Stellar SR 2G Test - beginners perspective

9 months 2 weeks ago #36314 by Craig M
Hi, as most of the reviews are done by experienced paddlers I thought my observations with my limited skill and knowledge may be helpful to those in the same situation.

Background - I'm 48 and have been paddling for 5 months. I paddle a Kayak Centre Dorado (15yo, 5.8m and 47cm), I usually paddle twice a week for either 5 or 10km's . About 30% of this has been on open water. I can hold 10km/h on a good day. My technique is average and my fitness is poor but I'm improving. I can handle most weather conditions on the open lake that I use, on the ocean I need to pick the day.

 The Stellar SR 2G is only other boat I have tried. It has the same dimensions as the Dorado so I though it would be good place to start..

The first thing that hit me was the weight, half of my Dorado. Getting it off the roof and strolling to the waters edge with it in one hand was a revelation. This alone makes upgrading worth it, my next boat will definitely have an emphasis on weight. In the water it was so much more stable than I expected after reading the reviews, a lot more stable than my Dorado. I couldn't help to wonder how stable the V8, Bluefinn etc must be. It immediately put me at ease and my confidence level went through the roof. I could look around, turn in the seat to chat, amazing! The foot plate was very solid and responsive and the boat seem to turn easily without being flighty. Boat wake presented no problem at all, in fact I never felt remotely unstable at any point.

Looking at the data after the paddle I wasn't going faster but it felt easier. Same cruising speed and the same sprint speed but I did enjoy it  more not having to focus on stability. The only downside was the seat. I found it a little flat and had a sore bum after 45 minutes but that might be me. Maybe a seat pad would be an easy fix. All in all I loved it, I think it could make my transition to the ocean a hell of a lot easier.

For a beginner it's definitely one to try. I'll give the Epic V8 Pro and V10Sport a go next and will probably get to the Fenn's and Thinks after that. Suggestions are welcome.

Cheers,

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9 months 2 weeks ago - 9 months 2 weeks ago #36320 by CrabStick
That's a good perspective, thanks Craig. I'm not sure if you qualify as a beginner though with that degree of comfort in an SR and already paddling 47cm boat.
I went from a Think Eze (first ever surfski) to a 2g Excel Stellar SR 4 years ago and suddenly found I could catch the runners way better and really got the bug for downwind paddling. The directional control was improved a lot with the 9" surf rudder.
I loved the twin venturis with plugs especially when wanting to have a rest. Drink bottle holder in reach and the handles also great features. Nice solid construction especially footplate arrangement.
Main downside for me was the flat wide seat and the high volume. The secondary stability is brilliant but often felt a bit wobbly with narrow butt and only 72kg. Had to add about 15mm of thigh pads each side! It also got badly pushed around by side wind while heading over a wave.
So what boat will you choose?
Definitely try a few and be sure you can get comfortable in the bucket.
If your priority is training on the lake you could go further into the intermediate category and good chance you'll like those 2 Epics. Lots of other options such as Think Evo, Carbonology Boost, maybe Stellar SEI.
But if the transition to the ocean that you mention will include downwind or rough conditions I would strongly recommend a Fenn BlueFin S, preferably in a lighter build. You need the stability to build and maintain your paddling technique in the ocean and from there the downwind wave-catching skills will come much more easily.
Others will advise differently. Ignore them!
It's so relaxing and fun doing downwind in a BlueFin (or a V8). I only needed mine for 3 years and now able to manage a Swordfish with average downwind speed usually 13.9 - 15 km/hr in decent conditions. 
Before the "get the fastest boat you can manage" mob jump on me here, I'm happy to admit that the BlueFin will feel like a slug to you on flat water. Let us know how you get on.

CrabStick

Current Boats: BlueFin S, Swordfish S, Fenn Spark S
Previous: Think Eze, Stellar SR, Carbonology Boost LV

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9 months 2 weeks ago #36324 by Craig M
Thanks for your reply Crabstick. I
I completely agree with you about the seat. I was back in mine today and it felt snug while the SR felt like I was sitting on a park bench.
I'm definitely going with more stability for the next boat. I'll keep the one I have for flat water for now because I'm getting more comfortable in it all the time but I think the stability of the SR or better to get going in the ocean. I'm really keen to try a V8  or V8 Pro just to see how stable it could be. Thanks for the tip on the BlueFin, I'll give it a go too.

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9 months 2 weeks ago #36326 by Atlas
Another vote here for the Bluefin. That is the best ski I've ever paddled for learning to paddle downwind. Stable, comfortable and surprisingly quick (in the context of beginner skis). It catches and surfs waves really easily and is not upset by side chop like some of the very flat bottomed beginner skis.
I'm not sure that you specifically mentioned downwind paddling but if that is something you are working towards (and it should be)  you absolutely must have stability.
I've had my Bluefin for years and I still dust it off for the occasional gale force downwinder. It's obviously great for friends with no paddling experience too. I can't imagine getting rid of it.

Current skis:
Epic V10L Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost LV, Fenn Bluefin, Nelo 510, Fenn XT double

Previous skis
Spirit PRS, Fenn Swordfish, Fenn XT, Fenn Swordfish S, Think Zen, Epic V10L Club

Most with DK rudders.

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9 months 2 weeks ago #36327 by Craig M
Hi Atlas, thank a for your reply. 
yes the aim is downwind, always has been. Looks like the Bluefin is definitely one to try. I’ll see if I can sort that out in the next week or two. Thanks for the input.

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6 months 4 weeks ago #36861 by Craig M
Quite a few tests - Think Zen and Six, Stellar S18S, Epic V8, V8Pro, Fenn XT and  Bluefin.  I Made the decision to concentrate  on downwind and go back to a beginners boat with a priority of going out in the widest range of conditions possible. For the next stage I’m not concerned at all about speed. The 1st choice was an Epic V8 purely for fit & bailer then a Zen. The Bluefin just didn’t fit my butt well and the Stellar felt good but just wasn’t for me. I wanted second hand so much would depend on what I could find. A perfect condition V8 in performance layup came up at a good price and I picked it up. I’m looking forward to getting out on the local bommies today see how it surfs.

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6 months 4 weeks ago #36862 by leolinha
Congratulations on your purchase!
The Epic V8 was my first ski. I had owned it for over three years and was very happy with it.
Mine was also in performance layup. Robust and reliable.

Current: Epic V8 PRO, Think Evo 3
Past: Epic V8, Epic V10 Sport

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