More 1st Ski Questions

3 months 3 days ago #38434 by STC67
More 1st Ski Questions was created by STC67
Hi,
I am in the process of buying a first ski and still have a few Q's. After reading all the info on here I have tried paddling a few skis to make sure I get one that is stable enough from the start. Being an older surfer and ocean swimmer I really want to be in the ocean ASAP.

So far I have paddled a Fenn Swordfish for about 30 min in very still flat water conditions. I didn't fall off but did come close and felt like I could not paddle with max effort. I then did a 6km time trial in a Fenn XT. This was pretty stable and I could paddle to max effort. But conditions were a very sheltered creek. The dealer was pushing me more towards the Swordfish saying I would pick it up but I know from some SUP experience the stability  different between the flat water and open water is significant. For this reason I was leaning towards the XT or even one with a wider beam.

My question is what should I be looking for in a boat test in flat water to see if it would be stable in the open ocean. How much difference between the two is there when it comes to ski paddling? I understand the dealer doesn't want newbies like me trailing skis in the waves where damage can occur but that is where I will want to be using it.

Secondly, there is a group that paddles 3 times a week close by, does anyone leave their ski on top of their car basically all the time? I use my car for little else. 

Thanks

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3 months 3 days ago - 3 months 3 days ago #38436 by STC67
Replied by STC67 on topic More 1st Ski Questions
PS. I have never done a downwinder. I see there is a lot of excitement around these and given my surfing experience I would like to give it a go. Are there any surfers who have done downwinders that can provide a comparison.

How much paddling experience would I need to ne competent? I would always want to go with a group but don't want to hold everyone back.  

Thanks

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3 months 3 days ago #38438 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic More 1st Ski Questions
Don't get the swordfish if your goal is to paddle in the ocean. It will be a nightmare. You will be swimming constantly and when you are not swimming you will be paddling timidly and not having that much fun. Stability in the bump to flat water is night and day difference. You need to learn a proper stroke in a ski or you will have no power and you will blow out your shoulders. You can't do that unless you are on a stable platform. If you haven't downwinded before you need to learn that skill as well, and that also requires a stable platform so you can be fearless and look around and read the waves without worrying about stability. I would say the debate should be between XT and bluefin. Leave the sword out of it.  

I started on a tippy ski, the epic v12. I was 32 years old and super strong. On flat water the ski felt as stable as an aircraft carrier because I was used to paddling K1s, which are even tippier. But learning to downwind was humbling. All I did was in the bump was swim that first year. I would tip every few minutes. I didn't learn anything except how to remount and I almost died doing that as I got hypothermic one time getting dunked over and over and over in cold water far from shore. It was stupid and reckless but at the time I did not know any better.   Starting on a tippy ski also set back my learning curve a few years. FYI remounting a ski is much harder than climbing back on a sup. It takes a lot out of you. Get the stable ski. you will be going much faster downwind, have more fun, and learn much faster.  You will never regret it. 

Current Skis: Kai Wa’a Vega, Nelo 550L g2, Epic V12 g2, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X

Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy

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3 months 3 days ago #38439 by LaPerouseBay
Replied by LaPerouseBay on topic More 1st Ski Questions

STC67 wrote: Hi,
The dealer was pushing me more towards the Swordfish saying I would pick it up....

My question is what should I be looking for in a boat test in flat water to see if it would be stable in the open ocean. How much difference between the two is there when it comes to ski paddling? I understand the dealer doesn't want newbies like me trailing skis in the waves where damage can occur but that is where I will want to be using it.


There was a disconnect between what you wrote and what the dealer thought you said - or something.  Regardless, no surfski dealer in their right mind would suggest that a new paddler (with the goal of ocean paddling) purchase a tippy ski and that eventually you would "pick it up."  As Zach wrote, it does not work that way. 

I don't know of any test you can do in flat water to simulate ocean conditions.  Blindfold maybe.  

Yes, you can leave your boat on the truck all day.  I do.  A sock or cover draped over it is a good idea if you are in the sun.  Sun will oxidize the gelcoat faster.  

And don't be concerned about what that dealer wants.  Visit your local ski paddlers and get their opinion. 

We don't even know where you are.  Conditions vary greatly.  All oceans are not the same.  Nor are lakes and rivers.    

I won't bother asking you where you are, nobody ever answers.   It seems to be one of the great ongoing mysteries of this forum - paddlers with questions and a forum that has no clue what the paddler's local conditions are.  

And welcome to ski, they are crazy fun.      

downwind dilettante

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3 months 3 days ago #38440 by STC67
Replied by STC67 on topic More 1st Ski Questions
Thanks LaPerouseBay. Yes I probably wasn't clear with the dealer how keen I was to be in the ocean compared to flat water. 

I am on the Gold Coast about 20 min from Currumbin where there are quite a few groups that paddle both in the ocean and flat water. It was one of these groups that lent me the XT to do a  paddle.

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3 months 3 days ago #38445 by LaPerouseBay
Replied by LaPerouseBay on topic More 1st Ski Questions
^ Good, you have access to what you need first and foremost.  The most cost effective money you will ever spend is a one on one session with a pro.  Not anyone, a pro.  They are out there, you need to ask around.  Some of the most effective coaching I ever had was the least expensive. 

A professional coach will answer all of your questions - based on your current ability and future goals.  They will set your footplate, feather and length correctly.  They will watch you paddle and suggest exactly what to think of in the future.  That's where the real payoff is, the coach noting your weak spots and adjusting everything to shorten the learning curve. 

Paddlers also have wildly different personalities.  A pro coach will listen to you and make note of your ego.  That's what screws most guys from day one. 

This goes directly to your point about tagging along with paddlers on a downwind run.  Experienced paddlers, in general, don't want a newer paddler along, because they watch out for each other.  You will eventually get on with a group, but you had better be humble and polite.  You just don't know what you don't know yet about downwinding.

Overconfidence and inexperience is a dangerous combination.  Give it time.  Learn the basics in a stable boat, maybe get a spec ski if you want to surf waves, whatever.  The pro will answer all that.  

The answers most beginners get on this forum are incorrect.  All too often, a new paddler's questions are seen as a launching pad for some random beginner to write about his progression in the sport.  Beware of wildly differing views in surfski.  That's where a one on one lesson's value comes in.  All that internet noise goes away and you can think about what is tailored for you and you alone.

Big fan of reviews like this.  He's very diplomatic about paddlers with "too many numbers on their boats."   

 

downwind dilettante

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3 months 2 days ago #38446 by malvina
Replied by malvina on topic More 1st Ski Questions
Hello, and welcome to the sport.

If they are available in your area, I would advise you to try a rotomolded ski (I have only tried the Nelo 510 and the Epic V7). They are both really good boats to get started in the sport, with good stability and quite decent performance both in flat water and in downwind. You can save a lot of money in the boat (Nelo sell the 510 new for 1,200 euros) and in repairs (I don´t know your area but I did quite a few crash landings during my first year or so). Also, safer to leave it on the roof of your car. They are heavier than composites but they go well in carts.

Happy paddling

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