This is the 3rd Albatross I’ve had so I feel like I know the boat quite well. The shape of the Albatross has stayed the same since it’s release in 2008, however the boat builder has changed.
My first Albatross was a used boat that was built from a soric / glass combination, it was great, and surprisingly light at around 14kg, however I damaged it badly in a race at Dee Why where I got wiped out.
The Albatross is built for DD3 by Peter Macdonald, who builds Advantage Kayaks & Charger Surf Skis, he builds high quality products.
The ski is similar in dimensions to an Epic v10, it’s 44cm wide and 6.48 long. My ski is the Carbon Maxi model and weighs about 12kg, and it looks great.
- Length: 6.48metres
- Width: 44cm
- Seat Width: 39.5cm
- Volume: Medium
The shape is unique with its cut away nose, which just looks fast in my opinion.
DD3 provides a custom colour and design as standard; the finish on my ski is perfect.
Here are a few other stunning examples of custom Albatros ski’s built by DD3:
ALBATROS CONSTRUCTION OPTIONS
- Vacuum infused
- Glass and LRC soric with carbon reinforcement
- Choice of deck & hull colour. 13.5 kg
- Vacuum infused
- Carbon infused honeycomb soric
- Carbon construction with choice of hull and deck colour. 12 kg
- Full carbon/Nome
- Vacuum construction with clear gel coat
- It’s available only in black. 10 kg
HOW IT PADDLES
The ski is at its best for me when there is moderate downwinder on. It surfs swell very well, I find it easy to get onto swell and importantly, it goes exactly where you point it.
If you take on a decent swell and you want to get across it and into another hole, no problems, it never spins out like other skis I have paddled.
When I have been in races paddling alongside another paddler in downwind conditions, I have generally been able to get away on runs then link a few together and get away from them, I suspect the shape of the nose is the important factor in it’s great downwind ability.
Australian champion Tommy Woodriff placed in the top 10 on a DD3 Albatros in the 2009 Surf Life Saving Ocean Series ( pictured below ).
The ski is quite stable without being a barge, so it handles cross swell quite well. I always thought the ski might’ve been a little slow on flat water due to the nose being cut away.
However, I did the 111km Hawkesbury classic last year in under 10 hours so it’s fast enough. Actually DD did it in under 9 hours, which is completely insane and an Albatross paddler took line honours in 2011.
I did the paddle without any injury and was comfortable the entire journey without any seat pads etc, hence I love the seating position.
DD3 have made some improvements on the latest Albatross.
Significantly, the skis are the stated weight. I don’t think weight makes much difference in the ocean. I’ve paddled a older Fenn that feels like it might be 9kg and it’s a complete handful in decent swell and my 18kg spec ski can be a fast as an Ocean Ski when conditions are rough.
My old Albatross was 14kg, so the new 12kg ski is far easier to lift onto the car.
Also, the footplate has had a make over, it’s now rock solid as opposed to the last one that flexed a little bit under my heels when leg driving.
They have added some improved fittings that negate the issue I mentioned previously.
There is also an improvement in the leg length adjusters.
KEY DESIGN FEATURES
- Hydro-5 Hull Design
- K2 Stainless System
- Alba-Celox Bow
- Fully adjustable DD3 comfort-well cockpit
- Quality and pressure tested
- Internal flotation and reinforcement for safer, stronger ski
- Resins undergo regular tests (Nuplex Industries Chemical Engineers)
- Extensive use of carbon reinforcing
- Models available in Standard, Maxi and Super Maxi
- Vast colour choice
- 1-year warranty on all moveable parts.
- Double seamed, 70mm overlapping internal seam, 30mm external E-Glass seam
- Use of quality Vinyl ester resins – HTD (High Temperature Distortion resistant) compared to Epoxy & Polyester resins.
- UVA and UVB resistant
- Reinforced rudder well / rudder tubing
- Solid highly durable elliptical rudder
- Both deck and hull are fully cured and internal structures glassed in before being released from the mould
DD3 ALBATROS ON THE WATER
DD3 are a fairly small company, this is good and bad. It’s good in that Damien will help you choose the right model from their range.
Damien will also give you training and allow you to come to his insanely early training sessions to be yelled at about your stroke, ‘higher arms, more twist, leg drive, leg drive….’, he loves that kind of thing at 5am.
Being small can mean that the ski might take a little longer to order than ones on the shelf, Advantage Kayaks builds it after you order it.
This is similar to ordering a Gibbons, albeit its far quicker to get an Albatross than a GRX.
DD will whatever he can to help and can and has partnerships with local ski repairer to fix any issues and will lend you spare ski if there’s a race on, however it’s not the same as a larger supplier.
Anyway, my new Albatross is spot on, DD3 has now perfected the Albatross, I would at least give one a paddle before making your decision.