Playing with a new Epic V8 ...

-- Last Updated: Jul-05-13 4:01 PM EST --

After a few weekends of flat water to get used to the thing, went to the URI Bay campus (RI) today. This is one of may favorite places, being near the mouth of the bay (Narragansett). Conditions were perfect: 2 foot ocean swell, light winds, a foot or too of chop, some breaking waves. Ran north towards Jamestown bridge, then back south to the URI dock.

This boat is a blast to paddle. It's as stable as a sea kayak, and can handle any conditions (the boat not necessarily the paddler). On sea kayaks, I always found the up and down motion of long swell at the bay entrance to be disconcerting .... made my heart race a bit. I don't get that feeling at all on the V8, and the motion today was certainly present.

No skirt, pump, and paddle float, or having to think about getting back in in rough conditions: you can get back on the thing in a few minutes without fuss. I have not rolled it or fell out yet, but did practice getting back on board. It's a snap.

Plus it weights just 34 pounds. I can carry this thing one handed, no shoulder strain. Today carried it right from the parking lot (upper one too) to the water, and right back when I was done.

I'm finding it a very liberating feeling, perhaps like some people feel when skinny dipping (can't say myself, never done that, but just say'in ....). Sorry for any mental pictures and scars that may have left ... then again no one here knows what I look like, so maybe not so bad...

I'm not doing this for speed, just fun and exercise. But the boat is fast, at least as fast as my Nordlow. Faster I think when I get into a good pace.

Got a low angle paddle to replace my Shuna. Don't want a wing, don't want the strain. This boat does not cause shoulder pain, and in fact I think the seat action somehow fixed a bad back! (No kidding! Slipped getting out of a shower almost 3 months ago, and had lower back pain that was not improving. Was about ready to get it looked at this week, but noticed it felt better after paddling the V8... paddled yesterday, and woke up this morning to no pain!)

Some differences to a sea kayak. 18 feet of water line and very little rocker ... this thing won't turn nearly as fast as my Nordlow. Especially when the bow is plowing into wave. Or if the wind is on the beam. Sweep strokes don't do all that much. Not much to edge, but there is secondary. However in seas, edging also brings water into the cockpit. It has a drain, which works as long as you have some decent forward speed.

The rudder is under the back deck, so when riding the crest of a wave you can turn this boat pretty past. It responds to the rudder in most conditions well, at least conditions I have been and am likely to be in. There are 2 other rudder options for more surf and bigger conditions. Broadside to a strong wind, however, it can be hard to turn upwind: that bow has a lot of area to get caught, and the little rudder does not provide much leverage in those conditions.

Different muscles in play, and at first found it hard paddling for an hour. Like doing sit ups. Groin muscles also very soar at first. This has improved, and now an hour causes no pain or need for a day or so to recover.

Hope this is useful for others thinking about these kinds of boats. I have yet to see another one on the water, but the folks at Charles River say skis and paddle boards are outselling traditional sea kayaks these days.

Glad you like it!

– Last Updated: Jul-05-13 8:45 PM EST –

I find it hard to stuff myself inside a sit-in kayak in the summer and usually take the surf ski out. It is liberating - no skirt, no pump. I do take a leg leash though - get one if you don't have it: it is a must if there is any wind/open water as in the unlikely event that you flip, the wind will take the ski from you and you can't swim fast enough to catch-up.

I think you will end up with a wing eventually - it just feels right in a boat like that, especially when you start doing some downwind paddling and surf decent swells. And once you figure out what leg drive and rotation in a surf ski can be ;)

I started with a V10 Sport a couple of years ago and this year just moved on to the new V10. But the V8 is a great option for rough conditions and just relaxing out on the water.

The large eliptical surf rudder makes the boat go exactly where you want it and is a nice thing to have for surfing large swells, boat wakes, or really strong winds. I switch between it and the small weedless and while both work ok in the conditions where the other is better, if I could only have one it would be the elliptical. I suppose the "universal" one would be in the middle, but I never tried it so I can't tell for sure...

Leg drive!
Yes, just starting to get a sense for that, and getting a good rhythm. Can really feel a difference when I get that right, but it’s not natural motion yet. Seems like when I’m in the right form, I can plant the paddle by my feet, more so than with a sea kayak. Could be in part the Sweede form, and deck cut away … but it seems that there is also more of a forward lean in a ski vs. a sea kayak. Is that right?

I have a bad shoulder, which has kept me off the water for seasons at a time. The low angle paddle seems to make a difference … some soreness using the Shuna seems gone after getting a Kalliste last weekend. Perhaps

Picked up a leash this week. The V8 has a clip under the water bottle holder … or at least I hope that’s what that is for. Using a paddle leash too, clipped to my life vest. Been wondering in the leg leash: do you use the leg band, or clip to your vest? I’ve heard the leg band can slip off.

I looked at the V10 Sport, and could have had it for the same price. But I’m not interested in racing, and want to be able to relax. The V8 is stable enough to lay back a bit and relax. Very nice boat, and exactly what I wanted.

Been thinking on the rudder, and will take up your advice. Maybe use the small one for the lake near my house.

Hey, when it’s hot like today (+90), getting wet feels good!

I just got a V6 today.
It weighs in at 39 lbs in the Performance construction (only construction offered) and it’s got hatches and bulkheads.

The hull is nearly identical to my Epic Touring Cruiser 16, but the bow is more plumb on the V6.

My wife prefers the easy mount and dismount of the V6 vs the kayak cockpit of the Cruiser.

These boats are very stable, fast and efficient. My wife is a complete novice and hadn’t paddled yet this year before test paddling the V6 today, but got right in it and took off with no problems. The V6 really hauls when I put a little effort into it. I was impressed with how effective the Trackmaster rudder was.

Sounds like the V8 is a good match for you.

The dealer I got my V6 from said that he is encouraging Epic to offer an option of hatches & bulkheads on the V8, as well.

I use an ankle leash
No way it would slip off and it has a quick release at the ankle. But only use it because that is what I have … Mine is not coiled and tends to be in the way after a remount, and i need to fiddle with it a bit to move it away from under my heels, so not the best. I think a coiled leash to the PFD would be better, attached to the rear bungees perhaps? Or to the front attachments point? I would be interested what others use…

An alternative or as extra protection many use a paddle leash. For that, the front attachment point should work really well. A paddle in the water really slows down the boat and you should be able to catch up to it in open water (but not surf, where a leg or PFD leash attached to the one end of the ski will be better (to allow the ski to spin and slice the waves rather than be pushed sideways).

I don’t paddle in big enough conditions for it to matter what leash I use, so I’ve just been using the ankle leas so far. I start wit it rolled under the front bungees so it is out of the way and only if I fall off I have to spend a fe moments to stuff it out of the way either back there or just between/under my calves, where it does not bother me.

I can understand. Use whatever feels best. I’ve used a single blade in the V10 Sport a few times and it really makes it ridiculously easy on the arms to paddle it. I lose may be 1mph in speed but still fast enough. I’ve also used a Greenland paddle just to see how it works and it works just fine.

Had a shoulder issue for almost a year myself and the paddling was aggravating it a bit, when my form was sloppy - much worse. As long as your condition allows you to keep your arm horizontal and in front of your chest, with good rotation actually there is very little motion in the shoulders - the upper arm barely moves relative to the shoulder joint…

V6 looks and sounds like a nice boat

– Last Updated: Jul-07-13 11:48 AM EST –

Glad to hear your wife likes her V6!

They had one at Charles River when I bought mine, but it was not on sale. Mine was, along with the V10 Sport, both for the same price. If the V6 has been on sale too I may have gone for that one. A hatch and small compartment might be nice. Like a day hatch for cell phone, keys, etc.

Just read where there was an informal ocean ski race near me, Jamestown RI. I'm not in it for racing, but its nice to know there are more of these boats around. I have yet to see one on the water though, and get some stares from the other 'yackers I run into. Somebody asked me if I was training for something, but the ski seems to be invisible to the real hard core sea kayakers, the ones with the Tilly hats and all kinds of gear lashed to the deck...

I'm done for this weekend, having paddled 3 days of the 4 days I had off, and looking forward to next weekend.

write up
Hey nebeginner that was a nice write up. informative and personalized to make it comparable to my experiences. good job


Tried the large rudder this weekend
Came in the mail this week, put it on Friday night. Managed to paddle twice this weekend, one in pretty flat conditions, and today in 2 foot swells, light wind. This rudder definitely has more bite to it, and the boat feels more responsive and seems to have a smaller turning radius. The wind wasn’t as strong so I didn’t get a chance to see how much leverage it has sideways to a decent wind. Thanks for the recommendation!