Surfski paddler looking to tour (which boat?)

Hi all! There is probably already a thread here on this topic, but i can’t seem to find it…

Been paddling surfski for years and although it is great for training and going fast, its not good for much else. Would like to try some touring, but still will primarily use the boat for training…and still go fast. I’m currently paddling an Epic V10, and i love it but won’t be keeping it. I’m intrigued by the Epic 16X as it looks like the touring version of my V10.

Although i don’t mind being tippy, i think for touring there is some comfort in being able to relax even if things are a little choppy. I have no idea the difference in stability between a surfski and a “performance” touring kayak. All that said, which kayaks should i be looking at?

BTW - i’m 6’3", 185. Would like to have the ability to do some shorter camping trips (2-3 days at most).


Some ideas; Epic 18x, QCC 700, Stellar S18, I cant think of the names but Current Designs has some good fast touring boats. Same with Tiderace, some Necky’s and possibly some older Wilderness systems before they discontinued fiberglass

All are approximately 18’ x 21" with dual hatches. This should be fast, stable, and large enough for medium length camping.

The difference between ~18" beam and 21" beam is night and day. If you were comfortable in a V10 in choppy conditions, you’ll be able to practically sleep on a 21" boat. Kayaks typically have a flatter bottom then a ski, so the stability is increased more than the difference in beam may suggest.

The Epic 16X seems like an obvious choice. That fast sea kayak class boat, as MClmes mentioned, also work.

But you could also consider going a different direction and getting a more playful boat for a tourer, and use the ski for your racing and go fast. Kind of like if you had a racing road bicycle and decided to get a second bike, instead of getting a little less racing oriented road bike that you could mount panniers to, you instead get a mountain bike. This would open you up for most any sea kayak out there, which wouldn’t make the decision that much easier. Most any day tourer or regular touring boat would meet your requirements (besides the “go fast”). If you have surf, tidal rapids, rock gardens, etc. around, a different boat would allow you to take better advantage of those. You could even go for a plastic boat, which would also allow you time to be less cautious about bumping into things and running it up on to beaches and the like than you likely are with a surf ski.

I have both ;a QCC-700 and an Epic 18.
As far as I am concerned one is equal to the other and they are both great for touring as well as racing in the Fast Sea kayak class.
I haven’t had the Epic in real rough water yet, but the QCC will take any thing you throw at it, so I assume the Epic will also.
If you paddle a Ski now, you would love either one

Stellar S18S

I really like my Epic 16X. Very maneuverable with the rudder up. Go wherever you want with the rudder deployed. The Trackmaster rudder is superb.

Paddles very nicely with a 46” ZRE Medium bent shaft canoe paddle, as well.

Plenty of foot room for my size 8 Chota Mukluk Lites, as well.

I suspect you are after a ‘fast’ tourer (eg Epic’s) as opposed to a more playful boat (NDKs).
(actually, NDK now has one of the ‘plumb’ bow variety: Quantum)

A couple of sites with nice comparisons:
(as of 2015)

neither mention Point65’s ‘Freya’ boat, apparently no longer made? (

if in Australia, try out ‘Expedition Kayaks’ Audax (

as a summary (some of these mentioned previously, many other I’m sure I’m missing):
Epic 18x
NDK Quantum
Rockpool Taran
Stellar S18
Tiderace Pace18
Valley Rapier (more of a racer?)

Thanks all for the input. I’m intrigued by some of these…The QCC boats look great, but expensive. And my expectation is that the boat that i want will be just that!

Are the QCC-600 and Epic 16x too small for a person my size?

Current Designs Nomad which was called the Extreme.

@PineClone said:
Thanks all for the input. I’m intrigued by some of these…The QCC boats look great, but expensive. And my expectation is that the boat that i want will be just that!

Are the QCC-600 and Epic 16x too small for a person my size?

My wife had a QCC-600 before she got their 10 and I used to paddle it every so often.
I am 5’-9" and 144 pounds. Yes I would say it is too small and too short.
At your height and weight, you should be looking at an 18 foot kayak

I chose my NC Expedition for my long distance boat and I have paddled just about every sea kayak that is worth looking at. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s fast, super stable and tracks like an arrow. It absolutely loves rough water. They are built in the USA and right now they are on sale for a ridiculously low price. Give Doug a call : 253-476-8582.

There is an Epic Endurance 18 like new in the classifieds, half the price of a new Epic 18 and just as good if not better. Selling one because I have two and ran out of room.