Fenn Swordfish

5 years 10 months ago #9785 by mckengmsurfski
Thanks for the info guys. Nice to hear that the local builders in S.A. have managed to keep their skis at a reasonable price for you guys.
The price of certain skis in Australia continues to amaze me. Sounds like the Fenn prices there have come in line with the ones in the USA.

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5 years 10 months ago #9791 by robin.mousley
Finally got my hands on a new Swordfish last night and paddled it in our Tuesday evening dice in Hout Bay.

Last night we had a southerly 15-20kt kicking up the chop. The course was triangular 2 laps plus a short sausage lap (out and back). So we had: grind into the wind; technical downwind diagonally across the chop and a cross-wind leg that had some small rebound chop to catch. The final lap was out into the wind and straight back with the swell to the beach. Total 9km

Here's the thing. My mate Dale Lippstreu paddles a V10 Ultra; I paddle a Carbon Fenn Mako Elite and on flat or choppy water we dice pretty closely. Downwind (on a Millers Run for example) I usually beat him.

As we headed out from the beach, Dale was alongside but then accelerated. I sat on his slip until we reached the end of the shelter of the harbour wall, then we hit the chop. Because of the extraordinary stability of the SF, all my effort was being translated into power and I steadily passed Dale and dropped him. By the time we reached Barnacle Rock (aka Sentinel Rock) I was clear of the bunch behind.

Ahead was another marker who is usually stronger than me and who normally beats me, Michael Martin. Rounding the rock, he was a good 50m ahead. Now for the diagonal runs down to Ore Jetty buoy.

The waves were running diagonally from right rear, to left front, so you had to veer left, get onto the run, then ride it, working right. Time and again I was able to accelerate down the run, steer right and go like the clappers, then veer left, get onto the next run, and so on. By the time we reached the Ore Jetty buoy, I'd overtaken Michael. What was striking was that (unlike the XT, which used to be notorious for broaching) the SF didn't threaten to broach at all, even when we were going diagonally down the runs.

Dale and one other were still fairly close behind. On the third leg, (cross-wind but with some reflected waves) I was able to stay with Michael and make ground on Dale.

Upwind again and rode Michael's slip until we reached the reef near Fish on the Rocks where I was very nearly taken out by a "surprising" break. All the while I was making ground on Dale. Michael got away from me and once again was a good 50m ahead as we rounded Barnacle Rock. The second downwind I worked right to get a better line close to Ore Jetty - I overtook Michael again and made a lot of ground on the guy ahead of him. On the side-wind leg, I worked left, stayed ahead of Michael.

Upwind again on the penultimate leg; Michael caught up, got onto my slip. I kept him to my right to have the advantage of the turn at the last buoy. Last leg downwind to the finish and I got away from Michael... but a trawler was manoeuvring to get into the harbour and I could see that he was worried about me so slowed and went right to get around his backside. That allowed Michael to regain contact and in the sprint to the finish, (the much younger and fitter!) Michael got passed and beat me.

But... by this time Dale was out of sight - and arrived nearly two minutes after me at the beach.

Here's my Garmin track. (And I don't believe my HR got to 215 - the belt must have got loose.)

Hout Bay Race - Swordfish

To say that I'm impressed by the boat is an understatement. Will I be as fast in it on the flat? Dunno, but you can be sure that I'll be paddling it, with Dale, to find out. But in rough water I'm convinced that I'm significantly faster, simply because the stability means that much more of my effort is going into paddling rather than bracing.

Next up: a big Millers Run. Hopefully tomorrow - forecast says 30kt-34kt SE tomorrow evening. My instinct says that the boat might be wet and might nose-dive a bit because of the comparatively small volume in the nose... but we'll see.

As usual the rudder tightened up when we were going fast on the runs - I loathe the standard Fenn rudder and have elliptical rudders on my Elites. So I'll definitely be getting an elliptical rudder for the SF.

But wow - in rough conditions... the SF is a pretty phenomenal boat (in my opinion!).

Comfortable too - I've always found the Fenn seat (in the Mako6 and Elite) very comfortable. The XT had such a shallow seat I remember feeling that I might slide off it. The SF bucket seems to be somewhere in the middle - deep enough for comfort and security; shallow enough that it would appear to be easier to remount than the deep Elite bucket. Will be trying that out too!

Impressed.

Vacuum glass epoxy lay up. Haven't weighed it yet, but it felt like it was around 13.5kg.

(My intention was to use it as a camera boat - my Elite is just too twitchy for comfort with the camera mast on the rear deck - but I fancy I may be using it for regular paddling in rough conditions too.)

Rob

Currently Think Evo II, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: 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 I can't remember!

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5 years 10 months ago #9792 by Dicko
Would love to have a comparison with the Vault as well to see if it affected your speed in the rough. I have a feeling that the Vault may be faster on the flat but may not surf as well as the SF. Has anyone compared the two.

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5 years 10 months ago #9793 by robin.mousley
I'd agree.

I did paddle a Vault a couple of times - did a round the cans race in Fish Hoek and a couple of Millers Runs.

I think the SF is probably a little more stable (but the Vault is very stable too).
For me, the Vault felt a little too low in volume (I weigh around 85kg) so it was very wet on the Millers Run where we usually have steep wind swell, I remember taking water over the nose a number of times. For me too, I remember broaching quite a bit with both the Atom and the Vault. (Again this seems to be either a feature of my paddling, or the conditions we have here, because I don't hear much complaint about it elsewhere. Suffice to say I very seldom broach in a V10 or Mako Elite.)

The Vault felt very fast (and the Atom was astonishing on flat water, really struggled with it though in rough water, tippiness).

I may have same issues with the SF on the Millers Run - will be interesting to see.

It would be nice to have both boats to compare together!

Rob

Currently Think Evo II, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: 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 I can't remember!

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5 years 10 months ago #9794 by Gavin Gottschalk
I started paddling about 7 years ago on a XT. After 1 year I wanted to upgrade (probably too early, a common mistake) and was advised to go for the new Mako 6. It took about a year of struggling to realise that the 6 wasn't for me- too much side to side roll, and to advanced a ski for me at that time. I thought I'd never go back to Fenn as the XT was too beginner and the Mako 6 and later the Elite were too advanced (for proper ocean paddling). I've paddled several ski's since then, and until recently have been on a Green 7 which I've really enjoyed. But the Green tends to stall in messy confused seas and short sharp wind swell (too little rocker?) and in addition I sometimes felt that in big ocean and strong downwind, I became a little tentative and my stroke was diminished. Translation: I was looking for a step-back ski that was more stable but more dynamic, esp. in the messy and big stuff. So I tried the Evo II, the Vault, the Epic V10 Sport...And then I tried the Swordfish (vac glass). Suffice to say that after 1 paddle in big, lumpy, rebounding waters off the cliffs between Shelley Beach and North Head in Sydney, I place my order. Stable, fast, highly manoeuvrable, just wants to jump onto the runs, power in the stroke preserved even in tricky conditions, accelerates quickly probably because I can pull harder and faster. Felt like I was the hand in the glove of the ski.
I've taken delivery now and have paddled twice with a nice mix of conditions. Impressions confirmed and cemented. I feel much faster because I'm stable and can keep driving, and the ski responds so well to the water.
My ski appears extremely well made, to the usual Fenn standards.
I find that the 2 large scuppers drain very quickly and I can't see a need to add bullets.
Can't comment yet on the rudder issue.
One small downside is that I'm having some discomfort on my left ischial tuberosity (the 'butt bone' that one sits on)- a bit of clunk clunk as I paddle and my pelvis rotates. I think some experimentation with seat pads will fix that.
Summary: This seems to hit the real sweet spot of the true 'intermediate' ski, which is pretty much where I'm at as a paddler. I reckon if this ski had been around at the time of my initial upgrade from the XT years back, then I'd still be paddling it.
When I placed the order, I commented to Dean Gardner that I'd be amazed if Keith Fenn didn't sell thousands of these skis.
Time will tell if this translates into higher placings in races, but as always that depends to a large degree on one's fitness. Anyhow, I'm definitely achieving higher rankings in the fun factor, and in my book that's what counts most! Great job Fenn!

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5 years 10 months ago #9795 by Michael Smedley
Who does these elliptical rudders? Can I get them in Australia?

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5 years 10 months ago #9796 by Rightarmbad
I just want one of the local manufacturers to copy the hull and put an Epic bucket into.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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5 years 10 months ago #9797 by robin.mousley
Not sure where you could get the rudders in Aus, but here in SA, they're available from:

Orka Paddles
Carbonology Sport

I guess you could get them to post one to you.

Rob

Currently Think Evo II, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: 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 I can't remember!

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5 years 10 months ago - 5 years 10 months ago #9798 by zachhandler
Gavin - Better fix that hip clunk thing with padding sooner than later. I had the same issue in a different brand of boat. Clunk clunk clunk on my right ischial tuberocity every time I rotated. I added a seat pad and things were improved, but it still took weeks before the inflammation went away and I could paddle pain free. The next season I started with the pad from day one and had zero issues.

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5 years 10 months ago #9800 by [email protected]

Rightarmbad wrote: With a carbon V12 now listing up at $5800 in Australia, Epic are slowly pricing themselves out of the market.
I can get a carbon Fenn Elite for $3200


Nothing slow about that. I spoke with Epic 'HQ' (Charleston) a while ago asking about this very issue (imminent move to Oz). They informed me that Epic Australia is autonomous to 'HQ' and set their own prices. I got my carbon v12 shipped from the US (new price $3,600.00) to Bermuda (landed US$5,100.00 - includes a whopping 22.25% import duty and shipping costs). To pay $5,8k is preposterous. China is a lot closer to Aus than to the US so how can the US ski be cheaper? Perth is on the same time zone as Shanghai!

In the absence of any (reasonable) explanation by Epic Aus I reckon you guys are getting shafted.

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5 years 10 months ago #9807 by Rightarmbad
I have no doubt we are getting shafted with the price.

I also have no doubt that we are getting shafted with the lack of stock levels of spare parts, still can't seem to get a new tiller bar for mine.
I give up the other day and finally removed my temporarily straightened one and took it right out and bashed it properly straight and re-tapped a clamping hole.
Retied all the strings so it was a good thing in the end, but I have waited since last summer to get a replacement to no avail.

Trying to get a paddle when you want it or generally any bloody thing and the only answer is it is on the next container.

If Epic international new of the frustration of customers and retailers with this importing crew, they would dump them.

I like the boats, I have had good experience with retailers, but the backup in this country is shite.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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5 years 10 months ago #9814 by Gavin Gottschalk
Hi Zachhandler
Agreed, need to get the butt bone thing sorted. Still feel a little sore a few days later. I tried a thin seat pad which only partially helped. A thicker pad will compromise my stability in the ski. My next option is to cut a hole in the pad so try and take the pressure off the tuberosity.
Any other ideas on this forum to solve this problem??
I'm hoping hoping hoping that I can find a solution as it's the only downside for me on this otherwise awesome ski.

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5 years 10 months ago #9817 by Dicko
When you live in WA it's quicker and easier to order direct from South Africa than it is to order from the eastern states. A new rudder cost me $55. My maxpaddle m333 cost about $260. A week later they're sitting on the doorstep. If the local distributor won't come to the party, find one online that will. Having said that if you find a distributor that will bend over backwards I always support them. When I had a red 7 there was no backup, when I had a Think it was excellent. I have a mate with a stellar.
If something breaks they fix it, and the parts are relatively cheap.

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5 years 10 months ago #9835 by robin.mousley
Did my first Millers Run on the Swordfish last night.

Conditions were not ideal - Roman Rock weather station was reporting 30kt average, gusting to 35 or so. (Must say it didn't actually feel that strong.) The sea was big and messy, Dawid Mocke was on a double with a student and confirmed that he was hard pressed to put any sequences together.

The first 800m section out to the lighthouse (cross-wind and cross-waves) is always a little tense for me in the Elite; in the Swordfish I hared out at a steady 9kph, no bracing, just paddled.

I was looking for nose-diving, broaching. Neither occurred to any great extent. The rudder seems well positioned. The rudder itself is the standard Fenn rudder - gets very stiff at speed and I intend to replace it with a balanced elliptical rudder ASAP.

I hooked my paddle into the crest of a wave near the lighthouse and gently rolled over. I can confirm that the boat is very easy to get back into!

On a couple of occasions, the seas lined up and I was able to put a sequence together. I went down a couple of monster drops, got up to 24kph on one of them.

Interestingly, all I got water into the cockpit several times, sometimes over the nose, I never filled the cockpit and what water there was drained quickly.

Paddled with US visitor Gabe Newton who, not unexpectedly, beat me by some way (he's a US National Whitewater paddler and clearly can handle a boat in rough conditions - he was also paddling a SF).

I ended up with a slow time - 50min, but a) I fell out and b) we paddled to the sailing club which is slightly further than the normal finish at the surf lifesaving club and c) I'm not sure I'd have gone faster in my Elite in the conditions.

So... for me the jury's out still on how I like the SF in downwind conditions. If I beat my buddy Dale this evening (another Millers Run), this opinion will change!

But, for me, the boat makes paddling in extreme conditions a total gas. I'm looking forward to mounting my GoPros on the boat in really hectic conditions!

First Swordfish Millers Run

Rob

Currently Think Evo II, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: 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 I can't remember!

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5 years 10 months ago #9836 by Gavin Gottschalk
Keep up the feedback Rob! Keen to read how it goes on a 'clean' Millers

I seem to have fixed the butt bone clunk: cut 2 holes in a thin seat pad, into which fitted the offending butt bones, and hey presto, 95% improvement. I just need to play with the exact positioning and the size of the holes, and I think I'm sorted.

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5 years 10 months ago #9839 by Marieski

Perth ski chick wrote: My Swordfish is amazing.

Before I tell you how amazing, here's some info on where I'm at: In September 2011 I contracted a massive bacterial infection on my aortic heart valve that required reasonably risky and complicated emergency open heart surgery to repair. Needless to say, not quite five months on, after three months of not paddling so my sternum (and heart) could heal, I've lost a lot of power and fitness. My downwind speed had plummetted and I was doing about 6:00- 6:10/km with a LOT of wobbling and unhappiness.

So I decided to give this sport one more really good effort and bought a Swordfish, on the strength of the recommendations that this ski was receiving.

And I am SO HAPPY I did. Today was her first downwind over a course I have done several times since the surgery, and even with not much power in me I was able to put all that power down and did the course SEVEN MINUTES FASTER than I had been doing in my trusty V10L. It's only a 12.5km course so that's a massive improvement, and in conditions of only 12-13kt winds.

I'm thrilled with this ski - if you're in an elite ski and find yourself wallowing, bracing, falling off the back of waves, I can highly recommend moving to the Swordfish. The extra stability doesn't make the ski slower - I have no idea how Fenn accomplished this, but they're onto a damn good thing!!


Hey Ski Chick. I've got one too and boy it is a hoot! It seems so many women are buying this ski, it is going to get a reputation as a girls' boat!!! :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7

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5 years 10 months ago #9852 by Red
This thread has not made my purchase of a ski any easier. Was within days of buying a Fenn Elite, reasonable prices for 2nd hand Elite skis at the moment. Now I am not sure.

I hear that the downwind and rough water performance of the SF is excellent but, a question for those who have owned both SF and Elite, how does the flat water performance compare? I need the ski to do both (I know, a hard ask).

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5 years 10 months ago #9853 by Michael Smedley
You can't have it all.

If you paddle on only flat water get an Elite. If you paddle in open water and find you brace and correct much of the time in an Elite, get a SF.

That said, in the flat the SF has a respectable speed too.

Why not get both?

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5 years 10 months ago #9854 by Red
Yes, both would be nice.

If the flatwater speed is only a 0.5km/h slower (give or take if anyone has some stats) I can handle that, but if it is massive, the decision is harder.

Thanks in advance.

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5 years 10 months ago #9855 by Dicko
Or buy a SF and a small rudder for flat water, which will give you the flat water speed of an elite ski. Bloody sight cheaper than buying 2 boats. You will get an extra 300 metres an hour with a small rudder...give or take a metre. Provided the water is genuinely flat it works really well. Still waiting for ARconvert to trial his small rudder on his Vault to see if there is a genuine difference in speed.

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