Fenn Elite S

6 years 4 weeks ago #21586 by crispin
Fenn Elite S was created by crispin
Hi all
I've just ordered myself a Fenn Elite S - my first surfski since South Africa last won the Rugby World Cup in 2007
I was very impressed with my test run on a demo boat in moderately rough conditions off Milnerton (4-6 foot surf, 10-15 knot SE wind, 2 meter SW ground swell)
I'd be interested in hearing other people's opinions about the ski, particularly Rob Mousley

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

6 years 4 weeks ago #21593 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Fenn Elite S
Howzit crispin...

I'm flattered!

Hmm... I was allowed to paddle the Elite S on the understanding that I wouldn't review it because the one that's in Cape Town (that you paddled) is a pre-production model that is still going to have some tweaks in the design.

So...

This isn't a review, just a couple of thoughts after having paddled it a couple of times...

I did:

2 x reverse Millers runs
1 x lighthouse paddle (out and back)
1 x Millers in very light conditions
1 x Vulcan Rock run from Hout Bay.

I didn't get to race it.

Overall (NB: 52 year old intermediate paddler talking):

- Very narrow boat.
- More stable than the Fenn Elite
- Extremely responsive on the waves; catches waves very easily, seems to respond to leaning to steer more than other boats (but again - intermediate paddler speaking)
- Slices through waves nicely upwind
- The nose dips downwind, but that doesn't seem to stop the boat.
- The boat tracks diagonally down the runs without much propensity to broach.

So the main differences between the Elite S and the Elite are that they've moved the cockpit forward slightly as well as the rudder. And the deck is lowered so there's less volume.

The downwind paddles that I did were all relatively mild and I was definitely up to speed if not faster than normal. I thought the ski exciting to handle (aka less relaxing). I had to focus much more on my paddling.

The lighthouse paddle was in 15-20kt SE conditions, so we had a hard grind out into the wind and waves, and a fun paddle back. I was very comfortable going out directly into the waves and found that I had good enough balance that I was in a great rhythm. Going around the lighthouse, however, in the violent choppy water, I was pretty tentative.

The boat has a classic Fenn feel in that when it accelerates onto a run, you really feel as though you're moving fast... In comparison the Evo II for example seems smoother, and you don't get the same sensation of speed always, even though I'm guessing it accelerates pretty much the same.

I fell out (right in Shark Alley near Sunny Cove) and took a while to get in (the wind blew the ski around as I was half in the boat and I fell out again). But it wasn't too much stress to remount. More difficult than the Evo or V10 though.

The Vulcan Rock run was in varying conditions - from pretty flat inside Hout Bay to rough messy chop outside the bay. In the flat conditions I was able to put the hammer down; I did some brief dices with my paddling buddy out in the open sea - and what we found was that the ski picked up any runs coming from behind and I'd gain a metre or so everytime that happened. Coming back I felt uncomfortably tippy - to the extent that my heart rate dropped because I was unable to paddle effectively - until we reached some slightly more organised water just outside the bay, when I was again able to put power and take off on the little bumps.

In summary, I was left with the impression of an exciting boat. But was it too exciting for me? Hmm... I think in a 30kt southeaster I'd sweat getting out to the rock at the start of the Millers Run... But maybe not.

I'm very keen to try a production model with the final design tweaks...

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, 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...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

6 years 4 weeks ago #21595 by crispin
Replied by crispin on topic Fenn Elite S
Hi Rob

Thanks for your feedback, much appreciated as always....
As I mentioned, I've had a bit of a lay off from surfskis (well, paddling in general)
My last ski was an Custom Kayaks Icon, so there's been a bit of change since then
I tried out the pre-production Elite S demo, along with an Elite Glide, (both carbon vacuum construction) & was impressed by both craft
I found the Glide a fraction faster on flat (canal) water (18.0 vs 18.3 km/hr), but I'm pretty sure this will be practically nullified on the sea
The Elite S handled very predictably & comfortably on choppy, messy sea conditions
I liked the seating position & the cut-outs at the paddle entry points
The feedback I'd received from the few people that have paddled the Elite S was generally very promising, although there was some concern about the drop in volume in the nose
These concerns did not seem to be realised when the ski was raced in big northern KZN conditions, which claimed a few talented / experienced scalps......
I'm really looking forward to getting my production model carbon hybrid Elite S onto the sea & settling a few old scores (hopefully)
You're more than welcome to borrow it for official testing & reviewing
See you on the water

Cheers
Crispin

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

6 years 4 weeks ago #21597 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Fenn Elite S

My last ski was an Custom Kayaks Icon, so there's been a bit of change since then


I'll say! I also had an Icon for 18months; lovely ski downwind in clean conditions but I never got used to it in choppy water.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, 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...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

6 years 4 weeks ago #21603 by antonsa
Replied by antonsa on topic Fenn Elite S
"I found the Glide a fraction faster on flat (canal) water (18.0 vs 18.3 km/hr), but I'm pretty sure this will be practically nullified on the sea"

That is a seriously impressive speed! Over what distance did you measure this?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

6 years 4 weeks ago #21605 by crispin
Replied by crispin on topic Fenn Elite S

antonsa wrote: "I found the Glide a fraction faster on flat (canal) water (18.0 vs 18.3 km/hr), but I'm pretty sure this will be practically nullified on the sea"

That is a seriously impressive speed! Over what distance did you measure this?


The speeds were measured using my Garmin Forerunner 910XT maximum speed function
I accelerated flat out for approximately 20 strokes from a moving start 4 times, alternating between the two skis, on the Century City canals in essentially windless conditions - unlikely to be ratified by any governing body ;)
I was also surprised by the speeds & even reset my Garmin after the first run because I thought it was an old maximum speed from K1 training (riding slip, no doubt.....)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

6 years 3 weeks ago #21623 by Scode
Replied by Scode on topic Fenn Elite S
Any specs for this new Fenn boat? Is it pretty much like all their elite boats? 6.4m long and about 43cm wide? With lower volume boats all the rage for smaller paddlers at the moment does Fenn have a lower vol Swordy in the product pipeline? With this sport rapidly growing I think Fenn needs to address this one little shortfall in their product range.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

6 years 3 weeks ago #21624 by crispin
Replied by crispin on topic Fenn Elite S
Hi Scode
There is currently no spec sheet available from the Fenn factory
As Rob mentioned, there have been a few design tweaks implemented since the demo boat was make
I stand to be corrected, but the hull is essentially a Fenn Elite hull so the length / breadth dimensions should be the same
When the production boats start hitting the beach a full list of specifications ought to be available from the manufacturer, as well as an in-depth review (nudge, nudge, hint, hint......)
Cheers
Crispin
The following user(s) said Thank You: Scode

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

6 years 3 weeks ago #21628 by Metro
Replied by Metro on topic Fenn Elite S
Hi guys. OK, this is a confusing one. Where is the Elite S meant to fit in with the Spark? My understanding is that the Spark is a cut down Elite SL. Perhaps the Elite S a big person's boat with less volume for smaller days (as opposed to the Spark which is definitely a smaller person's boat)?

Also, Fenn uses the name "Elite" a lot nowadays. Is the Elite S a slimmed down version of the original Elite? Many of us smaller folks have been hoping for slimmed down version of the Glide.

Anyway, I am sure that all will be revealed in due course. But, if anybody has any more info now, please share!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

5 years 11 months ago #22140 by Scode
Replied by Scode on topic Fenn Elite S
So I see on the Australian Paddler HQ Facebook page they have a new shipment of Fenn skis and the Elite S is part of the shipment but they aren't giving away much in the way of information as yet. Any one have any more info on the Elite S yet?

Also heard there is a Fenn 6 paddle coming out soon as well. Anyone heard the same?

Cheers

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

5 years 11 months ago #22141 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Fenn Elite S
Apparently one has made its way here in NZ in the last shipment and I hope to see and find out more about it next Tuesday.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

5 years 11 months ago #22142 by crispin
Replied by crispin on topic Fenn Elite S
Picking my Elite S up this afternoon......
Can't wait to hit the water
Should be able to shed some light by the end of the weekend

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

5 years 11 months ago #22165 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Fenn Elite S
Observed and talked about the new Elite S last night and some of this has been mentioned above. Same dimensions as the Fenn Elite (and many of the Fenn Ski's) but a narrower shallower nose, a bit more cut out where the paddle goes in the water, the seat moved forward, nose tends to bury going down steep waves for a plus 80kg paddler, this could be more suited to the lighter paddler but not as small as the Spark.

Paddler likes the ski but still prefers the Fenn Elite as it never buries the nose and is very predictable in its handling, but he is over 80kg.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

5 years 10 months ago #22339 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Fenn Elite S

Metro wrote: Hi guys. OK, this is a confusing one. Where is the Elite S meant to fit in with the Spark? My understanding is that the Spark is a cut down Elite SL. Perhaps the Elite S a big person's boat with less volume for smaller days (as opposed to the Spark which is definitely a smaller person's boat)?

Also, Fenn uses the name "Elite" a lot nowadays. Is the Elite S a slimmed down version of the original Elite? Many of us smaller folks have been hoping for slimmed down version of the Glide.

Anyway, I am sure that all will be revealed in due course. But, if anybody has any more info now, please share!


@ METRO:
In my opinion, the Spark is nothing like the Elite (standard) and really nothing like the Elite SL. I couldn't tell you how the Spark compares with the S though (since I have not yet tried one).

Here's what I found when paddling them, and do keep in mind that I am really light-weight (130 pounds).

The Mako Elite (the original, the one and only ahahah) seemed fast, felt nice overall, and felt more stable than the Elite SL. The seat wasn't even close to the comfort that I found in the Spark though. The lack of cut-away for the paddle made a huge difference to me.

The Elite SL felt (and was) much faster on the GPS. The difference was impressive on flat water. On smaller bumps, the SL was fun, but no more no less when comparing it with the Spark.

The Spark cut away is a big plus (I suspect more so for smaller paddler).
The narrower seating area of the Spark is probably the #1 reason I went with it.
The design of the Spark is (to me) nothing like the Mako Elite, or Elite SL - you'd have to be blind when placing the boats side by side and taking one look at the hull.

Overall, I find the Spark much slower on flat water (which is perfect for working on technique) yet, this is a boat that seems so fast on bumps that it's a keeper.

It "sounds" like the Elite S is faster on flat water… It would be very interesting to see the S compared side by side with the Spark. Perhaps the Elite S is a Spark for normal people (since so many of my friends do not even fit into my boat).

I'd love to see more info on the S though.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

5 years 10 months ago #22344 by Nige
Replied by Nige on topic Fenn Elite S
I've just taken delivery of the new Elite S, having previously owned the Glide, SL and Elite. I paddled a short 8km time trial on it, then my next paddle was a 40km offshore race in light conditions yesterday.

The Elite S is an update of the Elite, similar stability (maybe even more stable), with cutouts for the paddles, slightly lower nose and seat slightly further forward. The seat hump is also lower and I found it to be very comfortable over a 40km 3+ hour grind, more comfortable than the Elite.

I found it to be more responsive than the Elite, turns and steers beautifully and catches runs easily. So far I'm very happy with it, but I'm waiting to try it in some good downwind conditions.

Regarding the other skis, the Glide is more suited to flatter conditions, I found it wanting in big offshore downwinds and short steep waves, the SL was simply too unstable for me in big seas, had a tendency to wobble badly on the top of a wave as you tried to put power down. (Very low primary stability.) I haven't paddled the Spark, its too small for me, I'm 1.85m & 90kg, and it's designed for smaller lighter paddlers.
The following user(s) said Thank You: jrmac

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

5 years 10 months ago #22349 by Metro
Replied by Metro on topic Fenn Elite S
The Spark spawning from the Elite SL comes from a Fenn posting after the Spark was released. If you turn the boats over the similarities are obvious - the hulls are basically the same. Lots of rocker, very narrow, great in the runs. The Spark did get some nice cutaways however! As a smaller paddler I love the Spark. Have not yet paddles the Elite S.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

5 years 10 months ago #22371 by ElRicho
Replied by ElRicho on topic Fenn Elite S
Anyone got any Elite S pictures? Especially next to a spark or Elite?

Thanks in advance :)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

5 years 10 months ago - 5 years 10 months ago #22378 by Nige
Replied by Nige on topic Fenn Elite S
Pictures of Elite S next to an Elite, showing the main differences:

1. The most obvious difference is in the nose, the S has less volume and is straighter

2. The rudder on the S is slightly further forward and the S has an amazing steering response

3. The side cutouts are also a very notable feature, and the cockpit is further forward which can also be seen in the side view

4. The top view shows the cutouts and the more forward positioning of the cockpit on the S

5. Cockpit view, what is not noticeable is the lower hump in the S, which makes it a lot more comfortable and helps with leg drive
The following user(s) said Thank You: ElRicho

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

5 years 10 months ago #22379 by meridarcey
Replied by meridarcey on topic Fenn Elite S
Nige, thanks so much for the pics! From an ex Spark owner, current Glide owner. I have to say I'm super pumped about the Elite S. If it is like the glide with a bit more rocker and more stable. It's going to be brilliant!

The pics posted make it look like a Glide with a different sticker. At least the nose shot anyway. Would love to see it side by side next to a Spark! Anyone???

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

5 years 10 months ago #22380 by fredrik
Replied by fredrik on topic Fenn Elite S
Anyone out there who could tell the Fenn company that the surfski community of the world would like to head what the idea behind the Elite S is – compared to the Spark and Glide? I assume the Elite and the SL are history now.
Rob, please help these guys out.
Surfski manufacturers are a strange breed. They make a splendid effort to bring a superior product to the market, but refuse to update their websites with respective information and refuse inform the paddlers on the Worlds No 1 Forum (this site). The exception to this is probably Stew (thanks! - although the fade-away of the Legend was incredibly long and humorous to follow)
The following user(s) said Thank You: hamishglen

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics

Fenn Fennix Boats - any different? (26 Posts)

1 day 2 hours ago
zachhandler's Avatar

Epic v10g3 upgrade? (13 Posts)

1 day 5 hours ago
Protected by R Antispam