New to Surfski, need help with boat choice

1 year 3 months ago #37184 by MMaister
Hi,

I need some advice to help me with choosing the right boat.
I live inland, and I have paddled one season in a multisport kayak on the local river here. This is the boat I currently use:
www.ruahinekayaks.co.nz/multisport-kayaks/intrigue/
I have paddled 3 times 10k a week during the last 4-5 months and took some lessons from a K1 coach to learn the proper technik. I feel quite confident in this boat now,  and I feel that I hit its limits when it comes to speed (my average is about 6mph). Its whitewater seat type makes it quite hard to have proper rotation during paddling and its wide and high cockpit front structure prevent a proper, narrow catch. So I feel ready to switch to a sporty boat.

In the same time I am about to move to a place where is no river, but a large lake where the water is often choppy and paddling a fast flatwater kayak would be often unsafe . So I started to look at sea-kayaks and surfskis. I really like the later one due to the fact, that I can leave the shoreline and easily remount if something goes wrong. When it comes to boat choice I need something which is
- below 6m so I can store it in the garage
- sporty and fast on flat. I don`t mind if it is somewhat tippy if I can grow into it and enjoy it for many years without getting bored.

I am 40 years old, 69kg, 1,75m quite fit, and don`t mind to swim.:)  At the moment I do not plan to use the boat on big waves or ocean, only for fitness paddling and having fun on the lake.

I started to look at the new nelo surfskis, as they are nimble, light and much shorter than the other brands. I definitely like the new 550ML and the viper 46 skis. I have unfortunately no chance to test, as there are very few surfskis in my country, not to mention these new models.  

So what do you think? Am I too ambitious? Should I look for a wider ski? Or paddle the current boat and forget about to replace it now?:)

Thank you for reading all this, and I appreciate your feedback and experience.

Csaba

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1 year 3 months ago #37187 by robin.mousley
Not too ambitious at all! 

Not too sure how many other Hungarians are on the forum - but welcome!

I haven't paddled the new Nelo 550, which is supposed to be a lot more stable than the older one - but I found the older one on the tippy side of intermediate.  Fast, handled nicely, but a little too lively for me.

On the other hand the 520 is like a surfboard - you'd have to hurl yourself over the side to fall off. 

I'm dying to try out the new 550 - but also the 540, which is supposed to be somewhere in between as far as stability goes.  I'd recommend going for the 540 - it would definitely fit into the "sporty and fast" category that you're looking for, while probably have less of a learning curve than the 550.

But whatever you choose, go for it!  Welcome to the wonderful world of surfski paddling, you'll never regret it!

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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1 year 3 months ago - 1 year 3 months ago #37188 by robin.mousley
And this might be relevant to the discussion on Nelo boats!

A thread on Facebook is here:
www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=102207126162...=gm.2990072887768414




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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1 year 3 months ago #37193 by MMaister
Hi Robin, 
Thank you for the very useful input. It is quite amazing that the speed difference is so negligible between the different models.  
I also like the 540, but as it is not available in ML, only L I am a bit concerned that it won`t fit me properly. (I am 68-70kg, and 1,75m). Or should I be fine in an L too?

Csaba

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1 year 3 months ago #37195 by robin.mousley
Just spoke to Oscar Chalupsky - he says that if at all possible, you should try the boats to see which one you like.

The Hungarian agent is Krisztián Bártfai, have you been in touch with him?

Email: ‎[email protected]
Facebook: krisztian.bartfai.7

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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1 year 3 months ago #37198 by waverider

Hi Robin, 
Thank you for the very useful input. It is quite amazing that the speed difference is so negligible between the different models.  
I also like the 540, but as it is not available in ML, only L I am a bit concerned that it won`t fit me properly. (I am 68-70kg, and 1,75m). Or should I be fine in an L too?

Csaba


Small speed differences only really matter when you are into racing and it adds up over an hour or more of paddling. It also only happens if you are competent enough and conditions allow it. You cant totally disregard the "feel of it" which is a personal thing. Something rewarding in being able to push it in a skinny boat..or maybe its ego...lol. If you are effectively flatwater paddling and you already have the basics down you can probably push it a bit more than if you were thinking of hitting the waves.

Im currently paddling a v10sport and an epic legacy  k1, even on flat water the ski is faster than the k1 due to my learning curve on a k1 and the better stability on the ski. But the ski "feels" dull compared to the k1.  Point being that even an intermediate ski looses the cutting edge feel fairly quickly on flat water, if you are a regular keen paddler who likes to push it.

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1 year 3 months ago - 1 year 3 months ago #37206 by MMaister
Robin,
Wow, even the Big Oscar is on my case. Thank you:)  there is a distributor in Hungary I will see if they have demo boats (to my knowledge they don`t have skis).

Today I had the chance to test some Epic boats, the V8Pro and a V10Sport. After a few minutes I felt very comfy even in the V10Sport, so I would definitely go for a skinnier ski. I liked the Epics very much, only their length is an issue.
It`s interesting that Epic has a one size fits all concept, while Nelo offers different sizes of the same model.
I also tried a K1 vanquish 3 just for fun....well that showed where my place is :) It was a proper bath....

Waverider,
I feel the same regarding skinny boats. I don`t have access to proper sea conditions, but still I would like to have some challenge while paddling. Maybe it won`t be significantly faster, but it would give some sort of satisfaction if I was able to ride a skinnier hull.

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1 year 3 months ago #37208 by Epicpaddler
I understand. Love my v8pro, but I’ve gotten kind of “bored” with it. After trying a v12, I’ve been craving more of a challenge. I’m sure I’d regret ever second on actual rough ocean conditions, but I’d still love to try a legit downwinder in an elite boat. 

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1 year 3 months ago #37209 by tve
MMaister - is there any way you can borrow, steal, or rent a beginner surfski for a couple of intense weeks? That would allow you to get the basics down a bit and you could buy a more advanced boat since you can stay in a flat & safe environment. I've only tried a 560 for ~30 minutes but I can say that there's quite some skinny boat challenge packed into it ;-) so there definitely is a range of options from which you can choose.
For someone who wants a bit of a skinny-boat-challenge in flatish conditions I really like the Nelos because of their short length and pointy tip. They're beautiful to paddle with the tip dividing the water just ahead of the feet and I always feel very connected with the boat. An Epic V10g3 or V12 just feels bigger, it's more like I'm sitting in a boat as opposed to merging with it. People that have paddled K1s say the Nelo surfskis feel close to K1s. Note that all this is personal and subjective, also, heavier paddlers may feel differently.

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1 year 3 months ago #37229 by MMaister
Well, I can borrow Epic boats. As I mentioned I tested the V10Sport, and it wasn`t a big challenge at all. So probably I could go up 1 or 2 steps without too much struggle. I think I have the fundaments of paddling in place, although I need to improve my balance and bracing technics.

I don`t know about Nelo skis for rent or borrow in my vicinity, but I am searching.

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1 year 2 months ago #37262 by MMaister
Hi, I managed to try two more boats. An Epic V10 and a Vajda Hawx 43.  These are, especially the Vajda, really are on the limit of my balancing abilities. After a few swims I managed the V10, but it felt like its bucket is way too spacious for me. The Vajda was a snug fit and it glided beautifully when I was in control, but it was truly a challenge and I had a lot of chance to practice to remount:) But I really liked this boat.

So all in all, I have now more confidence to select a skinny ski, I am quite sure that after a short adaptation I will manage under these gentle conditions we have here. 

I think I can go for the 550 or the viper ski if I choose a nelo (not tested yet), but now I am also very interested in the new Vajda Makai models. 

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1 year 2 months ago #37263 by Epicpaddler
Sounds like you are on the right track. I tried a Vadja Hawx 43 the first time I ever paddled a surfski. Made it about two strokes before I fell out. It was a beautiful boat, but way above my ability at the time. I've never paddled a Nelo 550, but a friend of mine races one and does well with it. Enjoy your surfski evolution. It's an amazing sport that I wish I had discovered sooner.

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1 year 1 week ago #37738 by MMaister
Hi everyone,

Just to put an end to the story. I ordered the Nelo 550ML, which finally arrived. The water is chilly now, so I will get a wetsuit before I even try to get it on water. But I can`t wait. It`s a beautiful boat.

So thank you for all the valuable inputs. I will report back later:)

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7 months 13 hours ago #38382 by MMaister
Just to put an end on this old topic. I finally put my rear end into the bucket of my new 550ML WWR in the last weekend. After a year spent in my Ruahine Intrigue it felt a bit tippy but manageable and after about 10 min I was really comfy in the new boat (it was dead flat water). No swimming:)
After I gained my balance and self-confidence in the new ride, I was able to put in some proper forward strokes to check the speed. It is about 10% faster than the old kayak, which is about what was expected. 
I am very happy with the boat, the only thing what I find negative is the lack of handles to lift and carry the boat, especially from the bucket sides.
Thanks for all the advices and suggestions:)
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7 months 13 hours ago #38383 by TomVW

Hi MMaister, 
Nice ski. Great colorway. Glad you like it.
I paddle a 550L myself and am very happy with it, too.

Have fun, 
Tom 

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7 months 7 hours ago - 7 months 2 hours ago #38387 by M.v.E.
Hi Csaba,
I bought a Nelo 550 a year ago and I am very happy with it. I use it mainly on small inland lakes. I ordered my boat with handles in the front and back and also with recessed side handles near the top of the bucket. It makes it much easier to pick up the boat with one hand from the water. You should be able to buy them from your Nelo dealer.   
Here is an instructional video how to assemble the handles to your surfski:

Current Ski: Nelo 550 L
Previous Skis: Stellar SR 1. Gen. / Stellar SEI 1. Gen. / Stellar SR 2. Gen.

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7 months 1 hour ago #38388 by Epicpaddler
Beautiful boat!

I friend of mine has a 550 (old model) in the same color scheme. It's a great looking boat. I don't have any Nelo dealers near me, but I'd love to try one sometime. Enjoy your new boat. I've been paddling a new new model Epic v10 since November and it's been a learning curve. The speed difference from my v8pro isn't as significant as I was expecting, but that will come with time.

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6 months 4 weeks ago #38391 by MMaister
Thank you, I am also very happy about how the colorscheme turned out, it is sharp looking.

Well I paddled it in choppy conditions and it was more handful of course, No swim but my self-confidence was definitely lowered:)  I need more time under these conditions to develop my balance. What was rather surprising that even in relatively small waves from the side the water came into the bucket near my hip. 

I will definitely retrofit these side handles, I should have ordered the boat with those at the first place.

The V10 is a nice boat, I tested it, the reason I ended up with the Nelo was the shorter length and the lower volume which matches my 68kg better.

I think the earlier linked video by Dietz.se shows very well how little the width of a boat matters speedwise under average power output. The speed difference is more pronounced at high power, but then it takes a paddler to put these watts with correct technic  into the boat. 

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6 months 4 weeks ago #38395 by Charivari
Here you find a good overview about the SK dimensions:
surfski.wiki/surfskis
I paddle also on a lake and I'm happy with the NK61. I use a calm bay to make my drills and than go on the choppy side to build up my skills continuously. For my a direct feedback (if your theory or implementation lacks, you go for a short swim), helped me to develop faster.

Sailing since 1985, Laser, Cat.
Round the world trip by bike, 1990.
Sea-kayak from Vancouver to Alaska, 1990.
A-Cat, Bimare, 1990.
Coastal Rowing, Virus, 1992.
Fyling A-Cat, DNA F1, 2018.
New Coastal Rowing Boat, Volans, 2019.
First Surfski experience, material rent, 2020.
First Surfski, NK61, 2021

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6 months 4 weeks ago #38420 by mickeyA
I really like the idea of a glue-on side handle.  Does anyone know if 1) they come with the proper adhesive and 2) they will fit ski's other than Nelo?  I assume the backs are flat and if the center point on Fenn, Epic, Think, etc is also flat, it will work.  or maybe the handle is somewhat flexible to handle slight curves in boat.  Thanks.

KR McGregor Rhythm, V10Sport, Swordfish S, Fenn Tarpon S, Fenn XT, Twogood Chalupski, Findeisen Stinger spec. Had: V12, Stellar SE, Huki S1-X, Burton wedge2, Fenn Tarpon

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