Wondering (as I develop my one arm doggy-paddle swimming stroke toward shore) if anyone has tried successfully to modify the Speedster to improve stability. Is lowering the seat a feasible option? At what angle should my knees be flexed for optimal control? I have no boat building/modifying experience but I’d rather attempt a change than have a boat I can’t enjoy. I’m having fits on flat water. Hat’s Off to those of you who truly surf ski!
Get a Fenn Mako XT or Huki S1-R
Speedster is notoriously tippy, even among ski paddlers.
Instability is an asset
First, you should consider the instability of your boat as an asset not a liability, so if you have been paddling the Speedster only for a short while stick to it; sooner or later, you’ll master it. Even though the speedster is not fastest boat available, I have seen paddlers go very fast with it.
Your knees should be “pretty” flexed, and at the beginning, it might cause cramps, but that’s ok with a couples of short paddle it will go away.
If after a while (long while) you still feel that lowering the seat is needed. Go for it, but you might need to take the cockpit out to do so. It won’t be easy and you should use carbon and epoxy as material not to increase it weight unnecessary.
PS: If you put your hydration system inside the hull, its weight will also increase stability.
fat bag stow hatches
Can help lower the ski’s center of gravity, offering mores stability. Plus you have some storage and inspection ports as a bonus. It is also easier to keep the inside drier.
try relaxing in the boat
if you have to, get wet first thing so it's no longer on your mind. try to get out on the water every day during the learning stage, even if it's just for 30 minutes or less. spend 10 or more minutes sitting in shallow water with no paddle doing things like trying to touch your opposite toes or reaching back along side the boat or going through your stroke without the paddle. focus on your breathing not the instability. try to turn your head to each side so you can see the back of the boat and count to 10. Do anything to help you get a feel for the boat. Force yourself to do this for several weeks and it should start feeling better. plus you get a feel for how much your paddle adds to your stability, and how to trust your paddle.
accept no substitute. you’ve just got to spend lots of time in the boat. i assume you are using a wing- if not you should be. lots of built in brace in the wing stroke. when you feel like you are going over, try paddling harder rather than throwing a brace stroke. having said all that, the “tipster” is a notoriously tough boat, and you might eventually want to trade it for something more foregiving. but, like ice said, put the time in to learn to use this boat, and you will come out ahead in the end. have fun.
I bought a Speedster 3 weeks ago, was told it would take 3 weeks to begin feeling comfortable with it. I’m almost there, it may take me 4 or 5. Almost every day for the past 3 weeks I have tried minicell foam padding just about everywhere to increase contact with the boat for more stability, even tried thigh straps. I used velcro tape on the foam padding so I could move and remove it easily and try a lot of combinations. Finally found the secret for me - hip pads. I didn’t think I had room for them in the narrow seat pan, but when I added about 3/4 inches on each side near the top, my control increased dramatically. Also put some small foam blocks at my heels to help keep my toes away from the rudder pedals. I’m 6’3" and 220#, was beginning to think it wasn’t designed for me, then all of a sudden everything clicked. Hang in there!
I flounder in a Speedster also. But by inserting 2 sections of logging chain (6lbs. each in a nylon cover)into the access port in the center well the boat loses just enough of its ‘twitchyness’ for me to correct BEFORE falling in. One section will fit on either side of the center pillar inside the acess port and provide sufficiant ballast for me to paddle without swimming. Give it a try and good luck!
Double edged sword
You are right. I notice if I worry about getting wet, I’m much more rigid and less able to “feel the boat”. On the other hand if I get in a groove and start day dreaming … splash! As long as I concentrate on my technique and use my arms and legs in sync, I’m usually fine. When I try to “hammer”, the boat works as a good trainer to show me how assymetrically I must be “powering”. Thanks for the tips on getting a feel for the boat. Limited time leads to rushed and often ineffective training.
another thing which someone (Andrew?) told me when I was learning was to trust the boat and it’s stability. Even though it seems like there’s none, if you trust that the boat doesn’t want to be upside down it can help you glide right through wakes and chop. So instead of fighting every little bit of chop or trying to actively compensate for every wobble just go forward even if you end up riding on your rails for a few strokes. It helped me alot, especially in side chop.
not your fault
Notoriously full of useless speed. These sell cheap and it is such a bad boat that it hurt my chances of buying anything Mr Barton would design.
What about your 6 hour round trip to demo the V10? Here I was hoping to buy your Tbolt! It was an impressive showing in Warren for the new Epic ski - retrofitted flip-up rudder and all. I’ve been considering the Endurance to stay away from you big guns in the unlimited class. It seemed to have a pretty good showing at nationals. Any imput on these?