Epic 18X vs KayakPro Nemo

Looking for anyone who has paddled both the Epic 18X and the KayakPro Nemo to offer comparisons on general paddling, rough water handling, flat water speed, workmanship, etc. Thanks.

Can’t totally answer but
have wondered the same thing. Both excellent designs by champion paddlers. I like the hatches on the Kayak Pro for touring. Probably can’t go bad with either. I’d think you just have to get some seat time in each.

Nemo vs. 18x
I have paddled both and ended up buying a Nemo. As the previous poster said, both boats have very fast hulls. I chose the Nemo for its size. It simply fits a smaller paddler better. With the Nemo and Marlin you have a small/medium and medium/large boat. The 18x is more a “one size fits all” approach. If you are small like me (I’m 120 lbs female) then one size generally does not fit all.

Where the Nemo really shines in the rougher water. It’s stability is amazing and confidence inspiring. I’ve taken it around Manhattan, around Glouster, and out into the Atlantic. When race day comes along I hope for wind and waves!

Regarding build quality. Both boats are light. At sub 40 pounds you simply cannot treat them the same way you do a 50 or 55 lbs fiberglass boat. With a little love though my Nemo seems to be holding up just fine (purchased in May 2007). My mine issue with the build quality has been with the rudder and the cable crimpts. I popped everyone cable crimps out. Since then I’ve replaced all the orginals and now have no more problesm. Others tell me this has been corrected on the later models.

In addition to using the Nemo as a racing boat, I’ve also used it on a fast and light overnighter. Tons of room in the hatches to store gear and the hatches are completely watertight. I haven’t done more than that tripping wise but plan to do a few more of those trips in the future.

Feel free to email if you have other questions.

Ask Delphinus.
If I remember right he and his wife have one of each. He has a web page called AQUADYNOLOGY. Try reaching him there.

kayakcindi,a nemo question
looking at the pics the back deck looks significantly lower than the front deck? is it so? curious for back deck roll potential. thanks!!

Back deck height
The back deck is lower than the front but it isn’t low by british or greenland standards. I certainly can’t do a layback roll in it but then I’m only 5’7 and with a short torso at that. Regardless, I have no problem rolling the Nemo. I default to a Sweep/CtoC hybrid roll. This seems to work and is also a function of rolling with a wing. With the wing paddles tendency to aggressively grab the water, I’m always up by the time my paddle is perpendicular to the cockpit.

NC 19

– Last Updated: Dec-01-08 10:36 PM EST –

Check out the NC 19.
I just posted my comments on it, as I am the proud owner of a new one.
NC also makes the yaks for the US racing team.
Check out there site: www.nckayaks.com

Sorry …
… but neither my wife nor I have either boat in question (our stable currently includes an Impex Force 4, Necky Looksha Sport, and LiquidLogic Pisgah).

I saw Sea Kayaker Magazine’s recent review of the Epic 18X, and was mildly intrigued. I also thought my friend might be interested; he’s been paddling surfskis for a while and he’s now getting into kayak tripping too. But he doesn’t like the standard pedal arrangement found on most sea kayaks, and would prefer the racing-style pedals and fixed bar found on the 18X. At least on paper, sounds like it may be a good boat for speedsters who like to camp.

That is all I know …

But thanks for thinking of me!



As Cyndi said, the Nemo has a higher decked sibling, the Marlin. Hull is supposed to be the same, so there is some choice to fit you, where the Epic is on the voluminous side IMO.

I would think it would be a question more of fit and comfort for which one to pick…

I’ve only very briefly paddled both on flat water and only had a GPS on the Epic 18x but both felt fast and easy to accelerate (light boats…). They are also easier to keep moving than other fast boats like the CD Extreme when paddled at top speed (6.5+ miles per hour) but are a little less stable. Unfortunately, have not had a chance to paddle either of the two in rough water, where the Extreme does pretty well and I suspect would feel more stable. And the Extreme in Kevlar at 50lb feels stronger in terms of layup, especially around the cockpit where the other two seem to be a but flexible. Neither would take a beating on the hull though as all 3 very thin…

Both Epic and Nemo/Marlin have very nicely cut-out front decks for a close paddle entry - nicer feeling than the relatively “fat” front of the Extreme for instance. Plus the lack of a front overhang on the hull saves about a foot of overall length and adds a smidgen to the waterline compared to the Extreme - more of a visual and storage difference I think than anything else…

The Marlin has a smidgen more foot room than the Epic I thought (both had enough leg room) but if you are looking at the Nemo, that’s probably no concern for you.

The new Nemo/Marlin come with significantly stiffer hatch covers (not sure when the switch was done).

Nemo - Epic 18X Ultra
Not only have I paddled both I have owned both. Both are really great boats for different reasons. First let me note that I have paddled dozens of boats in my 30+ years of kayaking. I tour, race, train, watch birds, take photos and do everything else I can in a kayak. Favorites over the years have included the Westside Thunderbolt, Wilderness Systems Arctic Hawk and Seda Spirit. Again, all for different reasons.

The Nemo is my current boat of choice for sea kayak racing. I raced the Epic 18X Ultra for 2 years and recently sold it. At 145 pounds I never felt like I could get enough of it in the water. The Nemo is exactly as fast for me over any given course at any given heart rate but with a heck of a lot more stability. I think if I weighed 200 pounds this would not have been an issue but I often felt like a cork adrift on the sea in the Epic.

My Epic had to be replaced after 11 months of ownership because of a delamination between the Kevlar and the Nomex core. Epic was great about this and the replacement boat they gave me for free was fine. The rudder on the Nemo has given me trouble and Kayakpro is replacing it with their newer version at no cost. All kayaks have flaws and no two boats come off the line exactly the same. The important point is that a manufacturer stands behind their product. Both do.

I didn’t like the seat in the Epic and I replaced it with a K-1 seat. It wasn’t too hard to do using a conventional carbon platform attached to the Epic rail system with some side shims added. I liked it so much I thought I would do it for the Nemo. I never needed to. The Nemo seat was perfect for me right out of the box. Again, was one right and one wrong? Nope. One fit and one didn’t. Beware reviews that paint the world as all one way or the other.

There are some minor points that are worth noting. The accessories on the Epic, deck rigging, mounts, handles, are all rather inferior quality. It is easy enough to replace them with good stuff but it would be even easier for the factory to install quality materials to begin with. This may have been fixed in later models than my early 2008 boat. This is not a problem with the Nemo.

The rudders on the older Epic’s lose contact with the water in good surf. I understand this has been fixed in more recent models with an upgraded rudder. I hope that is available as a kit to current owners. Nemo had a different rudder problem, basically a thread stripping problem. They corrected this design and have a retro-fit kit.

So I wish I could get all heated up the way some reviewers do but I guess 30 years of paddling and a lot of water later it seems to me that there is a boat out there for each of us and as long as you’ve got a good dealer, a good manufacturer and reasonable expectations you are going to get a good boat and have a lot of fun.