Low volume skis for flat water

3 years 7 months ago #30998 by kwolfe
So I looked around and can't really find a definitive answer. I live in the middle of Pennsylvania, US. Around here we have lakes and rivers (none really that great), which means I paddle flat water 99.9% of the time.

When it comes to low volume boats (V10L for example), they are commonly known as skis for lighter paddlers. I assume this is because a heavier paddler (I'm 196lbs) would cause it to pearl and dive on a larger downwind day.

However, what about flat water paddling? Can a heavier guy like myself get away with having a lower volume ski or would a heavier paddlers weight just kill the intended/optimum waterline? I currently paddle a Nelo 550 and it doesn't seem to have near the volume of my previous V8, SEL or V14. Just curious.

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3 years 7 months ago #31000 by LakeMan
I'm no expert on surfskis but I'm like you where I live inland and paddle flatware almost all of the time. I weigh almost 40 pounds less then you and paddle a Think Uno Max (elite version). At 16 inches at its widest internal measurement it's as thin a ski as I could fit in. When purchasing it I didn't care about volume as much as I did about how narrow the boat was. I was looking for speed and I found it. Plus it's very comfortable. Getting used to the stability (or lack of) took practice but once mastered I found it to be an awesome ski. Paddling it is almost effortless. The lightweight is only an issue when a storm pops up and the chop gets bad. It tends to throw the boat around since it sits on the water more than in it.

Wesley at surfski racing may be the best at answering your question. You can contact him through his website.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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3 years 7 months ago - 3 years 7 months ago #31009 by robin.mousley

However, what about flat water paddling? Can a heavier guy like myself get away with having a lower volume ski or would a heavier paddlers weight just kill the intended/optimum waterline?


I'm 100% certain that it makes very little difference on flat water. For that matter Oscar Chalupsky weighs 100kg (on a good day) and is still one of the fastest paddlers in the world on flat and downwind on a Nelo 560 which doesn't have much more volume that your 550.

A difference of 10 or 20kg makes hardly any difference to the waterline. You weigh 88kg in real weights (!). I was at 90kg two years ago but have come down to about 77kg today (simply by doing more exercise) and although the boats feel a little more agile, that's partly down to being fitter.

As for downwind - my paddling buddy weighs over 90kg and he scarcely gets wetter than I do on a downwind. We did notice a difference when trying out the Nelo 520, which is a very small volume boat. I found it very wet i.e. a lot of water came into the cockpit and had to work hard to keep the nose up, he was just about underwater.

I think you'll find that 550 has a tendency to bury its nose downwind (which is why all the Nelo boats come with the wave deflector as standard equipment), but the one time I was able to do a downwind on a borrowed one, I also found it a wet boat. On my paddle it didn't have the wave deflector installed and a lot of water came over the nose and into the cockpit.

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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3 years 7 months ago #31052 by red_pepper
I am a primarily flat-water paddler living in the Midwest and of similar weight to you. You'll find that as long as you can fit most of the lower-volume skis, you'll have no more trouble paddling them on flat-water than you would the higher-volume equivalents. The greater volume is typically above the water line and oriented towards heavier paddlers in bigger wave conditions. I raced an Epic V10L Gen 1 for some time, then a Think Legend, later switching to an Epic V12 Gen 1, then a Stellar SE then SEL (Gen 1 then Gen 2). I've also paddled the Stellar SES. The SES was too small in the cockpit for me, but otherwise I much prefer the lower volume boats. Winds would tend to impact the SE noticeably more than the SEL (and the V12 more than the V10L), while the basic hull on the Stellars was the same (so no impact to the waterline). And I really didn't have any more problems with the V10L or SEL compared to their larger volume equivalents in waves when I had the opportunity to hit bigger water conditions. Some of the more recent offerings aimed towards lighter/smaller paddlers do modify the hull and cockpit placement on boats oriented towards lighter paddlers, so you may want to take that into account, but in general if the lower hull is the same you'll want to take the lower-volume offering for flat water.

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