In my first session out in the Stealth Pro Fisha 575 I took advantage of a storm the day before which created some messy surf off Orewa beach, it was still a bit windy at 20+knots…given this was my first time in the Pro Fisha it was going to be a test as the SoT kayak I am used to taking in the surf is only 4.2m and has plenty of rocker.. the ProFisha is 1.5m longer and has little to no rocker in comparison.
Paddling out was a breeze, the low seat position/low centre of gravity made for a stable ride. The hull had good acceleration and the extra length made it easy to keep forward momentum in these conditions even with a cockpit full of water after a wave. Water drained well out of the only 2 scuppers in the kayak.the hull slapped hard off the back off the waves punching through but did not lose forward momentum.
Catching waves was a different experience, it took me a few runs to get the hang of the extra length and less rocker. These 2 ingredients added to short messy wave makes for a kayak that does not respond quickly.. the skeg rudder helped but it was not until I found a comfortable edge that I was able to relaxed and catch a couple of waves all the way to the beach. The previous waves I had to pull out early for fear of burying the bow and getting bucked..which as it turned out was not a concern once I relaxed as the buoyancy of the bow meant it did recover when submerged (just that the paddler need to keep his nerve 😉
That concluded my first paddle.. obviously not the conditions this kayak was designed for but good to see it was manageable enough after some time in the seat (I was out for about 1.5hrs) ..stability good, hull speed good, seat comfort good, responsiveness average, but to be expected for a kayak that was designed to go faster and be more efficient over bigger distances in open water.. that said I have seen the Stealth videos where they show experienced ski paddlers surfing this kayak as though it were a play boat.. see below…part 2 0f 4 coming this week