First Pre-production Nordic Kayaks Fusion Skis (Sweden)

Saturday, 10 October 2009 06:28 | Written by 
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A few months ago we posted an article on a new surfski designed by Nordic Kayaks in Sweden. Notable was the innovative hardtop option, designed to keep the paddler dry during winter paddling when the water approaches freezing point.

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The ski has finally reached production and Fredrik Lindstrom sent us some photos and information.

Lindstrom said that the first batches of skis are destined for local buyers but they expect to start exporting in 2010.

Nordic Kayaks website is at http://www.nordickayaks.se/  

Our design thoughts about the Fusion

The Fusion is designed for the colder Nordic water and weather conditions that are most common here. We wanted to have the benefit of a surfski, where you easily could climb back but also the possibility to sit dry when the water temperatures are below "comfort".  In the fall '08 we contacted the Swedish kayak designer Bjorn Thomasson; Bjorn has a lot of experience from designing kayaks for ocean use, and asked him for help with the hull design and the hydrodynamic calculations. We started trying different surfskis on the market and came up with some parameters that we wanted to focus on for our Nordic surfski:

  • High stability/speed ratio
  • A positive seating position, i.e. with the paddler sitting in a more upright position
  • Seaworthy for our Nordic conditions (2 meter coast waves)
  • Less rocker, more directional stability
  • Lower nose (less volume), less exposed in windy conditions
  • Possibility to use a spray skirt to sit dry in the cockpit
  • Lower cockpit rails, easy to remount
  • A draining system that could be closed to minimize the turbulence
  • A solid foot plate that allows good leg drive/power  
  • Some storage compartments for light packing
  • Easy to switch between ocean rudder and kick up type rudder 
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CAD Design Processing

After a couple of month's computer calculations we built the first prototype hull that was tested during the winter 2008. With some more hydrodynamic tweaking in Bjorn's computer we were very satisfied with the combination of stability and surprisingly high speed.

At the same time we were thinking of how to solve every other parameter and in particular how to use a spray skirt and also make it smart and easy enough for a serial production.  During this process we got in contact with the well known Swedish boat builder Marström Composite and quickly reached an agreement regarding building the Fusion. If Marström could manufacture parts for the "Volvo ocean race" boats, we thought that they would be skilled enough to build the Fusion.

Hardtop

Together with them and their knowledge about carbon products we found the final solution- a hardtop mounted over the surfski cockpit!

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This actually gave us two different boats out of one model, a regular surfski or a hybrid ski with a cockpit rim allowing you to be dry and safe all the year around. The opening on the hardtop is 110 cm long and designed so that it is easy to remount in to the cockpit. 

Single piece footplate and rudder pedals

The foot plate and steering system is something we have been testing a lot and we believe we have come up with an innovative new design: the whole footplate is in one piece with the pedals/steering section made in a thinner carbon laminate allowing them to flex,  just so much you need to get full steering potential.  You can push hard with your legs without any unnecessary steering and the pedals straighten automatically when not pressed, making it easy to stay on course.

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Autoclave

Marström Composite in Västervik Sweden, the builder of our Fusion ski, is the world leader of developing pre-preg carbon hulls and spare parts to the sailing and flight industry using autoclave technique. An autoclave is a big own that heats up the pre-preg carbon fibers to an optimal temperature around 125 degrees under 6 bars vacuum pressure making the material harder and stronger than normal procedures.

Pre-preg carbon means that the carbon fiber is pre-filled with epoxy to ensure the perfect mix of epoxy and carbon fiber, about 30% epoxy and 70% fibers. This makes the material extremely light and very strong compared with hand laid-up or vacuum infused laminate where the mix of fibers and epoxy at the best is 60% epoxy and 40% fibers. This makes the laminate heavier and not as strong and flexible as the pre-preg laminate. It is comparable with building a house with less reinforcement and more concrete. You don't get the full potential of the material!

Marström is using female moulds that are perfectly matched together allowing them to join the hull and deck together with a very special and strong method that leaves no trace on the outside, only a flat surface of carbon laminate.

All kayaks are sprayed with transparent varnish that protect the fibers from UV light and gives it that cool jaded carbon look.

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Layup Options

Fusion can be made in several different carbon lay ups depending on how the boat is going to be used (this might change a little bit)

Elite lay up

Pre-preg carbon layers with the right mix of fibers in different directions to achieve the right stiffness at the right places with minimal weight. Core material of Nomex makes it possible to use less laminate and still get a very stiff hull. This is for race use only and should be handled with care and not hit hard sharp object. Weight... very light!

Standard lay up

Pre-preg carbon layers with the right mix of fibers in different directions to achieve the right stiffness at the right places with minimal weight. Smart placed Nomex stringers makes the hull stiff and strong. This lay-up is best suited for ocean kayaking.

Weight around 11 kg.

Multi lay up

Pre-preg carbon layers with the right mix of fibers in different directions to achieve the right stiffness at the right places with minimal weight. Extra laminate instead of Nomex stringers makes the hull very strong and flexible. Suits you who wants an all round kayak. Weight around 13 kg.

Facts Fusion

  • Producer: Nordic Kayaks www.nordickayaks.se
  • Design: Björn Thomasson & Fredrik Lindström www.thomassondesign.com
  • Manufacture: Marström Composite AB in Sweden  www.marstrom.com 
  • Length: 625 cm
  • Width: 43 cm
  • Rudder: hydrodynamic ocean rudder or /and  kick up type 
  • Steering: new innovative pedal steering , one piece plate
  • Hatches: 3- back deck, cockpit and front deck
  • Draining system: Andersen self bailer
  • Weight: 8- 13 kg
  • Material: pre- preg carbon in different lay-up options
  • Options: regular surfski or hybrid ski with hardtop
  • Hardtop: opening 110 x 41 with cockpit rim for spray skirt (recommended to be permanent mounted) 
  • Standard set up:  as a surfski with self bailer, ocean rudder and one hatch in the cockpit
  • Price: approximately 3200 Euro, standard set up
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What's it like to paddle?

Paul Rosenquist wrote a piece for the Global Paddling website:

http://globalsurfski.se/2009/10/02/test-paddling-the-fusion/

Check out the rest of the site by the way - there's a bunch of good stuff on there...  Peter Ekström is a rabid paddler and highly active webmaster!

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