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I hadn't planned this, first morning on a new boat, but I was even able to perform a rescue, i.e assisted re-entry. A less experienced buddy in his Necky Chatham broached in the surf at the harbor mouth, coming in, and was in the water for a bit while I maneuvered close. He was tired and worried by the time I got to him; but the Future II held its own against swell and the chop roiling about. I was able to get to my friend's boat, help right it, hold it and encourage a tired guy to hoist himself in, pump his boat out, etc. and proceed--successfully this time--through the harbor mouth. The Futura and I solid all the while.
Nice start to a long log of journeys and adventures.
We searched for alternative surf skis that would be more stable but not sacrifice too much speed for the adventure and paddle triathlons that we do. The Futura II seemed like a good solution and we took the gamble to make another boat purchase. The gamble paid off with a fast, stable, comfortable paddling experience.
I am 44 years old, 5'9" and weigh 140 and the Futura II is a very comfortable fit. In addition, I have a fused spine (seven different spine surgeries) that make sitting in a boat awkward and painful, but the add on seat is very comfortable and provides my back with enough support that I can paddle the Futura 2 pain free.
Vince Darwood was very helpful with all of our questions and helped arrange for shipping the surf ski with a boat shipper to our far off corner of Montana.
Bottom line, if you want a want to own a Surf Ski crafted by a company that is as serious about quality as it is to its commitment to customer service then I would hands down recommend a Futura.
The good: The Futura II was far more stable than I expected. I have had friends with little kayaking experience have no trouble paddling it. Capsize recovery is by far the easiest of any SOT I have paddled. The light weight of the carbon kevlar setup makes it very easy to carry to the water and helps make it fast once you get there. This is a great design for those just wanting a high performance SOT or those looking for a beginners surf ski.
The ugly: Too many problems with quality. On my first Futura II the hatch seal joint used electrical tape to seal it. When I unwrapped the kayak the electrical tape was already coming off. The eyelets for the deck bungees and thigh straps were not properly secured. The hatch seal leaked badly (even after replacing the electrical tape with a bicycle inner tube patch) and despite trying many different things I was never able to get it to seal well. The hatch was slightly too big for the hull opening and this made fixing it difficult. My second one had a rudder that locked up shortly after I started paddling it and it had bad leaks in the pockets where the rudder pedals go into the hull. The hull could take on seven quarts of water an hour through those leaks. While the repair sounded easy it has taken most of the summer and two different shops to fix it. I have spent more time trying to fix these problems than paddling the kayak.
It is really sad that a design this great comes with so many problems. These kayaks are not cheap and I really expected better quality for the money. I would have given the Futura II a much higher rating but spending months fixing manufacturers defects have really taken their toll. This is truly a case of buyer beware. You may get a flawless boat or you may spend months fixing problems. Until Futura gets serious about quality control it is tough to recommend them.
I've been paddling this boat now for about four months. For me, I believe it is a perfect combination of speed, comfort, maneuverability and stability. In my opinion it is certainly boat for all seasons. Besides this, it is a beautiful sight on the water.
Just finished the Eagle Classic paddle race on the Colorado River north of Austin, TX. The race was 14.5 miles in length, upstream. I used the Futura II and an Epic mid sized wing paddle. Elapsed time was 2 hours 26 minutes. That was a new course record. I only wish I'd started racing before turning 56 years old.
As a new paddler expect to average around 5 mph for a few months. As your strength builds that will increase to an honest 5.6 to 5.7 mph. My average cruise speed for up to 8 miles is around 6 mph. Sprint speed is between 8 and 9 mph. Surf speeds have been over 10 mph. If you are cruising at 4.5 mph, don't expect to do much sweating.
I bought my Futura II used and wanted it for developing balance, more speed than my sea kayak, and just open air cruising fun. It does all three very well.
I now do leaned turns on the edge and have pushed the Futura to its limit. I'm sadly selling it and moving on to the Futura Inferno. I may fall off the Inferno!!
When footwell drain venturis are added this will be the perfect surfski to learn on and play on.
For what this boat has given me and what it's built for, I rate it a hearty 10 of 10.
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