Quest for a first ski (long)

4 years 2 months ago #26310 by merijnwijnen
Hi all,

With both a sea kayak ad a master K1 background I am looking for a surfski. Main purposes: larger rivers with heavy traffic, large lakes, some sea and on holidays in the UK or mediterranean. No large ocean stuff, regretfully.

Since three years I use I masters K1 (Kirton Tor) that I never fell out of. I used it also in more wavy conditions (short chop up to 1-2 foot max, but I feel unsafe in those conditions as reentry and rolling are both impossible.
Due to transport and storage reasons, I would really prefer a sub 6m boat. 1.93 m, 74 kg, skinny but really wide hip bones.

In an earlier tests at a Dutch dealer I tried the Think Evo (bucket to narrow for my hip bones), V10S 2g (very stable, felt corky and might need more weight), V10S 1g (a bit less stable, still corky). All of these are longer than 6m.


Today I went to to the Stellar dealer, for trying an SR and a SEI. I took my 10 year old daughter with me, so no large distances, but I tried quite a lot of boats. Only flat water.
Some first impressions:
SR1G: extremely stable, not easy to get up to speed, uncomfortable bucket. No wow-feeling at al.

SEI: to my amazement still very stable. Far more comfortable bucket, I just fit in. You can edge this boat until the bucket fill over the sides without needing a brace.

SES1G: I just tried this to get a feeling for extreme instability. Allas, also in this boat I felt safe stability wise. Which was the more amazing as I did not fit into the bucket at all, I had to sit slightly rotated to make place for my hips, and fell in when trying to get out of the boat as I was rather stuck.

SE (old model): Not an my wish list at all, but as it sat there I just had to try. Felt very corky, enormous nose. Quite stable. The proprietor said it should be a proper boat for me, but I do not agree, I felt to light.

SR2G: nicer boat than the SR1G, still extremely stable. Better bucket and far better draining. Easier to get up to speed, but still no wow-feeling. Wide catch, something I do not like very much. I think I am to light for this boat.

I did a side-remount of the SEI (my first ever), which was not to difficult.

I went home without boat, I have to think this over.

It might have to do with flat water only, but all skis I tried are far more stable than my masters K1 that I can handle in various conditions. Non felt challenging stability-wise. The proof of the pudding would be in waves, but demoing in waves is not possible.

The SEI seems to fit best, has a quite OK bucket, and is not to long.
I still want to go to another dealer to some EPICs and Nelos, although the V10S was not that impressive.

How do the new Nelos compare to the boats I tried stability-wise? I like their length. Any other tips? The Thinks are out due to bucket width.

Food for thought.

Regards,

Merijn

Seakayak, flatwater racing and a surfski on order.
Looking for other ski paddlers in South East Netherlands (Maas / Waal)

Surfski: Nelo 560 on order :-)
K1:Kirton Tor
Sea kayak: NDK Explorer HV
The following user(s) said Thank You: SurfskiEstonia

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4 years 2 months ago #26311 by Tecpartner
I recently tried the new Nelo 560. It would seem to fit your criteria:

I'd rather be paddling....

Think EVO II
Epic V10S
Nelo 520
Epic V8

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4 years 2 months ago #26312 by portmanm
Try Stellar SES and SEL 2G options - very different ski's to their 1G counterparts.

If you can handle these, then Epic V10 2G, Think Evo II (or maybe an Ion), Vadja Hawx 46, Fenn swordfish or Elite S versions, maybe a Spark if you can get ya butt in it.

Tried the new Nelo 560M today, impressed, narrow catch good footplate arrangement but just a step to0 far for me paddling in the ocean I regularly paddle in. I'll stick with my Stellar SEL 2G Excel for now. If I paddled purely flat water, Nelo would be on my list.

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M

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4 years 2 months ago #26320 by red_pepper
It appears that you're looking for a high-performance surf ski, but you want it shorter with a wider bucket - pretty much mutually exclusive requirements. The SEI will probably be the best compromise for those competing criteria.

I wasn't certain from reading your write-up: are you hoping for a less-stable, more challenging boat, or are preferring additional stability? If you're wanting higher performance and less stability (with a cockpit that fits you) you will probably need to go with a longer boat. At that point the Stellar SEL 2G, Epic V12, and Epic V14 would all be good possibilities. I can't comment on the Nelo boats, not having paddled any.

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4 years 2 months ago #26321 by Ole
Replied by Ole on topic Quest for a first ski (long)
The perfect boat would be the OCEAN OSS:4. It is 5.8m long, 0.48 wide, very fast and very stable and sub 6m as required.
The design of all OCEAN surfskis allows for very fast skis (high performance skis) but at the same time adds more stability (compared to main rivals).
Unfortunately, we haven't entered the European market yet so that a demo becomes a bit complicated for merijnwijnen.

Ozean OSS3 SL, OSS4 SL, OSS1

Previously: Fenn Elite Glide, DD3 Albatross (2x), Vajda Hawx 43, Think Uno Max, Think Evo II, Epic V8, Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 sports

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4 years 2 months ago #26322 by merijnwijnen
I am looking for a bit of a challenge, but not for a full time swimming course. Usually not in very rough conditions. If I take the boat to the sea it will be on holiday, an then a couple of extra swims will just be fun. Normally I will use it on rivers with those big transport boat wakes. So generally in conditions that I could (just) handle by masters k1 in, but the K1 has no safety net so I do not do it.
I am a bit worried that in these relatively easy conditions a boat like an SR will limit my learning curve.

Tomorrow I am going to try the Nelos (520 and 560), and may be a couple of Epic boats for reference. All on flattish water, the dealer is located on a small lake.
Up to now the choice is between the SEI (old model, but I believe only the venturi has changed to a double one) and SR 2g. Over 6.1 m is definitely y out of the question. My wife is very reluctant to have longer boats on the roof of our small (4.8 m length) campervan, and for the smaller roads we prefer I think she might be right.

For someone living at a different location it would be rather different. Paddling in Sydney with big water next doors I would go for the SR, but that is regretfully not the case. Although I might come over next year to visit my brother who is living on the edge of Pittwater bay.

Regards,

Merijn

Seakayak, flatwater racing and a surfski on order.
Looking for other ski paddlers in South East Netherlands (Maas / Waal)

Surfski: Nelo 560 on order :-)
K1:Kirton Tor
Sea kayak: NDK Explorer HV

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4 years 2 months ago #26324 by merijnwijnen
I promised to report back, so here it is.

Today I went to test the new Nelo 520 and 560. And to my utter amazement, the quest seems to have ended already. I started in the 560, and never came to the 520.
For me the new 560 was a relevation. A near-perfect fit for my wide hipped body with a very comfortable bucket. Less of a feet-up feeling than in other skis, and more easy to sit in an upright posture. Nice narrow catch. Relatively small and nimble. Feels almost like a big K1. Compared to this the Stellar SE of last week (admitted: the other side of the spectrum) was an aircraft carrier. On flat water I chased all boat wakes I could find (not to much) and it handled it beautifully, much safer feeling than in my masters K1. The boat is easy to bring up to speed and feels as fast as my racing boat.
Stability-wise it is not an SR or V10S, but it does not feel overly tippy and I think I will be able to handle it on the rivers I want to paddle. At sea I will need to learn, but that will be mostly on holidays, asome swimming won't be a problem.

No ski up to now brought a big smile on my face, but the Nelo 560 did it.
The price (in WWR construction) is fair and its length is ideal for my purposes. Only one question is remaining: the colour.

Regards,

Merijn

Seakayak, flatwater racing and a surfski on order.
Looking for other ski paddlers in South East Netherlands (Maas / Waal)

Surfski: Nelo 560 on order :-)
K1:Kirton Tor
Sea kayak: NDK Explorer HV
The following user(s) said Thank You: Uffilation, SurfskiEstonia

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4 years 2 months ago #26325 by red_pepper
Glad to hear you found a ski that fit you well! As a side note, the SE is a large ski for almost anyone, and it has the Gen 1 cockpit. You would probably have liked the Gen 2 SEL far better, but it sounds like you have a great match in the Nelo. Have fun!

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4 years 2 months ago #26328 by SurfskiEstonia
Hello, Merijn!

This topic (and the one before this) was a very good read and contains the kind of information that I personally am interested in. It's kinda funny (in a good way) that after trying several skis, You've chosen arguably the most unstable ski on the market today (maybe after VanDusen Mohican / Carbonology Atom / Huki S1X).

Could You please describe the differences between Your ski and the masters K1 you paddle? How would You describe the acceleration from start and the primary/secondary stability. Do You feel any difference in the weight of the ski/K1? WWR construction is about 11-12kg? Any other interesting remarks would be greatly appreciated! THANKS!

Nelo Ocean Ski L, Jantex Gamma Mid, Jantex Gamma Rio Large Minus

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4 years 2 months ago #26329 by merijnwijnen
I think you are mixing up the various Nelo skis. With Oscar Chalupsky at the helm Nelo has developed three new skis (520, 560, 560M), one of which is confusingly named identical to an earlier ski.
The previous Nelo skis, especially the Ocean 560, were known for their outrageous instability. Kind of surfski thoroughbred K1s. Although some people were talented enough to tame them and achieve good race results.

The new Nelo skis are far more stable. I have little experience with intermediate and HP skis, but to me the 560 feels sufficiently stable. More stable than the Stellar SES I tried, but slightly less than the Stellar SEI. The few comments on them that are available on the web mention a stability somewhere between the V10 and the V14.
Stability also depends quite a bit on the weight of the boat, the fit you have in the boat, your own size and weight and gut feeling.
What made a huge difference to me was that this ski fits me like a glove, unlike most other skis that I tested. To tight is definitely not good for stability, to lose also not but that is easier to change.

Compared to my masters K1 (Kirton Tor with low seat, fairly stable) the primary stability is similar, the secondary is far better. Boat wakes that would scare the crap out of me in the Tor were fun in the Nelo. And the seating position is similar, with the feet relatively low. Most other skis have a feet-up feeling. The shorter length allows for a narrow catch, also similar to te K1 and quite different from the other skis I tried. Weight-wise there is little difference, with the ski at (probably) 11.5 kg and my K1 at a racing weight of 12 kg. To judge speed I will need more time, but most info on the web says it is quite fast.

I think that what makes the difference in the end is the total feeling you have with a boat. The feeling is there, or it isn't. I am very happy with the Tor K1, and this new Nelo 560 just feels like a slightly larger and more seaworthy version of it.

I had the same when looking for a sea kayak years ago. I had been trying and buying and selling quite some boats. Then I went on a course and got by chance an NDK Explorer HV. And that boat just had everything I wanted. I can't explain why.

I will post some more info on my experiences in the Nelo when it arrives in something like six weeks.

Seakayak, flatwater racing and a surfski on order.
Looking for other ski paddlers in South East Netherlands (Maas / Waal)

Surfski: Nelo 560 on order :-)
K1:Kirton Tor
Sea kayak: NDK Explorer HV
The following user(s) said Thank You: Uffilation

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4 years 2 months ago #26330 by SurfskiEstonia
Thanks for clearing that up. I remember reading a review on the previous generation 560, where the reviewer said: The hull is not like a K1, the hull is K1. Glad You've found a ski You liked :) Would be interested in Your future experiences and impressions as they form!!

Nelo Ocean Ski L, Jantex Gamma Mid, Jantex Gamma Rio Large Minus

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4 years 2 months ago #26331 by Tecpartner
I recommended the Nelo to 560 to merijnwijnen above, but somehow hit "post" before I completed my comments. Since there's interest I'll add my impressions. .

For reference, I'm an intermediate ski paddler (at best). I paddle a V10S comfortably in the ocean and expect to move to an EVO II as a half step to improved performance with slightly less stability. When I demoed the 560 thanks to Elite Ocean Sports, I struggled mightily, even in small ripples near shore. So, in short, the 560 is definitely an advanced performance ski with advanced (not forgiving) stability. I agree the secondary stability is better than the primary. I recommended the 560 to merijnwijnen specifically because he wanted a shorter ski, and was coming from a K1 background. Looks like my recommendation was on target. (Even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally.)

I'd rather be paddling....

Think EVO II
Epic V10S
Nelo 520
Epic V8
The following user(s) said Thank You: SurfskiEstonia

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