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Anyway - to get to what is important.
in order of how fast the boats are (in a 5 mile race on flat water with a 175 pound intermediate paddler )
1. Fenn Mellennnium 2. Fenn Mako 6 3. Huki S1-X tied with Westside Marauder 4. Wave Exceed 5. Missle
in a 5 mile race with chop
1. Wave Exceed 2. Marauder tied with Huki S1-X 3. Missle 3. Mako 6 4. Fenn Millenium
i did not include the cleaver because i still cannot paddle it without bracing every 4 strokes.
in terms of comfort, i like the seating position in the S1-X, about as much as the Fenn Mako 6. both of those skis seem to fit me. the Fenn Millennium was a disaster for me in that i would lose a lot of skin in a long race. The S1-X is good looking (mine is used and has very nice paint/graphics). the hardware is first rate and it is very very ez to change rudders.
I am pleased with this ski. hope to do some ocean racing with it some day.
My only complaint of the boat (and it may just be personal), is the seating position. I prefer the V10,V12 Mako 6 and Think Evo cockpits. The S1X feels to be paddling up hill. I have heard this from other paddlers as well. I have also heard the S1x special is improved here. Mine is a fixed dual foot well that is a tiny too big for me, and my calves rest on the well. I have used the adjustable dual foot wells and found it a little better, but no where near the paddling position of the other listed boats. Note, I have never tried their single footwell.
The boat is light (24lbs) and very well built. The rudder system is by far the best in the business, and there are a ridiculous array of rudders available from Huki. I have personally seen several DNFs due to rudder problems that absolutely would not be an issue with the Hukis. I wish the others would follow suit. I have the wide seat, and am "almost" able to paddle the regular (narrower) seat. I fit the V10 perfectly, and the V12 too (32" jeans). For a guy like me (mid pack paddler) this boat is great. If I lived on the coast and paddled open water daily, stability would not be an issue at all, and I would probably get a V12 just for the seating comfort (a little more like a K1). But, I feel I am probably faster in the S1X due to the extra stability. It is also more relaxing to paddle because of this.
Comparing this to a thunderbolt (which I have owned), is to compare apples and oranges. I would compare with Epic v10 and V12, Mako 6, Think Legend, Custom Kayaks new Synergy etc. The Huki guys are great to deal with.
The S1-x has got to be the most beautiful, and the Shenai, is very fast for a very stable boat even in 6 foot waves. The T-Rex however is the fastest and much more stable than the S1-x. For me, I cannot use the S1-x when there are even minimal waves unless the water is clean, since I can count on swimming once or twice when I get tired. I can't go full speed and can't use a wing paddle also due to balance and control issues. The T-Rex (west side boat shop) has a seat on the floor and the legs are not bent. This means that the center of gravity is very much lower, and means you can use your legs to help with the paddling. It isn't beautiful but it is amazingly fast and I don't mind when speed boats pass. I have never gone swimming.
T-Rex has the problem that if I were to exit, it would fill with water and be very hard to recover (no bulkheads). Having said that, I have rolled it for practice (you barely need a paddle). The S1-x is very easy to re-enter when you fall off (lucky for me).
I had only 2 weeks to get used to it and I only got to paddle it 3 times in that time. The boat performed flawlessly. Even after blowing 95% of my energy in the first 1/4 of the race I had no problem staying upright despite negotiating the huge boat wakes of the Florida intercostal water way.
Awsome boat I love the options available. Mine has adj foot wells, hatch specialty inlay in the deck etc. Truly a unique boat. and only 33lbs in vacd carbon/fiberglass
It has all the right characteristics-all combined into one. Nice sleek lines, super fast in the right hands, and considering how narrow and fast, not as tippy as some other boats that might be as fast such as Mako or k-1, or even some boats slower than this are tippier. Mako might be a Tad faster on glass but other than that, I feel slower unless one can handle the tippiness. The tippier Mako translates to Slower in reality, because one can not put 100% energy into forward propulsion, as one is concerned about balance issues.
The Mako in rougher waters is not as easy to handle as Huki.
This is my favorite boat, even like it better than Thunderbolt which I also own and do like. Fast on flat and handles rough water really well...not squirrelly or rolly-polly like a K-1 or Thunderbolt.
Good in deep water and also shallows. Good in following beam seas and diagonal too.
Very light at 26 lbs, carbon/kevlar, and a great steering assembly/system - simple and effective design and turns on a dime.
A little more money than some other racing boats, but very well worth it and justifies the cost.
And, the owner Jude is a great guy and very accommodating and knowledgeable.
120,000+ people can't be wrong!
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