SES vs SEA vs Viper 46 Ski Demo Paddle

3 months 3 weeks ago #36267 by mcnye1
I just wanted to take a moment to share my impressions from aside by side demo paddle of the Stellar SES(2G), SEA and Nelo Viper 46 Ski.  I was in the market for a boat to race inflat water races so the test venue was an inland lake in the Orlando area.  Conditions were gusty so I had a chance topaddle upwind, downwind with some side chop.I am an intermediate+ paddler (5’7”/150#) who has beenkayaking for 10 years but only racing for the last five years.  About 2.5 years ago I came over to the darkside and bought my first ski, an SEI(2G). With over 1000 miles in the SEI, I am very comfortable with that boatand can handle it well in the 3.5’ steep breaking waves that we get in the St
Johns River (Jax FL).  For bigger waves,I prefer one of my 20”+ wide wooden racing kayaks.  About 18 months ago I bought a StellarRapid-S with the intent of using it for flat water races, but I never really
got comfortable with that boat.  I foundthe RS to be about 15 sec/mile faster than the SEI for the first four miles,
but after that both stability and physical comfort issues would start to slow
me.  Over the course of a 10-12 milerace, I found that I was just as fast in the SEI, but much more comfortable and
much less likely to take a swim.  Luckily,I found a buyer for the RS which freed both $$ and space for a new flat-water
boat.I started by paddling the SES.  As expected, the speed and stability weremuch the same as the RS that I had owned but the bucket was much more
comfortable.  A short paddle in the gustyconditions convinced me that this boat was not stable enough for me.  I could keep it upright but could not consistentlypaddle with any power.Next, I paddled the Viper 46 Ski.  I found it to be very much more stable thanthe SES but noticeably slower.  Thestability was such that I could easily develop full power without any concern
for stability.  The bucket was quitecomfortable and with the standard Nelo rudder the boat was very responsive,
maybe too much so.  I could almost knockmyself out of the boat by using too much rudder at speed.  For the racing that I do, I would certainlygo with a smaller rudder.  I would alsohave to add the option to convert to an over-stern rudder for some of our races
where underwater obstacles are common (both Stellars come with this option
installed at the factory).  This boatreally was a joy to paddle and would make a great ski for somebody looking for
an intermediate boat.  The short length(17’) is an advantage making this boat very easy to transport and store.  As much as I liked the Viper, it does notreally add anything to my paddling arsenal because my SEI has basically the
same stability but is a little faster.Last up was the SEA.  Ifound it to be a little less stable than the Viper (and my SEI) but much
faster.  It took me a couple tries tofind the seat pad/shorts combination that worked with the high sided bucket,
but when I did, I was quite comfortable, and the ride was much drier than the
other boats.  Even in the gustyconditions I had enough stability to put full power into my paddling with no
fear of a swim.  Having pretty muchdecided to buy the SEA, I took it for a couple mile paddle at race pace with a
GPS.  I was comfortable enough that Icould have done a 12-mile race and was a solid 10-15 seconds per mile faster
than in my SEI.  Before making the finaldecision, I did a couple of remounts to make sure that I could get back into this
boat.  As expected, I found remountingthe SEA to be a fair amount harder than my SEI. Because of the high sides, it requires more strength and balance to getyourself up/over into the bucket.  Aftera couple of failures, I figured out my hand position and was able to get back
in.  With a little practice, I have nodoubt that I will be able to quickly and reliably reboard my new SEA. 
The following user(s) said Thank You: Atlas

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3 months 3 weeks ago #36270 by M.v.E.
I own a Stellar SEI 1. Gen. for many years and use it mostly for flatwater (inland lakes) For the ocean I use my SR 2. Gen.
which is very stable. Last year I had the chance to test the new Stellar SEA for a quick spin on flatwater. I was really surprised how stable the ski was considering that the beam is only 41 cm!  I was able to put all my power in the stroke and the boat was significantly faster than my SEI. However I have no ilusions that I could handle the boat in rough water.
Then I tried a reentry with the SEA which is very solid with my other skis. I was really shocked how difficult it was to get into the ski with my proven sidesaddle reentry. Lifting myself up was no problem but somehow I wasn´t able to get my bum into the bucket due to the high sides. I wonder if there is an alternative reentry method that would work better with this narrow high sided ski ?

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3 months 2 days ago #36369 by SpaceSputnik

M.v.E. wrote: I own a Stellar SEI 1. Gen. for many years and use it mostly for flatwater (inland lakes) For the ocean I use my SR 2. Gen.
which is very stable. Last year I had the chance to test the new Stellar SEA for a quick spin on flatwater. I was really surprised how stable the ski was considering that the beam is only 41 cm!  I was able to put all my power in the stroke and the boat was significantly faster than my SEI. However I have no ilusions that I could handle the boat in rough water.
Then I tried a reentry with the SEA which is very solid with my other skis. I was really shocked how difficult it was to get into the ski with my proven sidesaddle reentry. Lifting myself up was no problem but somehow I wasn´t able to get my bum into the bucket due to the high sides. I wonder if there is an alternative reentry method that would work better with this narrow high sided ski ?


For your remount problem, try sticking your bum down vertically. Kinda like a free-fall leap of faith bum first jump.
You can start with just a side saddle in knee-deep water.
I am a short guy and I get into my sea kayak like that. 

Current: Epic 18x Sport, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Think Evo II, Epic V7

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3 months 1 day ago - 3 months 1 day ago #36387 by mcnye1


A little but of follow-up regarding the SEA: Luckily, here in North Florida the “stay at home” order allows for outdoor recreation/exercise, so I have been able to get out on the water regularly with the SEA.  Over thelast several weeks, I have paddled fourteen workout sessions totaling about 100 miles and I am quite happy with the boat.As expected, I find the SEA a bit less stable than my SEI(2G)but not much so.  I suspect that part of this is that I fit a little tighter in the high sided bucket, so I feel more stable than the boat really is.  By about my second paddle, I was feeling stable enough to pull at full power for the duration of my workout.  My “socially distant” paddling location is a medium sized river so most of my paddling has been flat water, but there have been a surprising number of motorboats and I am handling those well, with only one swim.  I am now feeling comfortable enough that I will venture out into the big river to play in (not too big) waves.

The biggest surprise has been just how much faster I am.  During the second paddle in the SEA, I beat my previous PB (in the SEI) over my standard 8.5-mile workout course.  As my comfort level has increased, I have continued to get faster and am now paddling a full 20 seconds/mile faster than I can in the SEI.  As a side note, I see that Wesley recently published his 2020 chart, and he rates the SES and SEA as equal in speed.

As discussed in my original post above, the primary concern with the SEA was my ability to reboard due to the high sided bucket.  After watching my attempts during the demo paddle, the Stellar dealer suggested that I try using a paddle leash so that I did not have to maintain control of the paddle while reboarding.  That has turned out to be very good advice.  Without the paddle in my hand, I can maintain a stronger grip on the boat, giving me more strength to getup and over the side.  Before starting the reboard, I throw the paddle to the other side of the boat where it is out of the way and easily retrieved once I am in the bucket.  I have been practicing following nearly every workout and at this point I can reliably put myself back in the boat in about 15 seconds.  
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3 months 1 day ago #36390 by SpaceSputnik
Many consider paddle leash unsafe. Boyan Zlatayev is adamant that we should instead develop a skill to hold the paddle no matter what. When I had a session with Kenny Rice, the first thing he said to me is to remove the paddle leash.
I am sure there can be other opinions here. I know that with two paddle leashes my remounts are considerably slower due to constant tangles leg and paddle leashes.
Perhaps use it as a training aid for now and phase it out later? With a thin walled ski it should be easier to hold the paddle securely.

Current: Epic 18x Sport, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Think Evo II, Epic V7

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3 months 13 hours ago #36396 by MCImes
Im sure its looked down upon by the Pros, but I have always used a paddle leash, and in 3 years of skiing with 2 years of that in the most chaotic ocean conditions I can find, I have only had a tangle with my leg leash once. (if you're near or inside the break zone, then obviously do not use leashes)

I think the issue of 2 leash entanglement is over emphasized in open ocean conditions. Based on my experience, its not hard to avoid entanglement when falling out and was easy to untangle if you just take a moment and think about things calmly. I very, very rarely rely on the paddle leash but its nice to be able to set my paddle down and not worry about it, or if I need to mess with anything I can just let it float. I hold the paddle during a remount and find that the leash gets in the way a little 1/10 times, but overall I find the benefit greater than the issues. So I'll throw a vote in for a paddle leash

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"

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2 months 4 weeks ago #36399 by mickeyA
For remounts, I pin paddle between me and the ski, freeing my hands, no paddle leash.  Once I am laying over the boat, I keep my feet pointing down in case the paddle tries to move away from the boat.  Paddle is always in contact with hips, thighs, then 90 degree “heavy” feet to rake it in if necessary.  I have never heard anyone suggest this method so I am sure there are many reasons not to, but it has never failed me. And like most paddlers with some experience, I am only going to fall off in rough conditions.  I also never hear this mentioned regarding remounts, but I basically turn the boat on it’s side (almost) and push the boat down to my belly.  Then flop on while boat uprights itself. Flip over, rotate, grab paddle, stay low, flat, laying down, spread legs (1 leg making sure paddle does not stray), rest, regroup, sit up.  I am not guaranteeing these methods, just saying it is best for me.

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

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