An Epic experience

-- Last Updated: Aug-11-12 5:49 PM EST --

So after a couple of months in a kayak I was intrigued by surf ski.

Have done lots of research and asked questions. I was down to either a Stellar (SR or S18S) or Epic (v8 or V10 Sport).

While waiting for Stellars to arrive here in Florida I had the opportunity to sit in a V10 Sport (on dry land).

Unfortunately the bucket/cockpit was too tight for my big hips. I contacted the Epic representative, Brian H. who was quite helpful. He located a V10 Sport with a wider bucket in S. Carolina at Epic facility. As he was driving up that way he picked up the ski for me. Had a dealer taken delivery I would have been charged at least a partial fee for shipping as delivery for one boat is not inexpensive.

This morning Brian trailered the boat to an Epic dealer, Bill Jackson's in the Tampa/St. Pete area. I met Brian as arranged at the nice lake behind Jackson's. I fully expected to get a minute or two of basics and told to "go for it". Either I sink or swim (literally). Not so. Brian spent over 2 hours with me giving personal instruction and paddling alongside. Started in the V6 than moved up to the V10 Sport after a 15 minute paddle. Yes, a bit unsteady, well very unsteady but with Brian's assistance I developed a degree of comfort in short order.

Long story short, I purchased the boat. A win/win for all involved.

Just wanted to share this as I always thought of a factory rep as one who works with the dealer to move product. He worked one on one with the consumer. Yes , Brian wanted to sell the boat but IMO he went above and beyond what I believe was required.

To the Stellar folks, sorry it just did not work out. As they say, timing is everything.

Accolades to Brian H., Epic and the folks at Jackson's.

BTW: If you are ever in the Tampa area Jackson's is well worth the stop. Tons of paddling gear, SUP , racks etc. Also fishing stuff, guns, scuba, camping etc.

Oh yes, indoor pool for rolling instruction etc. To top it all off free hot dogs!! To bad they were gone by the time I got out of the lake.

Cannot wait to hit the water tomorrow!!

High Performance Kayaks

– Last Updated: Aug-11-12 7:21 PM EST –

We just had some friendly competition among a
bunch of high performance kayaks and surf skis
at Kensington MetroPark, Michigan.
The rec boat folks rubbed elbows and saw various
gear available as they gain more experience.

Customer service
Great story. Nice to know that customer service is alive and well.

I went to the Epic office in Charleston
and the attention was the same. Good to know customer service is a priority with Epic.

"demo day"
Recently went to a demo day. Different experience than yours!

It was pretty much; here are the boats sign a waiver and paddle.

Sounds like your Epic rep did you a solid.


thanks for posting this

– Last Updated: Aug-15-12 10:22 AM EST –

This is how those vendors stay alive. Going the extra mile.

Good to hear…
Brian Houston has been a part of the local kayaking scene for as long as I can remember.

I have purchased several new Epic kayaks and each time Brian has been very helpful and provided excellent advice. In the case of my V12, he went out of his way (literally) to let me demo the ski, before my purchase.

Brian frequently joins the local (Orlando) racing group practice sessions, so he “walks the walk”.

Greg Stamer

It’s probably all for the best
Do you know what goes into those things?! (hotdogs)

Do you know what goes into those things?
Good point. Besides at my weight I don’t need any hot dogs!!

Seriously, it was a pleasure to get one on one with Brian. I cannot believe the difference in stability between a 19 in beam ski and a 24 inch beam kayak.

It is an experience but I will get it eventually.

Cannot wait to sit in the kayak Saturday, I’m thinking after 4 days on the ski a nice relaxing paddle.

BTW: If you have never been in (on) a surf ski give it a try. Very humbling.

Which Layup Did You Get?
Good choice, for I have always enjoyed paddling the Sport, even though I don’t own one. They are fast for their width and length and have clocked under four (4) hours for the Molokai Race with large paddlers (over 250 lbs.) using them. I was just curious as to which layup you bought? Anyway, do get lots of water time on it, for you’ll never go back to paddling anything else, once you become proficient with it. And at 20 ft. length, you can probably keep it car topped year round ready to go? So show it off to kids and get them interested in surfskis, so their parents can lobby the high schools to include kayaking as a sport?

So, what did you think of the V6
You said you also tried out the V6 Tourer. Since I fully intend on winning this boat in the paddlenet give-away, I would like to know what I am in for. Seriously, I am thinking of trekking over to the coast to try one, but need some convincing the trip would be worth it. Glad you got the boat you wanted.

Another Accolade for Brian
Really good guy. And yes, as Clyde said, he does walk the walk also. Super helpful, and really knowledgable about the sport and his product. Brian’s ‘good people.’

V10 Sport…an excellent choice. It’s a step up on the learning curve from the V8, as you know (really fun boat), but it’s a boat you’ll also grow with, and it’s not limiting in any way. The Stellars are also, well, stellar. You could not go wrong there either. I have an Epic in my stable and a Stellar SE-L: love this boat. Good luck to you, and stay with it. We’re all somewhere on the curve. Skis are just gosh darn fun (if a little humbling at times).

Just wrote an article for the NECKRA magazine about this very thing-‘L’art du Surfski’-transitioning from closed kayaks to skis. In case you’re interested:


Which Layup Did You Get?
Went for the Ultra. Got a very fair price due to a cosmetic issue.

   So, what did you think of the V6 <br /><div align="center"><FONT SIZE="1" COLOR="#FF0000">-- Last Updated: Aug-16-12 7:11 AM EST --</FONT></div>

I had no problem with it. I have been kayking for about 2 months (a CD Isle 18).
So going to the V6 was not a big transition as I believe the V6 is a 23 or 24 inch beam. I suppose the V6 is a topless 16X and the V8 is a topless 18x, well sort of.

So yeah, V6 was not difficult and I am pretty new to all this.

Brian put me right from the V6 to V10 instead of to V8 first cause the V6 and V8 were so snug as to be uncomfortable.

The V6, as you may know has 2 nice hatches with cam locks unlike anything I have seen. I like the design far better than the "rubbermaid' type hatch covers.

If you have been paddling you can surely handle the V8 and i suppose the V10 sport as well.

The V6 gives you some storage space so I suppose it depends on your intended you.

In closing, you gotta try a surf ski.

Quote - “Cannot wait to sit in the kayak Saturday, I’m thinking after 4 days on the ski a nice relaxing paddle.”

Now that you’ve been paddling a ski that 24" touring kayak is going to feel, and look, like a fat little piggy.

The only way I cold enjoyably paddle my touring kayak after getting an unlimited kayak (WSBS Thunderbolt) was to use a single blade paddle. I hated paddling slow with the double blade.

After you get used to it you’ll take your ski out for leisurely paddles.