Is the New 2016 Stellar SEL really that good?

2 years 6 months ago #31068 by Dicko
Persevere.

The SEL requires you to paddle a bit earlier to get on a run. Boats like the Fenn Elites and Swordies have a lot more rocker and consequently catch every little bump going with a minimum of fuss. I have a gen 1 SEL and it is a great boat and I get more confident in it all the time. The SEL's struggle in smaller bumps, but as it gets a little bigger they will fly ( you just need to get your speed up a little earlier).

Get the bigger surf rudder and just leave it on the boat. It is so damned thin it doesn't have much impact on flat water speed.

Prior to this boat I had 3 Fenn Elites. They were great downwind. Despite practicing endlessly I just wasn't confident I could remount them if it was rough. Consequently I stopped paddling when it was rough. The SEL is a piece of cake to remount.

Prior to that I had a black nose gen2 v10. It was probably the most frustrating boat I have ever owned.
One paddle you would finish in front, then the next you would be a mile behind. It was very condition specific. It was hopeless on small bumps. Worse than the SEL. It hated side chop. Worse than the SEL.

I would give it a few more months and concentrate on paddling earlier to get on the runs.
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2 years 6 months ago #31069 by cogdoc
Awesome Dicko - Thanks a million. If i was to change boats I figured the ever popular v10 would be a major contender, so it's very interesting to hear your opinions. I came off a SLSC inspired Ozflyte R21, which was an absolute wave machine, but so slow on the flats, so I get the whole rocker thing, and the fact you can't have it both ways. Plus that thing put my arse to sleep in about 30mins every time. I did find this morning I eventually threw a tantrum about being left behind, and paddled angry on one run back, ending up out front, so I'm certain the ski is fast, it's just me holding it back. Most of the people I paddle with have far more bigger surf experience than me, so I know that i just need to keep at it, have started wondering if this boat is indeed beyond me, or i just need to persevere like you say.

Now: Stellar SEL Gen 2

Prior: Ozflyte R21, Competition Kayaks Fireblade K1, MaxKayak Clever X K1, numerous SLSC Spec Ski's.

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2 years 6 months ago #31070 by wesley
I am 2 years out from that review which I did in November 2015. I still have an SEL 2G and paddle it occasionally. I still think it fits as a very stable advanced ski compared to the other skis, remounting is easier too. I would rank it slightly slower than my initial review now that I paddled more advanced skis in the last 2 years, for me its relative with the more skis I paddle. I would describe it downwind as loose compared to my other intermediate ski and some of my advanced skis. I use the 8 inch stock rudder. It tracks okay but you need to anticipate it more than some skis.
I have never had the slow upwind experience you have had in it. I am however a very good upwind grinder in any ski, you have to be here in New England.

So for me now it is a tweener, faster than my SEI 2G, Evo 3, Nelo 550L but less stable. Slower than my Ion 3G, V12 2G, Uno 2G. Remounting easier than the last 3 skis mentioned in my SEL 2G. My main objection is the seating as it relates to other skis. My leg drive is better and more intuitive in my Think, Nelo, Epics skis due to the seat/footwell ergonomics.

The SEL 1G is an excellent hull and still in my opinion still has the best speed to stability ratio of any ski. The bucket is terrible especially for short paddlers like me. If Stellar would keep the same hull in the SEL 1G, upgrade the seat, hump, footwell like in the all the current Stellars, I would be first in line to pay full retail for that ski. The SEL 1G and SEL 2G are two different skis. Maybe the SEL 3G will be what I mentioned above, that would be a super ski.

Lastly, we all know Elite Paddlers can paddle any ski fast, but Ian Black, elite paddler from South Africa, paddle SEL 2G for 2017 season and finished in the top 10 of most international races he did. He did use the SES 2G for one race too.

So I can understand some of your frustration with the SEL 2G particularly in the rough stuff if you are a solid intermediate paddler. Hope this helps. By the way NOT affiliated with Stellar for over 18 months.

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

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2 years 6 months ago #31071 by red_pepper
Interesting idea, Wesley. I really like the current Stellar ergonomics, side handles, DeBrito bailer, and such, but that Gen 1 SEL hull really hit a sweet spot with stability/speed. Would make a great match-up!

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2 years 6 months ago #31072 by cogdoc
Thanks Wesley, appreciate your input, thanks for taking the time. Interesting you rate the Gen1 hull so highly, surely the 2G isn't hugely different?. Ultimately if this is what you consider a more stable advanced ski, then it seems to be the right sort of fit for me, as I would rather fight with a ski above my ability for a while, than to settle for something a bit too easy, but this is sure challenging me in the swells, so I was concerned it was too far advanced. It may very well be, guess time will tell. Thanks all for your input, I'll put in a few more solid months, keep working on it, and like Dicko suggests take off early!

Now: Stellar SEL Gen 2

Prior: Ozflyte R21, Competition Kayaks Fireblade K1, MaxKayak Clever X K1, numerous SLSC Spec Ski's.

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2 years 6 months ago #31073 by wesley
SEL 1G and 2G are very different.1G is far more stable. the 1G is more similar to the SEI 2G in terms of stability but it is faster the SEI 2G. The SEI 2G is an excellent ski in the Stellar line and is more stable than SEL 2G and not much slower and has excellent glide. I switched most often between the Ion 3G and the SEI 2G for the 2017 race season depending on the race and conditions. Many great choices these days in all the brands.

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.
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2 years 6 months ago #31074 by Dicko
Interestingly I am quite tall and the gen 2 just doesn't have the adjustment in the leg length for me. When I did paddle one it was definitely less stable than my ski. I agree with Wesley The guys at stellar who designed that hull should get a raise and the bloke who designed the cockpit and deck should be encouraged to find alternative employment.

I really can't stress enough how important remounting is. I have fallen out once in the last 3 years and the confidence from knowing you can get back in helps my paddling no end.

The gen 1 SEL is a great allrounder. It is more than capable downwind or on the flat or when it is lumpy. Its a boat that will keep you there abouts in most conditions. You won't be the first to the beach, but at least you can still see your mates when they get there.
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2 years 6 months ago #31076 by Fath2o
The reasons I tout the XT are because they are widely available for under a $1000.00. Just saw a like new carbon one for sale here for $900.00 The other reason is it's a great intermediate surf ski. Paddles good upwind without slapping, add a deep elliptical surf rudder and it's fantastic fun downwind. Only complaint I have is it's a wet boat, just like a lot of lower volume boats now. At 19' it's a little easier to store too. I think any intermediate boat will suit your rough downwind needs better. A new surf rudder will improve your SEL but it is still an ELITE boat.
What ever you decide, good luck with it.
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2 years 6 months ago #31077 by Newbflat
Interesting, not everybody feels the same thing in every boat, who knew!? I have both a Swordfish S and the current SEL. From my experience those two are not a fair comparison as I don’t think there are that similar and stability. I think the SEL is a fair bit less stable than the swordfish, at least for me. I would much rather be in a swordfish and rough conditions and my SEL if for no other reason than stability. I can’t really speak to a proper downwind in the SEL as I haven’t really done one. I find its just too tippy for me to actually be faster in. I can take it Downwind in decent conditions, I pm just faster in something with more stability like the Swordfish.

It has taken me quite a few years to fully and completely understand how important stability is in a proper downwind. I marched my way up to faster skis over the years, and in the last few years I have marched my way back down to more stable skis. For me the swordfish seems to be the sweet spot. So if you’re not damn stable in an elite boat, you’re probably not getting out of the SEL what you can or should.

I can tell you right away and that I would rather be in the SEL than my V10 g2 any day. It surfs better and has better stability profile even though it’s tipper. That brings me to the single most important point about Stellar Surfski’s.... Ditch the rudder and get a proper rudder. There is nothing that will change the handling of your boat for the better than getting a real honest-to-goodness down wind rudder for the boat. I have a DK Rudder that I use on it that I also use on my Stellar SR. They absolutely transform the boats into something completely different than the 8 inch standard Stellar rudder they come with. It is my firm belief that Stellar absolutely handicaps their boats with atrocious rudders, Most skis come with atrocious rudders but Stellar really seems to drop the ball on this one . A couple of years ago when I was looking for a new intermediate ski I paddled a variety of skis in solid downwind conditions. After several weeks of testing skis in the gorge the SR was in last place. It’s Steering was vague, tended to broach, and darted about in messy conditions. I did like how nicely it caught runs though and on a whim I swapped the standard 8 inch stellar Rudder for a 9 inch DK "gorge special" to see if I could fix the broaching and mushy steering .. And in an instant the boat was completely transformed. It went from my last choice to my first choice. The same thing happened with the SEL. It is a much much better ski with a real rudder on it. Well that definitely won’t fix everything that should fix some things.

I’m curious how heavy you are? I think the SEL definitely suits a larger paddler And if you’re on the smaller side I suspect some of your up wind issues might have to do with that. The SEL never seemed any worse up wind to me than my V10 or sport, but that’s not saying much. I really like my Swordfish S, it surfs well with the stock elliptical and even better with a DK rudder on it. Its shorter and I can whip it around at will yet it still holds a line in messy water. It’s a great hull design but the whole topside could definitely use a modern makeover. Seriously, if you have a Stellar or frankly any other boat out there, get yourself a real rudder for down wind conditions. It can make an absolutely amazing difference. Almost every ski out there could use a better quality rudder And their overall downwind performance should not truly be assessed until you test one with the real rudder on it. If you can’t tell by now, this is a real pet peeve of mine these days. So much for modern skis performance is handicapped by crappy rudders.

For me the SEL has its place. I’m not stable enough in a V14 or Uno Max, to paddle it fast. But in flat water to light conditions and probably faster in the SEL than any other ski. I think it’s reputation is missed placed, it’s still an elite ski and does not really have the stability of an intermediate boat. It might be the most stable elite ski, but it is still an elite ski and if someone doesn’t have the skills to truly paddle and elite ski down wind then they will most likely be faster on intermediate boat.
Horses for corses.

FENN Bluefin S
FENN Swordfish S carbon hybrid
Epic V8 double gen 2
Lot and lots of DK rudders.


Had:
Stellar SEL excel (gen 2)
Stellar SR excel (gen2)
Stellar S18s g1 (excel)
Epic V10 Double (performance)
Stellar SR (gen 1)
V10 sport (gen 2)
V10 (Gen 2)
Beater SEL (gen 1)
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2 years 6 months ago #31078 by Fath2o
Yeah! What Newbflat said. Really like Swordfish performance too.

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2 years 6 months ago #31079 by Atlas
I agree with Fath2o. The Fenn XT is a much under rated (and as such a very cheap) ski. Not the fastest on the flat admittedly but (with a wave deflector and a DK rudder) a sensational downwind ski. However it is obvious you’re not going to take that kind of advice so as Newbflat said you really should get a DK rudder. I’ve had DK rudders on my last 4 skis and will order another when I pick up my next ski in 2 weeks. As Newbflat said; you wont believe how much difference it makes.

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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2 years 6 months ago #31080 by Dicko
Absolutely agree with the rudder message. Like I said before, the 9 inch surf rudder is a better rudder than the standard rudder. It is however the ugliest thing I have ever seen on a boat. The DK rudders are a great option. I haven't heard of anyone that doesn't feel it's made a difference to their boat.
I suppose it comes down to the question of stability v speed. If you're like me and storage space is now an issue, do you own a stable boat for the 10% of time when
you feel compromised or a tippier boat for the 90% of paddles when stability isn't an issue. I'll take the 90% and battle along for the 10%.
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2 years 6 months ago - 2 years 6 months ago #31083 by cogdoc
Wow awesome advice, thanks so much. Love it for two reasons, first I was going to get the bigger Stellar rudder, but the finish on them is SO bad ( I spent hours sanding the stock one into a proper wing shape ) I'm not happy paying the money they want for something that has so little care put into it, so the DK advice is gold, and second it gives me more opinions from people paddling the SEL 2. Whilst i apreciate the advice to get a more stable ski, and no doubt my next purchase will be in that direction, I'm just not ready to give up on the SEL, for even though I struggle, well I'm yet to fall out, and that tells me something. For the record I'm 91 kgs right now, smack bang in SEL land I believe. I am not paddle fit for me, so that doesn't help, like I said I rate my abilty as mid pack, and increasing!

Thanks for everyone taking the time, I'm a bit in awe actually, you guys have been just awesome. Mkes me want to succeed even more!!

Now: Stellar SEL Gen 2

Prior: Ozflyte R21, Competition Kayaks Fireblade K1, MaxKayak Clever X K1, numerous SLSC Spec Ski's.

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2 years 6 months ago #31085 by owenfromwales
Hi All,

So does anyone (Wesley??) know if Dave and Ed over at Stellar are thinking of bringing out an SEL g3?

After re-reading Wesley`s last comment about SEL 1g and 2g speeds versus the SEI 2g, could this be in part due to the 10 cm difference between the SELs?

I`ve been riding the SEI 2g for the last 14 months. On top of it being an awesome all round ski for me, one of the best things about it are the cockpit handles. I really hope Stellar can manage to put these on an SEL 2g or 3g soon, ...like before I put my order in for new one!

Happy paddling,

Owen

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
Previous
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy

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2 years 6 months ago #31086 by red_pepper
As a Stellar dealer I talk with Dave pretty frequently about new products, and I am not aware of a 3g SEL in the pipeline. On the 1G vs 2G comments: the 2G definitely has better ergonomics, bailing efficiency, etc. It also has lower resistance ("higher speed") on flat water. It's a very nice ski. The draw of the 1G was that it was nearly as fast, but with more stability, and could be downright playful on the waves.

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2 years 6 months ago #31087 by davgdavg
Agree with the others- absolutely awful bucket. I'm 6'1, +- 90kgs, so its not just bad for smaller people.

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2 years 6 months ago #31088 by Dicko
Its funny how you adapt to a bucket. My wife has had a gen 1 SEL since they 1st came out. I paddled it 2 or 3 times. I remember paddling it with a mate in a flash doing ins and outs. We swapped skis a few times and the SEL was just as fast as the flash, but a whole load more stable and easier to remount. The bucket was just awful and the catch so wide. I just never paddled it.

I had a lightbulb moment one day when I was getting frustrated paddling the Elite SL and started paddling my wife's SEL. I felt like I was slopping around in the bucket and had no control with my hips, but I was going like the clappers.

I tried the gen 2 but my knees were near my chin so bought a gen 1 ultra. The bucket still felt huge. 12 months down the track I now find it comfortable. Apparently given enough time you simply change what feels normal. I would love a tighter bucket and a narrower catch, but in the interests of speed and stability I am prepared to sacrifice these things.

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2 years 6 months ago #31089 by Dicko
Its funny how you adapt to a bucket. My wife has had a gen 1 SEL since they 1st came out. I paddled it 2 or 3 times. I remember paddling it with a mate in a flash doing ins and outs. We swapped skis a few times and the SEL was just as fast as the flash, but a whole load more stable and easier to remount. The bucket was just awful and the catch so wide. I just never paddled it.

I had a lightbulb moment one day when I was getting frustrated paddling the Elite SL and started paddling my wife's SEL. I felt like I was slopping around in the bucket and had no control with my hips, but I was going like the clappers.

I tried the gen 2 but my knees were near my chin so bought a gen 1 ultra. The bucket still felt huge. 12 months down the track I now find it comfortable. Apparently given enough time you simply change what feels normal. I would love a tighter bucket and a narrower catch, but in the interests of speed and stability I am prepared to sacrifice these things.

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2 years 5 months ago #31103 by cogdoc
Have had a few half decent wave sessions in the SEL, and the rudder is definately not helping, it seems to stall at pretty minor angles, and I feel it does stuff all in the swell. Had a chat with one of our local legends who seems to carve up the waves in his SES, and he said the same thing, a decent foil rudder makes "night and day" difference on the Stellars. He told me he hated the stock SES downwind performance, put on a 9" Orka rudder and he is now killing it. I've the 9" Gorge rudder and a 4" version lined up from Don K, so thanks again for all the help.

Now: Stellar SEL Gen 2

Prior: Ozflyte R21, Competition Kayaks Fireblade K1, MaxKayak Clever X K1, numerous SLSC Spec Ski's.

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2 years 5 months ago #31114 by TaffyMick
My SEI is very sloppy in marginal conditions and I have been toying with replacing the rudder for all the reasons mentioned here. The DK 8" rudder seems to be the go.

Has anyone got the contact details of where I can obtain one here in Australia or online? Might even go for one for my wife's Bluefin too.

Thanks in advance.

Mick

Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1

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