Epic 18x vs. Valley Rapier 18

I’m interested in possibly purchasing an Epic 18x or Valley Rapier 18 in the near future. Has anyone paddled or have experience with one or both of these boats? If so, which one seems to have the best all around performance?


Sea Kayaker Magazine
Sea Kayaker has done reviews of the Rapier 20 and Epic Endurance 18. You might check out what they found and had to say.

Search Threads
Thre has been some discussion on these boats, although I seem to recall some of it being on the non-archived boards. The Rapier 18 is the shorter and more stable sibling of the Valley pair, while the 18X is the newest incarnation of the venerable Endurance 18, and has the ‘Trackmaster’ rudder system (rumored to change back to more traditional overstern).

I spent some time with the Rapier 18. It’s a nice boat, deceptively fast, but I hated the Navigator rudder system and very narrow Marquis de Sade seating arrangement. Paddled the 18X only briefly; it felt very k-1 oriented in cockpit feel-quite open. It is marginally less stable than its precursor, the Epic 18, which I own. This is a great do everything boat. The quality wasn’t terrific on these, but I understand it has improved greatly. Depending upon where you’re located, I know where there’s a used Rapier 18 in NY that could be had for a good deal. Email offline if you’re interested. They are pricy new, as compared to the 18x. If you do go 18x, and plan to use it as an all around boat, I’d recommend the fiberglass vs. the ‘Ultra’ construction. The Ultra is feathery light, but dents extremely easily.

Valley Rapier Plastic

– Last Updated: Jun-27-07 7:57 AM EST –

...should be out shortly (within the next year) based upon Pnet threads I have read, in case you are interested in that version.

I have a 18X and think its a great boat. I think its

open cockpit makes it easy to get in and out and paddle with your knees up and together.

I like the rudder system and the gas pedal steering.

I agree stay away from the ultra its not worth the money.

I really have not check out the speed yet ,I still think the Eft is faster.

I would like to throw out another boat the Ruahine

Ocean-X I just got it this week and paddled it once but was every impressed. Its over 20ft long and about 20 inches wide but a lot more stable than I thought it would be .

Its really fast , I was going 6.5 mph without much effort and could hold 7 for a long time.I thought it was a good looking boat and very fast.

So many boats and so little time I want them all!!!

Rapier 18,

– Last Updated: Jun-27-07 11:52 AM EST –

Have one in Ultra-Kevlar.
CONS: Seat, it will rub your behind around the tailbone area if you rotate during your stroke, back comes up too high. I had to cut parts out to make it be more like a K-1, Rudder: Navigator is horrible, changed it to a SmartTrack,, shortened the rudder in that the foil design is so much more efficient that alot less blade is needed thus eliminating additional drag. I placed the cleat for rudder deployment at 2 o,clock, not at the much less usable 5 o'clock it had. Footpegs: They now come with the OZZO foot pedals which I liked a little more than the SmartTrack a QCC I had came with,,, I changed the OZZO's to a full footboard with gas pedals from Sisson kayaks and added a Surfski footstrap (padded) from Huki to assist in the push/pull during the stroke,, big difference. The thigh braces: Marquis de Sade design,, also gave me an uneasy feeling of entrapment, cut those out and together with the footboard I can now pump the legs ala K-1 with feet close together.

PROS: Stable (a relative term) for a boat of this width. Primary is on par with the QCC I had and slightly more than an EFT I had. Secondary less than the QCC, slightly less than the EFT. Turns on a dime: Had to cut the SmartTrack foil rudder, at full length when suddenly fully deployed or turned it felt like it was going to throw me out the opposite end of the cockpit. With a much shorter version (I used a SmartTrack Tandem blade with now only 5 inches of length) it still makes a U turn in 25 feet. If you happen to have large feet you won't have a problem under the deck,, I sport 11's and have room for possibly 14's. Paddle entry is tight,, tighter than in the EFT. Hatches are Valley types which seal very well,, plenty of rigging to attach stuff to. Construction is top notch and solid for a boat that now weighs 38lbs, (SmartTrack was 1 1/2 pounds lighter than navigator). Boat is not fragile, not like what we hear from 18x ultra drivers. Speed,, boat is deceptively fast, GPS numbers are faster than the QCC's, equal to my 20 foot Guillemot mystery which is about the same as the EFT I had,, same paddler(me) and same course. Looks, my personal opinion is positive, looks like some alien creature and nothing out on the water looks like it, not even the Rapier 20. It has very aggressive styling, but after all we kayakers are a form follows function crowd anyways.

This boat will be very competitive in the Sea Kayak class per USCA rules,, as long as you add 2lbs of weight to meet the 40lb criteria.

In it's "straight from the factory" form,, no, the boat leaves alot to be desired (for this paddler and it's intended use), but with minor modifications it is a very, very good ride for someone looking to be competitive in USCA ruled events.

I would venture to guess that the class will be dominated by the 18x, Rapier 18 and the KayakPro Nemo/Marlin,,, and of course Canunut's Winters/Envyabull stripper.

Hope this helps,


What don’t you have Hex? L
Sounds like a nice modification job on the Rapier 18.

For others, might just be easier to get a Marlin/Nemo, no? Kayakpro need to put more pictures of those boats - and their outfitting - online. I’d like to see th gas pedal system vs. tiller. Wonder if they’d build me a Marlin with a small understern like on the Vampire? I was sort of hoping they’s introduce a boat midway between these two, but nothing planned… Hell, a Marlin’s probably a lot faster than I could make full use of anyway.

Problem is ,

– Last Updated: Jun-27-07 1:41 PM EST –

availability. Over a year ago Gray was going to send a Marlin down here for demos, never made it here between transport damage and a redesign that's taken over a year. Placing an order for one could take quite a while to receive, especially if you special order some of the outfitting. The fit and finish on the KayakPro boats I have is first class, but buying one sight unseen and undemoed is something I prefer to avoid if possible.

The Rapier I was able to pick up was used. It was in the Tampa area and picked it up when I went for a race(it was listed here on P-Net),,, offer I couldn't refuse, even though I wasn't in the market for yet another boat. Let me know if you want to try it at the lake after work sometime,, have a couple other boats you'd probably want to test ;-)


P.S You should be one to talk about multiple boats, I saw that pic on the classified ad for the ski,,lol

Blue over white with yellow trim?
Seem to recall one for sale not long ago…

Yes, you do have some toys I’d like to try - but not to sure about that fresh water paddling, particularly in the shadow of Mt. Trashmore… L

Agree on the demos thing. Would like to try a Marlin - but not something to buy sight unseen - particularly not when I already have a 700 (would have to be good enough for general paddling to replace it).

I’m starting to want something I can work legs in more, with rudder to get more out of whatever little bumps roll my way…

Ski isn’t cutting it for me - at least not the one I have. Fit is off and it doesn’t make me want to put in any seat time (selling). Would also like to demo a V-10 Sport and S-1R.

Maybe it’s just time for another building project - but changing interests keep changing the specs - and lack of A/C workspace makes epoxy a bit problematic. I’d like something sufficiently odd to pair with my new Aleut/GP/Wing hybrid paddle though. A sort of Greenland/racing hybrid maybe. Lighter/faster than sea kayak, more of an LV day boat, roll optimized, roughly spec ski size, small understern,… Something no racer or Greenland fan would want. Something with a likely market potential of one.


– Last Updated: Jun-27-07 3:36 PM EST –

Blue over clear gel coat, yellow trim. Price was right.

Nothing wrong with paddling around Mt.Trashmore, big fish, none with weird warts on them (yet)lol. Besides, some parts of the ICW have some pretty funky discharge from the bldgs.,, hard to say what's worse.

What you look for is for a market of one. I also would like to demo the Huki S-1R or V-10 Sport,, BTW since you have an interest in those, Bruce has a nice used XT for sale that I'll probably check out for the girlfriend next week, even though she loves paddling her JET, but I would feel better if she paddled something she could climb back onto. Had her practice a self rescue to shore(near)and emptying the boat was quite a chore for her, even with flotation bags inside.


where are u located? If in S.Florida you are welcome to try my R18 out.


Thanks for the reply and the offer. I live in central Virginia so going to Florida may be a little difficult for me. Based on the posts I’ve seen, I’m tending towards getting an 18x but I’m willing to try out a Rapier 18 if I can find one in Virginia. I think the closest Valley dealer to me is in Georgia.

Kayakpro Nemo
I’ve got a Nemo and so far am pretty much in love with the boat. It is fast, light (36 lbs in full carbon), rolls well, and is ridiculously stable. I’ve got a Tbolt also and this boat just feels more solid and almost as fast (for me a 125 lbs woman). It is also really comfortable. The seat is great once I added some padding and the thigh hooks are placed enough to the side to enable knees center paddling but still provide great security for rolling and edging. It has the gas pedal style footblock and rudder control which after a few tweaks seems to work well.

The full review I wrote for our club can be found at:


Also I’ve got pictures of the boat in a video on my personal website at:


Happy to answer any questions I can.

Epic V10s

– Last Updated: Jun-28-07 9:48 AM EST –

I have already given my opinion of the V10s to Hex a few weeks ago; however, it might be useful for Grayak and other as well.

The boats is amazingly well built and stiff. To me, its horizontal and vertical honeycomb stringers (all around the boat) make the stronger surfski in the market for its weight, even in the performance layup of "real" 32lbs. It is the first surfski I have ever seen with a flawless hull. In fact, its construction is more closely related to the a top ICF ruled boat such as a Nelo than to a surfski.


Comparing the Mako Mill, it feels like a raft. I think I could fall sleep in 3' waves -even though a bit more unstable than the XT. However, I should not be used a comparison point because I feel very stable in the Mill with a 1.5" pad on its seat, and I have been paddling Hex's Typhoon k-1 with the highest seat position in moderate chop with no problem. Still, a very stable boat for a surfski.


I got this boat to paddle it only on ""SALT WATERS"" from rough to very rough conditions & launching from surfs I would not want to risk the Mill, so speed wasn't in my mind; however, I am kind of surprise of its speed. Even though I do not know whether is only 4% slower than the V10, on flat water is a slower hull than the Mako Mill and feel way faster than the XT. Nonetheless, in rough water, I can paddle it much faster than the Mill without having to brace even once.

Last weekend, a fellow paddler and I did a 19 miles (off shore Tybee island, GA) paddling. At some points it got a bit rough, and I only brace once.

Therefore, currently living in Atlanta and paddling 5 to 6 times a week on Lake Lanier (the Mill & K-1) and only twice a month in the Ocean (the roughest weekends I can find), for now and for me, this is the boat I would use for big salt waters paddling.

Just my two cents -hoping this help.

Enjoyed your website…
and all the info. The races down here are usually on lakes and slow rivers. Eventually, I’d like to add a pure racing sea kayak to my stable of boats, but for now I’m looking to race my kevlar sea kayak (CD solstice). I’ve seen some of the guys race t-bolts. I’m curious can you roll a t-bolt? I like the look of the Nemo and like the fact that you can roll it. I’m also curious as to the price of the nemo to the t-bolt. Thanks for sharing any info.

Enjoyed your website…
and all the info. The races down here are usually on lakes and slow rivers. Eventually, I’d like to add a pure racing sea kayak to my stable of boats, but for now I’m looking to race my kevlar sea kayak (CD solstice). I’ve seen some of the guys race t-bolts. I’m curious can you roll a t-bolt? I like the look of the Nemo and like the fact that you can roll it. I’m also curious as to the price of the nemo to the t-bolt. Thanks for sharing any info.

Rolling Tbolt and Nemo
I can roll the tbolt but it isn’t something I do for fun. It has a really open cockpit and to roll it you need the thigh straps, which I don’t really like, and then also jam your knees up under the deck. For me that places them directly onto the bolts that hold the thigh straps in place. A bit uncomfortable. Also, I’m not sure if I got knocked over in a race if I could actually move fast enough into that position to stay in the boat or if I would just drop out of the cockpit immediately. This isn’t a problem in the Nemo for me.

Re: price both boats are expensive new. I think the Tbolt new is like $2600 before you start adding rudder options. I bought mine used. The Nemo new in carbon is $3600. Painful but so far worth every penny.

Sea Kayaker

– Last Updated: Jun-28-07 11:17 AM EST –

As wilsjo2 mentions above, the May or June Sea Kayaker Magazine has a wonderful review of the Valley Rapier. It scored the highest hull efficiency numbers in the history of Sea Kayaker kayak tests!

You owe it to yourself to read that review, if you have not already.

Here is the magazine, but they don;t web the article.

Subscribe and ask them to start your servic3e with the June edition.

Enjoyed your site. Ref. the rudder adjusters, I had the same issue with the crimpers coming lose on a KayakPro boat and fixed it by switching to spectra cord with a knot instead of a crimp (actually a double knot). The spectra won’t stretch with time and is very light.


More/bigger pictures!!!
Thanks for those links - useful info. Maybe if I sell off most of my fleet I could get a Marlin…