Fenn Spark Review

6 years 6 months ago #20443 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Fenn Spark Review
How funny - I took all the stickers off too & saved nearly 1/4 pound.
Try weighing those suckers on a digital scale. You will laugh a bit.
Best part though: It looks like stealth.

I don't care what anybody says… this is LOVE. :woohoo:

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #20445 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Fenn Spark Review
Damn!!!! One of my paddling friends is paddling one of these so I get plenty of opportunity to be envious, and my main competition reckons he is going to get one for next season after I said he would be chasing me next summer rather than me chasing him. Think I got him worried, now I'm worried. Damn!!!!

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6 years 6 months ago #20448 by Midlifecrisis
Replied by Midlifecrisis on topic Fenn Spark Review
Hi Marieski,

How do the Spark Elite and SES compare in your opinion. It sounds as though you are now paddling the Spark having previously paddled the SES.

It sounds as though the Spark is even better for the smaller and lighter folk. Is the bucket width similar in both, or is the Spark even smaller around the hip area. I love the SES bucket around the hips (original narrow seat version), but there is too much width around the calf area for my liking.

Also, how would you compare the stability ?

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6 years 6 months ago #20452 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Fenn Spark Review
My name is not Marieski but I have an original small bucket SES which fits me perfectly but I cannot fit the Fenn Spark bucket by about 5-10mm, too tight on the upper thigh bones, so make sure you try before you buy. I can sit in it and paddle but I can tell its too tight which effects rotation and is uncomfortable after a little while.

And from my brief paddle of the Fenn Spark I would rate it more stable than the SES because it sits down in the water more due to the lesser amount of volume in the ends. A great ski, if you can fit one, buy one if your a lighter paddler and have the skills to paddle it.

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #20456 by Marieski
Replied by Marieski on topic Fenn Spark Review
Hi Paul

I'm not sure if I have the narrow bucket SES. The inside measurement of the top of the bucket is 39cm in the SES and 37 cm in the Spark. More importantly though, the Spark has a cup shaped bucket, so it narrows in a curving fashion towards the seat, whereas the SES is much more square in cross section. The Spark also has the back section sloping away from you. This has the effect (together with the hump) of centering your bottom very securely in the middle of the seat. And eliminates coccyx rub. The for'ard part of the cockpit is also very narrow, creating an overall very snug fit. I think this is the most important component of the immediate sense of security, control and hence stability I get in the Spark.

Both boats are relatively low displacement, but the Spark much more so. That long, almost needle shaped nose has very little windage, and slices through chop rather than going over it.

Stability is difficult to separate from fit. I suspect the SES has better primary stability and is similar or better in secondary. I base this on the increased number of "fresh air shots" I have to take when paddling side chop in the Spark. However, despite the lively rolling, I never felt I was going over, possibly due to better control. Someone who fits their SES better than me could react to changes in attitude more quickly and positively and effectively experience better secondary stability than in the Spark. I can't be sure; in summary for me, the SES is better at primary, the Spark better at secondary.

All Stellars turn sluggishly for me. The Spark feels like it could turn on its length. With the stock rudder!

Both boats have low sides. When the water comes in, the Spark drains much better than the SES, even with its bullet. And the less said about that stupid bung, the better. The low sides make remounts easy, the SES possibly easier, due to the better primary.

The SES has a beautiful, tough level of finish, the Spark only so so. The SES has far fewer visible scratches than my other, less used, boats.

Both boats are technically elite boats for small people. They feel very different, so, as Greg says, you definitely need to try them out. On the other hand, it won't take extensive sea trials to make a decision! I was smiling, laughing, within my first 100m in the demo. I doubt I'm going to be much faster in it and I don't think it is intrinsically more stable, but the Spark makes me want to rip turns, slither sideways on waves like breaking out the back wheel on the motorbike, leap onto every wave in sight and generally hoon about.

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kayaker Greg, Midlifecrisis

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #20458 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Fenn Spark Review
Ahhh, see I have the lighter Excel SES and the Spark I tried was the heavier Vacuum glass, I felt the Spark was more stable for me on primary and both are good on secondary.

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6 years 6 months ago #20462 by Midlifecrisis
Replied by Midlifecrisis on topic Fenn Spark Review
Hi Marieski,

Thanks for the comprehensive feedback. As the SES is pretty much a perfect fit for me I expect the Spark will be a little to narrow in the bucket. I'll give it a try when I get a chance though as everyone seems to rave about it.

Cheers,
Paul

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6 years 5 months ago #20631 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Fenn Spark Review
Anyone tested the Spark against the Elite SL ?
I am so very curious to find out what their REAL differences are in the "real world".

Any links or info would be greatly appreciated.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 years 5 months ago #20636 by Metro
Replied by Metro on topic Fenn Spark Review
The Spark is basically a cut down Elite SL. Plenty of rocker, a good downwind boat. The Spark is not a cut down Glide, which has less rocker (but is still a good downwind boat by all accounts). So, in my simple way of thinking, if the Spark fits you, paddle it. If the Spark does not fit you, try the Elite SL and Glide and decide which one you like.

To the actual question at hand, I have paddled both the Spark and the Elite SL. Tough to compare because the Elite SL is too big for me and the Spark fits perfecly. Naturally I find the Spark a better boat in all areas. I assume the converse would be true for a 90 kg paddler who can barely fit the Spark bucket.

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6 years 5 months ago #20637 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Fenn Spark Review
Thanks Metro.

What could be said about the stability and feel of Spark vs Elite SL ?
- on flat water
- on confused conditions
- on swells

I would be curious to hear what someone could say about what they liked and disliked on each boat.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 years 5 months ago #20879 by Marieski
Replied by Marieski on topic Fenn Spark Review
A month on..... Spark definitely less stable than the SES and no quicker. (Those facts are obviously related). But remains equally definitely more fun.

Also......... having now paddled the Spark whenever possible, on paddling the Swordfish, the latter feels as though I could balance a grandmother, 3 children, a haystack and 5 chickens.

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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6 years 2 months ago #21422 by holonalu
Replied by holonalu on topic Fenn Spark Review
Just received my Spark hybrid layup here on Maui a couple of weeks ago. Amazing boat, seems quite stable, but I haven't had it out in any rough water yet, save for the morning of Iselle. A little disappointed in the finish quality. Deck behind the seat has visible rippling in the surface. Think someone else referred to it as 'oil canning'. Nothing structural, just a bother. Seems like another pass with the gel spray before laying up and it would have been fine.

Aloha from Maui

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6 years 1 month ago #21989 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Fenn Spark Review
It's been months on the Spark surfskis, and a few more 100's of kilometers in the ocean. Here's some general feedback:

The Fenn Spark is very stable - relative, I know, but the fact that it's my first impression has to count for something.

It's super fun - turns on a dime. The bigger the swells, the better. In rough conditions, I have not been able to make it pearl. Heads up: I weight only 54 kg, and enjoy very rough conditions.

Padding - I could use more padding on the boat, but I ended up removing everything and find it cleaner and much lower maintenance. It's comfortable enough, even for hours in the boat. Could be better though, but I aint complaining.

I had a chance to paddle the Elite SL.
The SL is faster - on the flat - and this without a doubt.
The SL is however much tippier for light-weight.
The second I got into the SL, I could feel this amazing glide, but I didn't find it to surf as well. The Spark will catch smaller bumps and offer so much more stability.

Call me old, it's okay, but a little bit more stability also means more flexibility and versatility for the boat you are paddling. I get to take my surfski day in and day out, in any condition - including the flats.

Compared to the Epic, like the V10 L (the newer one):
The Epic V10 L has light-years ahead on construction. Talk about beautifully finished. With my lightweight, I found the V10L only slightly less stable than the Spark, speed was difficult to determine, so I'll leave that to you. However, the seat on the V10L was super comfortable (more so than the Spark).

The V10L was only slightly too big for me; I'd otherwise make the switch in a heartbeat. Sure the construction is really good, but there are so many added details that just make sense on the V10L. Plus, that thing was a feather (my 12kg Spark felt a little heavy afterwards).

Bottom line, try the boats for comfort, then try the boats in flats & in the rough. Go with your heart & feel - and then go with the waves.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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