Stability is relative. Even today, with all the new skis on the market, the S1X is still (IMHO) a front running hi performance ski. For me, it is definitely more stable than the V10 (I sold mine after paddling the S1X), or the Mako 6. I am inland (Philadelphia), and don't get much ocean practice. So, for me, I will take all the stability I can get. I have not paddled the Think Legend, but understand it is also one of the "fast but not terribly tippy" boats. I mostly paddle K1s, so I find all skis are in general stable on flat water. But, the S1X to me is noticeably more stable in open water than many others. Yes, there is some bow slap. The volume is enough for me (185lbs) on east coast seas, that the bow rides hi enough. I like the lower volume. It feels sleeker, and is less effected by winds.
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.I was interested in Timothy Hladky's comments (12-24-05 review), since my experience is the opposite.
First off, both the T-rex and S1-x are at least 9's. But the T-rex is much much more stable (I am a 5 foot 6 inch 145 pound guy). I paddle about 200 miles a year for the past few decades and go out on all kind of water (ocean, waves, lakes, rivers). I have a Wilderness Systems Shenai (another great boat with a 9, about 18'4" and 18" wide) a S1-x, and also a thunderbolt (T-Rex).
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 decided to do the Watertribe Ultra marathon (UM), a 68 mile adventure race, on a surfski as a personal challenge. This was my third UM and I planned on using my Stealth Cobra for the trip. When I got the Huki S1X I was thrilled to be able use it instead.
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/fiberglassI have never felt any boat was deserving of a 10 before, maybe a 9 but not a 10, but this one deserves it.
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.