Epic 18X Sport/Performace

Test drove the new Epic 18X Sport on a lake and was impressed, excellect quality control, light at 42 lbs, more room for bigger people, adjustable sliding seat, good backband, foot bar with peddles for the “built in” rudder. For $2,700 it is a great buy.

Anyone had one of these out surfing waves? Wondering how the rudder works then.

Integrated Rudder
Don’t own one, and have only paddled one on a calm lake, as have you, but do have two friends who have them. One did the Blackburn in his, and was less than enthused with the handling on textured water. Greg B. seemed to have no problems in the one he won in, but then again, he’s no mere mortal. On a following sea my friend reports that it surfs extremely well in its ability to pick up a ride (No surprise there, as I have the older Epic 18 and it loves to surf.), but the tiny rudder just doesn’t have the ‘bite’ he’d like. Another friend reports his as more stable than his EFT, and thus chose it for the Mayor’s Cup, but the water was calm that day. Interestingly, the Epic rep showed with a fabricated blade grafted onto the bottom of his, making for a deeper rudder. This says something. There were rumors circulating that the boat would be offered with two rudder choices, and would eventually be spec’d with a traditional rudder, but rumors are rumors. When I test paddled it, the cockpit arrangement felt great: wide and open, with a fairly narrow catch, and the gas pedal rudder setup was head and shoulders above the old Toe Pilots for fast paddling.

18x vs QCC700
i have a hard time understanding the differences between the 18x and 18x sport on the Epic website. they don’t do a great job with photos and explanations of their kayaks with much detail.

besides that, do you guys feel there is much performance difference from the QCC700 and the big Epic? which would win in a race with equal paddlers with the same paddles?

Merry Christmas and/or Happy
Hanukkah jbv

I own a QCC 700 and LOVE the boat. I paddled the Epic 18X in the pond, they call a lake, at the Charleston Kayak Festival. The 18X is very stable and much (sadly) faster than my QCC. If they would put a rudder on the boat that worked (for me anyway), I’d buy that boat as my day boat and keep my QCC for camping trips.

Find one a paddle it! It’s fun.


18X Sport
jbv, the 18X and 18X Sport are essentially identical, only the sport is 3/4" wider at the waterline (as stated on the website.) I paddled them on the same “lake” Franklin did. The Sport is just a little more stable then the regular 18X, but the 18X was faster than the Sport (narrower waterline.) The outfitting and all other specs were the same.

18X vs. QCC 700
I’d definitely agree with Franklin (Hey, Franklin!); the 18X is noticeably faster than the 700, having been a former 700 owner myself. If I were looking at an FSK, I’d also take a peek at the Kayakpro Nemo/Marlin. A number have been showing up at the races and placing quite respectably.


re: speed
Well not trying to start an argument but the 18X sport “felt” slower versus my QCC700 “with the rudder up”, and when I stoped paddeling the 18X it felt like it had less of a glide again versus my 700 with the rudder up. But no GPS to quantify those feelings.

Hull dimensions should be similar, if not the same as the Epic Endurance it replaces. Comparing my Epic 18 to my QCC 700, they were very close. Funny that you observed this, as the Epic 18 always felt like it did have a little less glide than the Q-Tip, but timing them on the same training routes, in the same races, this was not the case. The Epic is faster for me. Only way to tell for sure is the tale of the tape with the GPS, or timed runs.

I have had 2 18X`s so I have paddled them but I have sold them both.

I have a bad habit of buying and selling kayaks.

About the time I get one someone wants to buy it.

I thing the Epic boats workmanship is poor.

I have heard everyone talk about the rudder but I had no problem with it, but I only paddle flat water.

I think they are fast but so are the kayakpro boats.

I will stay with my EFT its made in America and its super light weight.

The Sport would be more stable.

I paddle Epic for a couple years before moving to the eft

QCC rudder up or down?

– Last Updated: Dec-24-07 7:58 PM EST –

Trilobite02 are you comparing the two with rudders down on both kayaks?

Rudder Down
Since most paddles are fitness/race oriented for me, I always keep the rudders down. The QCC always dragged the housing at speed anyway, so it was a moot point. They may have mounted it higher in later incarnations of the 700. For some reason, the Epic 18 doesn’t drag to the same degree.

Epic vs. QCC
I had the 18 Endurance at the same time as my QCC. I think the Epic Endurance may be slightly faster and more stable than the QCC. BUT, my QCC has taken a beating and it’s still ticking! It’s a great all around boat.

I’d love to see and paddle the Marlin, but where? Kayak Pro sent me a seat to sit in…it must have been made for jockeys and the like, I couldn’t get my fat rear in the seat! I have heard good things about the boat and would love to paddle one. My QCC is getting long in the tooth.

I am an “all or nothing” guy so, I would like a great fun day boat and a boat to expedition in also. Every year I go to the Kayak Festival in Charleston, and every year I leave thinking I have the perfect rudder boat for all occations! Of course, I speak only for myself.

If anyone knows where I could test the Marlin, in the Southeast, I’d love to try one!

Let me know!?

Hope everybody had a great Christmas and Hanukah.


I know a guy that has one in Mississippi

He did the Phatwater Race in it

It looked like a nice boat I didn`t get a chance to paddle it.

I had a chance to buy a Nemo last week but it was

just to small.

I really wanted to buy it, he brought it to my house

so it really had to not fit for me not to buy it.

trilobite/rudder/rudder backet
I do a lot of fitness paddeling and with a euro paddel at high angle I do not need to use the rudder under many wind and water conditions, just have to rock my hips a little. And that is another thing that is great about the QCC700.

Also, I was able to adjust the SmartTrack rudder bracket high enough so it does not drag in “flat” water. But in surf the bracket will drag on wave peaks, but that does not cause any where near the amount of drag the rudder does.

Point is, with the rudder up the 700 realy glides, and I did not find that to be true of the new Epic where the rudder is always in the water.

adjustable sliding seat
the adj. sliding seat is a feature I think should be on almost all kayaks-even if just 3 inches think of the handling variability you’d get. 2 hours into a paddle and the conditions change and you wish you’d put the tent far up the stern and the water bags closer to you and the center of weight-that 1-3 inches of play could make the difference between suck and happy. I think you’ll see the more progressive companies (uhmm, the companies already grasping the 4th hatch concept) bring this feature to the market.

epic 18x sport
I can’t say how the rudder works in rougher water.

However, having had a couple of Epic kayaks (Endurance and V10 Ultra), I can say that their build quality is suspect, as best. The Endurance was very tough, but really heavy, the V10 in Ultra, while quite light, was a real problem. I had the hull perforated twice in 1 year with it. Getting it to a shop that knew how to repair Nomex honeycomb was a full day’s drive. Also, the boat had a few dimples in the hull when I bought it. In short, the Ultra is so flimsy, that I would not ever get that again, and I would urge any of my friends not to get Ultra.

From what I’ve seen, Epics are at very best, mediocre in durability, and usually pretty bad with initial build quality. However, they clearly have pretty good hull designs. Probably about the fastest sea kayaks available for flat water. The surfskis are really excellent, also. For surfskis, though, there are definitely better choices IMO.

If It Tracks Straight
for you without, and you get better glide, then that’s just gravy. I always felt the Q-Tip had a great deal more rocker than its plumb bow implied; when rotating it would take a set, initiate a turn, and keep going, until I either used a minimal sweep or edged it, both of which threw off my forward stroke. I thought someone mentioned QCC went to an adjustable slotted bracket-Epic also. My Q did not have this and always dragged the housing. My Epic 18 is even more rudder dependent IMO. The foiled rudder seems to make significantly less drag than a comparably sized flat aluminum blank, though. Either way, I race with rudder down, so train with it down also-it’s far faster around a buoy turn and useful for not bleeding off speed to edge when making minimal course corrections.

funny thing
i can think of a couple of manufacturers out there that have the top notch most desirable designs, with the some of the crappiest layups and QC issues…

if these guys were all produced by Nimbus, they would be the world’s finest kayaks, what a pity.

What is the Quality nowadays
Paddler Magazine noted in a small article this past summer that EPIC has gone over to China to manufacture their kayaks. As the article noted, the question on quality control remains unanswered. No fear mongering on my part, rather one should be curious if Eric B. or other EPIC representatives have been forth coming as to where each EPIC is made and the current quality of kayaks made overseas in China. I fully respect the EPIC product line prior to their move to China but nowadays I remain on the fence.


Yellow over White Falcon

What I have found is that you have to correct the 700 within the first ~3-5 degrees of it getting off track, then a simple hip rock can correct the track. So a lot of times I am constantly rocking my hips (just a little) with every “normal high angle” stroke to keep on track in windy/moderate wave conditions. Once it gets past 7-10 dergrees though it is like you said, and it takes a modified speed losing stroke to correct the track.