This morning, I took the ski…
This morning, I took the ski out on seas more mild than wild; but still enough rollick for fun. The Futura II is terrific--better than I remembered; and just right for me: good looks, good speed, good stability.
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.
My husband and I had ordered…
My husband and I had ordered identical Epic V10Ls for racing and paddling around the mountain lakes in Montana where we live. We knew the V10Ls would be tippy but I was not able to successfully keep my boat upright for more than a few miles nor when the water was choppy on our lake (which is most of the time.) He does fine on his but I was really struggling and feeling pretty frustrated.
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.
The Futura II was just what I…
The Futura II was just what I wanted. It is great for aerobic workouts and a good cross-training combination with the mountain and road biking I do. The hatches stay dry and it paddles easily. On a sunny day you start paddling and in no time at all you have covered miles with a smile.
Being a longtime sea kayaker…
Being a longtime sea kayaker who lives in the Colorado Rockies and travels long distance for tours, I was looking for a way to spice up my weekly training on our high-altitude reservoirs. The Futura II has far surpassed my hopes for fun, speed and an excellent training tool. The freedom of movement and body position provide what feels like a total body workout. I am 5'3" and weigh 115lbs but have no problem handling it whatsoever - I can easily lift it for loading and carrying. What a delight after all these years of dealing with my heavy expedition kayak. Despite its length, it turns on a dime. And it is remarkably stable, making it an excellent choice for our Colorado cold mountain water paddling conditions. When it is time for my next expedition, it will be hard to return to my sea kayak... What a blast this surf ski is!
I will be the first to state…
I will be the first to state emphatically that I am extremely hard on my equipment. Here in the North West, the elements and environment can be even harder. In other words, if your equipment fails then you can be in serious trouble. With that said I own, paddle and race 3 different Futura models and have never experienced any problems associated with poor quality or craftsmanship. These boats are very well constructed and tough to boot. Case in point: I was surfing ferry wakes in the Puget sound in my wife’s Futura II, and ran up on a submerged piling, flipping me and the entire boat clean out of the water (did I mention that I am hard on my equipment?). After getting myself patched up my attention turned to the boat. Aside from having to bend the rudder back into place and some scratches in the clearcoat there was nothing wrong with the boat. I expected some water in the hull from being upside down in the surf for a ½ hour or some cracks around where the rudder pin enters the hull…nothing. This boat is awesome! I recently had the opportunity to share this experience with the owner of Futura at a kayak symposium. He actually offered to trade the boat out if I found any structural damage. Now that’s putting the customer first!
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.
I have had my first Futura II…
I have had my first Futura II about two years and my second one about four months.
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 took my wife and daughter…
I took my wife and daughter out today(7/7/06) - their first attempt with the Futura II. They had a blast! They loved the skis! They were quickly able to navigate and propel themselves around a large fresh water lake. While well out in the lake they jumped ship and swam some - I was nervous and concerned about their ability to self rescue - no problem! This was a key feature of why I wanted a surf ski over a conventional sit-in touring kayak. The other kayaks that we have rented were like tanks, slow, hard to propel, yet high initial stablity - the surf ski glides swiftly on the water. Thanks again for your help choosing these kayaks, we couldn't have made a better choice. I believe I studied every type of kayak made and the Futura kayaks/skis kept coming up as the best. I didn't intend to spend what I did, but knew I would be disappointed with any other choice - I'm satisfied! The Futura II is very well built, fast on the water, easy to maneuver and easy to car top. I was really concerned about the length and car topping long kayaks - no problems as the kevlar/fiberglass lay-up is stiff, strong and light weight.
I bought the Futura II in…
I bought the Futura II in Kevlar with deck bungees and center handles. After years of different sea kayaks and SOTs of various materials, I finally have found the ideal boat for me. The only learning curve was in getting used to continuous use of the rudder. The Futura II is as stable as any of my high performance sea kayaks, but quicker overall and much less wind and surf sensitive. The quality of materials and workmanship was outstanding, and the performance was even more than I had hoped for. In working as a guide, I have let my clients and students try the boat, and no one has had problems adapting to it quickly. I have rated the boat a 10 because I could find no fault with it. This is the first kayak I have owned where I have made no compromises. I have no trouble using it year round in the heat of Arizona and the icy waters of California.
Prior to purchasing my carbon…
Prior to purchasing my carbon fiber kevlar Futura II surfski, I tried at least twenty different boats. Each was either too tippy, too heavy or too slow. I contacted Vince Darwood and arranged to try some of his surfskis. I was pleased with the time, energy and concern Vince took in helping me pick out the correct surfski. I chose the Futura II because it immediately felt right. I have been thrilled with the purchase of this surfski. In a word, it is pure FUN! Because of its stability, I've been able to paddle consistently all winter. With some minor adjustments to outer wear, I've been comfortable in even some very wet, windy and icy conditions. In the past, I was threatened by bad conditions. In this surfski I view challenging conditions as an exciting adventure. In early February I entered the Cow Paddy Pageant at Valley Ford. I finished fourth overall and covered the twelve mile course in two hours and three minutes-- not bad for a 68 year old man. I was really impressed with the performance of this boat. I could maneuver it easily and keep the power to it even in the wind and chop. The boat is certainly a confidence builder. It's comfortable and my legs and my butt do not go numb as I've experienced in other boats.
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.
I've really enjoyed paddling…
I've really enjoyed paddling the Futura II this past year. I started out on flat water and worked up to 20 knot winds and 3 foot waves. I finally had to roll off the boat to practice getting back on because I've never capsized. Incredibly stable for a surfski.
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.
Sport Touring Model - An…
Sport Touring Model - An excellent hull for workouts and day trips. Can sustain over 5 mph for miles and miles. Surfs fairly well and maintains desired course easily with use of the rudder. Capsize recovery is very easy, even in rough and windy conditions. Just climb back on. With the bow foil, the bow does not pearl or dig into the water when surfing. The bungy option and side handles make some on deck cargo feasible, and side handles are a must. This is not a boat to get if you can't stand the occasional dunking. I would rate this better if it had a bit more hull speed.
Can definitely do 5-6 mph…
Can definitely do 5-6 mph sustained speeds for miles. Surfs fairly well. The rudder and rocker make for a very easily turned boat, but still tracks with weather coming from any angle. The low stability may take some getting used to. Once one gets used to it, the boat can be paddled in beam seas or with beam winds over 25 knots. Recovery from falling off is very easy compared to a conventional kayak. Merely climb back on, straddling the boat, and sit up. The bow foil option is good to have, and definitely get the deck bungies, with a deck bag. In all, a great boat that is easy to carry and paddle. Way more fun to paddle than any conventional kayak I have ever paddled.