compare/contrast beginner surf skis

4 months 2 weeks ago #33068 by sski
I caught the bug 15 mos ago- a buddy visited and paddled on lakes w/ me for a few days. He was in a V10S of mine but fell ?every 15 min or so on a quiet lake.
He is pulling the trigger and buying a boat.
I tried some online research on beginner boats- V8, Nelo 520 xl?, Think Ace? Not sure Stellar-S18S?
Comments or suggestions?
He will be mostly on lakes (lives inland Midwest) with some higher wind/waves if he really seeks them out, which i believe he will want to do eventually-plenty of those like Superior!
thanks in advance

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4 months 2 weeks ago #33069 by MCImes
I'd recommend whatever is available used in your area. What state are you/he in? If you're in the lower midwest, the Rivermiles forum has many skis for sale. I see a S18S right now, among some other intermediate boats like a SR or V10S.
www.rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?board=Sale

Although I dont have a lot of experience in true beginner boats, I think many will recommend to get one that is comfortable above most else. Any beginner boat that is 21"+ wide should be plenty stable to 90+% of people so I wouldn't worry too much about that. Early in your paddling career, its all about learning proper stroke, practicing remounting, learning to read waves (even small waves count), refining your balance and pushing yourself into more challenging conditions. These things can be achieved on almost any boat with similar success.

The key will be to find one with a comfortable bucket, as this is subjective and butt specific - though on beginner boats they are typically wider and more forgiving. I've been lucky and bought 3 boats sight unseen and the bucket has been fine on all 3.

If it were me, I'd be looking for the cheapest boat that fits my needs within a 6 hour drive regardless of the boat. Beginner boats have good resale value, and if you buy used to begin with he can resell the boat for little to no loss if he advances and wants an intermediate boat.

I search classifieds on Craigslist, Surfskiracing, Surfskinews, kayaktrader, rivermiles, and distressedmullet. Those are all good sources for boats.

Current Boats: Swordfish S
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"

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4 months 2 weeks ago #33070 by Tecpartner
Good advice from MCInnes. I learned on a V10S, starting before other skis were available. But I've found that the V8 is very stable. I have a Nelo 520 that is slightly less stable, but a ton of fun, as I find it more responsive. I regularly paddle a Nelo 550 and most recently had an EVO II.
For a beginner to love the sport, I'd recommend one of the real beginner boats, vs intermediate.

I'd rather be paddling....

Think EVO II
Epic V10S
Nelo 520
Epic V8

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4 months 2 weeks ago #33071 by wesley
The Think Zen is a nice ski too with a nice fitting bucket is you are medium to smaller paddler.

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.

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4 months 2 weeks ago #33077 by leolinha
I started with a V8 (black nose) 4 years ago. Oh my, how I loved that boat. Very stable and comfortable, yet fast and responsible. A boat you can really trust. I was sad when I sold it, to make room for my V10 Sport. But who knows, I will grow older and eventuallt loose interest in races, so maybe someday I sell my V10 Sport and buy a new V8.

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4 months 2 weeks ago #33078 by Epicpaddler
I agree with what others have said. Find the cheapest used beginner ski and go for it. Your friend will appreciate a boat like the Epic V8 or V8Pro for the rock solid stability and decent speed. Jumping into a more advanced boat might turn him away from the sport. 

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3 months 3 weeks ago #33188 by Kiwi Dave
Shameless self plug: If you're a visual comparison sort you can check out the below to see different boats side by side ... hope its useful:
surfskicomparison.com/
The following user(s) said Thank You: Mile$

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3 months 3 weeks ago #33191 by mickeyA
Agree.  Surfskicomparison.com is the coolest sight out there.  It does exactly what the name implies, which seems to be what we are all after:  how does this boat compare to that boat, and that boat, and that boat?  No substitute for actually paddling every boat, but this is the next best thing. Thanks.

Epic V12, V10Sport, Fenn Tarpon S, Stellar SE, Fenn XT, Twogood Chalupski, Findeisen Stinger spec, Huki S1-X, Burton wedge2, Fenn Tarpon

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3 months 3 weeks ago #33194 by robin.mousley
I agree - extremely cool way to compare boats!

@kiwidave, I think you've got a couple of broken links on the carbonology boats!

Cheers

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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3 months 2 weeks ago #33213 by Helldiver
I bought Nelo 520 couple of days ago and today was the day of the first paddle, ~6-7km in totally flat and calm water.
I'm total beginner and the boat was joy to paddle, super stable, felt fast, very responsive to steering input (I used short polycarbonate weedless rudder), de-brito bailer worked like a charm.
I can compare the boat to another beginner surf-ski I tried as well this summer (Vajda Oscar) and while it's fine boat for sure, it felt little bit too stable, voluminous, unwieldy, eq "Barge-like" feeling, while Nelo 520 is little bit more twitchy (less primary stability, still plenty of and rock solid secondary stability), but much more responsive and lively (much lighter as well, 13kgs vs probably 18kg Vajda Oscar - heavy fiberglass club version).
I also tried Vajda Hawx elite ski, but that was just struggle to stay upright, I couldn't put any real power into the stroke.

There are just 2 small things which I'm little bit unhappy about:

1. Weight, the ski (WWR layup) is advertised as 12,5kg, while it's 13kg in reality - that's ready to go with waterproof phone holder on go-pro mount and slightly heavier polycarbonate weedless rudder, without the phone holder and with ligther carbon surf rudder, it would be probably 12,7kg, so closer to the advertised weight

2. While the plastic line adjusters are great and super easy to use, they rub the inside of the footwell with any steering input, as they are hard plastic with sharper edges, I'm little bit concerned that over the time, they will scratch/wear down the polyurethane topcoat, so I will probably put strips of black electrical tape there to protect the topcoat.

Other then that, all is good and I really appreciate the shorter length of the ski, as I have to store it inside my apartment and it's lot more manageable then something over 6m :)
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