How good are Stellar skis

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10 years 8 months ago - 10 years 8 months ago #8204 by AR_convert
Dear Mr Stellar, you've confused us, trying to talk with other paddlers on the weekend about your ski's , some of whom even own stellar ski's and we couldnt remember which model was which, we thought there was 3 models and looked up the site to find 5. SE, SES, SEL, S2E, SR ? ? ? Maybe time to give them names?

Always looking for the next boat :)
Last edit: 10 years 8 months ago by AR_convert.

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10 years 8 months ago #8208 by Westley
Yeah I guess you could say the same for Epics with V8, V12, V10 and V10L hey?

If you actually paddle them you do know the difference. This may help a little.

The SES is the one I paddle most. The second S stands for small. It is an SE scaled down for smaller paddlers. SE stands for Stellar Elite. So mine is the Stellar Elite Small.

The SR is fantastic for a bit of bump. Incredibly stable but still very quick. It's name is S for Stellar and the R for Racer.

The new one is the SEL which is a very fast lower volume boat. Thus Stellar Elite Low or SEL.

The S2E is a double thus the 2.

So if you want names just remember Elite or Racer then add the descriptor, Small (SES), Low (SEL) or 2 (S2E)

Hope that helps.

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10 years 8 months ago #8209 by Boyan
Replied by Boyan on topic Re: How good are Stellar skis
why do you have to bring Epic's name into your sales tread? WBCYR
cheers

Epic Kayaks Europe
Regional Manager
Marketing and Distribution

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10 years 8 months ago #8210 by Westley
I was simply replying to the question. That question was about why ski's are named the way they are. I thought SES, SE, SR were similar naming conventions to V8, V!0 V!0L etc It is also similar to what Huki does (Jude is a good friend) they use S1-A, S1-X, S1-X Special & S1-R.

I was demonstrating that several manufacturers use a similar naming conventions.

So why did I use Epic specifically? That would be because I own an Epic V10L as well as an SES.

Finally, to clear things up, you should know that I am simply a paddling enthusiast I don't sell any skis. I recently had a great time in Cape Town paddling Fenns XT nice and stable, not quite as stable as Stellar's SR though, try them both and see if you agree ;)

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10 years 8 months ago #8212 by fredrik
If you are a Stellar fan –no need to be so defensive.

True performance prevails

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10 years 8 months ago #8213 by Westley
I will try one last time. I am not being defensive and not necessarily a Stellar only fan. I am a paddling fan. I loved the Fenn XT, and bought the V10L and can't wait to try the V8 (looks like great fun) Also have heard that THINK are coming out with something in that V8 area very soon and keen to try that. The new Fenn Swordfish sounds great too.

I do love the Stellars that I have paddled as well. I guess when I am responding to a thread that asks questions about Stellar I will focus more on them. Please stick to answering the question if you have an opinion on it.

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10 years 8 months ago #8214 by AR_convert
Thanks WesTley, me thinks people are mistaking you for the U.S. Based Wesley :) I think the SR is what threw us, I paddled one thinking it was an SES and was amazed at the stability. But I thought it was an SES! Maybe the graphics need more defining too? Epic was these bloody great letters/numbers you can't miss.

Maybe if there were a few more around our neck of the woods we would learn to tell the difference. How is the SES going, still improving on your V10L times ... remember I was contemplating one, went the Vault instead and paddling much better than I was in the V10L.

To keep the thread on track. The 3 newest ski's in our training group are Stellars, and the boys are very happy with them!

Always looking for the next boat :)

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10 years 8 months ago #8215 by Westley
Yep times still coming down but I am about to do a blog on how I am actually significantly quicker when there is chop and I am on the SR which only proves Jim Walker (my coach) right when he says the fastest ski is an upright ski.

In a recent paddle I got a mate to take his Evo out and I took the SR. The day got progressively more bounce and wind. As the more bounce and wind kicked in he had to brace constantly. Once it got to around 14 knots I was way quicker - an he normally is. It is hard to let the ego go and drop back to a more stable ski, but I think I am much quicker in bump on the SR than on the SES, even though I go ok compared to others in my age group on the SES - currently about 6th in Sydney. I am going to try the SR in a major race next week and will put up a report on progress.

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10 years 8 months ago #8216 by AR_convert
I was amazed at how quick the SR was for it's stability and width.

That wide catch would take some getting used to.

If I wasn't so happy in the Vault I may have been tempted to have a closer look.

The two guys that are paddling the SR's in our group have come from a PRS and one is a new paddler. Another fella picked up a Carbon SE in an online auction for a ridiculously cheap price moving from a spec ski. As I said they are all happy vegemites.

Always looking for the next boat :)

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10 years 8 months ago #8333 by red_pepper
After researching a number of boats, my wife ended up buying a Stellar SR Excel as a move up from her Think Fit (after a new racer I've been mentoring begged her to sell the Fit to him - and he's a very happy paddler now!). She wanted a boat that would be faster than her Fit, still fairly stable, very light, easy to reenter, and - perhaps most important to her - with a bow that wouldn't catch leaves (our rivers get a lot of leaves on them in the Fall, and the plumb bow of her Fit caught them like crazy - and it was hard to shake them off). She was also looking for a comfortably wide foot well.

When the SR arrived, I have to say I was quite impressed. For a ski weighing about the same as my V10L Ultra, it was quite stiff and seemed to be very well made. I really like the footplate, as most people do. It's very solid. And I'm impressed with the foot well width. Other manufacturers don't seem to understand that some of us have wider feet! My wife just wanted to have more options with the positioning of her feet/legs, but for me (with size 12 feet), I finally found a ski with a comfortable foot well that didn't squish my feet (I will have to say that the Think Evo I once owned was ok as well, but my V10L is quite marginal)! It's also nice to know I can paddle it in the winter wearing heavier foot gear. I like the separate foot straps as well. The rudder lines look like they should be upgraded to some line such as Think uses, but they work ok.

On the water, the boat is incredibly stable - Probably the most stable ski I've tried (compared to V10 Sport and Evo). It seems fairly fast for a stable ski, but I really haven't gps'd it over a known course. I did find the volume of the seat is HUGE! I felt a bit like I was in a bath tub, but it should accommodate a wide range of paddlers. If it were my ski I would probably end up adding quite a bit of padding. When I knocked the plug out of the bailer, the large volume of the footwell took on quite a bit of water. Our non-bullet scupper model seemed to drain a bit slowly, but once drained it stayed pretty dry without having to push the speed. And the boat goes over leaves like they're not even there. :)

At any rate, I was impressed enough that I've purchased a used carbon SE for myself. I was intending to buy a V12, but paddlers who have owned both steered me towards the SE. From all that I've heard from those who own them, the SE's are very fast but also quite stable for a HPS, so now I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of the ski. I'm looking forward to having a foot plate that fits me better. The only unknown right now is the comfort of the cockpit; Epic cockpits are quite comfortable to me, but most other cockpits (such as Think and Huki) don't fit me very well. I must be quirky!

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10 years 8 months ago #8336 by DougMar
I have had a little experience in a Stellar SEL, so I’ll offer the following …

The very first ski I paddled (2011-06-30) was a stellar SEL. Previous to this test paddle, I had the seat in my Necky Looksha II raised about 3 inches (7.6 cm) above normal seat height (it was a tight fit) for about a month of paddling. This really helped me progress into a performance ski very quickly. Anyway, I paddled the SEL for about 30 minutes in smooth water that was somewhat shallow (5-10 ft, 1.5-3 m deep) and not much breeze. Immediately after taking a couple strokes the first time in the ski, I was off chasing the nearest power boat to attempt surfing wakes. The Looksha II has very nice manners in chop and short-period waves such as powerboat wakes and steers in a very neutral manner. The SEL was more akin to negative yaw stability in the wakes. It always wanted to broach toward the origin of the wake. The SEL had a smallish, trapezoidal rudder, so this may have a lot to do with the handling characteristics. Yes, I was doing all the typical body English to help correct the ski in these situations, but to little avail.

The SEL had tons of "secondary" stability. Even for a complete newbie skier (with high-seat, low-stability experience). However, I was swimming in the bucket (the bucket is enormous). At the time, I was 215 lbs (98 kg), 5'-11" tall (181 cm) with a speed-skater’s arse (good sized, wide, muscular legs and butt due to much speed-skating and training). I did not feel secure in the cockpit, though at the time I liked the 3-point brace even though the adjustments are kinda agricultural with those wingnuts. No creaking here.
Coming from the Looksha II (20 ft x 20 inches, 6.1m x 50.8 cm), the SEL was very fast, and about as stable as the looksha with raised seat.

Another attribute I do not like about the SEL (after paddling my new V12 Ultra since 2011-07-15) is the double foot straps. You just cannot get your feet close enough together with double straps and the centerline rail of the 3-point attachment system. I appreciate the lack of stuff in the way on the Epic foot boards so that the feet can be very close to the centerline of the boat, enabling the paddler to truly pump on the board without disturbing the boat's balance as much. Especially in the very windy, rough, choppy, multidirectional stuff I paddle in much of the time. I try to rotate as much as possible using lots of leg drive (push and pull) as well as torso rotation, but with the feet to the outsides of the board, any ski will have stability issues when pumped hard. The point I'm attempting to make is that a wide footboard and well is certainly not what a performance ski needs... a narrow catch would be far more advantageous than more volume. Yet another point a really did not like about the SEL was the wide catch. Even though the SEL was supposedly nearly 3 inches (7.6 cm) narrower than my Looksha II, I kept on hitting the sides. Perhaps this for I felt as if I was sliding side to side in the seat.
Comparing this to the E-V12-U, the foot well is nice and narrow (I have U.S. size 12.5 feet, DD wide) and I still have more than enough room on the board (wish it was narrower), the catch is quite narrow (for a ski), and the bucket fits me perfectly. At first, the bucket felt perhaps a tad narrow, but somehow my arse adjusted to it and now it feels like home, and I can pivot my hips to a large rotation angle while feeling very secure in the bumps. Perhaps a good fraction of the V12’s fine manners in the bumps is the control afforded by the excellent fitting (for me) cockpit.

The one of the very few attributes that irks me about the V12 is the creaking foot board. This is easily remedied by some electrical tape on the bottom edge of the board. No more creaking. And nothing in the way of my heels like there is in the Stellars. I believe the boys (Greg, Oscar, et al) at Epic have enormous amounts of experience with olympic and otherwise high performace paddling, and they came up with a fine compromise between foot board rigidity and proper foot placement.

To clarify, I believe a wide foot board is not advantageous if one is trying for the most effective paddling form. Bla,bla,bla.

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10 years 8 months ago #8340 by red_pepper
I would fully agree with you about the excellent fit of Epic cockpits. If my SE doesn't fit me well, it will be sold and a V12 will appear in my garage. :) Nevertheless, I would disagree somewhat with your comments on the footboard. Maybe it's because my feet are EE width, but with my V10L Ultra and wearing a relatively thin water shoe, the narrow foot well causes my feet to be squished together. I also can't really adjust the strap properly for optimum pull without causing further grief. There's close together, and then there's ridiculous! I haven't found 1/4" of foot spacing to make a significant difference in my performance or boat stability, but cramping feet do!

I'll have to wait to see how the width of the boat impacts my stroke (I do like having a narrower hull where the paddle engages the water), and I hope the seat isn't too "enormous". As an avid road cyclist, my backside stays trim and large cockpits leave me feeling disconnected with the boat.

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10 years 8 months ago #8342 by wesley
Doug,
My experience has been quite different from yours regarding the SEL and other skis I have paddled. Fit is a very individualized and varies greatly from paddler to paddler, ski to ski. Most of us would agree that the V12 has an excellent fitting cockpit though I had to pad my V12 out as i have done on every ski I have owned. For me personally,the Think skis have the best fitting cockpit. To each his own in fit. The more you try, the more you will have an appreciation for the different shaped cockpits.

In regards to the wider footplate: you are incorrect in saying that spacing your feet out further causes instabilty. In fact the opposite is true. You may have meant that by having a more tapered footwell like the Epics that you are more stable since you have another point of contact with your calves and feet hitting the sides of the cockpit leading into the footwell. you feel more secure. Having more points of contact with your ski is a great thing provided you have ample room to rotate in the hips and sounds like you do. So ideally a paddler wants 3 points of contact, Hips, calves, feet. Having a great fitting ski is paramount. these days with so many manufacturers there is a fit for virtually everyone which is a great thing.

The Stellar skis by design are not tapered very much at all in this regard(footwell) and area leading to it. This extra width in the footwell is one of the reasons the Stellar skis are so ultra stable which is different from most other manufacturers. Take a look at the SES and you will marvel how a ski with that narrow of a beam can be so stable. Since the space leading into the footwell is wider on the Stellars, i have padded out my SES's, and my SEL's to have the best of both worlds: designed stabily w/speed and personalized fit. Most of us need a more stable platform for maximum power on our stroke. I have also placed padding in all my skis including the SES, SEL, Uno, V12, Mohican, etc just to name a few to enhance my fit.

In regards to the 4 inch rudder you were having problems with tracking on flatwater, I am guessing the rudder was not properly line up when you set up this boat. I have used that same rudder in 4 ft seas in my SEL which demonstrates the excellent stability of the SEL as you pointed out. That 4 inch flatwater is a nicely designed rudder. If one needs more stability or tracking Stellar now offers a 9 inch along with its current 8 inch rudder.

In regards to the design of the footplate itself, most paddlers agree that it is one of the best designed footplates in the industry with its 3 point secure system. To my knowledge there is only one other ski manufacturer with rail system like Stellars. They are ROCK solid with no give whatsoever. They don't move, flex, rub like some other manufacturers and you certainly don't need any tape! The wider footplate is designed to fit the larger footwell. Some paddlers like a wider footplate like Red Pepper who by the way i talked to for almost an hour a few weeks ago. If you paddle with any kind of paddling shoes a wider plate is a must like we do here in New England. I can strap my Mukluks on in February without having to jam my size 9's into a smaller footwell or I an paddle with a an extremely low profile shoe for summer by adjusting the footstrap. Having the option is better!

As far as the foot straps, I like you prefer a single strap hence I have replaced my double straps for a single strap. Stellar does offer a single strap. Other paddlers prefer the double which some other manufacturers have as well like the the Thinks skis. However I did not switch mine out because I could not get my feet close enough for a better paddling position, which is an erroneous statement, I did it because adjusting one strap is easier than two, and all my Garmins fit better on a single strap.

I am glad you tried the SEL. I know some of you opinions about the design,fit,performance of skis will change as you get more experience paddling them and get other input from the paddling community. It sounds like you found a ski in the V12 that meets you needs which is excellent. Many folks have done the same with the Stellars. And yes I am a Stellar Rep, first person to chart and review publicly most of the skis sold here in the U.S. and the first to produce a DVD on Surfskis(Surfski Basics) and have the website SurfskiRacing.com. And yes the Designers at Stellar, Dave and Ed with input from customers and reps like myself also know how to design and manufacture not only rowing shells but also kayaks and yes surfskis!!

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.

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10 years 8 months ago #8344 by Dicko
Replied by Dicko on topic Re: How good are Stellar skis
They are a funny boat the SE. The ugly duckling of the ski world. They don't feel that good when you sit in them. They feel like your paddling an aircraft carrier, yet when you paddle next to one the bloody things won't go away. I paddled one in some lumpy water one day and despite the fact I felt like I could sit someone else in the seat with me I just didn't feel I could fall out. I thought it surfed beautifully.
The v12 is the exact opposite. Looks sensational, goes like stick on the flat and into the wind, but everytime we did a downwind, it would drop off the pace. You could overtake it easily. A change of boat and suddenly the same bloke tends to set the pace downwind.
Go figure.

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10 years 8 months ago #8345 by Westley
Yep I agree, huge buckets and huge stability. What do people do to make it smaller? What padding etc what are the solutions out there as the boats are fine.

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10 years 8 months ago #8346 by Boof Head
My thoughts as well Dicko. Felt like an aircraft carrier and took a bit of getting used to. Am getting slightly faster times though. I added a padded seat to raise the height a bit because it felt like my feet were higher than my backside. I also added a back pad as my lower back was getting chopped to mince meat. This didn't solve the problem, however, I have shortened the leg length a cm and this was enough to push me back into a better position. A couple of hours on Sunday paddling and getting some waves with no damage to tailbone area.
I will most likely add some hip pads as well having lots a fair bit of weight/size this year.
I do/did prefer the V10 cockpit and I do feel that the V10 surfed a bit better, however on every other aspect, I prefer the Stellar. Particularly in beaming seas/winds.

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10 years 8 months ago #8357 by chrsmtchl
This is a funny discussion :)

My son is 5 and he only started cycling recently. I got him a top of the range racing bike similar to what other kids had. I could have opted for a more beginner like bike but I decided to get the top model so he can go fast. After couple of weeks he had fallen many times and wasn't going too well so I decided to let my son try a tricycle which someone offered me. He seat in the tricycle and he immediately felt so much more stable. After few days of cycling he didn't fall once and the best part he was beating all his mates who were cycling the same top of the range bikes I had got him the first time. So I figured that the tricycle was a much faster bike and that so called top of the range bike was actually a useless piece of junk. I am not sure why the big bike companies spend such a big effort designing, reducing drag, testing, upgrading....

I am still asking myself one question though...why don't they use tricycles on Tour De France? Those guys know nothing!

Keep well!

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10 years 8 months ago #8359 by Westley
The guys in the tour de france are older. Your son will one day have the experience to move on, just don't do it too early. That is the point.

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10 years 8 months ago #8360 by chrsmtchl
I forgot to mention that the company that sold the racing bike turned out had beginners and intermediate bikes too...that would have been way better choice than the tricycle... :)

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10 years 8 months ago #8361 by outriggerbev
Quick question for westley-Mate how do you compare between the ses and the v10 l-I have an ses (raced it today up the sunny coast with a 2m side on swell witha nice but small runner going our way to make it worth the ride 20 klms.only came off twice-was pretty washy out there so it was a confidence building race-I understand the v10l is really twitchy-is it'I would say only thing I dont get about the ses is that its responsiveness is crap-I can beat my mates k1 up the creek but then I have to do a three point turn to come back-surfed a mako6 the other day and found it soo much more responsive than the ses.should i get the 9 inch rudder !

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