Q700 or Epic 16/18X

why just those two?
you’re picking a fairly random collection of models from just two manufacturers without stating the intended use for the kayak.

The shape of the bow is one element amongst many. Focusing on it without knowing the intended use is like talking about the significance of spoke dimensions and you haven’t decided what kind of bike to get.

The issue of durabilty and light weight is pretty clear, if less material of any type is used to make a lighter craft it will be less durable. Using light glass/carbon over a thin core makes for a very stiff and light hull that can’t take point impacts well. They are well made, finally, for what they are but they will not hold up as well to accidents and mishandling compared to a kayak that weighs 5-10lbs more.

My suggestion is to demo some kayaks and determine how important a racing hull is to you compared to a kayak that can serve multiple uses.

Having a racing kayak is different than being able or wanting to take it to it’s limits in speed. You have to turn your body into a racing body before your racing kayak performs like a racing kayak.

ps. if you’re relatively light, 120lbs for example, you’ll be challenged in high winds paddling kayaks designed to carry 190lb paddlers. If you aren’t racing you might prefer a kayak that is more forgiving in wind/waves.

"weight does play a role"
in racing. In shipping it plays a role in kayaks damaged on delivery. In transport from storage to water the lighter weight is advantageous for a one person carry as well as being blown off of kayak stands in a stiff breeze. All I’m saying is that light weight racing kayaks for a beginner may not be the wisest choice for a first kayak when the intended use isn’t even defined.

Epic 16X

– Last Updated: Jun-15-12 9:23 AM EST –

Check out http://www.seakayakermag.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1963&page=1

Not looking for the lightest kayak. If I were I just found a boat , Nelo kayaks. They are all kevlar or carbon. Weight 20 pounds. Not for me. Use will be fitness paddling. NOT racing but wouldnt a lighter boat in addition to being easier to transport to/from water have a bit of advantage in water as well in terms of initially “getting up to speed”?

Again mostly fitness paddling and an occasional trip to the ocean to feel the salt spray on my face.

That is why I am focused on plumb bow for the occasions I am in the Atlantic the ride will be smoother.

I read alot of info about kevlar "wicking " moisture but if the gel coat is intact I don’t see a problem.

Still not sure about glass vs kevlar for my use and actually is a difference between 51 pounds and 47 pounds worth the money?

Maria M.

Necky not made in China
Necky manufactures their composite boats in Thailand at the Cobra facility, not China. I know, my Looksha 17 in Carbon is stamped “Made in Thailand” on the rear bulkhead. From what I’ve learned here and know with my own kayak, Cobra produces incredibly built boats.

5 lbs only matters when putting it on your car. I like to think of it as part of the work out.

Ryan L.


I have three Epic kayaks (V12, 18x, Legacy K1). The 16X/18x kayaks are designed with a racing mindset. You get light weight, and an efficient hull, but you lose some durability.

It IS much nicer to carry them to the car than a 65 pound heavy-duty expedition sea kayak, but you have to baby them in comparison. For example, I think nothing of running an NDK Greenlander Pro up on rocks during a surf landing. In my 18X I try to get out with the kayak floating, if possible.

In a flatwater race, my 18x can easily smoke my Greenland-style touring kayaks. These hulls are designed for speed. That said, I wouldn’t dream of taking my 18X into a rock garden and there are much more lively, maneuverable designs if you want to carve turns rather than be fast.

I’m not a fan of the Epic hatch designs for expedition/rough water use. Perhaps I have been unlucky, but the two 18x kayaks I have owned, the flat rear hatches leak and the hatch hardware is not very robust. I’m accustomed to hatches being air-tight and “bombproof”. I asked an Epic representative why Epic won’t supply a VCP/Kajak Sport type hatch on their expedition layup 18X/18x sport, and the response was that Barton would not go for the added weight. Considering that you are carrying over 100 pounds on an expedition, this seems like false economy and reflects the racing mindset. For fitness use this is largely a non-issue, in fact some local paddlers take off the hatch lids and duct tape over the hatches in order to save a few ounces for flatwater races.

Regarding the plumb bow, it does give you a long waterline length that can translate to speed (depending on the engine) but don’t expect that you are guaranteed a “smooth ride”. All sea kayaks can pound. In the ocean, in the right conditions, my 18x has pounded hard enough to make me worry about the seams splitting, in other conditions it has been fine. Hull performance is much more complex than just the shape of the bow and no one hull design can be the best at everything.

I’m not trying to dissuade you, just trying to balance your information. I use my Epics for go-fast fitness paddling and racing and enjoy them.

Greg Stamer

workout vs. race

– Last Updated: Jun-15-12 6:18 PM EST –

If you're looking for an exercise boat and don't plan on racing ever (or just occasionally) I wouldn't worry about the performance differences between something like the Epic or QCC. There just isn't an appreciable difference unless you're really paddling hard for long distances. I think most people don't realize how big of a difference there is between their regular workout paddle and race pace. I used to think I paddled pretty hard and fast until I started going to some races with real paddlers. It's a whole 'nother world. The pace I held in my first race was faster than I'd ever done before and I came in dead last. Now that pace seems leisurely to me (5.3mph in QCC 600 for about 4 miles).

At the time I thought I had reached the hull speed for the boat but by the next year I could average about 6mph for longer distances.


Go with the rudder for a QCC boat. I like skeg boats, but the design of QCC makes it more appropriate for a rudder.

Workouts on water
If people are pulling 15 miles in 3 hours they are

working pretty hard and the paddle cadence is high.

Part of the catch is “breaks” for water refills

and/or draining bladder depending on coffee input :slight_smile:

I’ve found mixing a morning paddle with an afternoon

of bicycling makes for an all body workout on a Sat/Sun.

Racing bike comparison
is not really valid. A racing bike could cost 5x more than a good efficient road bike, whereas a QCC is quite reasonably priced.

But your point is good that paddlers don’t really know what they want in a kayak until they have some experience. But then if she has the $, buying a kayak is the best way to get experience. Many kayakers end up with multiple kayaks for different types of paddling.

Completely different boats
They look superficially similar but they paddle very differently. A test drive will demonstrate this clearly. An 18x will definitely need a rudder and you will need the rudder to turn it. Edging it to turn will have you saying hi to the fishes. A qcc700 works well with and without a rudder for touring.

your focus on plumb bows is misguided
start with some demos and go from there.

durability of the 16x
first, excuse my bad english, i’m french.

i have an epic 16x performance since september 2011.

it’s light, it’s fast,it’s stable,it’s easy to roll but fragile.

as greg stamer says, it’s not the boat for rock landing.

more, i have to glue the seat (recurrent problem in the epic?)

i’m happy with it, but i baby mine


Outdated info on Epic …
See Greg Barton’s blog:


Glad they could finally resolve it.

Like OP, I haven’t paddled either boat
Nevertheless, I have a perspective and some general buying opinions.

When I was buying my first seakayak I drove in the region from Maine to New Jersey trying out all sorts of models. I quickly found out that many of the models that seemed like great candidates on paper, or which other paddlers had recommended to me, I simply didn’t like for one reason or another.

Some of the dislikes related to performance, but more of them related to fit and comfort. More than a canoe, you really have to fit into a kayak comfortably, or you simply won’t enjoy paddling it. Thus, I highly recommend personal seat time, especially for expensive high end hulls.

However, I have bought some canoes and one kayak just from specs and reputation without ever trying them. That worked out mostly okay, but it was only after many years of experience. Based on nothing but specs and reputation, I would rule out the Epic (but not as quickly as a Nelo) unless I was overwhelming interested in racing or straight ahead workout paddling.

Epic seat

What is the age of your boat? I went through multiple seats on my first 18X – the seat cracked near the front from stress/leg drive (all handled under warranty). Epic fixed this problem by reinforcing the affected area with kevlar. I haven’t had a problem with the improved seat.


Greg Stamer

a racer can race a QCC
a non-racer will be paddling either kayak. My point being that simply buying a kayak that racers paddle does no more good in learning technique than buying any road bike will enable you to ride in a race.

Riding a 19lb $4000 carbon road bike won’t enable a week end warrior keep up with a Cat2 racer riding a 24lb road bike from 30yrs ago and a $4000 Epic kayak isn’t necessarily the best intro kayak for someone still figuring out how to self-rescue/roll/transport a kayak.

Nothing wrong with getting fancy stuff, it’s whether it actually meets the persons intended use is my point.

QCC boats and rudder
It is not true that QCC boats are better suited to a rudder. I have a skeg on my 700 and it works very well. I have paddled 700’s and other models with the rudder and would never get a rudder. A skegged boat tracks very well with good form on the forward stroke and is forgiving if you drop the skeg slightly.

Not enough info to help you
So far this is what you’ve said about your needs:

–Made in U.S.


–For fitness paddling and occasional sea

That’s just not enough information for us to understand why you’ve chosen these two specific kayaks and to recommend one over the other, or perhaps neither.

You seem to be deep into the details of these two crafts. The place to start is with your height, weight, ability, planned use, etc.

In passing, if you’re not concerned about 21" versus 23" maybe you should be, coming from a canoe.