Go Big or Go Home......V8 to V14

4 years 1 month ago #27164 by red_pepper
Your speed comparison sounds about right on flat water. I can typically paddle my SEL around 0.5 mph faster than the S18S; the glide on these elite-level skis is phenomenal - they feel like they have no resistance. Sprints are not that different, because the extra stability of the S18S permits me to really put my whole body into the paddle in a way that I couldn't in the SEL, even though I'm very comfortable with the SEL's stability.

As for the energy required with regard to wetted surface area drag vs. shape drag, it seems that somewhere around 4.5 mph is where the difference is typically felt with our skis (where shape drag starts to predominate). I'm guessing you didn't buy the V14 (or V8, for that matter) to putter along at 4 mph... :)

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4 years 1 month ago #27166 by Aurelius

red_pepper wrote: Your speed comparison sounds about right on flat water. I can typically paddle my SEL around 0.5 mph faster than the S18S; the glide on these elite-level skis is phenomenal - they feel like they have no resistance. Sprints are not that different, because the extra stability of the S18S permits me to really put my whole body into the paddle in a way that I couldn't in the SEL, even though I'm very comfortable with the SEL's stability.


Now I'm even more eager to try the SEL. I find that my stability increases with speed, up to a point, so once I'm past the initial wobbling stage, I should be able to put decent power into my strokes. I'm regretting now not having bought the S18S. I loved the feel of that ski, but I was seduced by the SR's promise of higher speed.

As for the energy required with regard to wetted surface area drag vs. shape drag, it seems that somewhere around 4.5 mph is where the difference is typically felt with our skis (where shape drag starts to predominate). I'm guessing you didn't buy the V14 (or V8, for that matter) to putter along at 4 mph... :)


In the case of the V7, the sweet spot is right between 5 and 5.5 mph. I can paddle it all day at that speed, but anything above that makes me really work for it. The SR's sweet spot is much harder to find. It's glide is so much better that it becomes very difficult to gauge when you cross that magical threshold.

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4 years 1 month ago #27168 by kwolfe
Yes, the glide is incredible. The hulls are so efficient. On my V8, I can tell by the way the water is displaced by the bow when I hit just 6mph. I get a very little bit of splash. The V14 however is so slippery that you can be at 7mph with no fuss, splash or hint that you are doing that speed. It just looks at you and says "COMON FASTER"! I actually look for floating leaves or anything in the water so I can get an idea of my own speed (GPS withstanding).

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4 years 1 month ago #27169 by MAS
kwolfe wrote:
This is the lake where I paddle 1/2 mile and turn around to go the other way so I think actual average would probably be around 6.2-6.3. Needless to say, I'm at least 1/2mph faster on the V14 even with mediocre balance. Top speeds were less than 1/2mph apart, but in the V8, I'm able to throw all of my power down to the water. If I could get 2/3 of that in the 14, I would easily be closer to 9.5mph.

Lastly, I felt more tired after being on the V8. As if it took more energy to hold that average. On the 14, my core gets tired, but on the V8, I feel it more in the lats and shoulders.


My recent 5 miles hard effort around shores of a lake was 6,4mph in my Epic 18XS which at 56cm / 5,5m is even more stable and thus slower than V8 or V7 and wide expedition sea kayak style bow is preventing close catch and thus shortening stroke. Based on my best 10min intervals in better (no wind nor waves) conditions 6,5mph should be doable with current level of fitness and technique. With some more training there is still clearly more speed potential in the boat even with the limited number of hours (and limited talent I have...) I can put to paddling on a weekly basis.

Yet in my Viper 48 (48cm / 5,2m ICF K1 class) my best 5 miles around the same lake is 6,1mph. Glide is much better with Viper: 6mph is already quite some effort with Epic where as with Viper it feels very relaxed as long as you can put the paddle into water every now and then.

My speed on Epic is based on strong leg drive and torso rotation. Heart rate around anaerobic threshold. In Viper I lose most if not all of legs and torso rotation due to balancing challenge. Heart rate drops 30 beats thus very relaxed effort.

If I had done the same comparison earlier this season Viper probably would have been faster around the lake compared to Epic since my technique on Epic was not too good, I was paddling more with arms rather than using fully power in legs and torso. And it's exactly the legs and torso rotation that is upsetting the balance in Viper.

So I'm not sure what it means for novices / intermediate (=balance challenged) to compare sustained speeds of boat types with radically different stability levels. Good balance skills vs. not so good? Paddling with arms vs. paddling with full body (latter much more challenging in less stable boat)?

I'm convinced by now that my move to Viper 48 was not most optimal for developing speed on long term. It would have been better to take a smaller leap to V8Pro or perhaps V10Sport for most of technique and fitness training with supplementary balance training done with e.g. V10 or my Viper 48. And then move on to next level of unstability when I would have been able to paddle with full effort and proper full body technique in V8Pro / V10Sport.

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4 years 1 month ago - 4 years 1 month ago #27170 by red_pepper

As for the energy required with regard to wetted surface area drag vs. shape drag, it seems that somewhere around 4.5 mph is where the difference is typically felt with our skis (where shape drag starts to predominate). I'm guessing you didn't buy the V14 (or V8, for that matter) to putter along at 4 mph... :)


[/quote]In the case of the V7, the sweet spot is right between 5 and 5.5 mph. I can paddle it all day at that speed, but anything above that makes me really work for it. The SR's sweet spot is much harder to find. It's glide is so much better that it becomes very difficult to gauge when you cross that magical threshold.[/quote]

I think you're actually finding the "hull speed" of your boat - the point at which resistance begins to increase sharply. What I'm referring to is where one type of drag becomes a bigger player than the other type - a difference between boat designs. I remember reading something by Greg Barton a few years ago where he said someone paddling the Epic 16X wouldn't see any improvement by going to the 18X until they increased their speed to around 4.5 mph. Obviously, those numbers will flex a little depending on the boats, but somewhere in that range seems to be where longer/skinnier starts to have increasing benefit.

The SR will have substantially better glide than the V7. It may feel tippy to you now, but if you work with it a bit the SR will quickly become a very comfortable boat, and a great "all around" ski.

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4 years 1 month ago #27172 by Aurelius

red_pepper wrote: I think you're actually finding the "hull speed" of your boat - the point at which resistance begins to increase sharply.


Possibly. Although in that case I'm wondering where that point lies in the case of the SR. The power to speed ratio on it seems much more linear. Maybe I just haven't gone fast enough to find its hull speed yet.

What I'm referring to is where one type of drag becomes a bigger player than the other type - a difference between boat designs. I remember reading something by Greg Barton a few years ago where he said someone paddling the Epic 16X wouldn't see any improvement by going to the 18X until they increased their speed to around 4.5 mph. Obviously, those numbers will flex a little depending on the boats, but somewhere in that range seems to be where longer/skinnier starts to have increasing benefit.

The SR will have substantially better glide than the V7. It may feel tippy to you now, but if you work with it a bit the SR will quickly become a very comfortable boat, and a great "all around" ski.


Too late! I'm so inspired by kwolf's experiences on his V14 that I've decided to throw caution to the wind and go for the fastest elite ski Stellar makes. :woohoo:

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4 years 1 month ago #27173 by red_pepper
The good news is that if you get an SEL and work on it like kwolf and his V14, you'll later come back to the SR and it will feel super stable. So you'll get a 2 for 1 benefit! :)

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4 years 1 month ago #27175 by Newbflat
I'm not a very fast paddler but I can squeeze out about 7 mph out of my SR (g2) ... just, over a 10k TT on dead flat water. This puts it a tick faster than my old V10 sport (g2). This actually surprised me, it's fast for its class. I haven't done the 10k TT in my SEL (g2) but I'm guessing 7.2-3 based on HR /speed and knowing what my times were in the first gen SEL. My S18s has me at 6.6 in a 10k and this sits nicely with red-pepper's experience . I am rock solid in almost any conditions in the SR. It's my big water ski and have spent very little time in it in anything but solid downwinds. Just a few trips on flat water to get an idea on flat water speed. In my SEL I'm solid in moderate minus conditions. I mean conditions where at which point I would be faster in the SR so something like two foot chop on a triangle corse or 3' clean downwind. . The SEL is significantly less stable than the SR and I miss the deep secondary of the SR and first generation SEL. My 130 HR cruse is about 6.8 in the SEL . But If i put in a 5/8" seat pad making the SEL significantly less stable, my 130 HR speed drops to 6.5. That's slower than my 130 HR in the SR.

Oscar (and others) are right about stability and that the vast majority of paddlers are in too tippy of a ski. Is hard to develop solid technique when your struggling. This is amplified enormously in a downwind. Theoretical boat speed is the last thing you should be worried about In a DW. Stability, downwind skills and fitness are way ahead of whether a ski is .2 tenths or not faster. Someone who is a good DW paddler in a V8 will absolutely smoke an average paddler in a much "faster" ski.

Stability and technique are everything.

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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4 years 1 month ago #27176 by Newbflat
.

Too late! I'm so inspired by kwolf's experiences on his V14 that I've decided to throw caution to the wind and go for the fastest elite ski Stellar makes. :woohoo:




If your goal is to become faster in all conditions I suggest holding off one SEL for a while and sticking with the SR. Work on technique, fitness and stability and then start adding seat pads. You can add pads making it much less stable and this will help you develop solid technique and the ability to put power down in rough water. Start going out in rough water with no pads and start adding them as you feel solid in conditions. If you do this for two years and then get an SEL or what ever you will be ahead of the game. More advanced that jumping right to the SEL even years later. That's the smart thing to do that most of us didn't do (including me). This is more related to all conditions paddling and not if your paddling will be flat water only. Still... doing time with seat spacers in the SR would do you very well. Most likely you would be slower in anything other than dead flat water for quite some time in the SEL. But, if you really just want an SEL go for it.

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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4 years 1 month ago #27177 by kwolfe
Aurelius,
Good for you! Club crazy needs more members.

Newbflat,
I completely agree with you for folks who would be paddling anything but flat water. Learning to downwind in a more stable boat would enable a beginner/novice to better understand technique and how to read the ocean.

For me (flat water), I'm finding that the V14 is actually improving my technique. Let me preface this by saying I'm not going out and just splashing about. I'm trying to be as aggressive as I can without falling out. The better my stability get's the more rotation and leg drive I will be able to add. However the ski definitely let's me know when my timing between leg drive, the catch, the pull and the exit. It's gives me the "hey stupid!" twitch! The key is, to have good body awareness so that you know what is working and what isn't.

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4 years 1 month ago #27179 by Aurelius

Newbflat wrote: If your goal is to become faster in all conditions I suggest holding off one SEL for a while and sticking with the SR. Work on technique, fitness and stability and then start adding seat pads. You can add pads making it much less stable and this will help you develop solid technique and the ability to put power down in rough water. Start going out in rough water with no pads and start adding them as you feel solid in conditions. If you do this for two years and then get an SEL or what ever you will be ahead of the game. More advanced that jumping right to the SEL even years later. That's the smart thing to do that most of us didn't do (including me). This is more related to all conditions paddling and not if your paddling will be flat water only. Still... doing time with seat spacers in the SR would do you very well. Most likely you would be slower in anything other than dead flat water for quite some time in the SEL. But, if you really just want an SEL go for it.


Dead flat water is all I'm interested in. I've paddled in open water at Daytona beach and Rhode Island, and have no desire to do it again. So unless something goes disastrously wrong during my test paddle, that SEL will be coming home with me. :evil:

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4 years 1 month ago #27181 by Aurelius

kwolfe wrote: Aurelius,
Good for you! Club crazy needs more members.


I have a lifetime membership! ;)

I understand everyone's concern about going too fast too soon, but trust me, compared to the other insane and irresponsible things I've done before, leap frogging to an elite surf ski is tame by comparison. :P

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4 years 1 month ago #27186 by MAS
A while ago I heard about a middle-aged guy who went from a sea kayak straight to a masters ICF K1 sprint kayak. Which I have understood to be clearly more unstable and unforgiving than any elite ski. He started with one stroke - swim and progressed to few strokes and swim and so on. Story goes that it took him 2 years to learn to properly paddle that K1.

So I guess there are multiple ways to learn and progress. My interest is in what's the fastest and best for long term ability to go fast (on flat water). Someone else might look for a quick speed improvement or the challenge of taming an unstable boat. As long as you keep improving and happy go and make choices that keep you motivated. It's good to have a forum like this where you can learn about different ways and merits of each.

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4 years 1 month ago #27207 by kwolfe
One interesting thing about getting back on the V8 is that it does have a tiny twitch when you first get one it. This quickly disappears with such good primary and secondary stability however my instinct (driven by fear of swimming most likely) was not to trust the ski. I relaxed after about 3 minutes but the initial reaction was telling.

On another note, I would love to have another paddle but really don't feel like shelling out $450. I found a large-mid wing used for $200. Its a 205-215 length (I currently have mine set about 213) and I'm 6ft.

Anything wrong with going a bit bigger? Also, should I look more towards 210-220? I know paddle length is a personal preference but not sure if I would ever go over 215 at my height and the flat conditions I paddle.

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4 years 1 month ago #27208 by photofr
World class athletes, who are obviously trained to near-perfection do not paddle with a 215cm paddle. In fact, most surfski paddlers have been going shorter and shorter overall paddle length, and quite a few have gone to a smaller blade.

Smaller blades and shorter paddles make you paddle at a higher rate, this in turn adds to your overall stability. Smaller blades and shorter paddles can be very beneficial.

On the other hand, larger blades can quickly destroy a shoulder. If you are going that route, try to avoid paddling long distance with a larger blade / longer paddle.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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4 years 1 month ago - 4 years 1 month ago #27209 by Aurelius

kwolfe wrote: On another note, I would love to have another paddle but really don't feel like shelling out $450. I found a large-mid wing used for $200. Its a 205-215 length (I currently have mine set about 213) and I'm 6ft.

Anything wrong with going a bit bigger? Also, should I look more towards 210-220? I know paddle length is a personal preference but not sure if I would ever go over 215 at my height and the flat conditions I paddle.


I'm 6 ft with a 34" sleeve length, and according to Epic's paddle sizing chart the ideal paddle length for me is 213 cm, which is what I've been using. Blade size is an interesting question. I happen to have both a medium and large paddle of almost identical design, and when I first got back into paddling, I was definitely moving faster with the big blade. But after a few weeks of paddling, I again ran back to back tests and found that I was now slightly faster with the medium paddle. I didn't believe this result at first, but tests on successive days bore out my earlier results. Perhaps it has to do with a slightly faster stroke rate, as photofr suggests.

Aside from the slight speed improvement, the biggest advantage of the medium paddle is that it produces less muscle fatigue and less stress on my fingers and wrists, which used to ache after paddling about five miles with the big blades. So far, my longest trip in the V7 has been just over 15 miles, and even at that distance I felt no resulting wrist/finger pain.

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4 years 1 month ago #27210 by kwolfe
I figured this was the response I was going to get. Guess I'll keep my eyes open for a different spare. Just would be nice seeing as I have a bit older Epic mid wing with the silver blades. Would love to use that as my spare and get a newer paddle.
Oh well, keep hunting! :whistle:

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4 years 1 month ago #27211 by rhainan
I have several demo Epic paddles for sale. Drop me a mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested.

Western Pennsylvania Epic Kayak Dealer

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4 years 1 month ago #27212 by Aurelius

kwolfe wrote: I figured this was the response I was going to get. Guess I'll keep my eyes open for a different spare. Just would be nice seeing as I have a bit older Epic mid wing with the silver blades. Would love to use that as my spare and get a newer paddle.
Oh well, keep hunting! :whistle:


What's wrong with the one you have? Is it much heavier than the newer paddles?

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4 years 1 month ago #27213 by kwolfe
I have no idea if it's heavier. Just wanted another one just in case
1) I wanted to take someone out in the V8 (me in the V14),
2) Try a different paddle
3) The mid wing I have is in decent shape, but would like the lever lock so I can play with it on the fly.

Oh and 4) just because . I've already proven to use poor judgment in ski selection! Figure I might as well transfer that into paddle selection as well! :woohoo:

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