The Vortex shape has been proven to be quick - and it was an exercise in minimilisation. Low windage, low drag, low volume were all key factors in making it efficient, but where does this leave the heavier paddler, someone say over 80kg? When Steevie Teihotaata (85kg) won every stage of the 2015 11 Cities event the only fault he could find was that he wanted improved deck drainage and a little more volume to cope with the rougher water at the start of each race leg and for winds increased and the waters became more choppy.
STABILITY 3 SPEED 5 AGILTY 4
14' x 24" x 269lts (+ approximately 25lts from Standard Vortex)
14' x 26" x TBA
How and where to add volume was an interesting challenge and it was concluded that the side walls should be increased in height by a further 3cm compared to the regular Vortex. This does a number of things; notably, it keeps the deck-well area drier and increases the boards secondary buoyancy so as the 'righting moment' is more noticeable and more effective (the 'moment' at which the board meets resistance as it rolls, in this case as it rolls onto the flat side of the wall).
Deck drainage was and has been easily addressed, with the addition of another set of drainage holes and an increase in diameter (now applied to all Vortex boards and the Equinox). Additionally, we agreed to move the high spot of the nose cowling area to be further back and higher, leading to greater volume in the nose. Further to this, the tail was thickened marginally to keep the front to rear increase in depth, proportional, we then rounded up the width, to an even 24". Note, we only make stock production boards, no spooky team rider sizes or weights.
The nose shape was an interesting issue for us. We are convinced in trails that the sturgeon nose shape (dolphin nose if you like) works beautifully, even if it takes some getting used to. For the 2016 11 Cities event, we made Steevie a board with a slightly squarer, more vertical nose, however subsequent to observing the boards performance in Holland and testing the board in Mauritius, we have concluded to opt for the same nose on the standard Vortex; it simply works better by keeping the nose in a downward trajectory, rather than lifting too early.
Above: The Standard Vortex on the left, VortexXL on the right. Note higher side walls of 3cm and thicker tail, higher volume nose area.
Steeve Teihotaata paddles the VortexXL.
Above: The Standard Vortex on the right and the VortexXL on the left.