this too. In hindsight if my old SEI was in Advantage I would probably still have it.

Anyhow, the one thing that is noticeable with all the Stellars is the "swede" hull design along most of its length and that lifted bow. With the swede hull there is little doubt that in respect to secondary stability that this is a big contributor to these boats' overall feel and is a confidence booster to push you just that bit harder. The raked / lifted bow helps push up and though chop and swell without the sense of smashing through as is apparent with other brand's offerings.

Anyway, that's my two bobs worth. Though that black V10 Elite of yours you were paddling towards me on Saturday morning sure looked the goods as always mate!

Mick

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

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3 years 8 months ago #25123 by portmanm
@Bill - stability between new SEL and V10 (2nd Gen) seems identical to me, my 10.5kg elite V10 probably a little more lively than the 15kg SEL I've been demo'ing. They surf pretty much the same, however, in the V10 I sometimes feel I'm paddling up hill, just quite not trimmed well enough for me - I've seen other V10 paddlers put in a extra moulded seat to move them forward 40-50mm and they reckon that problem disappears.

@Rob, I'm grappling with that question too, that's why I thought if I wrote it down it might help me. It hasn't. Could come down to cost vs re-sale value. Epics typically hold their value in Australia. I'm going to try the Excel layup of SEL too to see if that changes the comfort/stability dramatically. I've actually got a possible buyer for my Epic, so changeover not too bad. These comments are probably no use to you.

@Mick, thanks for comments - see you on the water soon.

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M

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3 years 8 months ago #25124 by Rob0870
Matt I'm undecided between the two and was hoping you would help my decision.

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3 years 8 months ago #25125 by Rob0870
Also how did you find the SES considering you're 90kg's. Thats on my list however I'm 82kg's so unsure if I'm too heavy

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3 years 8 months ago #25126 by portmanm
Hey Rob, just read your other thread on the topic and all the other comments. If your 82kg, then I'd go the new SEL unless you don't like the seat or your willing to put in a extra seat mould in the Epic V10 to move you forward 40-50mm. If you want to talk, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Don't write off the Vajda Hawx 46 either, couple of my friends who I consider elite paddlers that can paddle V14's and Uno Max's have dropped to the Hawx 46 and go no slower in large ocean bump.

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M

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3 years 8 months ago #25127 by portmanm
Argh, Rob, we must be posting at the same time - just saw the SES question, I was probably a little heavy for the SES - I could paddle it but would have been limited to smaller conditions as my balance is probably not as good as yours. The guys I know who around your weight are doing well in SES - Greg Tobin & Matt O'Garey as examples. If you're looking at skinny ski's, then Fenn Spark should be on your list too. Ha ha, too many options. Hope you have access to all the ski's to test.

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M

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3 years 8 months ago #25131 by portmanm
Lent the new SEL Advantage to an elite paddler this morning, he's about 75kg, 5'10" and paddles Epic 10L elite (old gen). Conditions were very moderate. He held his position in the training pack and managed a 4:27min km. His comments, stable with a 30mm seat pad, comfortable, tracked well, responsive steering - he could feel the boat flex and found it tougher getting the boat to run initially due to heavy layup, once it was up and running all good. He be interested in a lighter stiffer lay-up.

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M

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3 years 8 months ago #25132 by AR_convert

Rob0870 wrote: Also how did you find the SES considering you're 90kg's. Thats on my list however I'm 82kg's so unsure if I'm too heavy


At 82kg I'd think you'd be fine.

I am a touch over 90kg at present and this was my experience this past weekend.

I was lent a SES by a race sponsor to paddle in an adventure race.

The 6.4km paddle leg was in an estuary and there was a lot of shallow water through the race and a fair amount of wind chop, with around 1/4 of the race downwind, 1/4 headwind and the rest side winds.

I was pleasantly surprised at how quick it was for the stability. As the paddle leg was the last leg you could call it a time trial as the team or individuals got away as the arrived. I was racing in a team so was fresh for the paddle. It was only a short paddle (6.4km) but I managed fastest paddle leg from the over 500 teams/solos.

A few thoughts on the ski

First thing I noticed was how much smaller the footwell is to the old model, big improvement. Still not as narrow a catch as many other low volume boats but I didnt seem to notice once up a running.

The footplate and adjustments has to be close to industry best, I was really impressed with the quality and how solid the footplate was.

STIFF! This boat is really stiff and you get reward for effort, it really responds well to hard paddling. I didn't have a close look at the rocker on it, but over the shallows it didn't bog down too badly and on the flat ran really well.

As for how it would go downwind or in big conditions, I'll leave that to others to comment.

Current - Carbonology"Flash" Vajda "Infusion II 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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3 years 8 months ago #25140 by Rob0870
Matt

You mentioned a new v12, what do you know?

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3 years 8 months ago #25141 by portmanm
Heard on the grapevine, new V12 planned for early next year - input from Clint Robinson - no specs or other info other than this.

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M

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3 years 8 months ago #25172 by portmanm
Thanks to Stellar Australia and Andrew Mathers (South Coast rep.), I've been allowed to paddle a new SEL in Excel layup, only had it 24 hours and very happy so far - try before buy. Paddled 16 kms today - 8kms upwind in slop and chop, the return downwind was challenging - not much change in characteristics from the advantage layup, little more lively but nothing to really complain about - remember I paddle a 10.5kg Epic V10 elite. SEL carved upwind and could run off the back of the chop which I find hard with the Epic. Good surfing and responsive rudder control. I'll make my decision this week.

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M

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3 years 8 months ago #25184 by Rob0870
Matt,

Your decision is?????

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3 years 8 months ago #25186 by portmanm
Proud new owner of new 2016 Stellar SEL Excel layout. B) B) B) B)

Now to pimp this puppy .... already white with yellow stripe, needs some stickers.

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M

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3 years 8 months ago #25187 by peterscott
I have also tested the G2 SEL advantage layup ( having previously had SEL's in advantage and exel layups) .

My feedback is that:

a) the new ski is minimally if at all different toG1 in primary and secondary stability;
b) has much better seating and paddling ( narrower catch) arrangements;
c) turns much more readilly due to move forward of ruddder and seating;
c) Is faster than a V10 and approaching and or at V12 pace.

The issues I had with the old versions re broaching and seat positions seemed cured in this G2

Woody

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3 years 8 months ago #25191 by red_pepper
I had a 1/2 hr or so flat-water paddle in the G2 SEL Excel in August and really loved it. A little different feel than my G1 SEL, but I think an improvement all around to an already excellent boat, particularly in the ergonomics. I have a multi-sport layup version on order for the Spring. Portmanm - there's a trick to easily adjusting the foot plate on Stellar skis: loosen all the locking levers, then push the locks down solidly so the teeth are clear of the mating teeth in the adjustment slot. Then take hold of the top center of the footplate and move it while pushing down on it a bit. Everything should slide pretty easily.

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3 years 7 months ago - 3 years 7 months ago #25203 by owenw
I have a new SEL in the Excel layup; I've had it now for several weeks and have raced it a couple of times. I find that it fits mid-way between my current SR and SES (both in Excel layup). I've got a stocky build and weigh just under 80Kg. It definitely does not have the flatwater speed of the SES, but is much more stable. I'm yet to decide as to if it is a fast "Intermediate" ski, or a stable "Elite". I am just a fan of the build quality of Stellars (my 1st was in the Advantage layup) - my G1 SR is over 3 years old now, has had a lot of use, but is structurally as good as new, (though the white finish is a slightly bit "yellowed" when compared to the other 2 newer boats).

Life truly lived is full of risk; to fence out risk is to fence out life itself

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3 years 7 months ago #25204 by wesley
I would categorize SEL 2G as Stable Elite or Stable High Performance Ski(HPS). It has HPS speed with excellent stability in this in this class. Flat water speed in excel layup with 4 inch rudder also confirms compared with all my other HPS I have reviewed. So the SEL 2G in the excel layup has great appeal since it can be easily competitive in ocean or flat water conditions with a change of rudders. Easy to remount as well. More to come from Stellar in the next few weeks also.

Wesley of Stellar and SurfskiRacing.com

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.

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