Today I made my first paddle in our SEI Excel demo boat – and I’m very impressed! I’ve been wanting to try an SEI since they came out, but this was my first opportunity. Right off the bat, I noticed the SEI seat was a notch up in comfort from some of the older Stellar boats, and I wasn’t hitting the sides of the boat with the paddle (most of the time…) The SEI was the first of the Stellar line to come with their latest seat contour, reduced foot well volume, and narrower catch – and I quickly appreciated all those upgrades. Most noticeable, however, was the exceptional stability of this ski that slots just below the elite-level 17″ wide skis in speed (the SEI is 20′ long x 18″ wide). Giving up little in speed, the SEI has exceptional stability compared to other boats in its class. I actually felt just as comfortable in the SEI as I did in the S18S. I’m not suggesting a less experienced paddler can bypass the S18S, but for the experienced paddler of narrower skis, the SEI offers a substantial upgrade in stability that may help when conditions deteriorate (and it would be a comfortable step up from the SR or possibly S18S). Since I was paddling in the smallish pond behind my house using “coming out of winter” muscles, I can’t really give a decisive answer to how fast the boat is in comparison to my racing ski, but it feels good and has plenty of speed potential – and the light Excel layup was a joy to handle. More to come in the future!
I apologize for the fuzzy image; the camera was bumped unknowingly into “manual focus” mode.