epic 18x performence

hi is their anyone out there who paddles a epic 18x that can advise me on build quality and how they handle as a friend is thinking of buying one as we dont know anyone here who owns one have the manufacturers spec but would like to know people who own and paddle them their thoughts about the boat much appreciated as there is only one dealer in scotland who sells them thanks.

Paddle with them
I regularly paddle with a group that has several Epics, both 16 and 18. I can’t believe the number of quality issues, mostly concerning that rudder breaking or becoming inoperable due to cable malfunctions. In 2 weeks, I saw 2 different Epics get the rudder duct-taped in place because the thing got stuck in a deployed position so the boat just wanted to do circles. I for one wouldn’t go near one. Others probably have different opinions, but for my money, there are way better boats out there.

Epic 18x - hmm
In short, this boat is the fastest mass market sea kayak out there. The EFT is faster, but does not fit the USCA sea kayak class. The build quality on mine seems fine. The rudder is very tough to adjust, and so are the foot pedals. Not surprisingly, the rudder ventilates a lot in chop.

In flat water, it is very fast. The stability is pretty low for a sea kayak, but for me, it has been working very well as a training boat that goes pretty fast. This is the most comfortable sea kayak or touring kayak that I’ve ever used - bar none. It seems to be about 5% faster than my old Endurance, and 3-4% slower than a v10 on flat water.

So, if you want a fast sea kayak for flat to choppy conditions, this would be something to look at. I’m not sure how it would be in really rough conditions. The rudder does ventilate in chop, but it does not catch weeds like a conventional or understern rudder. This is a big advantage in weedy conditions. For flat water, this is the boat to have to win races. The KayakPro Nemo might go as fast, or the Optimum(?) custom boat, so those might be boats to compare with this.

customer service
The local dealers are great. The corporate customer service is terrible and their advertising is less than accurate. If you have any problems, good luck. However, it is a wicked fast boat.

customer service
I’ve had an Epic 18X for about a year now. I have not paddled a faster boat but I would agree with some of the reviewers here. Build quality is not the greatest. I had to make several gelcoat repairs within the first two months of paddling the boat and I only paddle in very light conditions. Water also seems to be slowly leaking from the section connected to the rudder but I have not been able to detect the exact spot. I also purchased my boat directly from Epic and their customer service hasn’t been great. Their sales manager (sorry Brian) is not very timely in responding to my inquiries and every time I’ve asked for a spare part (gel coat pigment, grommets, etc.) they say it will arrive in a few months but it never arrives and they never call me back.

I’m not trying to slam Epic. I have great respect for Greg and Oscar and what they’re trying to do to advance the sport. I’m just trying to describe to you what my customer experience has been like to this point with hopes that Epic will heed this and take action to improve this aspect of their business.

What does “ventilate” mean (rudder)
What does “ventilate” mean (rudder). What do you mean when you say the rudder ventilates in chop?

Bill G.

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Example of Great Customer Service
My g/f paddles an Epic (16) - previous generation model.

She purchased it used and it needed some work (former rental boat abuse). We are local to Epic and they were absolutely fantastic to her. We brought the boat to them, they worked up an cost sheet, she chose what she wanted done and not, and they basically did everything anyway for the price of only the things she wanted done.

Perhaps being local helped as their headquarters are only about 15 minutes from our front door.

I like her boat a lot. I paddled it for 7 miles the other day. It is fast. I’ve demo’d the new 18 but it seems a little long to me.

Oh, and what does it mean when a rudder “ventilates” in chop?

What is an EFT kayak?

Bill G.

Mt. Pleasant, SC

I believe he meant it comes out of the water in chop and when this happens it doesn’t work. Probably because it doesn’t go deap into the water. The typical skegs are further forward on the boats so they stay in the water. The blades on the typical rudders extend deap enough into the water to stay submerged. From what I remember the rudders on the Epics follow the shape of the hull so it is common for them to come out of the water.

Extra Fast Trainer

Extra fast trainer
Thats funny

I think you better look at the Westside website

The 18X does not have a real rudder

– Last Updated: Jul-12-08 4:37 PM EST –

The Epic 18X does not have a real rudder, rather it has what has been called a wagging tail. The aft foot or so of hull pivots. So loss of steering control is common in waves that would cause the tail of the boat to pitch out of the water. We have seen some people build little skegs under this pivoting hull in an attempt to increase the performance.

For flat shallow water type racing, like the USCA is known for, the pivoting tail is an okay idea, but still not as efficient as a kickup rudder.

The Epic 18X is strictly optimized for the USCA Sea Kayak class specs. I have always felt the Sound Rower's FSK specs were more reasonable and inclusive. The 18X waterline beam would have to be made modestly wider to meet both specs, but this would open up a larger market, and avoid tying the boat's success to the USCA. We have recently seen the Blackburn Challenge drop the USCA specs and adopt the Sound Rower's specs. I hope we see other large races do the same to hopefully get regular sea kayakers back to the races. The USCA's 8.5% min waterline beam is a little on aggressive side for a class that is supposed to be for "sea kayaks."

So if your plan is to race USCA sanctioned shallow/flat water events then the Epic 18X will be a fine choice since it seems specialized for this. If you have wider aspirations and prefer a boat that will do more, then you might want to check out something else.

Anyone who can handle an 18X can also handle one of the more stabile surfskis like the Epic V10 Sport or the Huki S1-R. If you plan on paddling in open water, want to do some surfing, prefer the safety of a sit-on-top boat, then I would suggest looking to one of the friendlier surfskis. They're great fun and it is so liberating to get away from a cockpit opening and skirt.


eft is 10 times the boat
Quality is perfect. Biult for huge waves. Undertsern rudder turns like a ferrari. Such a grest boat that rather than buiding a better boat is has in effect been outlawed by lying and saying it in unlimited. Much slower than unlimited boat such as my t-bolt or mohican. Still, if I could only have one boat- it is the eft. best boat ever built!!!

I think you have said it all

at 18 feet
and only 41 lbs it must be awfully thin fiberglass

10x the boat? and thin fg?
Having paddled both, I think they are both great boats. I think for overall use, either would be great. The 18x has better build and finish quality, IMO. The EFT, though, is clearly faster, but not by a whole lot.

Epic Performance Video
This is from the July 2008 Epic Newsletter.


Video of side by side with a “rocker” boat in waves.

Has sound.

Bill G.

Mt. Pleasant, SC

I noticed this between Epic and WS Tempe
I paddled by g/f’s Epic 16 last week while my son paddled by WS Tempest 170.

This was in tidal creeks without much wind at all so keep that in mind. With and against the tide.

The Epic just tracks so true while I have to put the skeg on the Tempest down part way almost every time I paddle (and my son had to as well while we paddled last week).

Very noticeable difference. In fact, my g/f had me take the rudder off the Epic because she never uses it.(it is a first gen Epic with the old drop down rudder on it, not the new integrated one).


Mt. Pleasant, SC

Big Wave Epic Video
Again from the July Epic Newsletter.


Tempest has a lot
of rocker and is not as fast as many boats with a flater, straighter bottom—but when the weather and waves build up it is nice to be in—BTW don’t need to use the skeg on my Tempest accept when running down wind in waves—in fact it is contra indicated when going upwind in waves as it causes the boat to lee cock more.