Demo Weekend weeeeee

7 months 3 weeks ago #36140 by PharmGeek
So, im off of dad/family/work duty this weekend to go demo a few Nelo boats over in Charleston SC...i banged up my stellar SES which ive been paddling now for 1.5 years and got comfy in it (did chattajack in it in the fall 2019), but um goofed BAD a few weeks back...turns out you need those straps on with the cradles to hold the ski down as you drive away from your paddling session...whoosh, blew off truck rack and did some damage (small golfball size hole in hull and a good bit of scraping off of the gelcoat around the cockpit...)….

Its not that bad...i actually had a whole debacle with my insurance folks (still kinda not finalized)...i had discussed adding the policy when I bought it, spoke to my agent's office in detail, agreed to price, said add it, but then it stayed in a "hold status" and I never noticed or thought about it (big mistake)...come to find out it never finalized....when asked why, they said they never got the serial number for the boat...i said, you never called me....so yeah, blahh...well...ill be working out the repairs DIY vs. paying someone, i have a buddy helping who has done the repair if I go that route, so no big big deal, but will take me time.

In the meantime, i just want another ski to my quiver...im fine with the SES on flat water, wind chop, but the side chop in it, I can survive with repeat massive boat wakes and that like (im an inland paddler), but it turns into survival paddling...and I want to veture into bigger conditions soon, and want a bit more stability....so im off to try the 550ml and 560ml and 560 models this weekend....im 99% flat water, am 72kg's so im keen to try these....some person on fb told me recently that he thought the 560 would be "far more unstable" than the SES....i kinda was skeptical of that lol...but ill find out....im assuming the 550 will fit my wants but if the 560 feels good out in the harbor for me, it may serve that same purpose....

Anyway, my question here is advice about demoing a ski....any tips on what things to look out for...ill be paddling first on flat water nearby then day two out in the harbor so in differing conditions, and we will get a good bit of seat time, but what the heck can I learn in a demo? any tips be appreciated...i plan to paddle at MAF a good bit as a speed reference...and perhaps some bits of hard efforts to feel how they handle and see my speeds....but my focus in my minds eye will be ergonomics, comfort, stability in different conditions....

I also will be trying a k1 for the first time...should be a fun post on here later to either a) make fun of me or b) give some props?   lol.....i wont be buying any type of k1, but while I was there, I wanted to try one....ya know...cause like...the future right :D 

If i don't like the nelos for some reason(s)….ill be going to demo other stuff....almost snagged a v10L demo and purchase, but it got bought up from under me...or ill be checking for a think boat perhaps also if i don't like the nelo.

Any tips/pointers for someone circling these wagons always appreciated.

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36143 by tve
Replied by tve on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
The two pieces of advice I would give you are #1 focus on the ergonomics, and #2 spell out clearly what you're looking for.

The ergonomics are tricky. I've paddled a 550m/l for 2 years and have been using a borrowed v12 for a few months now. Initially I was feeling awkward in terms of pelvis position. I added a 1/4" foam pad into the lowest part and that made it work wonderfully. Buddies commented that they'd never seen me with as upright a posture (still lots of room for improvement, of course...). So perhaps take some thin foam to tweak things... But sometimes the initial feel may be off and then it settles after a few sessions.

From your message I can't quite tell what you're looking for. What do you want to be different from your SES? For example, I have a V10g3 on order 'cause I want a boat that carries more momentum in open ocean DW conditions and I find the V12/EliteS/Vega/560 class of boats too tippy and after trying the V10 and seeing buddies in it I don't believe I can unleash the extra that the elite boats have. (Plus the V10 is more fun to maneuver.) So it's very clear to me what I'm looking for and what not (e.g. flatwater speed).

Hope this helps somehow ;-)

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36144 by PharmGeek
Replied by PharmGeek on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
I think what I want in this second ski is just at least a bit more stability than the SES for venturing into some bumps on bigger lakes local and be a bit less twitchy. 

also I hope to meet up with a buddy for a couple fun paddles down in the Gulf of Mexico this summer (he lives down there) - the SES I’m solid on flats and can stay upright in bumps but with some conditions it’s like “ehhhh hmm” still lol - so I want a more stable option - how much more stable I’m not am really sure but only needs to be a decent little bit more stable to please me at this point. 

also I’m not in love with the SES ergonomics - it’s not bad but I’m curious to try out another option for comparison. 

when I peaked my training last year for Chattajack - my bum was having some real issues in the SES bucket - Although it’s unclear if that was attributed to  the bucket 

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36145 by PharmGeek
Replied by PharmGeek on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
Also - I’m curious how the 560ml will feel for me - that may prove a more general replacement for the SES for me - likely as fast - better ergonomics - tad more stable - that’s intriguing to me as an option 

and if the 550 feels better overall - I’ll be keen to speed test for me the boats in different conditions over time...

mainly ergonomics and good glide and feel and at least on par with my speed wants - int MAF pace these days is around 9.7kph and so I’m hoping at an aerobic pace one of these boats will glide nice for me, feel good, and be a tad more stable - heck - maybe even functionally for me a tad faster  ?  

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36146 by tve
Replied by tve on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
Specially if you're planning to do occasional open ocean DW you might better off in a more stable boat 'cause you won't be used to those conditions. For example, teetering on the top of a wave having to take some strong strokes to make it over...
To me there's a world of difference between 550/560 or v10/v12 or swordie/elite-s. Given what you write I think you need to focus not on the "can I paddle this thing" but on the "say I have a leg cramp, or a screaming shoulder, how long could I stay upright in waves and make my way to shore".
I'm curious what you end up thinking about the 560...

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36149 by PharmGeek
Replied by PharmGeek on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
yeah....i think you are getting me.....the odd thing in my case is talking about DW paddling...for me...its basically not a thing....BUT, some bigger lakes in my area im kinda curious to poke around more and check wind forecasts and see if I can find spots that could be fun to "downwind" a bit on....some of the lakes are large river resevoirs and can have current a bit (or more than that at times) and then with the right wind forecast, Ive wondered if it could produce fun small DW conditions....but all the talk about sitting on swells, waves, etc for me by and large for where I live (4 hrs from saltwater and very limited logistically to get there), i just will be on flat water.  

So the 550 vs. 560 thing in my head is kinda interesting....ill likely bias my purchase more toward the 550 because where I am at for now in my training, i don't think ill gain  much at all from the 560....im kinda right now at aerobic pace of 9.8kph and race pace perhaps of 10.5kph ish (im kinda hoping once i get going this season that may be 11kph, but time will tell....)….my feeling that is for the next 2-3 years progression in fitness, the boat hull wont be much of a limiting factor...

Then again, since im flat water, perhaps if the 560 "feels plenty stable", that would be just as well and keep my balance on point (if i had not banged up my ses, i would not be flirting around with this 2nd purchase lol, but now that i flirted, ive gotten curious to try and maybe buy lol). 

So yeah, im kinda sorta weird and jumbled in my thinking...its not a big deal either way....i try to just make my best judgement...I paddle for fun in the end, I think the focus will be on comfort, ergonomics...which a couple days of paddling in these boats only lets me know so much, so yeah, i guess we shall see.....

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36152 by kwolfe
Replied by kwolfe on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
Aw hell, if you want a new ski just get one :) !

That being said, I paddle really similar conditions to you.  Here is mid state PA, its all lakes and rivers.  One lake actually gets some rolling swell when the winds blows the right way however many times the swells are so close that you wind up bridging them with the ski,

I paddle a V14 and OC1.    I just traded my 500 (standard bucket) for a V10 sport ultra last week.  This all started a year and a half ago when I when I paddle the L2L race up in Long Island Sound off the Connecticut shore.  I brought my 550 and swam 5 times over 14 miles.  I can deal with upwind, downwind and some side chop, but the confused swell really screwed with me.  Short of it was, I need more practice and a more stable ski for those conditions.

I also found that the fit of my V14 makes me just about as stable as I am in the 550.  I have better contact with the ski so I can "feel" what the water is doing.  Might sounds crazy to some but I'm just better connected with it.  The V10 sport will be my boat this year at the L2L and possibly Carolina Cup (unless I choose the OC1).  I'll be able to relax better and not get as worn out.

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36153 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
I'm curious to see how your demo goes. I've been paddling an Epic v8pro for two years and it's a great boat. Most of the racing and training  I do is on relatively flat water. Usually no more the 4 foot waves. The extra stability of the v8pro came in handy in the fall when I raced in the ocean for the first time in Wrightsville Beach NC. The mixed up swell and large wind driven chop proved quite challenging and the only reason I won was because I capsized one less time than my competitors. I'm looking to move into a more advanced boat like the Epic v10  or equivalent. The only ocean racing I'll probably do is the Carolina Cup and maybe the Blackburn Challenge.

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36156 by PharmGeek
Replied by PharmGeek on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
kwolfe, haha, well guilty to a degree I admit...i have no urgent need at this point for this purchase, since i banged up my SES ive been paddling a bit for training in my v7, love having it, but for my sessions, i now compared to paddling my SES it just far less satisfying....btw, if i was facing confused seas...id whip out my v7 boat happily and just paddle that in that kinda crap....once I took my SES purposefully to the local marina on memorial day last year and did a 2 hr session there, at a moderate intensity HR session...ordinarily i likely would have tracked around at 10kph for that session back then at that HR, but because of the CONSTANT slamming of large (large to me) boat wakes and reverb from the shore, I was down to 8.5kph with that same HR!!! it was CHALLENGING....i knew it would be...i just said "hey it will be a good workout"....my coach later told me that those sorts of reapeated side chop everyone hates though.....i know in my v7 i would laugh at most chop....but in the SES i was like eeeeeeek haha...(i stayed upright btw lol...but a few braces did happen!)…..at chattajack, it was all waves either behind me or in my face, not a problem for me at all....there was a part of it I got slammed with some big side chop...was nothing like as bad as my memorial day "stress test" - but slowed me for 3-4 min more than i liked....

You saying the V14 is more stable for you than the 550 blows my mind a bit...im just going to practically ignore that comment for now i swear lol....i assume the 560 is sorta kinda on par with the SES and v14, so i was keen to see how I feel in it stability wise....

If both the 550 and 560 FOR ME feel "squirly" to me, ill likely bail on the buy entirely, because part of the reason in my mind im CHOOSING to buy another, is to feel a tad more stability if now more than a tad....just cause...I wants! 

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36157 by PharmGeek
Replied by PharmGeek on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee

Epicpaddler wrote: I'm curious to see how your demo goes. I've been paddling an Epic v8pro for two years and it's a great boat. Most of the racing and training  I do is on relatively flat water. Usually no more the 4 foot waves. The extra stability of the v8pro came in handy in the fall when I raced in the ocean for the first time in Wrightsville Beach NC. The mixed up swell and large wind driven chop proved quite challenging and the only reason I won was because I capsized one less time than my competitors. I'm looking to move into a more advanced boat like the Epic v10  or equivalent. The only ocean racing I'll probably do is the Carolina Cup and maybe the Blackburn Challenge.



"usually no more than 4 foot waves"....

For me, that's some big ol' waves haha....where I paddle, im like "what is this thing called a wave? huh? must be weird" 

for me personally, IF i were to be in swells, waves, at all for races, id want to be in a hull where almost every single stroke was on point....i assume like much has been discussed that the differences in race times between these hulls are significant for a race but small really, and when you factor in missed efficiency in strokes AND certainly falling out, the advantage is just gone.....

on the other hand, i did enjoy this past year paddling and finding my power and stability...but that was on flat water...if i had to learn on the SES in chop and such, I think it would have been a more frustrating journey perhaps....

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36158 by PharmGeek

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36160 by TimT
Replied by TimT on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
Nice progression PG!

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36161 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
That's like paddling on glass. I very rarely get "flat" flat water. Flat here is anything under 1 foot chop. 

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36164 by mickeyA
Replied by mickeyA on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
There is a nice Stellar SEI Advantage for only $995 in Arkansas (at least that is where his phone area code is).  Just posted on surfskinews.com.  Probably gen1, which is fine. Certainly more stable than SES.  May even be more stable than Nelo 550.  Could be perfect for you:  same manufacturer that you are used to, and one or two steps up in stability (if you count SEL) that you are asking for.  I would say upper intermediate class.  Plenty fast.  The owner may even be going to Vicksburg, MS (BluzCruz race) next month, which is even closer to your area.  Good luck.

Epic V12, V10Sport, Fenn Tarpon S, Swordfish S, Stellar SE, Fenn XT, Twogood Chalupski, Findeisen Stinger spec, Huki S1-X, Burton wedge2, Fenn Tarpon

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36165 by PharmGeek
Replied by PharmGeek on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee

mickeyA wrote: There is a nice Stellar SEI Advantage for only $995 in Arkansas (at least that is where his phone area code is).  Just posted on surfskinews.com.  Probably gen1, which is fine. Certainly more stable than SES.  May even be more stable than Nelo 550.  Could be perfect for you:  same manufacturer that you are used to, and one or two steps up in stability (if you count SEL) that you are asking for.  I would say upper intermediate class.  Plenty fast.  The owner may even be going to Vicksburg, MS (BluzCruz race) next month, which is even closer to your area.  Good luck.



I spotted that on fb and chatted with the seller for a minute....that info about MS is interesting to me as before I was facing an 8 hour drive, and would need to work out a demo......ive paddled my SES and an SEL before....and in looking at the SEI, the thing I am not "in love" with about the SEL and then the SEI, and to a degree my SES is the width of the area at feet for the catch...for the SES its fine, but in the SEI it looks more wide to me....I think also the volume of the SEI if I recall was larger, and I am a light guy at 72kg's. 

I am being super nit picky with this purchase, and im just as likely if I don't feel some sense of "love" for either of the nelo demos to walk and then ill be looking to try.

A part of my interest in the Nelo 550vs 560 also is IF the 560 feels a good bit more stable for me vs. the SES, and feels good paddling in the harbor...I *maybe* would buy it over the 550, and if that happened, ill likely fix up my SES and sell it as it would kind fit all my wants.

That comment about the v14 now lingers too...obviously being more into this sport, I want to try more stuff hahaha....

A part of me just wants to try out something that is not stellar, and the Nelo ergonomics in theory seem fascinating for my flat water paddling, and im keen to try and see...it does feel very spendy compared to nabbing the SEI doesn't it? :D 

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7 months 3 weeks ago #36168 by kwolfe
Replied by kwolfe on topic Demo Weekend weeeeee
I wouldn’t get too caught up on my V14 comment as I am probably the only person who is dumb enough o say something like that.  My point was that I’ve heard many people talk about the fit of the ski and in this particular instance I finally found out
why. 
 
The V14 fits me to the point where I get instant feedback from the ski.  The 550’s bucket flair out at the top and let the ski tip to the side a bit before it made good contact.  We are only talking a few degrees but it felt “loose”to me.
 
I just paddled the V10 Sport that I traded it for last night after work.  Better contact for sure (for me).  I probably could have tried to pad out the 550 bucket but I took a different route.  For reference, I’m about 90kg (200lbs).

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