Author Topic: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.  (Read 2368 times)

nalu-sup

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2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« on: January 10, 2020, 01:43:31 PM »
I was just checking out the new 2020 SIC catalog, and am intrigued by the new Bullet 14 X 30" to possibly replace my F16 on Maui. I am wondering if anyone has had a chance to downwind on one of these?
I know that a lot of people will object to the 30" width, but here are my thoughts:
1. My wife and I are both turning 69 this year, and we hope to continue downwinding for many years to come. I still fall off a few times every run, and getting back to my feet in 30 mph winds is not getting any easier as we get older and get more surgeries and joints replaced. Robert Stehlik of Blue Planet has pointed out that a wider board can be faster for an average paddler if it means more stability for paddling power.
2. I read one opinion that the new v3 rocker is faster in dw than the v2. This might make up for some of the drag from the 30" width.
3. I wrote a post a few months ago where we discussed whether the forward rails on the F16 might be knocking me off sometimes. The nose area on the new boards is much more rounded on the bottom, which may help with this.
4. The new Bullet 14s appear to have more nose rocker than on the v2, which I like. We do the vast majority of our runs in front of our home in Kihei, where the swell period is shorter than on the North shore.
5. Our priority in downwinding is not in getting to the end of the run first, or I would be looking at 17 footers. What we love is zig-zagging back and forth connecting diagonal rides across the bumps. I am thinking that the 14 will be even better at this than our 16s because of the shorter length while having as much or more stability.
6. My very first downwinder was on a 2013 F14. It was super stable, but very heavy which made it hard to accelerate onto bumps. The new Bullet 30" is about 4-5 pounds lighter. The 2013 F14 had a very flat and wide nose, which really bogged down when it punched into the back of a swell. I am hoping that the nose rocker and rounded nose of the new one will be less of a problem.
7. I did demo a standard width Bullet 14. While it was fun, I really preferred the extra stability of the F16 due to its extra length, even though the width was about the same. I also caught more bumps on the F16.
8. Lastly is the controversial topic of wanting to keep a rudder, which I believe is now available on the Bullet 14s. In Kihei, the wind can often turn offshore, and many people have lots of scary stories. We often do short runs, that require us to turn towards shore and paddle half a mile directly across the wind to get home. We can do this by paddling on one side while adding some steerage from the rudder. We have been caught in some bad situations near reefs without a rudder, and want to avoid any more of those. Plus, in the small waves that we have at the start of our runs, they are fun to steer around in, but you need to stay near the middle of the board because the small waves do not generate enough speed to step back and steer from the tail. The rudder allows lots of quick turns from mid-board, which are difficult to duplicate with just paddle steering.

Those are my thoughts, but it's all just theory. I would love to hear from anyone who has downwinded on the 2020 Bullet 14s, of either width. Thanks.
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PT Woody

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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2020, 04:34:10 PM »
I haven't paddled the 2020 Bullet and haven't even seen one in the flesh (was in my local shop yesterday and it looks like they are not going to sell SIC going forward).

However, on the matter of steering on a 14' Bullet, it's certainly a debatable topic as many people argue that you just don't need steering on a 14'. Meanwhile, others argue that the positioning of the tiller on a 14' Bullet is often problematic as it has you standing too far back when you are trying to paddle onto bumps so that you miss the drop, and too far forward once you are on a bump so that you pearl into the wave in front. This is less of an issue on an F16 or a 17' Bullet/Bayonet as standing positions tend to be less critical. For that reason, you can stay on the steering the whole time on a longer board and weave around the bumps and link them up with ease. On the 14' even when you make the drop, you often need to step back off the steering to keep the nose up, and you are back to surfing off the rails like all those peasants who don't have steering.  ;D

Having acknowledged all that, I think for the reasons you outlined regarding offshore conditions and dodging around reefs, getting steering on a 14' Bullet is a good idea. I have an older model with the ASS steering and I also have a 14' Bayonet (obviously no steering). I find that the Bayonet never comes out unless it is 15-18 knots and pretty well lined up. When it is fairly weak like that and the drops are not so steep, I want to be standing a long way forward and the Bullet doesn't let me do that. Also, the lighter wind is not such a problem if it's a little offshore. Anything over 20 knots, and it is ideal for the Bullet. As the size and steepness of the bumps picks up, I am perfectly happy in the standing position enforced by the tiller. I still make the drop, and if necessary, I get to the back of the board and surf it old school. The steering becomes more of a course correction in between bumps but still good to have if the wind and waves are pushing you out to sea.

Back to the 30" wide question, I am of the opinion that you have more fun standing up than swimming, and there's definitely no joy in clenching your ties and holding on for dear life on a match stick. I chased the young punks down to 23" and then got to the point where it wasn't fun anymore - I've decided to let them keep their skinny boards. I'm going the other way too.

burchas

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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2020, 07:25:37 AM »
8. Lastly is the controversial topic of wanting to keep a rudder...

The thing with these rudders is that they are designed to do light steering staying with the power and connecting bumps. If you'll rely on the rudder to steer you home in 20knots+ cross-wind it will fail at some point, most likely when you really need it. I've seen it 4 times in past 2 years, it's only then when you realize you're stuck on a board with very fat rails that will catch bumps sidewind just as good as it catches those downwind :D It gets old very fast, take it from someone who's paddling cross-wind for a living.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2020, 08:13:55 AM by burchas »
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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2020, 12:00:00 PM »
8. Lastly is the controversial topic of wanting to keep a rudder...

The thing with these rudders is that they are designed to do light steering staying with the power and connecting bumps. If you'll rely on the rudder to steer you home in 20knots+ cross-wind it will fail at some point, most likely when you really need it. I've seen it 4 times in past 2 years, it's only then when you realize you're stuck on a board with very fat rails that will catch bumps sidewind just as good as it catches those downwind :D It gets old very fast, take it from someone who's paddling cross-wind for a living.
Yeah, I agree entirely. If you surf in properly strong winds, and are going to be going crosswind and swell, a rudder is pretty useless, and it gets in the way of footwork, and rudders fail often. Altogether too ouch hassle for too little reward IMO.

I donít think the 2020 Bullets have been out long?  In some countries they are probably still waiting. So I suspect you wonít get many answers to the question for a couple of weeks.

nalu-sup

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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2020, 07:02:19 PM »
Thanks, everyone. The question of the tiller affecting the stance is an interesting one. On our F16s, the tiller length is adjustable which was very useful in finding the perfect stance for catching bumps. If I had the tiller extended too far, my weight was too far back to drop in, and if I shortened it too much, it was hard to keep my foot on it while negotiating small bumps. When conditions are good, meaning wind well over 20. I just use the rudder to set myself up for the next bump direction, and then once the board is up to speed, I am way back from the tiller having fun surfing. My theory is that once back on the board, the 14 should surf/steer better than the F16. This is a big part of my hope in this idea.
PT Woody, thanks for the great info on the tiller on your Bullet 14; I admit that I had not thought about the tiller position, assuming that they had nailed it. We do not go out unless the wind is at least 20, and 95% of our runs are in 24-28. If I understood your post correctly, you are happy with the tiller position/stance in that wind range; correct?
Unless I am wrong, one good thing about the Bullet 14 is that the fin position is based on not having a rudder system, so it should be easy to just take the tiller off and lock the rudder in order to play with the board both ways; especially on days when I am confident in the wind not switching partway through the run.
Burchas; sorry to hear about your rudder misadventures, but it does make you a good "voice of experience". My understanding is that the newer systems allow you to easily lock the fin in place if the connections to the tiller fail. This should make it relatively easy to paddle to shore somewhere, as opposed to the old system where the rudder could free up leaving little control. Has the new rudder locking system worked in your experiences?
Very much still looking forward to anyone who has tried the 2020 Bullet, especially the X 30". For anyone interested, there is one post on Seabreeze from a fellow who tried the 2020 Bullet 14, and immediately bought it, selling his previous Bullet 14. It is a good read with great photos.
8'7" Sunova Flow  121 L
8'8" Blue Planet 'All Good' 120 L
9'0" Tabou SupaSurf  145 L
16' S.I.C. F16 downwinder 323 L

burchas

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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2020, 09:22:44 AM »
My understanding is that the newer systems allow you to easily lock the fin in place if the connections to the tiller fail. This should make it relatively easy to paddle to shore somewhere... Has the new rudder locking system worked in your experiences?

I am talking about the new system (F.A.S.T). Yes, you can lock the rudder in place, but do you really want to jump in the water and start f*cking around with your crooked rudder in 25+knots wind? I think you're experienced enough know how many things can go wrong.

In the case of a failed/jammed rudder due-to constant steering into cross-wind, even if you managed to lock it in true position, you are still left with having to paddle a board with fat rails in cross-wind, only now you have to paddle even longer since by the time you managed to lock your rudder, the wind and bumps pushed you further away or like in my case further in towards the rocks :-\

The more common annoyance though is a rudder that won't go back to true position, which often makes you feel as if you're towing seaweed or just fighting a strong current. In this case I found it possible to play around with the tiller until I managed to true the rudder and then lock it, but what a headache, all I wanted is get me some bumps.

So given the option to face all of the above and the bonus of paying more for a board that doesn't even need a rudder... I'm just painting the picture here, I'm sure many have much prettier pictures.

As for the new 2020 Bullet, I looked into it some more and if the stuff the I've seen is correct it looks like the new design is a hybrid between the Bullet V3 and the Bayonet where nose, tail and volume is much more like the Bayonet and the rails are more Bullet (not as boxy as the bayonet).

I'm more intrigued about the rocker line of the board which seem to adopt the same continuous rocker of the V3/Bayonet. If that's the case this board should be explosive on the bumps and very maneuverable.
the 30" wide bullet has 318L of volume, according to the specs, which is only 5L less volume than your F-16!

If I was in your position, I would keep the F-16 and use in those days when you need more correction steering and have the fixed fin new bullet as my go to day to day wide comfort board. Please post if you find new details about the board.


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PonoBill

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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2020, 10:29:12 AM »
I used a similar board (maybe almost the same) for the distance race at one of the last Battle of the Paddle races at Doheny (or whatever they were calling it then) -- 30" wide F14 with a rudder. It was a godsend. I'd planned to use my Blackfish, but the wind and chop were insane--blowing in every direction, switching between onshore and offshore. I paddled out to warm up with my blackfish and could hardly stand on it. I went to the SIC tent and begged for a last-minute loaner, and that's what they gave me. It was perfect.

Because of the miserable conditions half the people in the distance race never stood up, or if they did, promptly fell. I stood the entire way and passed most of the field after missing the start swapping out the board. The 30" 14 was excellent--faster than I expected, and I'm much faster standing on a board than laying beside it.

As you know I've done many hundreds of Kihei and Maliko runs, maybe a thousand. With and without a rudder, and I always prefer rudder. I like to be way out on Kihei runs, the bumps are better. Not only is a rudder great for turning quick and fitting the board into those short period bumps, but when you're a mile or so out and the wind shifts offshore it's extremely nice to have a rudder. The folks without them get in, but it's a lot more work. They generally paddle straight in at the end of their run while I can generally get where I want with a bit more subtlety.

I had a rudder fail twice in however many years I've been doing this--once when I hit a reef and bent the rudder shaft and once a cable broke. The bent shaft took care of itself, locking the rudder in place. I jammed a couple of quarters I happened to have under the rudder when the cable broke. Pretty much everyone I know doing downwinders on Maui uses rudder boards, and I'm the only person I know who has had a failure. I'm notoriously hard on gear. I have no idea what's going on with Burchas, he's generally more careful than I am.

The FAST system boards have the option of replacing the rudder with a fin if you choose. They are more reliable than the old cable systems, it's a push/pull system with thin carbon pushrods so even if one fails it still works--in fact, the only way you can tell it's failed is that it's a little mushier in one direction. The tiller is low profile so you can stand on it or past it easily with reasonable comfort. The finbox is right behind the rudder post (the post goes through one end of the box) so if you hit something and bend the shaft the trailing edge of the fin pushes into the box rather than punching a hole in the bottome. And you can lock the rudder while you kneel on the board without getting in the water.

I'd say get what you want.

 
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 11:08:42 AM by PonoBill »
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

burchas

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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2020, 11:16:06 AM »
I have no idea what's going on with Burchas, he's generally more careful than I am.

The FAST system boards have the option of replacing the rudder with a fin if you choose. They are more reliable than the old cable systems and you can lock them while you kneel on the board without getting in the water.

Knowing where your playgrounds are I'd say the big difference between us is the water we paddle. I'm not sure if it's the cold confused water and things in it or maybe both that the FAST system just doesn't like. I went through 2 of those and I'm not the only one with rudder bogging down a ride around here.

As for locking the rudder on board, if the rudder won't true, you can lock it, just make sure you're not setting course to Tahiti :D

The reason I bring it is because I know other read this thread, some not so fortunate to have your great conditions where the FAST system was designed so YMMV or better put, the FAST system is not Bullet proof ;D
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 12:08:04 PM by burchas »
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burchas

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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2020, 08:58:09 PM »
...so even if one fails it still works--in fact, the only way you can tell it's failed is that it's a little mushier in one direction... The finbox is right behind the rudder post (the post goes through one end of the box)

Bill, I'm not sure where you're getting your facts but the FAST system you described does not seem to be the same system I have or seen on other boards.

First, if one pushrod fails, the system doesn't really work, it sort of works but you have to manually push the tiller arm to bring the rudder back to center and from experience I can tell you it's a crapshoot. More often than not the shit hits outside the hole and the rudder doesn't go back to true position. What it also means is that you have to stay by the tiller arm extra long to verify you're on center, that of-course will f*uck up your timing to a point where you just going to lock the damn thing anyway.

Second, The rudder post goes through the center of the fin box, not at the end of it (see attached images) if you have a different system, please share.

Also, one consistent failure with the FAST system is its flimsy base. Iíve seen 4 cracked bases so far, all cracks are around the locking screws. when that happens, even if the other parts of the system works, the pressure that the broken piece puts on the rudder creates too much friction for the spring to overcome so the rudder feels like itís bogged with sand. That creates extra wear on the spring which is not as durable as it could be.

I can go on about it but donít wonít to take the focus of the thread, just providing useful feedback for interested users who wants to make an educated purchase.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 09:18:35 PM by burchas »
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PT Woody

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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2020, 04:18:40 AM »
PT Woody, thanks for the great info on the tiller on your Bullet 14; I admit that I had not thought about the tiller position, assuming that they had nailed it. We do not go out unless the wind is at least 20, and 95% of our runs are in 24-28. If I understood your post correctly, you are happy with the tiller position/stance in that wind range; correct?

It's not so much that they haven't nailed the position and more that there is no perfect position on the 14' board to place the tiller. It's a compromise wherever they put it. The other thing is the ASS tiller on my 14' Bullet has that extension that you mentioned having on your F16 but the FAST tillers don't have an extension. However, as Pono Bill mentions, the FAST tiller is much lower profile and has no batten or cables on the deck - you can stand on the tiller and walk all over it without too much inconvenience.

But yeah, the tiller position works really well for me in that 24-28 knot range.

PonoBill

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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2020, 11:52:46 AM »
My only FAST system board is in Hood River, so I was going from memory on the shaft position. The point remains that a bent shaft doesn't necessarily mean a hole in the board--the fin box generally prevents that.

I actually took one of the pushrods out of my FAST board, and it works fine. I thought it felt a little draggy with both, so I took one out and liked the feel. It's not as positive going to the side where the push/pull rod is getting pushed, but it works fine.

As I recall, the spring is in the tiller housing--effectively the same as it is with a batten. I consider this a design fault with both designs. The spring should be on the rudder so if the actuator breaks the rudder stays centered, and of course, any friction drag on the actuators would not result in a misaligned rudder, just a misaligned tiller. When I cared about this a lot more I reworked my boards that way. The return spring could (and needed to be) much lighter, and in general, it worked very well. Of course, when I REALLY cared about this I built a radio-controlled rudder and autopilot so I could have a clear deck.
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

burchas

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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2020, 02:24:30 PM »
Of course, when I REALLY cared about this I built a radio-controlled rudder and autopilot so I could have a clear deck.

Yes, I remember that one and the spring on the rudder. I thought you'd be able to talk some sense into Mark but I know how it goes with him. For what's it worth, I would probably consider such a mechanism when I cared enough  about it but riding rudderless for so long I can't be bothered.
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PT Woody

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Re: 2020 SIC Bullet 14 X 30" questions.
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2020, 01:25:40 AM »

I actually took one of the pushrods out of my FAST board, and it works fine. I thought it felt a little draggy with both, so I took one out and liked the feel. It's not as positive going to the side where the push/pull rod is getting pushed, but it works fine.


I only just cottoned on to this idea last weekend. I thought I was genius for having resolved an issue I've had for over a year with two separate FAST steering boards. I assumed it was the spring malfunctioning. After pulling apart both systems and checking every part, I accidentally realised that the spring was centring perfectly well when the second rod was removed. I called up a friend who was something of a pioneer with the FAST system to tell him about this breakthrough discovery. He told me he'd done exactly the same thing 2 years earlier, and then only after consulting directly with Mark Raaphorst who told him to do exactly that. To quote Adam Sandler, "Information that would have been good to know YESTERDAY!!!"

Regarding the tiller not being as positive going to the other side when the redundant rod is removed, I'm wondering how that's the case. The missing rod wasn't doing anything other than create friction. There is only one rod that is active.

 


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