Boat Volumes

2 months 2 weeks ago #31427 by Meerkat
Hi there,

I am in search of some advice please. I’m on the hunt for a second hand ski. My problem is pretty much my size (you would never think a woman would say that right...)

I’m 1.57 m tall and weigh 58 kg’s. The best way for me to go about selecting a ski is to look at the volume. Currently I can’t find any information anywhere on the volume of the Fenn Swordfish S. Can anyone please provide me with that?

I’m currently considering the Think Evo (up to 105 kg), Swordfish S (??) and Carconology Vault (up to 80 kg). I love the Vault but here in Australia it’s very new and therefore they are not yet available as second hand. The older ones are very very scares because their owners love them too much.

So my question to you would be, between the Swordfish S and Evo which volume wild suit me better? I also had a look at Stellar and Epic but their voumes are just massive for me.

Also while making my choice I am also a bit cheeky and expecting my next ski to be stable yet fast in both flatter, messed up stuff (like Sydney Harbour) and some ocean stuff (nothing like Millers Run though). Mmm...

Thanks

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2 months 2 weeks ago #31428 by PhilSE2
I have owned a gen 1 Swordfish whilst a paddling companion has owned both a Evo 11 and Swordfish S. We both currently have the Gen2 Vault . We are both under 76 kg and are very aware of the advantages of low volume boats.

Without a doubt the Gen 2 Vault is the pick of the boats for the lighter paddler. The Evo 11 has the most volume and would certainly be very corky for a sub 60kg paddler. The Swordfish is a lower volume boat than the Evo but also it's finer bow and hull design suits a lighter paddler better than the Evo. The Think Eze would be more suitable for the lighter paddler than the Evo if speed was not a high requirement.
The Vault is faster and better handling for a light paddler but is also a little tippier than the other two. Whilst I very much liked the Swordfish for me I have found the Vault a much nicer boat to paddle with much better handling characteristics in all water conditions.
They are all very good boats it is a matter of what would suit you best. Trying them all is the only true way of determining which suits you best.

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2 months 2 weeks ago #31433 by Kiwi Dave
Nelo 550 might be another option worth looking at ? The surfski comparison site may be of some use to you also ... surfskicomparison.com/

The Stellar SES is a lower volume ski but stability will be a challenge perhaps.

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2 months 2 weeks ago #31437 by robin.mousley
As already noted, if you can, try them for yourself. But make sure you take demo boats out when it's choppy, not when it's flat!

I have the Think Evo II, paddled it for three years and loved it. But at 77kg, I struggled to paddle it upwind i.e. I found it slow relative to my peers. The thing I liked least about the Evo II was paddling out to the beginning of our Miller's Run - 800m diagonally into wind and waves. In big, windy conditions, I'd be knocked sideways when going over the crests of waves, a very uncomfortable feeling.

I now have a carbon hybrid Swordfish S, which I absolutely love. Since January I've broken my Miller's Run PB three times - so it's a cracker downwind, especially in rough conditions. And I've found my upwind performance relative to my race markers has also improved - and going out to the start of the Miller's Run presents much less of a challenge - the shape of the nose (and presumably the smaller volume) means that it doesn't get caught nearly as much by the wind.

So I can't give you any figures - but for me at 77 (or so) kg, the Swordfish S seems to have enough volume that it's still a relatively dry boat downwind (by dry I mean the nose seldom dips under water and the cockpit doesn't flood unduly). But I do have a Nelo wave deflector on the Swordfish that I never felt I needed on the Evo II.

Here's the wave deflector at work:



But the Swordfish S definitely has less volume up front as evidenced by the negligible sensitivity to headwinds/sidewinds.

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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The following user(s) said Thank You: jateureka

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2 months 2 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #31438 by robin.mousley
Oh - and I find the Vault quite a bit tippier than the Evo II.

I've also paddled the 550, but only once, on a Miller's Run. The boat wasn't equipped with its wave deflector and I found it extremely wet. The fact that the Nelo boats come standard with the wave deflectors is an indication that for them it's not an option - you must have the deflector installed if you want to go downwind.

The 550 is perceptibly more tippy than the Swordfish and Evo II, of the roughly similar stability I'd guess to the Vault.

All fine boats.

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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2 months 2 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #31444 by Atlas
You might also consider the Epic V10L. I’m about 76kg and I recently purchased one as a bit of an experiment. I’m by no means an elite paddler but I’ve been surprised at how comfortable and confident I am in choppy conditions while paddling this ski. I will certainly keep a more stable boat (or two) for big downwinders but I can see myself using the V10L much more often than I anticipated. Someone with better skills than my low to mid level intermediate standard would be able to use this ski for just about any paddling they wanted to do.
The Swordfish S seems to be a great hull design but I hate the “new improved” bucket.

Current skis:
Epic V10L, Think Zen, Fenn Bluefin, Fenn XT double

Previous skis
Fenn Swordfish, Fenn Swordfish S, Fenn XT, Spirit PRS

Most with DK rudders.

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2 months 2 weeks ago #31455 by Meerkat
Thanks Rob for all the advice. I'm not really a Nelo fan I must say, I think they do better with K1's and K'2 etc.

I'll give both the Think and Swordfish a go. About 98% of people are in agreement that the Fenn would be the winner. I'm racing the Think on Saturday. Let's see...exciting times.

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2 months 2 weeks ago #31456 by Meerkat
Thanks for the reply Atlas. I have tried the V10L but found it very 'corky' and bobbing around. I didn't really feel as if I was in control. Also a bit tippy for me. Thanks

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2 months 2 weeks ago #31461 by Davidw
I agree with Rob.

I have an Evo II.
My weight fluctuates between 77 and 83kg depending on the type of training I'm doing.
I find the Evo much better with an extra 6kg of weight. It just feels more planted.

I chose the Evo over the (original) Swordfish because I felt, after paddling both back to back for a week, that the Evo was better (easier to use?) downwind and had better secondary stability in big conditions.
I haven't paddled the Swordfish S.
But upwind the Evo, like the original V10, is much harder work.

I've done a couple of downwinds on the Vault. Its awesome in smaller conditions for me and if you can handle the extra instability, I'd say it may be worth waiting for. When I'm heavier it doesn't work as well for me and my butt doesn't like the seat.

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2 months 1 week ago #31547 by eh.haole
I'm on an Evo 3 Elite now, novice surf skier 176cm x ~70kg pushing it into skinnier skis after years in other paddle sports. My other ski is a Stellar SR, which is a solid little tub compared to the Evo, the latter being faster and sportier.

The Evo is light and tight, and has a high and responsive paddling position, which is good for leverage and getting the ski to be dynamic, but quite sporty if you're not ready to handle a) the quickness and sensitivity of its primary roll and b) the depth of its secondary, which can come quickly and is quite far over for me unless I know I'm going to be on it with a deeper brace--about 80% of the time. I'm still getting used to those aspects and don't know how much paddler weight factors into it. I wouldn't say I feel much "righting moment" until pretty far over, and the description of "buoyant" is probably apt. Re-mounting is easy, the ski is substantially stable at ~30+ degrees over when side-sitting, and the leash point/handles/fast bailer make this a low-stress affair even in rough water.

I also feel (pros correct me if wrong) that there is some tail rocker which is perfectly designed for the shape of a good wave surf (feels great on a clean wave), but might contribute to looseness in slow or very challenging conditions (idk?) I have been there (intentionally :)--sounds like the word above is "corky," but then again it's a 11-12kg ski. No particular issues going into the wind, the Gen 3 bow is pretty low-profile and you can see what's coming. I might test a Swordfish sometime to compare, it might sit a little deeper just by the numbers (Stew says try 'em all?) I think speed factors in as well, I noticed while surfing the ski on clean waves that things seemed to firm up like a surfboard. I guess that makes sense it's partly designed for strong downwind performance.

Would Think proto a scaled-down model to stack up against Swordfish or SEI dimensions? Maybe if enough featherweights promised to try & buy?

Haolewaiian kook & part-time stability tester
The following user(s) said Thank You: Atlas

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2 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 week ago #31548 by Atlas
Thanks for that great comment about the Evo III eh-haole.
I would love to see intermediate boats made for smaller paddlers. The only reason I have a V10L is that it fits me so well that I can do anything in it that I used to do in my Swordfish S while being far more comfortable. It is still a bit beyond me for big downwind paddles though (as was the Swordfish S). I’ve recently purchased a new Think Zen for these conditions. I like this ski although I think it might be closer to the beginner end of the spectrum than I was hoping. I’m pretty sure I’d struggle on an Evo. I’ve been wishing Think would release a low volume intermediate ski. They could call it the Think Elf. I would definitely test it and I’d be happy to buy it if it was any good.

Current skis:
Epic V10L, Think Zen, Fenn Bluefin, Fenn XT double

Previous skis
Fenn Swordfish, Fenn Swordfish S, Fenn XT, Spirit PRS

Most with DK rudders.

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2 months 1 week ago #31549 by Meerkat
Thanks everyone for your feedback. So just a quick update on this.

I tried the Evo II in a race last weekend and I was very impressed with the boat. It was the Hybrid at about 12 kg. It felt very light to move through the water, quick off the start, quickly accelerates if you apply power and it loved jumping on even the little swells. It also dealt very well with the side chop (me not so much...).

Final finding, however, is that I just needed the footplate to move about 2 clicks closer. I am really short... This resulted in me not having enough power to drive through the water so I felt really unstable on some of that side chop and also a sore lower back having to reach a bit. Volume wise I think it's also a bit big with a bit of a 'corky' feeling. So, sadly this won't be the boat for me.

Next, I will try the Swordfish S followed by the Think Zen and then maybe the Epic V8 Pro (too big volume I think). I have also come to the realization that it might be more fun to have a more stable boat in the messy stuff (that I mostly go out in).

Updates to follow ;)

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2 months 3 days ago #31588 by tve
I'm another beginner/intermediate paddler trying to move up... I'm 5'10"/178cm and 165lbs/75kg and I was able to try a Nelo 550, and Evo III and a Swordfish S this week-end. I'm on a Nelo 510 now, so that creates some bias.

In both the 500 and the Evo there seems to be no primary stability coming from a beginner's boat, but lots of secondary. I was out in 1.5-2ft messy chop in the 550 and even though it felt wobbly I didn't go swimming. I didn't feel uncomfortable but there were many moments where I could have applied full power to get onto a wave in a beginner boat and instead had to brace or just focus on stability and let the wave go by. All to be expected and something that I believe I can work out in a month or two. When I did get onto a wave it was amazing, though: that feeling of "ok, I'm on, where do want to go now for the next one?". Total control, just that it's more like a coin toss than an informed decision at my stage :-).

I couldn't try the Evo in the ocean, only flatwater. Way more bow volume, for good and bad. It also has much more of a hump, which felt like it impeded rotation. Maybe that's just my bias coming from a Nelo. The finish and attention to detail is really impressive, from handles to foot pedals. I walked away thinking that I would be happy in this boat. But I prefer the shorter length and lower bow volume of the 550 even if that means it's wetter.

I also tried the Swordfish S in the ocean in a little smaller waves than the 550. The boat feels a bit more stable, but not by much. Secondary stability seems to kick in at less of an angle perhaps? But it turns out to have too much volume for me and the seat is too wide, I slosh around from side to side and lack connection with the boat. I have to say that in comparison I'm not impressed by the details: more difficult to carry, more difficult to adjust rudder, too smooth foot rests, non-closable bailer.

I would love to try an Epic V10L but don't know whether I can make that happen...

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1 month 2 weeks ago #31696 by jateureka
I'm 171cm and 68kg and am in my second season of K1 racing, albeit down in Div 6. Late last year started looking at intermediate skis and I was also surprised by how few there were that suited lighter paddlers. In the end I purchase an EVO II elite carbon because it came up for sale 2nd hand. While it's a great ski I do find I bob around on it a bit in the rough. It also rolls around its center line but the secondary stability is quite solid. The cockpit handles are great for getting it to/from the water and it's easy to remount. It looks nice with the GT stripes.
I then bought a used Swordfish S in full carbon. This has a lower hump and allows me greater leg drive compared to the Evo II. The lack of handles across the balance point make it a pain to get to/from the water so I fitted EZ deck plugs and bungee cord so I can carry it by the foot strap and deck cord. I think it has a narrower catch and is a bit harder to remount than Evo II but it is less corky in rough water. Plain white colour is a bit boring ..
I believe the Evo III is slightly lower volume has a lower hump and narrower catch so would be interested to paddle that. The lower hump should also be better for shorter paddlers.
Also consider the Vajda Hawx 46, I only had a short paddle in one so can't really offer much insight other than it felt somewhat similar to the Swordfish S and Evo II on the flat but I did find the bucket was a bit tight in the hips..probably would have been better with a seat pad to raise me up a little. Nice range of colours. The Vajda Next 46 is basically a Hawx with updated ergonomics and colour schemes.

Think EVO II ocean ski newbie paddler,
Grafton Paddle Sports K1 kayak intermediate marathon racer.

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1 month 2 weeks ago #31697 by robin.mousley

EZ deck plugs and bungee cord


I've been looking for a way to attach a bungee to the tail of the boat for my trusty emergency steering system... EZ Deck Plugs look like a good way to go! Thanks for mentioning them!

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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1 month 2 weeks ago #31726 by Meerkat
Hi there,

So here is my next update. I took the Swordfish S (Carbon) out for a spin in the Scotland Island Showdown on Saturday and everyone knows the weather was absolutely crazeeee.

At first, I was a bit nervous as the boat was the lightest construction and that usually does not fair well with light paddlers like me. I was very surprised at how well it handled and it just required a bit more skill to keep the nose pointing into the wind to avoid being taken for a float in the opposite direction. That was managed fairly well with a few taps on the right-hand pedal and on she went.

I was very surprised at how easily the boat managed the dirty water at the start, the side chops and then the gusts of wind from all directions. To date it was my easiest race in the worst weather, that should say something right?

The only issue I can see with this boat is that my feet only reaches the bottom section of the pedals. I have to pick my feet up to steer and this would cause a big problem in a bit of swell when I need to keep the pressure on the pedals. The Carbonology Vault definitely has the upper hand with a very comfortable footplate and pedals I can reach.

The boat was fast and very responsive and the secondary stability was amazing. Also a bit more stable than the Vault which gave me more confidence and allowed me to apply more power through the water.

I have to say, this boat, together with the Vault is now at the top of my list. Next up is the Think Zen that I will be paddling in the Spit to Zoo. I reckon that would be fun...but let's wait and see.

Till next time, happy paddling!

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1 month 1 week ago #31727 by eh.haole
Cool report, even more keen to take up Dean's offer to try out a new Swordfish S one of these days

I had the Evo III out off Dobroyd Head during the weekend and the reflective swell battle was legendary, but the surfs to be found here and there were heaps of fun. Might see you at the cliffside rodeo to the Zoo!

Haolewaiian kook & part-time stability tester

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3 weeks 6 days ago #31898 by jateureka
If you've adjusted the foot plate and still struggle to reach then you can build up the foot peddles by attaching some high density foam blocks from Clark Rubber.

Have you tried a Vajda Hawx 46?

Think EVO II ocean ski newbie paddler,
Grafton Paddle Sports K1 kayak intermediate marathon racer.

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3 weeks 4 days ago #31929 by owenfromwales
Hi Meerkat,

I can see two options for your footplate problem:

1. you can lay layers of neoprene or something similar beneath your heels to lift them up. This would be a cheap and easy option, but personally, I like to keep my heels as low as possible.

2. Contact Fenn. I know Shun in Japan gets smaller Think footplates for the Japanese market. If you're lucky, Fenn might do the same (some manufacturers have been doing this for their ILS spec skis for Japan).

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
Previous
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy

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1 week 2 hours ago #32089 by Meerkat
Hi Owne

Thanks very much for your feedback, that is very helpful!

Marone

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