test paddled the new epic 18x few months ago. liked the stability, design, & speed. hoping to buy carbon layup this spring for fitness paddling & fun races. a friend asked me to check out the westside eft. lighter, cheaper, better quality? i’m concerned about stability though. anyone out there paddled both boats? please advise. thanks.

havent paddled either
But i have paddled the Tbolt X and found that plenty stable, and the quality of the hulls on the west side boats is great, really tough boats.

My 2
Also paddled the 18x for about a ten minute period. I was impressed by its speed, and particularly, its ergonomics for fast paddling. The open cockpit gives you quite a bit more room than the Endurance 18 (which I own) to free your legs for pumping. I also liked the ability to adjust the seat fore and aft with a simple spring loaded pin, as well as the gas pedal rudder controls’ adjustability. This is a very similar design to Patrick at Onnopaddle’s carbon gas pedal rudder controls…Hmmm… (more on this in a bit). Having front and rear bulkheads is a definite plus, makes it more of a true sea kayak than a loosely disguised wolf in sheep’s clothing (re: E.F.T.) I would be surprised if it’s as fast as an E.F.T., although it’s noticeably ‘seat of the pants’ quicker than the 18 it supercedes.

I also own an E.F.T., although it’s fairly new to my garage, so others might be better suited to comment on its all around competence. It is minimally outfitted and very fast; deceptively so, in fact. You sit in, rather than perched on top of (like the Nelo Razor or Kayakpro Jet), but the cockpit feel is very K-1 like, giving ample room for rotation. The hatch is obligatory at best, but I’d opt for that if only for the rear bulkhead. A number of EFT owners have fabricated their own front bulkheads; something I’ll be looking into. I also swapped out the tiller bar for Pat’s carbon footbraces and in the three times I’ve paddled with them, find them to be a much more user friendly set up. Those who like tillers and are used to them have no complaints-I have size 12s and found it sometimes difficult to toe the tiller over one way or another, particularly with winter booties on. The Onnopaddles footbrace is wide, flat, and solid-the perfect platform to thrust off of, and the pedals themselves are easily actuated in any position on the footbrace.

I’ve only had the EFT out in 2 ft. chop to date. It’s quite stable; I can easily lay a paddle down and grab an energy bar, or reach around behind me. It’s light weight allows it to be pushed around a bit in heavy gusts, and for open ocean use, I’d look at a longer rudder. That said, this boat is FAST. It leaps with every paddle stroke, and seems quite well made. Keep in mind it’s a handmade boat, and won’t have the computer perfect layup of a CNC’d plug, but Doug can definitely build-it’s purpose built to a task. As noted earlier, it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It can be toured with, but really it’s a loosely disguised racing boat; the 18x might be a little closer to the touring intent by virtue of its dual bulkheads and ‘accessorizing.’ You may want to also look at the Valley Rapier-nice VCP hatches, and a quick hull design.