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The Element is shorter than a traditional surfkayak, giving up a little bit of speed but gaining a lot of extra manoeuvrability. Super quick directional changes is the name of the game. The shorter length is also key in making big freestyle moves possible.
Apart from the pronounced carving rails that become progressively harder towards the stern, the hull also features release edges, similar to those on a playboat. Those edges make spins and grinds effortless, and they are also the reason why the Element is relatively forgiving.
The pronounced bow rocker is perfect for a late take-off or surfing steep waves. The peaked volume in the stern keeps the boat buoyant, enabling the hull to release easily even at lower speeds and in choppy conditions. The seating position is similar to that in a whitewater kayak, with knees spread out.
Naturally, the Element is designed for waves, not holes. But it is not confined to ocean waves. A lot of effort was made to ensure the Element works equally well on river waves, both small and big ones.
If you live at the coast, the Element is the perfect tool to experience some real speed, while also giving you the opportunity to throw freestyle moves in ways you've never done before. If you live inland and have access to green waves, the Element will let you catch and surf waves you haven't surfed since the death of long playboats.
While I wouldn't recommend this boat for someone's 'only' boat, it can be very fun and challenging in a way that will make you a better paddler. (not in the pulling-you-hair-out way) It's pretty solid, will take a beating and LOVES waves. in smaller surf (3-5') laying backwards with the tail down and your back on the surface - and letting the wave pick you up and push you is a lot of fun.
Don't worry about pearling this thing and pulling an unplanned ender. you probably won't. if the sets have a long period and are smooth in the valleys, you should be able to catch almost any wave you miss also. very fun in standing waves too. when it's at speed, everything falls into place smoothly.
Also - this has enough vertical volume that wet re-entries will usually result in less cockpit flooding than lower boats. watch your tail when paddling out though - as the lack of tail rocker can make this thing stand up if the waves are tall in the shallows.
I hope this helps.
The fins are great, but usually unnecessary unless you're in tall surf. spins, blunts, kickflips nicely. sidesurfing in the wash is very easy and comfy once you're used to the rails and are bracing properly.
they've moved the back band rachets up near the top of the cockpit - so they aren't sitting in sand anymore.
Here's the really great part... you can ride waves so tiny that longboarders can't even catch them. it's pretty fast for such a short boat too. at the same time it's very fun in big stuff too. if your surf is mostly wind slop like we get in south florida you'll take a beating on the inside of the break, but once you get out, you'll have a lot of fun.
You don't necessarily need the fins all the time - usually I leave them out with just the disks in to keep the sand out unless i'm hitting surf above the 6' range.
spend the time to outfit this boat for you - and you'll love it.
don't bother with flat water unless you really want to. this boat has enough surf kayak in it to be a PITA on flat water because of the poor initial stability. you will, however, get used to it - but there are much better boats for flat water.
stern rocker? none. this boat sometimes feels like a sea kayak when turning. use the rails or use the tail - much easier turns.
I just purchesed a set of 4WFS for the Kauak, I currentlu have the disks in place that came with the boat with no fins, I recomend this to keep sand and grit out of the screw holes. SO when you buy a set of fins get a extra set of disks so you just switch out disks. I aklso recomend hetter 2 5 degree fin disks for the front and 0 degree for the back, this balances out speed and carve nicely. I got a find for a surf trip I am taking in a little while. I will use the fins but will most likely paddle it withough on all except for the biggest days!
Last thought, As a Board and Kayak Surfer, I hate it when Playboats come out into the surf because play boats don't have the speed or carve needed to stay in the right place on an ocean wave so eventually the play boat gets stuck in the soup. I dig it when surf boats are out because they really surf but I hate to say it but surf boats are limited in their ability to pull the modern Play boat moves. The Element solves this problem, it has the speed and carve and can keep thing interesting and dynamic on the wave, so If you are a Play boater in the ocean surf, it is time to get an element, show off your moves and build better relationships with our board surf brotherin!
I hope this helped,
Not a bad boat
About the reviewerI am an advanced freestyle paddler. During the period in which I was using this boat (the entire summer) I was alternative sessions in my Allstar throwing FAR bigger moves. And will be using that as my reference boat.
Test environmentAll ranges of surf, from tiny to massive, saw it all. Please note I never bought or used fins, but installed the boxes to increase hull-speed. If you are looking for a full-on surf boat this really isn't the boat for you anyway.
ReviewThe first thing I have to say about this boat is that it is a specialty item. Treat it as such and don't bother buying it unless you will really use it. Second, it is not a normal playboat, you have a higher center of balance and zero primary stability. The best advice I ever got about this boat was that the first 3 sessions I was going to have my ass kicked but I would love it after that.
Goods: The hull design of this boat is quite interesting, insanely fast and loose. I wish all playboats were as fast and loose as what fluid cooked up here. This boat will let you do endless super clean spins down the face of a wave and still stay ahead of the foam pile once you get a feel for it. Similarly this boat wants to helix and flip turn. If you don't have one yet you will with some time in this boat. Back- blunts and back pan-ams are big and easy to land with the volume in the stern and rocker profile. Wave riding itself is pretty good, it would be a lot better with fins but that would kill the freestyle so I chose not to use them. Cutbacks are super clean and easy to execute, a very well designed boat from that angle.
Bads: This boat doesn't do blunts. Simply put it doesn't like to do it. A clean blunt isn't an issue, but an average paddler who just wants to be able to throw a blunt will find it tough to work with the bow rocker in this boat. If you want to blunt, try it clean and it will snap right around. Airscrews are similarly limited by this bow profile, and I have yet to find a work around that doesn't involve slamming my back into the stern. This is annoying, but hey without the bow this wouldn't be a surf boat.
Outfitting: This is the pitfall of this boat. The outfitting is incredibly poorly designed in this boat. For starters the back-band ratchets are located on the bottom. This means that after one use they are clogged with sand, and within 3 are rusted, jammed and useless. The seat comes way too far back from the factory and takes a pretty decent amount of modification to fix which involves removing and cutting the pillars, poor planning. The foot-block system is the worst I have seen, I wound up tossing the whole outfitting kit into my spare foam pile and using a Jackson Happy Feet rather then mixing and matching foam and buying glue (no they don't even provide adhesive).
If you are buying any Fluid boat demand the new seat system!
ConclusionA great boat in the surf. Does exactly what it is supposed to.
Weight: 74 kgs