Submitted: 10-05-2009 by trilobite02
This is a short updated review of my original review. 3+ years later, and I'm still loving this ski as much, if not more, than the original evaluation. While in racing circles, I give something away to the 'Big Dog' skis (17" x 21') in flatwater speed, when conditions kick up, the S1-R is in its element. It has saved my tail on numerous occasions, making me appear to be a far better paddler than I am. It is a known quantity, absolutely revels in beam chop and nasty, jobbly water, and in my carbons' glass layup, is light enough at 25 lbs. to accelerate briskly down the wave troughs, resulting in ride after ride. Swap out the rudder to something shorter (There are a whole selection here.) in 30 seconds and you'll pick up a measure of speed. The Huki rudder system is an industry standard, using stainless cables that have none of the sloppy spectra line mushiness of other skis.
Jude can build. It is a handmade boat, and that said, there will be some minor cosmetic glitches, however, you also have the freedom to design it as you want it. I've holed it once in a Nor'easter, but the structure is, although lightweight, extremely strong. It has a few dents, dings, and blips, but has always been watertight and solid. Love the sound of slapping down off the top of a wave and hearing it resonate through the carbon fiber structure.
The only thing I'd do differently about it is to have mine in a single footwell (Jude offers this now), and maybe round the side rails a bit more, and bring them in slightly closer for a tighter catch. Adding a piece of minicell to the seatwell back area to sit more upright is commonly done. Hence, the '9' rating; no boat is perfect, but this one comes mighty close.
Jude is an exceptional individual to deal with, and a true ambassador to the sport. As one friend says, and is so fitting: 'He sells happiness.' I would buy this boat again in a heartbeat should I need to replace it. This one is my favorite horse in the stable.