Fast Sea Kayak - Epic, Seda, Necky ???

I’m considering an Epic 18x or Sport, Necky Looksha II, KayakPro Marlin or similar boat (I hear the QCC 700x may not fit my shoe size, plus it may be a little too high volume unloaded). 6’4 at 190 lb, size 15 foot.

I’ll be paddling the Epic 18x later this week but unless by chance someone has one of the other boats near by I do not hink I will be lucky enough to paddle them any time soon.

So, curious if you can chime-in with your impressions on what you think for these or other similar boats that come to mind. No surf ski suggestions please, for now -:wink:

I might join a race or two but that’s not the primary goal. I mostly want a fast-moving day paddle boat and exercise kayak that would be suitable and fun to use in open water as well as flat water.

I paddled for a couple of hours the 17’ long by 20.5" wide Current Designs Andromeda and felt comfortable in terms of stability. Very nice boat but I felt it reaches top speed too soon, so I’m looking for a less rockered/more forward paddling oriented boat. Price is a consideration too so used may be the way to go.

There are a couple of Looksha II listed here - how do they compare with an Epic 18x for instance? The large cockpit on the Epic is a very good thing for me as I like to paddle with the knees together for leg action if conditions allow. I also like the idea of the narrow forward section of the hull (for close paddle entry) of these boats as compared to for example a more fish-like design like the CD Exteme for instance, which is probably just as fast. Lastly, moving rudder peddals are not good so if I go for a Looksha a rudder replacement for a gas-pedal/foot board type would be desireable - if you have experience with this, I’d like to hear it too.


I’d go with Epic or Kayak Pro
for speed. These are known products designed by Olympic paddlers and are engineered for speed and fast paddling.

BUT, your speed in any kayak is a function of your power supply and the kayaks drag profile. Ideally, but impractically, a hull would be designed to maximize your power supply and would morph as you get stronger. Maybe in the future?

Have a chat with Greg Barton or Graham Bourne and listen to their advice. These guys are Champion’s who have dedicated their lives to paddling fast! They can advise you at levels beyond an internet forum.

Have fun!

big feet…
You could find the hull you want, then modify the deck to accomodate your size 15’s. (a couple of cutouts, a little bit of glass and epoxy, good as new again)

If it’s speed you want, surf skis are sit on top so shoe size should not be a factor.

Flatwater, rough water?
Some boats are quicker in the flat stuff, others excel in the ocean.

Some info you might want
On the QCC website they have a waterline length comparison of various models. My understanding is that waterline length (rather than overall length) is important in determining the speed where a kayak will start to hit its limit. It is a lot more complicated than simple length, but for people paddling in kayaks designed for racing and paddling at competitive racing speeds waterline length should be considered.

The Looksha II is listed at 16.75 ft while the QCC 700 is listed at 17.45. A 0.7 ft difference. From looking at the kayaks I would think the Epic 18x would be about the same waterline lenght as the QCC.

The Looksha is about 1" narrower than the QCC and 2" narrower than the Epic. The width measurements are only “overall” width so it is not as meaningful as waterline width or some of the prismatic coefficients. Seems to be some interesting trade-offs between the kayaks you are considering.


Just thought you might not have found these measurements. Good luck in finding the right kayak for you.



– Last Updated: Sep-08-08 3:43 PM EST –

I know you mentioned no surfskis, but they would be seem to fit your needs, especially some of the beginner models at 19" wide.

Epic V10 Sport and Think Evo come to mind.

The Think Fit is a hybrid kayak/surfski. Self-draining, but it has a comb.

I've paddled all of the above, including the Epic 18X when I was looking for a fast boat ro race and do day trips with on both flatwater and the ocean. I ended up with the V10S based on seat fit and price, surfskis are cheaper build-for-build versus the kayaks.


PS Might have some trouble with footboard width if you want to wear neoprene boots. Think is wider than Epic.

Good advice.
LWL is an important factor in determining Potential Speed of a displacement hull. But it’s more complex as you allude to. Frictional Resistance Vs Residual Resistance, Stability, Paddler Power etc…

Some more info

– Last Updated: Sep-08-08 6:38 PM EST –

I did look at some comparison #s like


The two tables are not directly comparable, but within the same table Looksha, CD Extreme/Nomad, Seda Glider seem very close in effort to paddle at a given speed (both with very good numbers IMO). The Glider has a very slight edge above 6 knots or so and the Epic Endurance (older version of 18x) compared to the Seda in the other table is yet a bit faster.

From this I think the 18x would be even better but the difference in speed may not be significant enough for me. I think the fit and handling would be more important to me than that. And that's my issue - some of these are hard to find to try...

Hard chine vs. soft chine, fish-form vs. swede form, 20' vs 18' etc., cockpit fit are all factors. Cutting some fiber for my flappers is an option too, but I think as long as the deck is about 12.5 inches or more and depending on the width on the sides at my feet I could fit with socks or barefoot ... The HV Extreme will probably be the roomiest but also has too much volume that I do not think I need...

Anyway, I'll paddle the Epic Thursday with luck and if I'm persistent enough might be able to get into a fellow "pirate"'s KayakPro Marlin to compare. The closest Looksha is a 600 miles roundtrip away and I'd make it if I was certain it is what I want but I don't know...

I did think about "hybrid" self draining kayaks but I do not like cold water on me if I can help it during the early spring/late fall/winter months. And unfortunately, can't justify having both a surf ski/trainer and a fast sea kayak and a more playful boat like the Tempest and a river boat... Three total is the most at this time -;)

Another Boat to Consider…
Not to throw a fly into the ointment…

but you may also want to consider the Kajaksport Viviane.

It is probably not as fast as the boats you mention, but like the Nomad mentioned above, it is pretty close.

It is truly optimized for a large paddler as all reviews will indicate. It probably has more foot room than the others mentioned or just about any other boat on the market.

It is a fast boat and is rough water capable. You can get with skeg and / or rudder. Plus it has unbelievable carrying capacity.

Great boat.


I’m sure I don’t know squat compared to Salty or some of the other posters on this subject as concerns hull speed and displacements and a lot of other technical stuff but I do know quality or lack thereof. And based on 7 different members of our paddling club having issues ranging from pain-in-the-ass inconveniences to downright rudder failure, I’d steer so clear of that brand that I wouldn’t get one for 1/2 what a 18x is going for. If you get one, be sure to get the dealer to throw in a roll or two of duck tape. You’ll need it at some point to keep your rudder from engaging, Unless you are just paddling a large round lake, in which case you are golden. These folks need a new quality control program in a BIG way.

I know you said price was a issue so I would kick out the Kayakpro just because of the price. It can cost $1000

more than the Epic 18X

18x or Nemo?
I’ve had an 18x for a few months now and think it is amazing (still). While the rudder ventilates in rough water (show me a SK that doesn’t!), the boats is just plain fast - about 5% faster than my old Endurance. If possible, then I’d also try the Nemo - it is apparently very impressive.

For stroke development, the 18x has helped me get to the next level, which is obviously very important. Given reasonable caution, I do not see the 18x rudder as fragile. I’ve damaged mine, but because of hitting a tree trunk in the water at speed. The 18x is probably best for the paddler looking to get beyond the average paddler’s skills, especially with a wing paddle.

Based on the websites, Epic 18x Ultra, 35 lbs, $3995.00

KayakPro Nemo, 36lbs, $3700.00

Am I looking at it wrong?


I just posted my review of the Kayakpro Marlin to the Product Review area of, take a look. I seem to paddle with a lot of people with Epics and I’m faster than some of them and some of them are faster than me - I doubt there is much intrinsic speed difference across them.

John, …

– Last Updated: Sep-09-08 9:20 AM EST –

I read your review of the Marlin at the CPA web site a few days ago - thanks for posting it! Check your PM messages from the CPA web site - sent you a note...

Hi kocho

– Last Updated: Sep-09-08 12:24 PM EST –

I have had the little brother of the Loosha 2. I had the Loosha 3. My Epic 18 Endurance and QCC 700 were faster and more stable. I love my 700, it's an awesome boat. I have paddled the 18X several times with my GPS. It was as fast as their V10 Sport surf ski (I owned) and my Evo (surf ski). It was awesome and by far the fastest kayak I have ever been in. Sadly, it would dust my QCC. I have had three Epics to date. All have been disappointments (quality wise). Epic designs AWESOME boats, but their execution has left me scratching my head. There are currently ten Epics in the club I belong (thank you very much!). Several have had problems (not good).
The GREAT NEWS; Epic has hired Mr. Dave Kruger (Current Designs, Wenonah and Bell Canoe fame) to run Epics manufacturing! Rock on! Epic is off to the races. I am convinced, they acknowledge the need and are pursuing quality excellence. Better news (for me, I didn't like the wagging tail rudder), they have a new rudder coming the first of the year (happily, if you currently own an 18X, you can also retrofit with this rudder) and are going to offer an expedition layup (more durable). I am on the waiting list for the boat. I am ever optimistic and look at people instead of problems. I truly believe some at Epic really care.
If you have any questions, you can email Chris Laughlin at
He can fill you in. Of course, I don't know any "Big Foots" like you. I've never even seen a size 15! Where the heck would you even buy that size and do they charge you by the square footage of leather? Tough to be you!. My size 11.5-12 fits the Epic and QCC great.
Good luck!

Good info on the rudder and the “expedition” layup. I read about the layup at Freya’s (?) web site - she’s considering a serious trip with it, it appears. Not sure I need an expedition layup as I’m most likely not going to be subjecting the boat to exceptionally rough handling so if it is strong enough to withstand the occasional breaking wave or surf launch it should be OK.

Anyway, I don’t think I can buy “new” right now so waiting a little more would not be an issue, if I decide to go for a new boat. Still plenty to do with the Tempest in the mean time.

The light weight of the Epics and KayakPro models is tempting. My 55lb or so current kayaks (empty and dry) feel a little too heavy at the end of a paddle to shoulder carry back to my car…

I’m curious though how the harder-chined Looksha would handle compared to the rounder Epics for instance… It is a 10 year old (at least) and different design compared to the relatively new Epics so I would think some improvements may have been made in the mean time -;). From the very few reviews I could find of it, seems the Looksha turns very easy and actually needs the rudder to track straight, despite its 20’ length and nearly 17’ waterline… This might not be bad at all if it is responsive to leans…

As for the other suggestions about “high volume” expedition boats, I’ve sat in one similar design from Current Designs (forgot the model) but it felt huge! I want to keep it with as low decks as possible and do not need all that space. So at least for now I’m putting them on the bottom of my list to check.

Looksha 2
Hi kocho

My Looksha 3 was 19’4" and 20.5" wide. It is a low volume boat. It picked up and surfed waves great BUT it was a submarine doing so. It was designed for lighter paddlers, not you or me (225) and was designed to be a “low wetted” surface area boat. You and I take that away…no more low wetted surface. It is totally rudder dependent. I had two Looksha 3s; one with the standard rudder and one with the Smart Track. It was a great boat in its day…that day was yesterday (just my opinion, sorry). Once I started paddling the Epic and QCC, I sold my Looksha; just not as fast and was tippier than I needed for no added benefits.

If you can “fit” (Big Foot), are only going to use the boat for exercise and want a very fast boat, get a used 18X and retrofit the rudder when it comes out. Try not to use the combing to push off on getting in and out of the boat (at least with their Endurance). I can’t remember if they beefed up the combing on the X?

If you live anywhere in the south, you are welcome to come down. I live in the Jacksonville, Florida area. You can try my QCC, an Epic 18 Endurance, an Epic V10 Sport (my old one) and my Think Evo (if I still have it, it’s for sale).



– Last Updated: Sep-09-08 1:24 PM EST –

I'm in the DC area but if we ever come to FL down in the winter I may as well take you-up on your offer to try the surf ski -;).

I'll be just about at the 200lb mark with basic safety gear and water (especially in the winter) so I am looking for something that is designed for that (and not much more -;0)

The "flappers" do present problems even in every day life - I've rejected a couple of cars when car shopping as my right foot would stick under the dash b/w the gas pedal and the brake pedal - becomes a very discomforting feel if you are in a panic stop situation -;).

For boats though, the deck & hull shape as well as the seat position all play a big role in whether I fit or not. Size 15 fits reasonably well with a thin bootie or barefooted in boats like the Tempest 170 or the Impex Force 5 and these are not terribly high volume compared to "expedition" boats. But put a heavy duty bootie and I am just about locked-in with no room to move my feet unless I stop paddling and raise my knees... Sandals or any heavy soled-shoes are out of the question alltogether

I guess i have seen the 18X not the ultra for $2500 and have even seen one that was sold for $1700 ( I was a little slow or would have bought it)

All I have seen on the Kayakpro was $3700 plus shipping

I have a friend that has had some issues with his Marlin