Kai Wa'a Surfski

1 year 4 months ago #31534 by Jef58
Replied by Jef58 on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski

zachhandler wrote: A little follow up - I heard from an Ozone dealer that the way their seamless OCs are made is indeed an inflatable bladder that is then removed through the breather hole.


That process has been around the cycling industry for a long time and was thinking it could work in a ski, so I threw it out there....

As far as starting out with a 1-2% elite ski, it makes sense to get it right for the top end and then work it down to normal paddlers instead of the other way around. I'll probably never get past a lower intermediate level ski anyways, but it is exiting to see new stuff coming out that could change the way things are done.

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1 year 4 months ago #31537 by davgdavg
Replied by davgdavg on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski

Paddler G wrote: I was lucky enough to paddle prototype a couple of times downwind and it was easily the funnest and possibly the fastest. Unable to verify this as two days are all ways different. The surfing ability of the ski was out of this world.
Tracks beautifully through the water, very little nose diving (no wave deflector required) holds its speed really well. Can’t wait to see it in production.


What ski do you normally paddle?

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1 year 4 months ago #31538 by Paddler G
Replied by Paddler G on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Epic V12

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1 year 4 months ago #31539 by davgdavg
Replied by davgdavg on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
The stability is pretty similar?

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1 year 4 months ago #31540 by Paddler G
Replied by Paddler G on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Do you mean the stability of the ski ??

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1 year 4 months ago #31543 by davgdavg
Replied by davgdavg on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Yes, the stability of the V12 compared to the Kai Wa'a.

(Some people here were commenting that it was maybe too skinny to be accessible to the majority of paddlers.)

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1 year 4 months ago #31545 by Paddler G
Replied by Paddler G on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Definitely not tippy. I guess about a V12 level. I was super nervous to try it out as it was blowing and this is a hand shaped one of a kind I was nervous on the paddle out with small wind waves breaking on my side but once we turned it was so sure footed that I thought it was V10 level. The ski actually helped me a lot. I guess once this model is produced then he can widen it to make it more stable. I actually think the rocker in the ski helped with stability. It felt like it sat in the water better. If you watch how an OC 1 surfs then this was the same but with a ski paddle in your hand.

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1 year 4 months ago #31551 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Paddler G - what was your impression of the bucket in terms of height, width, shape, hump, etc? To me it seems tgat would be one of tge biggest challenges of going from naking OCs to skis. In OC everyone throws on a foam seat and is free to shape it as they wish. A ski you have to attempt to please everyone with a single shape.

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1 year 4 months ago #31568 by Paddler G
Replied by Paddler G on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
The bucket was comfortable but was tight for me. I am a bigger person and love the Epic or Think seats. The hump under the legs was good. If I thought I could of sat in it for 3+ hours I would of asked to paddle it in Maui2Molokai.
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7 months 1 day ago #33567 by PSwitzer
Replied by PSwitzer on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
WARNING!  NO DOWNWIND FEEDBACK!!

There is a Vega demo now on Oahu, I took it for a 20 min spin following a paddle with my buddy who was trying it out for a few days.  I was in mostly flat water with a lap out and back through small soft reef waves in Maunalua bay- the last couple km of the Molokai course.  I have paddled a G1 V12 for years and a G3 Think Ion the last few months. 

If I had to sum it up in a sentence, I would say on flattish water it feels like a hybrid between the G2 V12 and Allwave CX.  Lightweight and reactive like the CX, but with deep cockpit and ample rocker like the V12.  Sitting in the bucket, your feet are lower than the butt, but not by much.  The cockpit sides are high.  The footplate/ pedals are thin but feel sturdy.  The footplate is fairly short, like many skis, balls of my size 12 feet are well up onto the pedals.  

Stability is somewhere between the G2 v12 and the Ion.  There is a subtle flat spot under the cockpit, similar to the original v10 or the CX.  Primary stability in the flat is very good.  I can sit in the boat at rest and reach around fussing with the pedals and whatnot with no issues.  You don't have to roll very far before a firm secondary stability pushes back.  Not as strong as G1 v12, but better than new v12. 

Acceleration is great, not surprisingly for such a light hull.  Top end speed is, in my brief testing in the flat, indistinguishable from all the other 17-18 inch sub 30 pounders on the market.  They are all fast enough for my engine anyway.  I was hitting the exact same speeds on short hardish efforts as my Ion. 

Maneuverability in chest high softish reef waves is very good.  Comparable to new V12/ swordfish, or my Ion with custom stall proof rudder.  The Vega's rudder has almost no rake, I would guess less than 10 degrees, and is fairly high aspect- long and narrow.  Not much volume either, it has a pretty narrow leading edge. 

Downwind:   Beats me!  We are in a bit of a wind slump locally so can't comment yet.  But if you want to hear conjecture and semi--educated guessing, carry on dear readers.  The bow is tall, narrow, v14 ish.  Lots of volume in front of the cockpit.  The tail is strikingly low volume and tapers to a fine point.  More so than the Uno or new V12.  Barely enough width for the rudder assembly.  So if you take these characteristics and add in healthy rocker, you have a craft that should hold a high tight line in powerful steep conditions.  The fact that the volume of the boat is forward should keep the trim level in the bump.  The ultra narrow tail will keep good rudder contact on steep faces, the way a pintail surfboard does in hollow waves. 

Any obvious downsides to the boat?  The cockpit drainage is mystifyingly bad.  The drain is a sort of retractable venturi, but it is so slow to drain that for a couple minutes I couldn't figure out which position was open vs. closed, because there was no noticeable change in the water level in the cockpit after 10 seconds or so in either position.  The cockpit sides are so high that I wouldn't expect much water to come aboard, but I expect they will change this system after getting feedback from the paddlers.  Maybe no one ever paddled the prototype at less than 15 kph? 

It's kind of silly to discuss the boat without taking it downwind, so I apologize if you wasted your time reading this!  Cheers- Patrick 








  
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7 months 1 day ago #33569 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Pswitzwer what you just wrote contains more actual information about the Vega than the entire rest of the internet combined!  Thank you very much!

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7 months 17 hours ago - 6 months 2 weeks ago #33572 by pnwpaddler
Replied by pnwpaddler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
https://distressedmullet.com/2019/02/17/kai-waa-hawaiian-ocean-canoes-has-developed-a-new-surfski-called-the-vega/

This is the latest writeup from a couple days ago. It doesn't really add anything more to what Patrick said other than specify that the weight is 20-21 lbs.

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6 months 2 weeks ago #33690 by pnwpaddler

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6 months 1 week ago #33728 by venicebum
Replied by venicebum on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
In case anyone's interested in this....

Kai Wa’a Vega SS

I was fortunate and had the opportunity to paddle Kai Wa’a Vega Surfski while in Maui recently, in both races and in hour plus training sessions. Both races were pancake flat and trainings were mostly into quartering up wind/swell, out and back types with Kai. Guessing 10-12 hrs of cumulative bucket time. Winds ranged from 5-20+mph, wind swell from 1’ to 3’, some large ground swell days, but I’m too slow for them so we had a variety of solid conditions upwind, side wind, DW and flat.
My first impression was “Wow, this looks F’ing fast”… Fit, finish, lines, all top quality! When I picked her up, it was stupid light in comparison to any other ski.


Pros:
Fit Stability Quality Weight Point and shoot responsiveness 
Quirks: Foot plate adjustment Drain system Fit for my very first paddle, a +-8 mile race, my hips were on fire, point tender at acetabulum hip pinch points, ouch! After my initial, “I’m not getting in that ski again”, I paddled her multiple times over the next days/weeks without the same issue. Thankfully I did, not once  since the initial paddle did I have a problem with the bucket width, a pleasant surprise!
Stability was solid! Primary seemed on line with other elite level, secondary as well, never felt out of control or K1 tippy, even in moderate, 10-20mph cross chop. Seemed like she was solidly grounded and you were one with the ski. Being firmly planted in bucket it seems like the sides were steep, not necessarily tall, but vertical. I never tried remounting so not a clue how that adventure would be.
Quality/Weight was typical Ozone. Solid! Stiff, stiff, stiff, light, center point seemed slightly fore of where you sit in bucket. Between bucket and hump I’d say. Rudder was slightly smaller and a different shape than Kai Wa’a OC1 rudders, it performed great. I really liked how just in front of rudder shaft there’s a step off, so the rudder theoretically should not catch weeds, same as his OC1’s. The ski I was using was, I was guessing, 20#, Kai said it was around 23#, but she seemed very light and STIFF in comparison. Did I say stiff!!! It’s stiff.
Point and shoot response. Upwind seemed like she was firmly planted, didn’t particularly want to be blown side to side. Tracked up and over, without issue, there were times into the short bump there was a slight corkiness, pinging that was interesting, couldn’t particularly pin point it… so I attributed it to its stiffness. Downwind she would respond quickly, easily to where you pointed. Typically it wanted to climb up and over the next bump in front and that’s where the lightness, stiffness was evident, taking 2-3 strokes to catch Vs, 4-5 chasing bump adds up quickly. Jumping bumps was just a F’n blast, period!  Surfing straight, left or right was simple, fun and easy, she’d lay over as far as needed and would easily respond to bracing without incident.
Footplate and drain. The footplate needed to be adjusted with 4 small Phillips screws on both sides, 8 total. Once in place it wasn’t a problem, it was initially adjusting and re-adjusting that was time consumptive. Don’t lose the screws in the sand and have a Philips handy. That said, talking with Kai, he’s well aware of the time factor it would take trying to demo a ski with one let alone 3-4 people. (It sounded like he was possibly working on another adjustment system, but you’d need to confirm with him) The footplate was solid, good /quick pedal response, comfortable foot angle/position. I wear 13”, 2EE clod hoppers for comparison.
The drain system is a titanium rod with a round type tip, think handle of baseball bat, that you’d press back to engage and push again and it would close, spring activated… Fore and aft movement of 3-4 inches of travel would open and close the drain. It’s difficult to describe. It seemed to drain fine at speed, nor would it let water in when closed, so it worked without a hitch. I just never got used to the drain system, but I am a troglodyte so take it with a swig of salt. Interestingly, when the drain is closed, it retracts into the hull so it’s a completely flat hull and when it’s open it flares down similar to a typical bullett shape. Pretty cool! When I spoke with Kai, he showed me how simple it was to change the inner titanium spring, so access or replacement shouldn’t be an issue if the spring or system needs replacement or work.
Some background…  I have bucket time in Stellar SEA, SEL and SES models, Fenn Elite S, Epic V10-V12 type craft stability.  I’m 6’ 3”, 100Kg, inseam around 33’, waist 34-35” and typically paddle in flat So. Cal type conditions, not elite but not in the bushes either.
These are strictly my opinions, I’m not paid or sponsored by Kai Wa’a.
Matt Earls

Looks like the site has it up now.
outriggerzone.com/surfski/vega/

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3 months 1 week ago #34475 by downwinda
Replied by downwinda on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
I just got back from Oahu where I finally got the opportunity to try out a Vega.  All I can say is WOW.

When I first got to the island, the Vega wasn't available, so Jim Foti gave me their demo Think Uno Max to use.  As soon as I got on that boat and paddled in small chop I could tell the boat was just too tippy for me.  Trades were light and there was a small swell, so for most boats it should have been manageable, I did go outside the reef. where despite the mild conditions, the bumps were quite catchable and fun, but I never got at all comfortable in that ski.  No rotation, short choppy strokes, you get the picture.

On the day before we left Jim contacted me to say that the Vega was in his yard and I could use it.  I limped the Uno the 5 miles from Lanikai to Jim's house and the only place I was finally comfortable in it was the last mile in the totally flat canal going to his house.

Now to the Vega!!! I got the Vega pedals rigged to my specifications, and as soon as I sat in it I felt like I was at home.  The boat feels like it just envelops you and that you are a part of it.  I paddled out the canal to the ocean, where there was about 12 to 15 mph winds and 3 foot swell.  Not daunting conditions by any means, but enough to get a feel for what the boat can do and big enough to make me very sketched in the Uno.  No sketch factor at all going out into the bumps, no sketch factor turning, and then shazam!  I caught a series of bumps and surfed like crazy.  I was able to put full power to go for anything I wanted to.  I purposely stomped on the rudder pedals and made radical turns which put the boat on its side, still no feeling like I was going in.  The Vega has the stability of a high end intermediate boat!    In my opinion it's very close to the stability of my Vault, and better than the Nelo 550.

While I really probably shouldn't spend the money on a new boat, as soon as I got in, I texted Kai to ask him if he'd have any discounted boats available after the Gorge! He said maybe.
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3 months 1 week ago #34487 by LakeMan
Replied by LakeMan on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
My parents had a Vega back in the 70s and it was a piece of junk. They had nothing but problems with it. By the sound of your review I'd say they made a lot of improvements. Thanks.

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

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3 months 1 week ago #34488 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski

My parents had a Vega back in the 70s and it was a piece of junk. They had nothing but problems with it. By the sound of your review I'd say they made a lot of improvements. Thanks.

Hahahaha!

You can't say that they didn't retain their value, however, check this out!

https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale/chevrolet/vega/1965911.html

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 months 1 week ago #34489 by LakeMan
Replied by LakeMan on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Not a bad looking car. Much better than a brand new Yugo. Doubt it'll sell for that much money. I'd rather spend the cash on a freet of surfskis.

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

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1 month 4 weeks ago #34760 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
I did a single 8 mile downwind in the Vega at the gorge this past week. It is an utter joy to paddle downwind. It turns effortlessly to follow the line of the wave. I would compare its maneuverability and steering to a swordfish or huki s1x. But while it turns like a high rocker ski, it charges straight through slop like a low rocker ski. I think that is a result of the self centering rudder as I noticed the same feeling on one of Kais OCs that had the same rudder system. Stability is outstanding. More stable than v12 either generation, think uno max, elite S, Stellar SEA. Stability feels v10ish to me. Speed feels excellent and I jumps waves well. It feels fast and sexy. Very dry ride. The bailer is probably adequate if you keep the speed high and never swamp the bucket. I swamped the bucket once, and it took several minutes of error-free fast surfing before it finally emptied. The bailer can be retrofitted to act as a simple conventional venturi. The bucket is deep with excellent connection to hips and legs. I never noticed the hump. Foot plate adjustment is very quick with 2 bike axle type quick releases. But then the pedal angle must be adjusted which takes a couple minutes of tying line on cleat. It is not something that would be easy to do on the water. The track that the foot plate slides in is less than 6 inches long. To change from a short person to a tall one requires removing 4 bolts and repositioning the metal tracks that hold the footplate. 

Overall this is an amazing surfski. Surfs as well or better than any ski I have tried. It is also lighter and stiffer than any other ski i have tried. It is beautiful to look at and comfortable to sit in. It is both fast and shockingly stable.  The only place it really falls short is the bailer, and that could be changed without too much work. 

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1 month 4 weeks ago #34761 by pnwpaddler
Replied by pnwpaddler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
I was talking with Kai at the Gorge. He has plans for two more skis that will be wider than the Vega, using the same design but simply stretching it out (sounds like these will come sooner rather than later). The bailer will be switched to a DeBrito, and it sounds like he is aware that the foot board is not ideal either, so possible changes there too.

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