The Riddler

Swell Scupper 14 Review

151 posts in this topic

Ok, a quick initial review. I was out in 1-2 foot chop with wind out of the SE. With slight wind at my back about 10 knots this platform tracked great. As a matter of fact I paddled through most of the day without a rudder. It's really not needed. Nice to have but not a must.

 

Make no bones about it, this is a wet ride. If you don't want water on your heels, this platform is not for you. Water can build up in the seat...so if you want a dry ass?  This boat is not for you.

 

If you are still reading then you are like me, you want a performance ride. I like the concept of a SOT seating height being at the water line. It has an incredible initial stability even at my weight of 250lbs and can lean on this kayak hard and can paddle and hold it.

 

 The boat has two elevated scupper holes before the hatch and two scupper holes in the footwells that are about 4" below the water line.   You get two scupper plugs, venturi plug style with a ball inside. I launched with the plugs all the way up in a plugged dry setting and had some water from feet and paddle strokes get in. After a coupe of hours of fishing I was taking some chop over the gun whales and had about 1" of water inside. I pulled the plugs to see how much water gets in and it floods to just below the center hatch line but will not go over to the other side of the footwell. The instructions for the plugs, has the drain holes facing the stern. There is a stainless bar in the plug that will ensure you are straight and plumb. The plugs must be pushed all the way down to allow the footwells to get into drain mode. This was not easy to do because of the suction and being new plugs. When the plugs are pushed all the way down you have to paddle fast to attempt to get the venturi to work. I got the kayak to just at 4 knots and it started draining. You have to hold this pace for about a minute or two to allow draining. Once the water level goes down you must pull the plugs up to stop water from coming in  To my surprise the venturi drain plugs only take the water down to 1.5" or so.  I couldn't get it any less after trying 6 times. Maybe this may change depending on paddlers weight. So you will have standing water in the footwells at least at my weight of 250lbs.

 

I feel Swell Watercraft will need to improve on these plugs. I'm not crazy about it and word has it other folks seem to feel the same way. I feel Swell Watercraft will make improvements to the plug in the future and I also have some ideas.

 

Without the plugs in water will fill up just below the scrucket and flood the footwells entirely. In fact water will get inside and fill the scrucket up and is molded to the kayak so water will not get into the hull. (So I do not recommend cutting the scrucket at all for rod storage purposes!)  I would not recommend to use the scrucket for anything you want to keep dry. It's kind of a bummer for me because I wanted to load the scrucket up with jigs all glued up. I may have to go back to a small waterproof storage box as I want to keep this kayak to a minimum with fishing stuff.

 

The front hatch is huge!  Can fit a lot of stuff down there including rods but only on the the side. The scrucket runs so deep you can't get rods by it so that's why you need to store rods on the sides for one piece rods at least.  I don't know if the hatch will hold the 30cm wheeleez wheels and cart broken down. I will check and post later on it.

 

I plan on installing a helix side imaging unit on this. Maybe the 5 or 7, not sure yet. Hopefully in the next day or two I can get that done and bring it out on a night time hunting mission for larger Bass. Stay tuned!

 

 

Edited by The Riddler

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13 mins ago, jeffreyrichard said:

Tuco taco? ... do tell ...

I am trying to keep this thread on topic. You learn about Tuco taco's in here.

 

 

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The scupper situation makes you wonder if this boat is really designed for more slender people than us that would be riding higher & dryer. I have found that with things like dry suits where I could not get the zipper of an extra large past my shoulders when I was wearing layers.

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I don’t think so. I talked with a couple of other swell 14 owners on facebook and look lighter than me.   They also have standing water of about an 1 1/2” after draining.  Lets see if Swell Guy responds in this thread and shed some light on the topic. 

 

 

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Congrats on the new kayak, and the nice bass. To borrow a term from Elaine on Seinfeld, Scupper style boats are 'sponge worthy' by design .You can also raise up the footwells with foam. How many in the fleet now?

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I have to say, at least with a guy your size, the footwells might be built far too low.  An inch and a half of water is a lot, but is fixable with foam inserts. Water to the top of the scrucket is way, way too much, and can't be corrected.  I'll be interested to see how this plays out.  

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That’s with the scuppers out.  I am going to message other swell owners and see how much water they get when. Scuppers are removed.  I think it will be close to the same. 

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Here is a 6’4” 300lb paddler and he is carrying a crab trap.  This kayak can take big paddlers but the consensus seems to be, the venturi scupper plugs being improved. This is with all weighted paddlers. 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by The Riddler

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14 hours ago, kross57 said:

Actually, quite a few. I can't figure out why that kayak is so heavy. Other than that, looks sweet.  Best of luck with it!

I'll bet it's all the angles the kayak has. Must be hard to keep poly uniform in the mold along those surface.

 

Great looking boat though, very well thought out, nice lines, very functional deck 

 

I hope there's a market for boats that perform that well

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1 hour ago, The Riddler said:

That’s with the scuppers out.  I am going to message other swell owners and see how much water they get when. Scuppers are removed.  I think it will be close to the same. 

Not sure I understand. You wrote "Once the water level goes down you must pull the plugs up to stop water from coming in ...To my surprise the venturi drain plugs only take the water down to 1.5" or so."

The way I read this, you are paddling along and a wave fills the footwells. You have to open the venturis, paddle fast until the water drains down to 1.5 inches, then shut the venturis before the footwells fill up to the top again. Is that right? 

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40 mins ago, Santiago II said:

I'll bet it's all the angles the kayak has. Must be hard to keep poly uniform in the mold along those surface.

Makes you wonder if Pelican isn't onto something with their thermoformed PE method. Seems to me you'd have pretty uniform thickness. Their 30" wide STRIKE 120X weighs 54# on their specs, trade some width for length and what would a 26" wide boat with their method weight in at?

Edited by gellfex

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1 hour ago, kross57 said:

Not sure I understand. You wrote "Once the water level goes down you must pull the plugs up to stop water from coming in ...To my surprise the venturi drain plugs only take the water down to 1.5" or so."

The way I read this, you are paddling along and a wave fills the footwells. You have to open the venturis, paddle fast until the water drains down to 1.5 inches, then shut the venturis before the footwells fill up to the top again. Is that right? 

Yes you are correct. To engage the venturi and drain the footwells this is what you have to do.

 

1) Push the plug down, this exposes the drain below the kayak.

 

2) Paddle fast, this allows momentum to create a pull effect.

 

3) Once footwells are drained pull the plug up slightly to the sealed position again. 

 

Even following these instructions from the manufacturer there is still 1 1/2” of water left behind. This is known to the manufacturer.  

 

I like your idea KRoss of putting in padding to raise the footwells 1 1/2”.  That is an idea I will try it right away. 

 

I am also tinkering with a scupper idea that is based on the drain of a scuba mask.  It will be based on a manual design with plunger. This will be a manual design.

 

A full auto design would be desirable though. 

 

 

 

 

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