July Surfski Northwest Update
Summer has arrived and we’re well into July with an amazing stretch of weather extending into the foreseeable future. This month will bring the two best downwind races of the years; Wildside Relay & US Champs. Get ready for downwind action!
I’ve been super excited about the performance of the new Fenn Spark & Glide as elite level single surfskis. The Spark is for paddlers less than 170 lbs & it has been incredible watching smaller paddlers get hooked on this new design. I was very excited when I got my hands on a Spark, and though I’ve spent considerable time in both the Spark & the Glide in all sorts of conditions, I’m thrilled to have a surfski that is made for smaller folks. I’ve always thought it doesn’t make sense for lighter folks to paddle the same boat as paddlers who outweigh me by 20-60lbs. Slalom, whitewater, and sprint racing kayaks all have designs tailored for different size paddlers, so it’s great of have a top performing elite surfski come out with two sizes.
Feedback from happy paddlers who have demoed & purchased a Glide or Spark has been simply incredible. I’ve been told numerous times the superior designs, unmatched quality construction, and unbeatable price point make the Fenn Spark & Glide easy choices as the leading elite surfski on the market.
The cynic comes out in me whenever I read about a new boat being x% faster. Hull speed tests & distance time trials can only be precisely replicated on flatwater, thus most of these tests are done in flatwater. Though flatwater speed is important to an extent, we paddle surfskis – so in my opinion I really only care about performance in mixed and downwind condition. In the slop, these designs are stable and it’s easy to keep applying the power, but the Spark & the Glide are defined by how it eats up downwind conditions – simply an animal! I find the boats are able to out perform any other ski I’ve paddled, yet the boats are stable and amazing at holding aggressive surfing angles in rough conditions.
As a comparison for you flatwater tight lycra junkies, last year I was able to pull a 7.8 mile result in the hour o’power test (dead flat conditions, no wind, no current) in the Fenn Elite SL. Two weeks ago I was able to hammer out an 8.05 on the Spark. I’d like to think I’m quicker this year – but over 3% – it’s got to be the boat. But, as mentioned earlier, the make or break decision point for surfskis should be in rough & downwind conditions. As much as I’ve been impressed with the incredible performance of the Spark & Glide in flat conditions, I’m blown by its overall performance in mixed and downwind conditions. The boat in stable (yes, width under 17″ & stable!), holds amazingly aggressive surfing angles, and is quick at leapfrogging waves & maneuver in big mixed conditions.
One customer just summarized Fenn quality by saying “you know what you’re getting when you buy a Fenn, consistently top quality product, light & strong, made to last”
The new hybrid lay-up has been hugely popular in the Pacific Northwest this year. Coming in at around 26 lbs, this construction combines bomber strong construction with a light boat that rips up the racecourse & is unbeatable on downwind runs. The carbon lay-ups have been coming in at (or under) 23lbs and is nothing less than a speed machine.
Reality of life that price is an important factor. Plain & simple, here are the numbers:
|Vac Glass 31lbs $2500||Performance 34lbs $2795||Performance 34lbs $2595|
|Vac Hybrid 26 lbs $2900
||Ultra 27.5 lbs $3795||——|
|Vac Carbon 23 lbs $3900
||Elite 24l lbs $5095||Elite 28lbs $3395|
Please feel free to contact me with any product related questions. The new shipment of Fenn’s arrives any day, please contact me ASAP if you are interesting in reserving one of the few last boats from this shipment.
Hope to see you on the water!