Surfski - old vs new technology /designs


I own a Cobra Expedition and have enjoyed it for two seasons (soon to start the third).

Anyway - it has it’s time and place but when I originally started to get interested in kayaks etc I was after a surfski…

I’ve found another supplier via those useful folk at

Turns out that I can get an Epic V10 standard layup for £1020 plus shipping from one place or a range of South African skis for £757 plus £195 for shipping from another place.

The SA skis are as follows:

Robberg Express

Custom Mark-1

Red 7 Surf 60

Soooo… the questions are:

Is a V10 worth the extra cash ? (Maybe going to cost me £300 more)

If not then which of those three (Robberg/Mark-1/Surf60) would you recommend ?

I am not after a racing ski but would like something for fun out on the sea here in Guernsey.

It needs to be resilient and I need to be able to repair it - so carbon is out as I hear these dent if you look at them :slight_smile:

It needs to last at least three years ( I amnot a racer and so cannot justify replacing a ski every year - better to have a slightly heavier ski that lasts I think).

Having said that - it needs to be lighter than my Cobra as I find this just a bit to heavy to hoist on the shoulder and carry to the beach (50m walk - but it is heavy enough to hurt my wrists sometimes).

Second load of questions involve a new paddle.

I use a Lendal Kinetic Touring paddle and have made a GP too. I’m keen to learn new skills and the other shop sells SA wing paddles for £80 for glassfibre and £130 for carbon in various patterns.

What is a good length to use ?

I think I use 215cm in the Lendal (it is varilock - but I would be getting a fixed shaft wing paddle - probably in glass fibre) - oh - I am 6’2".

Cheers for any advice


Hi Edward
Go look at this boat too.

It is a Red 7 Surf 70. It got very good reviews. It’s just coming out. It supposedly as fast as the V10 but more stable.

I would definitely paddle a ski with a wing. Each stroke is a bracing stroke. It is faster and will add in stability.

Good luck!


surfski-old vs new technology/designs
Hi Edward, I dont know much about surf ski’s except cobra strikes which I have. Until you decide which one and wait for the delivery, you will probably want to keep on paddling your expedition. If you stand your cobra on it’s nose and get in standing, with it leaning on your back you can hoist it up behind you like a back pack .If you have thigh straps you can put your arms through to help carry it , kind of half on your back and half supported by your arms. It does mean you have your head tilted forward a bit but you can go a long way this way. I do it with my strike, which is light, but I also have a large Q - KAYAK escapade ( NZ kayak ) which I can carry in this fashion. Hope this helps Cheers Pete D

If racing isnt your top priority
Take a look at the V10 sport in the value layup. Its a durable glass layup, 39 pounds and strong. As far as the ultra, don’t get it if you want a durable boat, its ligth and stiff but can’t take a knock. The V10s is a pretty stable ski that won’t take nearly as much of a learning curve from your cobra as compared to the regular 10 or red7 etc. If your looking for fun fast paddling that would be my choice.

v10 worth it?
Depending on how much you value the extra performance. I’ve had a v10 Ultra that recently got wrecked by a vandal. During the time I used it (about 30 workouts), it was great.

The fiberglass layup is a lot cheaper, easier to repair, and gives up almost nothing in speed (I think) to the Ultra.

Is the v10 worth the extra money? Only you can answer. It definitely is faster than almost any other boat out there. I think only the Makos and S1X are the only boats that appear to run with it.

It looks like I should go for the following :

V10 - value layup (39 pounds) - either Sport or Normal.

This seems to be a good balance of having a more modern designed hull, not too heavy and easy to repair.

I know I should know but how heavy is a Cobra Expedition in pounds? 45 ? 47 ?

How much lighter is the V10 standard layup to the value layup ? (I am crossing the Ultra/carbon off the list).


The guy sells Lettman and Bratcha paddles from South Africa.

Which one would you recommend ?


I’m tempted by the carbon/carbon Lettman I but am not sure on length. Any ideas ?



consider Fenn
if your SA dealer carries Fenn, you should consider the Mako 6 and the Mako XT, depending on your balance and skill level. The build quality of the Fenn boats is excellent- my new Mako 6 is absolutely leak free. I have heard fairly mixed things about the Epic build quality- lots of people returning leaky boats, etc. Not a big deal if you have a dealer who supports you, but in your situation, I’d be very careful. I had a Mark 1 before this- a solid boat, although it leaked a bit of water. Not too much to really matter, since you can drain it. The Roberg gets mixed reviews. I don’t know anyone who has a Red 7.

Paddlewise- get the lightest adjustable wing you can find. The Epic wings are superb.


V10/Red 7
The V10 standard layup weighs in at approx. 33-34 lbs. I know of one very competent racer here in the NE, an an excellent and accurate boat ‘reviewer’, who has been paddling the Red 7 for several weeks. He also picked up a V10 standard, which he loves. The Red 7, as per his review, is almost as fast as the S1-X, V-10, but much more stable, on a par with the S1-R, V10 sport and Mako XT. If there’s a downside to the Red 7, aside from giving away some speed, it’s that the turning radius is far wider than the others. In the review they also commented on this. The V10 is pretty darn fast on flat water, in addition to being a big water boat. I’m looking forward to trying it and the Red 7 in the coming weeks.

As to paddle length, visit the Epic site. Their paddle ‘wizard’ is quite accurate, and can give a fair indication of the ballpark of where you should be. An adjustable length paddle will allow you to fine tune length and feather.

buy used, buy local
If not totally sure what to get. Suppose epic has rudder cable problems or leaks. Who fixes it? Paddle what locals do. Maybe a local will move up to something faster and is selling. One boat did not finsh mayor’s cup race around manhattan, ny. It was epic and epic has often been hammered on web sites for bad quality

I second Fenn

– Last Updated: Apr-04-07 7:30 AM EST –

If one is going to buy from SA, I think the "only" SA manufacture (excluding Epic)that can deliver the quality of craftsmanship sought in markets like the U.S. is Fenn.

My Mako Mill vac. bagged is entering its 4th season, and it feels as strong as when I got it with not even a drop of water in its hull after a day long paddle. However, I strongly dislike the idea that Fenn uses cheap resin and gel-coat instead of epoxy. For the prices we pay in the US, I expect higher quality of materials like used by makers such as Huky. In fact, I would love to buy a Mako 6 made by Huki with Huki quality.

From Knysna maker of the Robberg, I would not buy anything again. Those guys have great ideas delivered with very poor craftsmanship. I owned one of its boats. From R7 expect something closer to Knysna than to Fenn.

Only my two cents,

PS: I still do not understand why skis now are way more expensive than ICF boats, but with way lower quality of craftsmanship and materials :( I have seen amazing quality ICF boats in the two grands range.

The problem is that surfskis haven’t made it over here yet - i have yet to see one in the water…

Most people are on 10 foot enclosed canoes and there are a few longer sea kayaks and a few SOT’s (heavy wide ones).

No where really sells them over here so whatever I get, I will be on my own :slight_smile: