Nelo’s first rotomold surfski! The 510 is a stable boat suitable for beginners, and still has the high performance qualities that experienced paddlers are looking for.
Click here to see the 510 in action!
Comprehensive review by one of our first customers:
I had my first paddle in the Nelo 510 today. I have been paddling surfskis for about 4 years. My first ski was a used Gen1 Epic V10 (not the best choice for my first surfski, but it was a good deal and what did I know at the time?). I spent most of my time learning remounts and paddling on flatwater. Any time the wind came up I chose another activity (that seemed counter to most of what I was reading about downwind paddling and surfing). The next year I purchased a used Gen 1 V10Sport. This was a much better choice for me and I was able to at least attempt a few downwind sessions. I still feel a bit nervous when conditions get big, especially when accompanied by strong winds.
This past fall I was able to acquire two used Nelo 510s and have been waiting for the right day to try one out. Today’s forecast was for 20-25 knot winds building into the afternoon and the sun was shining after many days of rain. Time to go! I picked a beach launch from a harbour that had the wind and waves coming right at the beach.
The first thing I noticed was the rock-solid stability of this boat (at 55 cm/21.6 inches wide and 22 kg/48 pounds there is primary and secondary stability for days). The second thing that I noticed was that my upwind and downwind speeds were almost the same as what I would have expected on my V10S. Even better, paddling crosswind is super easy. Both the V10 and V10S are 21 feet long and have high volume bows, so they catch a lot of wind from the side (I often joke that my HR maxes out as I “white knuckle” the turn from upwind to downwind). At 510 cm (16 feet 8 inches), the 510 tracks nicely across waves and turns very quickly.
I really like the foot plate and rudder cable management. Changing the footplate is fast and the pins secure it nicely. The footplate gives just a little bit with leg drive, which made me feel nicely connected to my stroke and the boat. What’s brilliant is that you can change the length of the rudder lines while you are paddling (well not exactly at the same time unless you have 3 hands – but you can certainly do it as you are gliding along). You can adjust left and/or right to correct tracking issues as well as tighten/loosen the lines to change the angle of the steering pads.
I love the deBrito bailer! A small flick with my foot and it was open. A few strokes later the footwell was dry and another flick of my foot closed it up. When open the bailer makes a clearly audible sucking noise so there is no need to look down to see if it is open or closed. Conversely, when closed the boat is eerily silent.
One pleasant surprise! I took a pretty hard hull strike from a semi-submerged log during one of my DW runs. My first thought was “sh#!” and then I remembered that I was in a rotomold boat. No worries and no need to run for the repair kit.
For comparison, I weigh 180 pounds (82 kg) and I am 6 feet tall (182 cm). I was far from the end of the footplate rail so I am guessing that it can accommodate TALL paddlers. The bucket feels comfortable and quite similar to the ones on my two Epic skis (I have tried a couple of new generation Think skis, and these have very snug ergonomic buckets – I would say that there is less of a connection with the Nelo and Epic buckets). The waves were not big enough today to worry about the nose diving, but I can see the advantage of a wave deflector (not currently fitted).
At 22 kg/48 pounds it is a beast to carry from the car to the beach, however the shorter length and plastic hull made it more forgiving as I clumsily navigated a winding staircase. The advantage of the weight was that once on the roof racks cradles it wasn’t going anywhere while I reached for the tie-downs. I found the same sensation while driving. I have a small sedan and I have always been nervous transporting a 21 foot carbon fibre boat with the bow and stern projecting past my bumpers. Cross winds can be stressful, as another thread on this forum can attest to. This boat fits so nicely and travels so well, I just might leave it on the car full-time.
Ultimately, I am excited about feeling more confident to take on more challenging conditions. I keep hearing/reading that “there is no substitute for time in the bucket” and I think that this boat will allow me to do exactly that. Even better, I have TWO of these boats, so I am confident that I can convince some of my non-paddler friends to try it out. Well done to the folks at Nelo!