The new Ion hits Australia

on Apr 24 in Uncategorized by

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The all new Ion has hit Australia. John Bryen took it for its first paddle on Sydney Harbour. Here are his thoughts on our latest design.

 

Today I had the pleasure of taking the new Think Ion for a paddle on Sydney Harbour. Not only did I get to take it for a paddle, I also got to take it on its maiden voyage. I had forgotten how exciting it was to have a brand new ski sitting on the tressels, getting all set up for it’s first time on the water. I wasn’t the only one that was excited, within minutes of setting it up at Rose Bay I already had interested paddlers asking questions about it.

What sort of Think ski is that?
Where did I get it from?
How much is it?
How does it paddle?

As well as the questions, I had passers by telling me how striking it’s appearance was and how much they loved the racing stripes.

At first glance, the Ion looks different. It has a lot of volume in the tail, and is noticeably wider in the rear than my current Evo II. It also has alot of rocker which you can really see when you get it on the water. The other thing that looks different is the nose, it is torpedo like in its looks. The thing that hasn’t changed though, is the finish of the boat. Like my current Evo II and all of the other Think boats I have seen, the finish is immaculate. Not a blemish on it. The Ion I was paddling is the performance spec, so it is fitted out with orange stripes and of course, comes with carry handles front and rear.

Before I got it onto the water and started paddling, I thought I’d nail the basics of the boat. Now, I currently paddle a Think Evo II in Elite layup. Don’t let the name fool you though, I am far from an “elite” paddler, very much middle of the pack, intermediate paddler. I am comfortable in my ski in the flat, chop and in large swells doing down winds. I know that if I happen to fall off, I can get back in easily. It’s what you come to expect after paddling the same boat consistently for over 12 months. What I was unsure about with the Ion, was how stable it was going to be and how I would cope if I came off, by myself in the middle of the harbour on a choppy and breezy day. To make sure I was going to be comfortable, I decided to practice mounting and remounting in the safety of the shallows before I took off. I was pleasantly surprised. Even though the Ion is 3.5cms narrower than the Evo II, the ease of remounting is exactly the same. No problems at all.

First thing you notice jumping into the Ion, is that the bucket is just the same as the Evo II, very comfortable and ergonomically correct. At the foot well, it is slightly narrower than the Evo II, but still with ample room. With that sorted, it was time to test out my next question. How was the stability? Jumping in the Ion, I was unsure of how the stability was going to be. Straight away, I could tell it was a little tippier than the Evo II. But what was really apparent was the secondary stability, there is heaps! I sat and really lent the boat over to see how far I could push it, and you can really push it. After that I was more than ready and confident to get going.

As I started off, I quickly became used to the stability in the boat. Although it is narrower than the Evo II and 17cms longer, it felt very familiar to me in a short space of time. I took off upwind into the wind chop and boat chop of Rose Bay and looked to get some good rhythm and boat run. The thing I noticed is how well it punched through the chops. It did it easily and with minimal loss of boat run. I was impressed. After a solid 5km of navigating boat wash, wind chop, rebounds and an outgoing tide, I decided to turn around and try to chase some runs. I didn’t have to try very hard, because the one thing that really stood out about today’s paddle on the Ion, is how easily it picked up every little bump or run available. There wasn’t any great assistance from large swells or anything, but any bumps that were there, the Ion picked up. It was great. I felt very comfortable in the Ion. Not once did I feel like I was about to fall out. Even when I thought I was going to have to brace, the secondary stability was there.

I paddled the Ion for an hour totaling 10km. I paddled into the tide, with the tide, into wind, with wind, into chops, with chops and also across the chops to give me a good idea of what the boat was like in every condition I had available to me today. The data from my GPS was encouraging. I didn’t push myself at all, it was a very easy hour long paddle and I had managed to produce speeds and times better than I was expecting. At times I felt like I wasn’t paddling hard at all, only to look down and see I was moving really well, I was happy.

My thoughts on the Think Ion are purely that, my thoughts. Everyone may be different and I’m sure not everyone will be the same.  I really enjoyed my time paddling the Ion. I was surprised at the stability and how easy it picked up runs.

Who should look at trying an Ion?
Everyone! I would say, anyone that is comfortable in an Evo II in all conditions but aren’t up to the Uno Max, then this is the boat for you. Also, if you can’t quite handle the Uno Max in the chops/swells but love doing downwinds, try the Ion.

Will you notice immediate improvements in speed?
I wasn’t out to break speed records today, but I did notice a quicker boat.

Would I buy one?

Yes, I would have no hesitation in buying the Think Ion, and I believe it to be a great progression from the Evo II.