Sanjay/West Side EFT


In a post back in Sept. '02 I noticed you mentioned you might get an EFT for the Blackburn.

I’m curious: Did you get it and if so, I’d be interested in your assessment of this boat.

I bought an EFT last year and love the boat. I use it for long aerobic workouts on SF Bay and Tomales Bay here in northern CA. I have not raced it.

I especially like the EFT’s ease of paddling; the powerful racing paddling position; and the way it surfs through the bay chop under power - due in part to Bushnell’s signature “battleship” bow design and the precise responsive control afforded by the understern rudder. If I want to go a long distance with maximal efficiency and paddling enjoyment - but still work hard for the aerobic effect - the EFT is my choice.

P.S. I paddled a West Side Exceed over the summer and found it faster but less stable than the EFT - an unambiguous speed/stability tradeoff here. Bushnell says the stability of the Exceed is the same as his Thunderbolt, but he claims the T-bolt is 20 sec./mile faster. Based on having gotten comfortable with the Exceed on flat water and somewhat so in light conditions, I ordered a T-Bolt. But right now, since there is a large difference between the conditions I can handle in the EFT vs. the Exceed, I conclude that I’ll have my work cut out for me getting used to the T-Bolt.


Hi Ferd,
I did own an EFT briefly, and found it fast and fun to paddle, as you say. I decided I liked the handling of my Spitzbergen (by P&H) better, and also felt that it might be unfair to use an ultralight boat like the EFT in the touring division of the Blackburn (although another paddler did, and won with it year before last). Doug makes terrific boats, but I decided for my next boat to try to develop my balance skills, so I got a surfski in June, which I’m enjoying quite a bit so far. Doug was entirely gracious about taking my EFT back.

Enjoy your boat!


for the reply, Sanjay.

I hope you are enjoying your ski as much as I enjoy my EFT.

Regards, Ferd

hey, I did the same thing. i was shopping for

Thanderbolt, tried it and desided to get surf ski instead.

had a tbolt and sold it
to buy a ski. much more fun.


ski vs. traditional kayak
Water temperature here in northern CA where I paddle is in the 50s year-round. For this reason I have always chosen sit-ins that give maximal protection. Maybe in warmer water it might be different.


I am in Nor.Cal.too - Monterey.

You have to dress for immersion anyway,

but in the ski you don’t get hot.

Most S.skiers here do not use wetsuits - just Hydro-pants and Mysterioso shirt.

Clime on in 10-30 sec. after capsize, no skirt,

pump, float, piss bottle, 4 float bags, spare paddle, no jetty to put in (or scratch bottom), washing in and out after capsize, no learning to roll - all that in 25-30 lb. package!

I just wish Doug would’ve made a surf ski for

a change.

Surf ski VS T-bolt
After paddling my t-bolt for 4 months now and surf skis for years. Here are some of my thoughts

In most condtions the t-bolt is much faster. It surfs small waves fantastic. large waves it pearls and shoots off to the side surf skis are much better. Going into wind the boats are very comparable.It is mostly the moter there. Since I live in the lake ontario my ski season is very short but enjoyable.

Anyone know of any open water races here in the North east this fall?


Mako vs T-bolt

– Last Updated: Sep-10-04 10:46 AM EST –

You might be faster in your T-bolt than on your Ski might be because you like it the most. However, reces result show something else while coparing the T-Bolt with Skis:

BlackBurn 2001

Ed Joy, Mako, 2:40
Timothy Dwyer, T-Bolt, 2:46
Gap 6 minutes

BlackBurn 2002

Joe Glickman, Fenn Mako, 2:48
Timothy Dwyer, T-Bolt, 2:52
Gap 4 minutes

BlackBurn 2003

Ben Lawry, Fenn Mako, 2:49
Brian Health, T-Bolt, 3:02
Gap: 13 minutes

BlackBurn 2004
Joe Glickman, Fenn Mako, 2:42
Brian Heath, T-Bolt, 2:45
Gap: 3 minutes

For the last four BlackBurn's, I am comparing the fastest Surf Ski and the fastest T-Bolt.


The motor

Porbably they would be as fast in t-bolt or faster. It is the motor. using a speedmate on both boats a t-bolt and speedster. about for me 15 seconds doing mile repeats. It is not as great over the longer races. with wash riding and slower pace. Except for really big water iam faster in my t-bolt.


Yes, the motort, but

– Last Updated: Sep-09-04 3:26 PM EST –

The Speedster is an old model that neither Barton races nor is the fastest ski available.

You said, that the T-Bolt was faster than Surf Ski (in general). You did not say that T-Bolt was faster than Speedster.

I wound not want to waste time in a discussion such as "Ford Vs. Chevy." However, data does not lie. In most races where T-Bolts race again top Surf Skis such as Fenn Mako or Mako Pro, the skis keep the lead.


alls right with surfskis
Sorry Ferd, but a surfski over an EFT in Northern California is the way to go. Come to the US surfski championship in San Francisco on the 18th (see website) and see Greg Barton and 60 other’s paddle surfskis (i’m lucky to be going this year) for the best race in the US, promoting surfskis. California is doing more for the recognition of these fine boats then anywhere else. We who have taken the chance, have found the boats to be safe and fast and a lot less hassle with gear and such, to our overall enjoyment.

Mark W.

Sag Harbor

Sorry? Don’t be.

If you go back and read my original post, above, you will see I am not a racer. As I stated, I paddle for aerobic benefit. I am more interested in stability than pure speed (don’t get me wrong - speed is great and I do value and enjoy it.)

For me, the EFT does it all: it is fast; stable (I have yet to capsize in it) and it protects me from the cold water better than a ski. Plus, it paddles very easily and is not lacking in the fun department. And of course, it gives me the aerobic benefit I seek from the sport.

So I guess the bottom line (other than de gustibus) is that, unlike yourself, I am not advocating one form of boat over another, but merely expressing my personal preference. Sort of like apples and oranges.

Anyway, enjoy the upcoming ski races - watching Barton et al. should be a treat. BTW I hope to talk to Greg at the upcoming Paddlefest from 9/25-26 at Coyote Point (not sure if he’ll be there though.)

Regards, Ferd

I didn’t mean to come on too strong about the ski, if I did, excuse me. I am getting a kayak (sit in) for the very reason of colder temps here in the north east, as they do offer warmth from the wind and elements. My impression on California is that is warmer year round and the need is not as prevalent. There is a surfski called the Mako xt, which would be stable, fast for aerobic conditioning, and safe as it cannot fill up with water. Head to head with the EFT, its greatest asset is its narrow paddle entry point, which promotes more rotation. Rotation in aerobic fitness is important not just for speed, but for less stress on shoulder joints and wrists. I have had far less aches and pains since learning how to paddle in racing form and put in twice is much time as I did when I paddled heavy wide kayaks

I want to see more skis on the water for my own selfish reason that I will have more people to paddle with, but I think there is a real lack of understanding about them in the paddling community, so I try and put in a word about them here and there. Some people like all the gear and stuff that go with a kayak, The surfski strips away the gear. I have to dress for the water with a ski, some kayakes don’t.

I hope it didn’t sound like a put down of the EFT in my previous post. The EFT is a very popular, should I say, "racing boat " here in the east. It is perhaps one of the fastest boats in the touring class, and wins a lot of races. Bushnell boats from what I can tell are built real well and have earned much respect as an innovative and excellent boat design. Doug B. is a true leader in a sport that has so much of the same thing and not enough of new design.

EFT, a Racing Boat!
The EFT is a racing boat without a doubt!

Due to changes in the USCA touring category. It is the boat!

I don’t think anyone tried to put down such a winning boat. (EFT)

However, accoring to races results, the T-Bolt is generally slow than top surf skis.

Hey Ferd, don’t tell me that you paddle an EFT for touring porpuses :smiley:



the venturesport “dolphin” be the right ski to use for touring porpoises?

(just teasing…)


Yes, and the Mako XT, as well…

– Last Updated: Sep-14-04 8:16 AM EST –

However, not everyone exactly follows the USCA rules, which for Touring says, "any single kayak, sit-on-top, or surfski with a maximum overall length of 20', and a 4" waterline beam of at least 18"

Therefore, someone might want to race a Dolphin or XT in the BlackBurn touring category and won't be allowed.

For The Nationals, it will be ok.


Let me clarify: I did not say I paddle the EFT for touring. I mentioned I use it for long aerobic workouts - quite a different proposition as I’m sure we will agree. Other than racing (for those interested) I imagine we might also agree that aerobic training, not touring per se, is one of the best uses of the EFT. (For the record, I think much of the “aerobic” paddling I do in the EFT is at essentially what would be a racing effort if I were officially racing the boat.)

You mentioned that the EFT is classified as a racing kayak under the USCA definition which specifies a 4" waterline beam of 18".

I never heard, and do not know, what the 4" waterline beam of the EFT is. The designer specs it at 17" but at 3" above keel, not 4". May I therefore assume someone other than the designer has determined that the 4" waterline beam of the EFT places it within the racing class according to USCA? (Not that it matters to me since I do not race the boat.)

Regardless of where the EFT falls under USCA, I believe this boat is properly regarded as a detuned racing kayak. As you may know, it retains all of the features of the designer’s racing boats, but gains 2" in both overall beam and 3" waterline beam resulting in increased volume and greater stability compared to his racing boats. I consider this detuned racing boat approach to the design of the EFT both innovative and successful since in my opinion the EFT is much better suited for high-performance use in large conditions than its racing brethren.

Regards, Ferd

High performance use
in large conditions is exactly what surfskis are all about. It’s great that you enjoy your boat, but there are a lot of ski paddlers in your area who find their boats also to be perfectly suitable.

Yes, this is certainly true,
given the Blackburn results, especially considering that Tim Dwyer is a National marathon champion–in other words, the T-bolt was getting the best “motor” available in those comparisons (not that Ed Joy and Joe Glickman are in any sense slow! My best time for the Blackburn loop is 3:18, in a fast touring kayak–if I can get under 3:10 in my new surfski I’ll be thrilled).