Relative Stability of the Futura Blade?

7 years 11 months ago #13036 by seamonkey
Hi, I'm new to surfski paddling. I've been wanting to paddle a ski for a long time, and found a great deal on a Blade. I've paddled it a few times now, and my sense of balance is improving.

The question: is the Blade considered a Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced ski? I really don't know much about it, other than I like the challenge of learning to paddle it. I'm learning on a 19 mile, warm, freshwater lake and look forward to some distance paddling for fitness.

I have a long history with my four other kayaks, and the Blade is the narrowest boat that I've paddled. I'm trying to quantify my experience, so I have a point of reference to other skis.

Thanks!

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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7 years 11 months ago #13083 by Steve Hansen
Hi, I paddled a blade for several years until the Huki S1-X arrived.In it's day the Blade was an intermediate level ski with intermediate stability.Most serious racers would be found on Fenn skis which were pretty twitchy.If all you are doing is paddling on flat water the Blade will be fine.If you find yourself down the line wanting to do serious ocean paddling, you would want to upgrade to one of the newer designs.They just handle so much better in challenging conditions.Hope this helps.BTW my carbon Blade was very well made (no stress fractures)but a tad heavy.I think it weighed 32 pounds with adjustable pedals. -Steve H.

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7 years 11 months ago #13084 by 1xsculler
I weighed and almost bought a $300 glass Blade. It weighed 34 # with adjustable length, if I remember correctly, about 2 # less when removed. I went with a Huke S1-x for 4 x the $ instead. I'm limping along in the Huki but enjoying the challenge. I suppose the Blade would be just as much of a challenge. The 24 # Huki is an easy carry to the water.

current skis: SES Ultra. sculling boats: Fluidesign Lwt, Wintech, Empacher.

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7 years 11 months ago #13088 by nell
I spent time in the older and newer versions of the blade, i.e. models from about '97 for the older one and '01 for the newer more rockered version. Both are fairly tippy boats and I'd say that when you're comfortable in the blade, you'll be fine in the other racing skis like the V10, Fenn elite, etc. So, I'd say it's an advanced ski balance-wise, but intermediate speed-wise.

When you move up to the newer skis that all have a single footwell, you'll see why noone makes double footwell skis anymore - they're much less comfortable. Once upon a time we all raved about the Blade, and then the millenium . . . But, the newer skis are much better overall on flat and bumpy water. The older blade had a pretty good turn of speed on the flat but was rubbish in the bumps. The opposite can be said about the newer Blade which had a top end of about 8.0 mph when it "ran into a wall". But, if you're enjoying the Blade, stick with it and get your skills and then buy a more comfy Epic, Think, Fenn, etc. Erik

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7 years 11 months ago - 6 years 10 months ago #13089 by seamonkey
Awesome, I appreciate the feedback.

I had wanted to paddle a ski and this boat showed up a great time for me. I'm guessing that I have a more modern rockered version. Is Futura still in business? There's a serial number laminated into the hull near the right side of the stern.

Glad to know that the balance is intermediate to advanced, that's kind of where I thought it was. I'm doing some work with the balance ball. :lol:

I assumed there would be a learning curve to whichever ski I bought. Given time and practice, the Blade should get me ready for a modern ski, should I decide to upgrade.

Thanks for all the replies!

Rainer Lang

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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7 years 10 months ago #13192 by seamonkey
Well, I've been getting out for a few more practice sessions. On Saturday I felt confident with balance and worked on my stroke with my new Epic Mid-Wing paddle. Experimented with the rudder and swam. On Sunday I felt unstable and tentative. There were some 2' boat wakes on the lake where I paddle. I felt uneasy and put my feet down for stability a lot.

Seems like one step forward, two steps back? Has anyone else experienced this? Where one day seems much better than the the day after? I'll keep working it out until I have it. It feels like I just need to keep spending time in the bucket...

Rainer Lang

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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7 years 10 months ago #13193 by 1xsculler
I'm having about the same experience as you are, i.e. one day is better or worse the the previous but I am making progress in my Huki S1-X. I go out almost every day sometimes for ten or fifteen minutes and sometimes for forty-five minutes. If I ice my shoulder after every session it remains calm. If I don't ice it it starts aching later in the day. I'm trying to sit up straight or with a little forward lean and with a little arch in my lower back which is tiring.

current skis: SES Ultra. sculling boats: Fluidesign Lwt, Wintech, Empacher.

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7 years 9 months ago #13852 by mtnsutton
Well glad to hear I am not the only one having fun on an old blade. My usual Saturday haunt is a windy lake, 13 mile loop, and lots of boat chop.Two to three hours in the morning is about all I can take. Took me about 20 trips out to gain confidence but I still look up and see my boat about every other trip! :silly: Have fun figuring it out. I find the best way to overcome the chop is to find a part of it I can ride as an assist and it tends to flatten out the other crud.

Creativity Cures Complacency

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7 years 9 months ago #13853 by seamonkey
I've been doing a lot of practice with a balance ball. It seems to be working.

Last Friday I did a 3 hour paddle in smooth to glassy conditions WITHOUT SWIMMING! The mantra was: trust the boat, trust the paddle. A couple of powerboats came by me running pretty hot, so I just put my feet down and braced, until their wakes passed. I can tell that my paddle technique still needs work, it feels like I'm finally getting it. I definitely need to start the catch more forward, and pull out well before my hip.

Saturday was all about skill building; mainly steering with the rudder, and of course remounting! I also worked on spinning the Blade in circles linking sweep strokes. I believe that I'm finding the secondary stability of the hull. Handling wakes and waves will present new challenges.

To me the Blade is a challenge, one of the first real challenges that I've had in paddling for some time.

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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7 years 3 weeks ago - 7 years 3 weeks ago #17820 by seamonkey
OK, fast forward 9 months. I've been out on the Blade for many sessions. I'm still not comfortable in close period chop; the boat wakes and reflected waves in the lake where I paddle. I swim less but I'm still bracing and don't feel that I can really "power on" with my paddle. I'm still dropping my feet when it gets bouncy.

I took a surfski class with a local expert. In the class I paddled an Epic V10 Sport, I really liked the ski. The fit was very good and it has perceptible secondary stability. I could certainly grow into it, stability wise.

I also paddled an Epic V8; my impression after trying the V10 Sport was that is very stable, kayak-like in a good way. I feel that I could take the V8 anywhere...

My dilemma is: do I give up on the Blade and move up to something else? How long does it take to gain comfortable stability in a ski?

Epic makes beautiful skis, but WOW, I'm going to have to scratch up a lot of cash to make that purchase. I'm all for giving something the College Try, but I want to log some distance and enjoy paddling. Right now the Blade is only comfortable for me in fairly flat water.

The Epics that I paddled were 2013 models; is it worth considering older models of the V10 Sport or the V8, if they show up on the used market? Or are the 2013s that much better than previous models?

What to do?

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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7 years 3 weeks ago #17822 by zachhandler
Old models of the sport and v8 are awesome boats. Get a used one if you can. A used think evo or fenn swordfish or xt are also excellent. You will be way faster in a more stable boat and have much more fun.

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7 years 3 weeks ago #17834 by seamonkey
Thanks for the advice. Yes I'm sure even an older Epic will be more user friendly; hopefully I avoid sticker shock!

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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7 years 2 weeks ago #17868 by Fath2o
I own a Think, Epic and have/had two Fenn's. South Africa and China are a long way away from California. Once you buy one you own it and any defects it has. Stick with Huki. Jude is great. He stands behind his products and I believe you'll be much happier in the long run. My next boat will be an S-1 XL. Just waiting for the cash.
Don't get me wrong, Daryl at Think is awesome, really helped me out with defects and repairs on an EVO I bought used. Beyond expectations!
Epic helped me with some info on a used V-10 and sent me new decals after restoring the boat due to a bazillion pin holes. Kinda had that sinking feeling every time I paddled it. Bought two new Fenns, probably wouldn't buy another one. Defects and disappointments are to long to list. Seam cracked on Elite first week of paddling reseller basically said too bad.
Although, I have to admit there are some great deals out there on craigslist. They are all good performing boats these days with so many awesome choices. The longer you wait the more new models will be coming on the used market.
Good luck and try before you buy!
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7 years 2 weeks ago - 7 years 2 weeks ago #17885 by seamonkey
While I'm saving up for possibly getting a new ski: I've returned to the premise that I'm the problem, not necessarily the ski.

I've been doing research and the topic of genetic balance potential has come up. Clearly, some folks have really good balance, I always thought that I did well enough, I taught myself to ride a unicycle. I'm trying to improve my balance skill to whatever my potential is.

The balance ball is a great exercise; I ran across this homemade device in another forum and just finished the build. It was very inexpensive (< $15.00 US) and easy to do. Once the wood glue dries I'll report back. I used an 18" round as it is closer to the dimension of the Blade. I also butted the long axis beam inside the rockers, as I don't have power tools other than a drill here.


Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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7 years 2 weeks ago #17886 by Steve Hansen
Just read your post (Ok, fast forward 9 months).If after 9 months paddling the Blade and with a background in paddling, you still aren't feeling stable, it's my feeling it ain't ever going to happen. BTW, you never told us how old you are or what you weigh? These can be big factors in stability. I would move on, I really think you would be so much happier and a lot more stable in something like a Huki 'R' and probably faster.

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7 years 2 weeks ago #17887 by seamonkey
I'm 52, 185lbs.

I'm thinking I'll do the balance trainer for a while anyway. The Blade is at a vacation house, we don't get there often enough....

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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7 years 2 weeks ago - 7 years 2 weeks ago #17903 by mtnsutton
Well, finally sold my carbon blade and am now in a Think Legend. Stability is very comparable except the hard chine on the legend seems to catch with a firm secondary stability at about 15 degrees of lean. At that point in the Blade I would have been swimming! Some chop is easier and some harder. overall probably slightly more stable. definitely faster! Good luck with your search for a new boat.
By the way, 53, 195 lb., 6'

Creativity Cures Complacency
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7 years 1 week ago #17905 by seamonkey
Sorry, but I'm not seeing a PM function on this board.

mtnsutton, I'm really interested what your experiences with the Blade were? How long did you paddle it; how much practice before you were comforable? Where did you paddle?

I'm reluctant to give up; considering the time I've invested, yet I want to work on fitness and distance. I also have the carbon lay-up and love the light weight. It would cost some serious cash to buy something comparable in construction.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the ski, it's just a question if I can match my ability to the ski.

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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7 years 1 week ago #17906 by mtnsutton
2-3 years
every weekend and still got wet about every third outing, usually while trying to come int to the dock at the end of a 2-3 hr paddle.
Silverwood Lake, 10 to 13 mile loop to follow the shoreline.

Creativity Cures Complacency

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6 years 11 months ago #18134 by seamonkey
I've been working on balance, paddling the Blade when I can, and reading surfski reviews where ever I can find them. I'm seeking guidance on my next ski.

My current plan is to upgrade to either an Epic V8 or a Huki S1R.

Has anyone paddled these two skis, and can offer a comparison/contrast? I've paddled the V8, really liked it, but new the price is out of reach. I have not paddled a Huki S1R, the reviews are very favorable.

Periodically, used V8s do show up, as do used Hukis. At my price point used is where I'm looking....

Thanks!

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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