Think Six - aim of design?

3 months 3 days ago #36549 by CrabStick
I'd love to hear more info on the new Think Six and what type of conditions it is optimised for. The website blurb says that it "is tuned to perform well in downwind conditions" which is not that helpful.
Is it specifically for downwind like the Epic V9 and Fenn XTS from the intermediate category?
How will it differ from the Evo in performance and behaviour?
Is the stability as expected for 48cm or is it modified by the rocker / flattish hull / higher bucket relative to footwell?
How wide is the bucket? Is the volume really Ok for lighter paddlers (most brands claims of suitable paddler weight range seem a bit optimistic for those around or under 70kg)?
Hopefully Wesley can comment here as he is taking delivery very soon according to a recent post, or Stew O'Regan.

CrabStick

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

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3 months 3 days ago #36550 by Canario
Replied by Canario on topic Think Six - aim of design?
A Think version of the Fenn Swordfish, maybe?

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3 months 3 days ago - 3 months 3 days ago #36551 by Atlas
Replied by Atlas on topic Think Six - aim of design?
I'm quite interested in the Think Six. The reference to primary stability puts me off a bit though. The Think Zen has way too much primary stability in my opinion. Wesley writes favourably of the Zen. I don't like it as a downwind ski. I'll take Wes's almost certainly positive review of the Six with a grain of salt. The Six will obviously be less stable overall than the Zen but hopefully it will have a better mix of primary and secondary stability as well as much better directional stability.
Think's answer to the Swordfish is the Evo. If they can make the Six perform as well downwind as the XTS or Boost; they will be doing very well.

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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3 months 2 days ago #36555 by zachhandler
I think Atlas is right about high primary stability boats in the waves. They are much trickier to handle when cutting across a wave because the flat bottom forces them to tip on edge with the wave. I think rounder designs with low primary but high secondary are better. I have not paddled the zen. But a friend who normally paddles a v12 on the flat rented a zen at the gorge and struggled with surfing and balance. Then one run he borrowed a swordfish and had an amazing time without a hint of stability issues and was grinning ear to ear. I think boats that flatten the hull to maximize flat water stability while minimizing width run into that problem.  I can’t comment on how the six is as i have never seen one. 

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3 months 1 day ago - 3 months 1 day ago #36562 by wesley
Replied by wesley on topic Think Six - aim of design?
I should get mine Six this week. I will be interested too on where it fits compared to many of the boats I reviewed. 

By the way,  my Zen is a blast to paddle. Many paddlers really like the Zen for all it offers.  For all the conditions I paddle in from flat water to 2-5 seas, mixed ocean conditions with varying downwind here in Newport, Rhode Island. The true test for me with my Zen was a 2019 race blowing 30mph using a 6 inch DK rudder on the quarter beam against the current with some serious chop and it handled superbly. On the downwind leg of 4 miles, I was 1-2 boat lengths behind a long time racing buddy in his V10 2G and I finished 4 seconds behind him overall in a 9-mile ocean race. I was surprised by the flatness of the Zen hull it would handle as well as it does.  I paddled it, raced it, sold the ZEN to satisfied lighter weight intermediate paddlers who wanted a great fitting ski, that meets their needs for racing, slightly more stability than what they were paddling previously in bigger conditions. 
https://www.surfskiracing.org/2019/07/think-zen-surfski-1st-take-review/
 While the push over the last few years is to increase the rocker for more downwind handling, most of us in New England paddle in a variety of conditions, good downwind being the least of the conditions. So a ski that performs moderately well in all conditions is preferable. If your goal is racing like mine is in our conditions, where seconds, minutes count in the standings, you prefer a ski that maximizes your current skill level, fitness level, and conditions you race in. 

I think the questions lost on many paddlers is what is the Paddlers Goal for paddling, where does he paddle, what type of conditions, fit, skill level, frequency, age, weight, etc. when buying ski. If all I paddled/raced was downwind my choice of ski would be different. If I paddled mostly flat water, I would opt for another ski with less rocker or have one ski ocean, one ski flat water racing.  There are many great options these days in with all the brands which is great for all of us. So everyone's goal should go try them and see how they perform for you and your particulars needs when buying a ski.  

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.
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3 months 23 hours ago - 3 months 23 hours ago #36564 by TimT
Replied by TimT on topic Think Six - aim of design?
Regarding the Zen, I jumped in to this sport with both feet last summer by buying a Zen from Jeff at Paddle Dynamics after a short demo on flat water. I paddled the V8 Pro at the same time and picked the Zen just because it seemed to fit me better (I am small). My goal was (is) to learn to downwind. 

Since last July I have paddled the Zen more than 1100 K, including 450+ K since the first of this year, almost exclusively on Lake Superior. I have gotten comfortable being out in a range of conditions other than the most extreme.  I have opportunities to surf shore waves and paddle downwinds.  I paddled a downwind a couple weeks ago where the largest sets were 6-8 feet, talk about exhilarating! I am not pretty or efficient and I swim a bit but it is unlikely I would be having as much fun if I started with a real surf machine like a Swordfish, V10 or Evo as a beginner. Obviously, I came to the Zen from the opposite direction of someone like Zach’s friend that was already capable in a V12.

 That said, I am also completely ignorant in the comparison of the Zen to other surfskis. I have no one to paddle with and I haven’t paddled any other ski. Do I have control and stability issues? Well, yeah! How much can be attributed to the Zen or just me being low on the learning curve? Time will tell, or ignorance is bliss?

I am very interested in reviews of the new intermediate, downwind tuned surfskis (Six, V9 and maybe the Flex). Now that I am gaining some experience my plan is to buy a second ski next year and I would like the best downwind ski that I could realistically handle.

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3 months 22 hours ago - 3 months 22 hours ago #36565 by zachhandler
Hey Tim it sounds like you are improving really quick. I wouldn’t second guess your choice of ski at all. All skis behave different. When you are used to a round bottom ski and change to a flat bottom ski you get caught off guard because the boat leans whichever way the water is tilted. I am used to elite boats with round bottoms and when I DW in a flat bottom beginner boat I actually come out of the ski a bit more. Usually it is with no warning. The boat feels rock solid and then suddenly a wave tips me in. I think if you are used to a flat bottom boat that would not happen much and on the contrary you would struggle if you suddenly changed to a round bottom ski. As a beginner what you need more than anything is stability so that you can focus on learning the paddle stroke and DW technique. The Zen provides that. As your skills build and you try more boats you will figure out what hull style you enjoy most. 

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3 months 16 hours ago - 3 months 14 hours ago #36566 by agooding2
I agree with Zach, when I demo'ed the Zen and compared it to the Ace I found the Zen a little more wobbly in 1.5-2' waves while the Ace which is 1.5" wider was rock solid stable in following waves.  I found the Jet tougher to balance but I am a bit heavy for it.

However I am used to a flat bottom ski, a Think Fit and now paddle another flatter bottom ski a Nelo 550, so I do feel more uncomfortable in side wakes as a result.

A much more experienced paddled prefers a rounder bottom boat for downwind, think it is a Fenn Elite  as it doesn't have the issues with waves that the flatter bottom boats do.  I think I would feel uncomfortable in that in bigger water due to the lack of initial stability,

I would think an Ace would be an excellent all around boat for a novice and a Zen for intermediates, but I paddle inland on lakes and rivers, not downwind.
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3 months 14 hours ago #36567 by TimT
Replied by TimT on topic Think Six - aim of design?
Zach, thanks for your response. I wasn’t thinking you were questioning the choice of the Zen I just wanted to state my experience as a beginner with this ski as a comparison. Interestingly, most of the time I swim are exactly as you describe, quick with no warning. I find this happens when I get blindsided by a reflected or secondary wave cutting across the direction of the primary waves. I am looking forward to trying some other boats but it may be tough to get the opportunity to do this in the conditions I like to paddle. I am realistic in that I am starting this sport as an old man so I am excited at the possibility of advanced beginner/low intermediate boats that may be tuned for downwind. 

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2 months 4 weeks ago #36568 by CrabStick
Thanks everyone for your thoughts on the Six. I'm looking forward to some reviews once it's out on the water.
Well done on your rapid progress Tim. If there are Carbonology Boats in your area you should try the Boost LV which immediately comes to mind for a lighter intermediate paddler keen to get into downwind. May not be a big step up from the Zen but likely a better fit for you than other boats in category. For anyone wanting to learn downwind on the ocean though, Fenn BlueFin is weapon of choice. Sorry to those rolling their eyes as I have banged on about this before!

CrabStick

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

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2 months 4 weeks ago #36569 by Atlas
Replied by Atlas on topic Think Six - aim of design?
I agree with CrabStick. The Boost LV is a fantastic alternative to the Zen for people more interested in paddling downwind. The Zen is a nice boat for some people in some conditions. The Boost LV is exactly what I replaced my Zen with and I'm very happy. The Boost LV is a fantastic downwind and general rough water boat for people like me who enjoy such conditions but don't have the weight, strength or skill to get the best out of high performance downwind skis. That's not to say I'm not curious about other skis that might be in a similar category. Hence my interest in the Think Six. In my experience Think skis have a stunningly beautiful finish and the most complete fit out. Much nicer than any other brand I've owned so I'm keen to paddle a Six in some waves.
I think CrabStick is also right about the Bluefin. That ski is underrated. It seems to have been designed specifically for learning to paddle downwind. It is also a blast for half arsed intermediates like me for those (literally) gale force downwinders. It seems to have more rocker than any other beginner ski so it sits on waves really easily. It does need a very big aggressive rudder though. Don Kiesling can sort you out there.
It's probably obvious but my comments can be largely ignored by anyone not interested in paddling in rough or downwind conditions.

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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4 weeks 2 days ago #36924 by swifty
Replied by swifty on topic Think Six - aim of design?
I've had a Six now for around a month and so far so good.

I had a carbon Evo 3G which was too tippy and then a V10 Sport which was too dull. I would have loved to have mastered the Evo 3 but the 1cm they took out of the width compared to the 2G model was enough to make it too narrow for me when really needing to rotate for power. Being the carbon model it probably made it a bit twitchy for me as well.

I sold that boat and miss it terribly... 

But I now have the Six in Elite carbon/kevlar build and it is the perfect boat in every way for me - just haven't tried decent downwind conditions yet. It is very nimble and turns easily while having the trademark Think comfort and build quality. Did a 23km race a couple of weeks ago and got out of it fresh - where after 10km in the V10S or my Fenn LS I wouldn't have had any feeling left in my legs and feet.

Very happy Six paddler  

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4 weeks 2 days ago #36925 by Craig M
Replied by Craig M on topic Think Six - aim of design?
I tested a Zen and Six back to back on Sydney Harbour in about 10 knots and played in the ferry wakes. The Six felt similar to the SR 2g in terms of stability and glide but with vastly improved ergonomics and not as corky. I thought at the time that this will be the next ski after I get more experience in the ocean. I’ve got a V8 in the short term for this purpose but I’d like to be on a Six in 6 to 12 months.

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4 weeks 2 days ago #36927 by CrabStick
Nice to hear positive thoughts on the Six, Swifty and Craig.
The SR 2g was my 2nd surfski. A great boat but the two things that prompted me to move it on were corkiness (73kg) and wide flat seat so it sounds like the Six has it beat on those 2 issues. How was the surfability and secondary stability in the Six?
When you move up from the V8 in ocean conditions keep in mind the Fenn XTS and V9 which are both designed for exactly that.

CrabStick

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

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4 weeks 1 day ago #36929 by Craig M
Replied by Craig M on topic Think Six - aim of design?
Hi Crabstick, I'm probably not the most qualified to answer your question but for what its worth - the Six seemed pretty similar to the SR 2g. I think the SR might have more secondary but its hard to say as it had been a while since the SR test. I only tested the Six in harbour conditions so I can't really comment on the surfability. It felt very responsive and eager. I really like it. for me the ergonomics were perfect 183cm and 96kg.

I'll keep the XTS and V9 in mind. The guy I bought the V8 from is upgrading to a V9 and we had a long conversation about it - he's tested it and loves it. I've never paddled as much as I have with the V8, I must have caught a thousand waves on the bommie near my place. I still do fitness and technique sessions on flat water but don't really enjoy it and just want to catch waves - it has changed everything!

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4 weeks 1 day ago #36931 by swifty
Replied by swifty on topic Think Six - aim of design?
Hi guys

The Primary is better than an Evo and a tiny amount less than a V10S. The secondary is one where you can roll the ski over then it gets to a point and just stops. Once you get used to the rolling feeling - which also allows the ski to move under you in cross chop, and is not as twitchy as an Evo - then the confidence it inspires is excellent.
I'll be happily paddling this boat for some time to come

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2 weeks 5 days ago #36988 by EK Sydney
Here's a review I've just done on the Six after paddling it for a couple of months. It's not a technical analysis, no numbers or figures, just my feeling on the ski having paddled it in a wide range of conditions for a couple of months & sitting alongside an even wider range of paddlers of all abilities over the same time period and watching them, and listening to their thoughts. 
Think are one of the four ski brands we sell at our store in Sydney.
Mark @ Expedition Kayaks.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Atlas, CrabStick

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2 weeks 4 days ago #36989 by CrabStick
Thanks Mark for a clear and objective review. I imagine the Six has the potential to become very popular and it fills a useful niche in the Think line-up.
You mentioned that it has relatively high volume. Did that just apply to behind the bucket or to the ski overall?
Do you have a feel for a lower paddler weight recommendation?
You're not wrong about the strength of the elite layup. I had an Eze come off my 4WD roof rack landing from height on to the freeway at about 100km/hr. It bounced, rolled, and skidded it's way across the road, narrowly missing a large truck. The rudder snapped off and there was horrible cosmetic scraping but no structural damage. I think the truck had a near miss! .....turned out to be incorrect parts between roof rails and aero bars and supplier kindly shouted me a new rudder. 

CrabStick

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

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2 weeks 4 days ago #36990 by Epicpaddler
Great review Mark! Wish we had shops in the US (or at least near me) that actually had surf skis in stock. Seems like a great boat. How would you say it compares to the Epic v10g3? I'm moving up from a v8pro. Is the Six enough of a step? Not really any  legit downwind paddles around here, but I would like a boat that handles well in the ocean as well as the bays and rivers.

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2 weeks 4 days ago #36991 by wesley
Replied by wesley on topic Think Six - aim of design?
https://www.surfskiracing.org/2020/06/think-six-surf-ski-review
See my review. V103G compared to Six: 
1. The bucket is more narrow on Six. V10 can accommodate larger paddlers or those with wide hips. I would have to pad out some for V10 to fit me. My training partner has wide hips and is 210lbs, 6ft 3in and V10 fits him great. With wide hips, he can not fit in Six. Epics, Nelo fit him better due to his hip size. Using him as a reference point. 
2. Six has a nice profile and lower volume and cuts through waves going upwind while V10 tends to go up and over.
3. Six has more primary so when first sit in Six you notice this. Feel is different on secondary but both have great secondary. Both intermediate skis. V10 and Evo 3G are advanced intermediate while Six is clearly in the middle. I would have to paddle the V10 more than I have, but Six is comparable in speed incomparable layups. I time trialed V10 3G elite vs the Six Elite (slightly heavier)so a few pounds difference. I want an Ultimate Six for a better comparison. Hopefully the end of this year or earlier next year I will get an Ultimate Six.  
4. The track is more robust on Six though both use the spring pin system. 

So if you are confident in your V8 pro in most conditions, then the learning curve will be short for you and you will gain a significant amount of speed of that if that is your goal or you want a different seating position with a more narrow bucket than your V8 pro or the V103G. 

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Epicpaddler

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