Help me choose my second surfski!

Earlier this summer I bought an Epic V6, which was my first boat of any kind. Took me abut 6 weeks to get good enough to realize I need a faster boat!

Now I’m looking at an Epic V8, V10 Sport, Stellar S18S, or Stellar SR. Also considering some of the Fenn boats.

My issue is that I live in Vermont, far from any dealer where I can demo anything easily, so I’d like to figure out what’s probably best for me before I do anything. Hoping some of you on this forum can help.

I’m 5’11" (180 cm) and 175 lbs (79 kg). 47 years old and fairly fit.

I will mostly use this boat on Lake Champlain, which they call the 6th great lake. I’m never going to race, it’s for exercise, but I enjoy speed. I’ve been out on the V6 for an hour or so almost every day this summer, and plan to keep it up in the new boat until the lake freezes over!

(As you can tell, I’ve totally gotten into this!)

Another thing to know is that I mostly row alone.

Which is what makes me a bit shy about a really tippy boat for an advanced beginner paddler in cold water. That said, I’d love a boat that will move fast in a straight line. I’m looking for a sense of gliding that I’m missing in the short V6. And I don’t want to buy another boat I will outgrow too fast.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

My 2 cents

– Last Updated: Sep-08-15 10:08 AM EST –

I'd take a look at the:
Think Ace or the
Think EVO II

I've owned an Epic V8 Ultra and an Ace in glass layup and surprisingly found the Ace to be faster, even in the heavier layup (which I also appreciated for durability).
The width seems a little narrower in front for a better catch. Surfs great too. It's one of my favorite boats in any class. Very good looking too.
The EVO is a great all arounder. Less stable than the Ace, but you'll be stable in no time. It's gonna be faster.

to add, we are very close in size, weight and age. Bucket fit will make a huge difference and is very personal.

I love the fit on the Thinks, but it is definitely worth sitting in a ski before you buy to get a good idea how it suits you.

And,after re reading your initial post (specifically your desire for glide), I would lean towards the EVO.

Thank you for these comments, going to give these a look!

Check Out This Free Ski Offer!!
If I was close by as you, I’d grab this ski right a way before someone else does?

I like the hull shape and it has good reviews. Don’t hesitate, the price is right, for maybe two tankfuls of gas?

Please please please don’t buy into that “stability before ability” sales pitch by dealers.

You’re doing exactly what they want you to do: keep going up the learning curve over and over.

How many times you want to keep going up, each time you buy a new ski?

Don’t be afraid, you paid your dues and have the gumption and perseverance to stick it out and tame the most tippy ski available. In my time and still today, the Fenn Mil is still the tippiest ski around. It took me 2 months and a thousand capsizes to master it, but I learned and was able to beat my nemesis using it, which I couldn’t do in my more so called stable skis.

A Fenn Glide would be perfect for your water or Think Uno, or newer generation Epic V10, Stellar SEL, or Huki S1X? Go For it… Buy the fastest ski available, master it, and you can paddle any ski after going up the learning curve only one more time.

How fast are you now?
Sometimes a faster boat is not that much faster. How far do you get in an hour in the V6?

I’m in a place where it is taking cross training, weights, classes, hard practices to go faster.

On the other hand, if the V6 is comfortable I’d stay will Epic and go up a couple notches to the V10 if you must get a faster boat.

I said I would never race…
…and now I do. Go with the V8,. you will find the V10 sport unstable, you would eventually get comfortable on the V10 but it would take a couple of seasons.

Great find!
The Legend will be a bit of a challenge the OP initially and probably more boat than he needs, but as a free boat, it will have to do and either develop his balance quickly or find a new home :wink:

Get the right fit, above all else

– Last Updated: Sep-09-15 9:27 AM EST –

I recommend you check with in ME. I've had very good experience buying a surfski from them

Bottom line is to get the best fitting ski, even if it is not the fastest - you will enjoy it much more for that. Unfortunately, fit is hard to figure out until after you've paddled for a few hours/times.

As for which ski - skip the V8, get something a bit more advanced. I'd get the V8 for my wife or a friend who is relatively new to paddling, but not for myself - I (and I think you) will outgrow it quickly. Yes, a nice ski, fun and stable, but is it the best for your needs? In terms of stability, the V8 is an advanced recreational-type or a rough-water type ski for an experienced paddler. While it will work well for fitness too, especially in the light layups, I think it is too stable and unnecessarily wide for flat water use where most people quickly adapt to it and feel they want "more". And the new crop of Epic skis in the Club and Performance layup are heavier than ideal at around 35lb, which may not sound like much, but once you have used lighter layups it is hard to go back.

All that said, if you do come across a used V8 at a reasonable cost, get it. It will help you advance your skills a bit over what the V6 can offer. It won't challenge you much, but will take your paddling a notch up. Then, if you decide you want "more", you can easily resell it, as there is always a demand for them from new paddlers.

The "free" Think Legend posted above will be a handful for you initially, but it will teach you balance ;-)

I would suggest you get something in the 30lb or less weight, and which is narrower than the V8 and a bit less stable. You can fit in the Think Eze, Big Eze (aka Ace), Think Evo II, Epic V10L etc.

I have the Eze and the V10 (not sport, regular; had the Sport before that). The V10 is 4 feet longer and 7lb heavier and as a result I prefer to take out the Eze for a quick fitness paddle outing. The Eze is also more stable, so I'm not worried if I get caught in conditions that would stretch my abilities in the V10. The Eze, being shorter, is more fun in wind-driven small waves, which are often too closely spaced for the longer skis to surf downwind. The V10 is better for surfing large boat wakes and longer-period waves. So there is no "perfect" ski for all occasions! The V10 is faster and more ergonomic to paddle, more rewarding the more power you put to the water (goes faster, the harder you paddle, where the Eze hits a ceiling sooner). But the Eze is easier to live with and still plenty fast for fitness paddling... Only issues with it - the bottom of the seat is not shaped properly and makes one slouch more than ideal (a seat pad helps with that, but loses stability); plus the drainage is poor but serviceable. It will be a bit faster than your V6, but lighter and more nimble. The steering is much more responsive and the width is narrower, so you can get more out of each stroke.

The V10 Sport is a great boat too, but you may find the seat a bit wide for your size (the current version has the smallest seat, which is still quite spacious and the two previous versions have increasingly bigger seats that are too-wide for most your size).

– Last Updated: Sep-09-15 10:39 AM EST –

All sound advice. I have to say that I'm falling into Clydhedlunds category.
I spend all my time on an elite level boat and really enjoy the challenge of keeping the boat upright in increasingly difficult conditions.
Also, the glide is unparalleled.
The time it took to get acclimated is on a curve. I found that it really only took a few weeks to get totally comfortable on flat water with pretty close to full power, but rough water will probably be an ongoing process.
That being said, I'm lucky enough to have a stable ski I use for days where conditions would be over my head in the elite ski. I am 100% pleased with my ski arrangement. Wouldn't change a thing.

Also, as Kocho said, my stable, shorter ski is perfect for other uses as well. I use it for light touring and surfing short set waves where the longer boat doesn't grab as well.
You didn't mention whether you would be holding onto your V6. If so, if it were me I'd jump pretty high up to an elite level boat and challenge yourself to grow into it.

One more consideration would be your balance. If it's pretty good, you'll be fine on an elite level boat, if not, you may want to go intermediate.

On the issue of weight, although you will go a very slight bit faster with carbon layup, it may not be worth it in the long run. You said you would not be racing, so the trade off would be extra money for a more delicate boat that will shave off a few seconds per mile. If not racing, I wouldn't worry about it. Additionally, the carbon boats can get damaged with just the lightest impacts. Then you're off to repair your hull.
At the end of the day, I'd rather diet down and lose an extra 3-5 lbs than pay an additional $1000-$2000 for a lighter, more delicate boat.

And let's be honest, most have about 3-5 lbs to work with.

Bought a Stellar SR!
Thanks for the advice everyone.

I got impatient now that I’d sold my original boat, and just bought a Stellar SR yesterday, with Wesley’s advice and Dave at Stellar’s help. Drove down and picked it up from his garage in Northfield, MA.

I decided to go up a step from the V8 or S18S, just don’t want to have to upgrade again for at least few years. I considered the the V10 Sport too, but it doesn’t fit in my garage :). I know that’s a terrible reason to make a choice like this, but the SR seemed just right for the next step for me, a bit more stable than the V10S (I’m told) but still a fast ski. Also like the stellar pedals better.

Took it out for the first time this morning and I’m proud to say I didn’t fall in. Went back and forth in a protected bay on Lake Champlain for an hour.

It’s super-stable once you get moving. I didn’t realize that skis are actually so much more stable at full power! It’s when you’re moving slow that it feels twitchy.

The initial fit is awesome. I’m 5’11" and 175lbs, and the bucket feels 95% right in just shorts. I may pad it up eventually, but with fall coming I’m going to leave it as is assuming that I’ll be wearing more clothing soon. This is the 2015 version, by the way, I’m told the bucket is much narrower and the boat faster than the original SR.

Much, much faster than my V6 anyway, this boat actually glides.

Very happy so far, but it’ll take another month to really know.

Thanks again for the advice!

Good choice - congrats!
Enjoy it! I only read good things about the new SR, though admittedly, there isn’t that much out there to read :wink:

Thanks Kocho. I guess I’d have to compare to know the difference, but I don’t think I have the skills yet to really know how the SR compares to other skis.

It’s sort of ironic, when you’re starting you have to guess a bit about what will work!

Bet You Trade It In For Stellar SES

– Last Updated: Sep-10-15 7:18 PM EST –

By July of next year? Congratulations anyway, for you made a decision and you immediately discovered the hushed up secret about surfskis: if it is unstable, it means you're not paddling fast enough.

For your kind of flat water, recommend you also check out those fast sit inside boats like the Mohican and that Westside boat that almost beat all the surfskis, except one, in this years Blackburn Challenge.

you should race
signing up for races is great motivator to train and they are a lot of fun.

As far as what boat, my first boat was a Epic V10sport,

my second boat is a Epic V10. This is the upgrade route almost everyone I know has taken with good success. Boats like the 10sport have a lot of stability and are fast enough to race. They also give you a lot of feedback on your stroke which is a good motivator to improve.

A lot depends on your natural balance and how much time you are willing to put in.

The 10sport is stable enough for most people with some athletic ability. The V8 is a first boat for most people.

The V8 is not much of step up and not worth the upgrade. I would look at a V10sport, Think evo, or Stellar SR or SEI.