Kai Wa'a Surfski

1 week 4 days ago #37094 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Here is a video that one of the guys i was with in the gorge shot from his Vega. In our group there were 2 vegas and 3 flexes. Between the 5 of us we have owned dozens and dozens of skis of all the makes, and every one of us says that our new ski surfs better than anything else we have tried. The guys in the flexes in particular are blown away by how much their surfing has improved in the little time they have owned the boat. When I got the Vega last year I got so much faster downwind that I was doing a horizon job on my partner who was previously very close to me. Then this year he got a flex, and all the sudden he is right with me again wave for wave.  I don't think everyone would see these improvements. The guys I paddle with are all very fit  but I would say intermediate or advanced intermediate in our surfing skill. So for us, a boat that makes it easy to link the waves and practically steers itself onto the right line really helps. For someone with more elite level downwind skills, they are already doing all the right things, so I don't think they would see as much benefit. 

https://gopro.com/v/KRXZBXy05eMRD

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1 week 4 days ago #37097 by tve
Replied by tve on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Nice surfing indeed!
One thing that puzzles me from your video is that most of the time the wave in front of you is as high as the horizon line (i.e. water level in the distance) yet your camera seems to mounted on your head. How does that happen? Maybe you're leaning way back? Normally when I'm following a wave like that I'm pretty high up on the one after it and see the waves in front from the top. Maybe that's a difference between ocean swell and columbia river waves. (Not saying anything is wrong with your video, just intrigued...)

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1 week 3 days ago #37100 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
No idea. It is my friends video. i see what you mean. On the bigger waves the wave crest obscures the horizon. Either the wave ahead of him is extra tall or the camera is getting lower down. Gorge waves are different. Freshwater waves are steeper than salt I believe because of the reduced density, and the really fast current in those sections jacks the waves up even more. 

I quit using my gopro a few years ago. I lack the drive to do all the editing, and the waves always end up looking so much smaller than in real life. 

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1 week 2 days ago #37111 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Another video, from the least windy day of the week, with lots of flexes and a vega. Nice work by my buddy Jon chasing 7 different paddler around the river to get them all in the same video. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=4YFRgZXtwiI

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1 week 2 days ago #37112 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Cool videos. Makes me wish we had better downwind conditions around here. With a tropical storm moving up the coast maybe it will bring some good wind and waves. I was talking to a friend about the Vega and Vega flex and he said he heard rumors of build/quality control issues. I've never seen a vega/flex first hand, so I don't know. What is your impression of the build quality of the boats?

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1 week 2 days ago #37113 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Structurally the ozone factory boats seem to be incredibly strong. one of the local flexes had a garage accident. The bow fell from the height of the garage rafters (7 or 8 feet) to the concrete floor while the stern was still hung on the rafters. The was a less than one cm chip on the nose at the point of impact, no other damage, no leaking. In hood river we screwed up and forgot to lash down a flex. It blew off the trailer, fortunately at low speed on the city streets. It landed on the bow, bounced high, did one flip in the air, and landed on its side. Another bow chip. One area just behind the bucket where the side impact was the paint was all cracked but the underlying carbon seemed intact and still rock hard with no soft spot. The rudder split in half and the titanium rudder shaft was bent, but no there was apparent damage to the rudder tube. Many paint scuffs. My friend took it on the next run (with a new rudder) and it did not take on water. So I think the overall structure of the skis is very strong, in spite of the light weight. 

That said, I do notice that the ozone boats dent more easily than other skis when subjected to point impacts, such as a pointy stick poking the hull. If you then hit the dent with a heat gun, or sometimes just let it get really hot in the sun, the foam core expands and pops the dent out. So cosmetically it looks new again though I am unsure if the carbon sandwich remains weakened at that spot.  I do find myself being much more careful with the boat because of its susceptibility to point impacts. It is not as carefree as fiberglass and gelcoat boat. Also the ozone boats have paint not gelcoat. Gelcoat is tougher, and holds up to acetone where as paint does not. 

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1 week 2 days ago #37114 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
That's good to hear.

When I dropped the bow of my carbon sea kayak off the roof of my 4Runner all it did was chip. Love the Vega/Flex hull design. Hopefully, I'll get to demo one soon. Keep the reports coming!

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1 week 1 day ago #37115 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
That's amazing.

There have been a rash of reports from owners of new K1s who have hit sticks and taken huge chips out of the bow. 

Usually examination of the chipped point showed voids in the bow just behind the gelcoat.  

Very hard, brittle epoxy.
Poor manufacture leaving voids.

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1 week 1 day ago #37116 by pnwpaddler
Replied by pnwpaddler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Looking for some advice from those who have paddled the Vega and have lots of experience in other skis. I'm mainly an oc paddler and have paddled surfski for a few years, but started doing a lot more surfski after covid cancelled the outrigger season. I have a first gen V10 that weighs 28lbs and since weeknight racing started up again, I've been placing well in the top 3 averaging around 11.8-12.3 km/h (7.3-7.6 mph).

I would like to upgrade my surfski in the next year or two. Most of my paddling is in flat water, but on the days I do take it into the bigger waves, I want something that surfs much better than my V10. I have an Ares, also made by Kai, and I'm friends with him, so definitely leaning towards a Vega. Other option is probably an Ion because while an Uno Max would probably be fine in flat water, I don't think I would quite get used to the balance in the waves. 

Just looking for opinions about the trade-off of losing some flat water speed (since that's 80-90% of my surfski paddling) vs the increased surfing ability of the Vega. Mainly I guess, any ideas of how the flat water speed of a ~21lb Vega would compare to my 28lb V10? Just don't want to get a Vega and then feel like I can't hold on with the top guys anymore. Maybe one day down the road multiple skis will be an option, but until then....Thanks

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1 week 1 day ago #37117 by downwinda
Replied by downwinda on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Tony, I'm guessing that's you.  The Vega is easily as fast in flat water as the V10 you have and surfs way better.  Even the Vega Flex would be only slightly slower in the flat than the V10, and probably surf even better for you and most others because it is so stable.

ps, If you're able to keep up with Greg Redman like you did last week, you're definitely doing something right!
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1 week 1 day ago #37118 by tve
Replied by tve on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
I haven't paddled a V10g1, but unless it's as tippy as a V12 I would say that the Vega is in a different stability class. While the Vega may be a tad more stable than a V12 or an Elite S it's really in the same class IMHO, and significantly less stable than a V10g2 or g3. The real question you have is whether you can lay down the power in the Vega the way you do in the V10 in flattish harbor conditions with some boat wake, right? I don't think it's too difficult for you to find out, though, by trying one?
If you like a challenge and don't mind a dip in your race pace for a few months the Vega could be your next fun adventure! WRT Flex, if it's anything like the V10g3 in terms of tradeoffs made for stability then I would pass on it for flat water race speed... (Personal opinion, no hard data, just looking at the GPS too frequently and comparing to Nelo 550 and V12, happy to be proven wrong...)
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1 week 1 day ago #37119 by pnwpaddler
Replied by pnwpaddler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Yup, that's me haha Thanks, that's pretty much what I needed to hear. As long as there's no significant drop in flat water speed, I'm happy. I'm not sure what happened with the results last week, I wasn't quite 7 seconds behind Greg, probably 1.5-2 minutes, but still a hard fought second place!

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1 week 1 day ago #37120 by pnwpaddler
Replied by pnwpaddler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Thanks tve. I know the gen 1 v10 is significantly less stable (I think anyway) than the current gen, not sure how it compares to a v12 though as I've never tried one. That question you mentioned is correct. I would like a boat that will offer me similar performance in the flat but surf much better. I don't want to move to an uno max because it would probably be too tippy for me in the big and messy stuff, but I've heard that the Vega is much more stable than the uno max. I definitely will demo one when I get the chance, but just gathering as much info as I can until then.

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1 week 1 day ago - 1 week 1 day ago #37121 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
I have never enjoyed my vega on flat water. I have stiff hamstrings, some back issues, and the low seat is just two much for me. Even with 2 pads, I cannot get easily enough over my stroke for more than a few minutes at a time.  In contrast the Think G3 buckets have outstanding ergonomics. V10 g3 also has annawesome bucket. The original epic v10 i disliked because the seat was low and the hump high. V10 g2 had a good (though too wide) bucket, and the g3 is  much improved from that. 

I am somewhat of an outlier as all the other guys I know with vegas and flexes do like them on flat water, but those guys are more limber than I am. 95 % of my paddling is flat water. If i could only have one boat I would get an ion g3 or a v10 g3 instead, or maybe see what those new nelos are all about. At this point my vega is just a surfing boat and I do all my flatwater in a K1.

 As far as the hullspeed i think the Vega is probably as fast as most elite skis, as long as the ergonomics work for you. One friend in a flex is hitting better flatwater speeds than he was in his carbon v10g2, so though the flex is classified as an intermediate ski it is not slow. 

As always, in an ideal world try before you buy.  G3 ion and v10 have superior ergonomics, and from what I have heard surf well too. 
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1 week 1 day ago #37123 by pnwpaddler
Replied by pnwpaddler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Thanks Zach, that's great feedback. Coming from oc1 with very ergonomic seating position, the v10 was pretty uncomfortable when I got back into it this year. I've gotten used to it and it feels good now, so if the Vega is the same, I should be able to manage just fine. I can understand the need for the low seat in order to achieve more stability, a definite trade-off. The Ion would be my other choice, but while I'm no team rider, I am somewhat of an ambassador for Kai and definitely biased towards his boats. And I absolutely love the way the Ares surfs and it's exactly what I want to feel in the ski.

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6 days 13 hours ago #37137 by TomWalsh
Replied by TomWalsh on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
Hi all

I'm about to order a Vega Flex and was wondering whether anyone around 95kg / 210 lbs has tried it and knows whether it still 'sits right' in the water.

I have quite a few Epics (v8, v8p, v10) and the volume for all of them is good; no issues but never tried a Vega.

Grateful if anyone could say (though no-one has to tell me their weight if sensitive!)

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5 days 15 hours ago #37139 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Kai Wa'a Surfski
My 205lbs friend tells me he “Loves the sh$t out of that boat”. The flex goes awesome downwind and on the flat for him. 

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