Suggestions for ski upgrade

1 week 6 days ago #36891 by KimJ
Hello everyone...

Long time reader, first time poster...

I currently paddle a Spirit PRS (5.7 m long, 50 cm beam & 20+kg plastic construction - Australian paddlers will probably know this ski) and am looking to upgrade into a lighter boat that would be easier to handle both on and off the water.

I am 1.77m, 82kg, 47yo and reasonably fit...

I mainly paddle on the river, so flat water and can comfortably average 10 km/h over an 1 -1.5 hours.  I occasionally venture into the surf and have tried downwinding, although I find the boat a bit heavy to be able to accelerate onto the waves, hence looking for something lighter.

I am super stable on flat water in the PRS, and in the medium size ocean swells I can keep myself upright 95% of the time still with reasonable technique. I would probably describe my skill level as low intermediate.

I have read many reviews comparing various composite boats, but don't know how they compare to the plastic PRS. I'm looking to upgrade to something lighter, but also prepared to move to something a bit narrower and potentially faster, and don't mind a bit of a challenge. The PRS is the frist and only ski I have paddled so far.

I have been looking at skis such as the Fenn XT(S), Stellar SR, Think Six and even Epic V10 Sport, which are all about 48 cm wide, but wonder whether an even (slightly) narrower boat (Fenn Swordfish, Stellar SEI, Think Evo) would still be stable enough, or would I spend too much time swimming. 

I understand heavier boats tend to be a bit more stable, but how much more?  Would a 2 cm narrower boat be a realistic step, or am I likely to outgrow it too soon? How much difference would an extra 2 cm off the beam effect the stability.

I know there are a lot of variables in play here, but just really looking for a stability comparison with a PRS to some or all of the boats listed.  I will go and test drive skis before I buy, but don't want to waist anyone's time with a ski that is going to be too tippy for me.

I am also looking to purchase 2nd hand, so newer models are probably not going to be available too easily.

Eagerly looking forward to your experience, advice and suggestions.

Cheers, Kim

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 week 6 days ago #36898 by CrabStick
Hi Kim,
I'd expect you to really enjoy paddling any of those listed boats. On the flat they will feel a bit twitchier than the PRS but you won't be falling in and the secondary stability will kick in strongly so you will soon be playing on powerboat wakes. You've also got a few months to get used to your new boat on the river before the downwind conditions start.
Secondhand market doesn't have many intermediates for sale at the moment so snap one up quick if you find the right model. V10 Sports hopefully will come up as people start frothing over the new V9.
If you're in Perth and get a Fenn XTS out for a trial we can try to coordinate a back to back comparison with my Swordfish (not for sale!).
If you start off trying a 48cm boat you'll quickly see whether you are comfortable enough to manage it  but don't be tempted to go up another level unless you're still feeling solid at least 30 min later.
Enjoy the excitement of trying a lighter more responsive ski!

CrabStick

Current Boats: BlueFin, Swordfish
Previous: Think Eze, Stellar SR, Carbonology Boost LV
The following user(s) said Thank You: KimJ

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 week 6 days ago - 1 week 6 days ago #36901 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Suggestions for ski upgrade
Hi Kim,
Welcome!

You're right, a <16kg boat will be much nicer to carry and surf waves with.

If you're 100% ok on flat water and 95% ok in medium swell (that means many different things to people), you can definitely go 1 step down in beam safely and possibly 2 depending on your ambition, determination, and how long you're willing to stay in smaller conditions.

Going from 50 to 48cm should be no problem. In flat water you will adapt (and possibly out grow) very quickly, but you will notice a lot of enjoyment increase just from a composite boat (stiffer) that is reasonable weight. 48cm should allow you to go out in the ocean relatively soon as well. You may swim a few times in bigger stuff, but should be able to adapt quickly. 

If you go down 2 steps to a 45cm boat like a Swordfish S, that is a much larger step than a 48cm boat. Although I consider the SF-S very stable its all very personal. I like to challenge myself and was paddling 3+ days a week, so mastered it relatively quickly, but im younger, and if you're not paddling at least 2x a week (and ideally 3-4x a week until you're comfortable in waves) the 48cm boat will be more enjoyable.

Overall I think you will be happy with a 48cm boat like a Fenn XT (ideally the -S model), Stellar SR (gen 2 only. Gen 1 sucks), or others. If you like riding waves, I'd avoid boats with no rocker (V10 Sport) as they do not pick up and surf waves as well as boats with more rocker (XT, SRg2, New Nelo's). Conversely, if you intend to do mostly flat water paddling, a low rocker boat like the sport may be slightly faster. Also, 48 cm boats are in generally high demand, so if you buy used and outgrow a 48, you can likely sell it for the same price and upgrade next year at no loss.

Edit - one last thought, since you're a woman, if you're smaller/lighter, a boat with too much volume will feel 'corky' and unsettled because you are not displacing enough water to reach the design waterline, which may result in the feeling of great instability. If you try out a 48cm boat but it feels very tippy, be sure to seek out a low volume boat designed for smaller people like the Nelo line in "M" versions or others like the V10L (although this is elite skinny at 43cm). A Nelo 520M or 550M would definitely be worth seeking out for a test paddle.

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"
The following user(s) said Thank You: KimJ

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 week 5 days ago #36902 by waverider
If you are using mainly for flat water consider getting a smaller rudder, it will make it tippier, but thats ok in flatwater but it will be more lively. Also it substantially reduces risk of rudder damage which is a big issue with skies in rivers etc.. I have a purpose made K1 sized rudder fitted to a V10 sport for river use which is more than adequate. swap this for a surf rudder for open water. . Its like two different boats.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 week 3 days ago #36905 by Paddlehead
If you are in WA, there is a Vault for sale on Gumtree. Take that for a paddle on the river. $1000 is a good deal on a beautifully built ski. Bit more to paddle on the bumps, but certainly doable if you pick your days. The river also has good bumps in the right breeze in the right location. Worth a look.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 week 3 days ago #36906 by Paddlehead
If you are in WA, there is a Vault for sale on Gumtree. Take that for a paddle on the river. $1000 is a good deal on a beautifully built ski. Bit more to paddle on the bumps, but certainly doable if you pick your days. The river also has good bumps in the right breeze in the right location. Worth a look.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 week 3 days ago - 1 week 3 days ago #36907 by Paddlehead
If you are in WA, there is a Vault for sale on Gumtree. Take that for a paddle on the river. $1000 is a good deal on a beautifully built ski. Bit more difficult to paddle on the bumps, but certainly doable if you pick your days. The river also has good bumps in the right breeze in the right location. Worth a look.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 week 2 days ago - 5 days 19 hours ago #36914 by Atlas
Replied by Atlas on topic Suggestions for ski upgrade
If you haven't already demo paddled some alternative skis; don't do it until you have the cash in your pocket because you will never want to paddle that PRS again when you do. Any of the skis you have mentioned will be so far superior to the the PRS your head might just explode.
If you can't buy new then you can't be fussy. The chances of you buying exactly the right ski for the forseable future the first time is somewhere between Buckly's and none. That's not a problem though because you don't have to keep the next ski you buy forever. There are lots of good secondhand low intermediate skis on the Australian market. The more different skis you buy and sell the better you will understand exactly what you want in a ski. After testing as many as you can be bothered; buy a well known model that you are comfortable in and see how you go. The more stable and the more well known the ski is, the easier it is to sell.
There is more to stability than overall beam. You really have to test paddle any boat you are thinking of buying in the conditions you want to use it. You need to be out there long enough to become a little fatigued too as this can make a surprisingly big difference to your stability. Also try some remounts in rough water when you are tired. If you can't remount a ski under these conditions you should not paddle the ski in such conditions.
I don't see why so many people are worried about "out growing" a ski. What could possibly be more satisfying than upgrading your ski when you have truly earned that privilege? Remember; it is very easy to sell stable skis. In the process of "out growing" your ski you will have a fighting chance of developing good technique as opposed to the appalling technique you see so many people reinforcing while they attempt to paddle skis they think they can "grow into".

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.
The following user(s) said Thank You: KimJ

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 week 1 day ago #36916 by Craig M
Replied by Craig M on topic Suggestions for ski upgrade
I’ve just been through a process where I tested a lot of skis. Fit is really important. I found some of the well known brands didn’t suit me at  all and I was really sore after only 30 minutes.
The following user(s) said Thank You: KimJ

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

6 days 21 hours ago #36926 by Scott S
Replied by Scott S on topic Suggestions for ski upgrade
I’d suggest any of the 48cm boats from a reputable manufacturer will all be an excellent and enjoyable upgrade from the PRS. Find one you will be comfortable to sit in for the length of time you want to paddle for.
I paddled a Finn Endorfinn 50 cm x 5.25 m plastic for years. Demo’d the V10 Sport and Stellar SR. Found the SR slightly more twitchy but with great secondary stability. V10sport had better primary stability but then didn’t feel as solid secondary. Liked the idea of the epic bailers vs bungs in venturi drains. Both seats were ok. But the winning factor for me bacame the SR at 5.85 m fitted in the garage better.
Flat water speed will see a small improvement but it is technique rather than skinny boat that is the biggest factor there. But weight for handling on and off the water will make you wonder why you haven’t done it earlier. You will also be full of joy at how much sexier the new boat will look compared to your old plastic. Any of them will achieve this. Flat water stability you will be fine after a few weeks but side chop took me many months to feel really confident and able to put down full power.
After 3 years and after becoming  very stable in the SR I wanted something better for catching swell so have upgraded to a Swordfish S. Definitely another step in stability. Flat water I’m great after several paddles but still developing open water confidence after 2 months. I’d suggest the 45 cm is a big step from the plastic if you want to use it open water, fine for flat water.
The following user(s) said Thank You: KimJ

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

6 days 42 minutes ago #36930 by KimJ
Replied by KimJ on topic Suggestions for ski upgrade
Thank you to evryone for sharing your experiences and advice.

I will focus on getting a 48cm composite boat as being a bit more stable i think i will be able to spend more time enjoying the paddling rather than spending time keeping myself upright in a larger variety of conditions.

Cheers,
Kim

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics

Newbflat's Avatar

How to leash up in a double. (3 Posts)

1 hour 55 minutes ago

Best Fitness Watch for Paddling? (53 Posts)

22 hours 10 minutes ago

Fenn XT (1 Posts)

1 day 7 hours ago
Protected by R Antispam