Please do not tell Mr Bushnell but am thinking of a 6 hour round trip to demo a V10. The scary thing for me is that Mr Barton also designed a ski known as CD Speedster and especially the speedster with high seat is considered to have much useless speed because it is so tippy that it may have set a record for people buying a boat that they hate so much that they sold at huge loss. I am familair with orion and eft and t-bolt but have never paddled a ski.

But Mr. Barton has a partner
by the name of Mr. Chalupsky who knows a fair amount about skis. Everything I’ve read so far on the V10 says that it has a significant stability advantage over the Mako Millenium, which is not exactly a stable boat but a whole lot more popular than the Speedster. I haven’t got to try the V10 yet but hoping to do so before too long.

I haven’t paddled a V10 yet, but I have my doubts about the boat for the average racer. Yes, Greg Barton made it go an unbelievable, dizzying 6.7 knots during this year’s Blackburn Challenge, which suggests that it has the highest potential speed of any surfski yet made… but I know another paddler who’s usually considerably faster than me, and he didn’t seem to be as quick in the V10 as he normally is an ICF boat–when I next seem him, I’ll ask if he feels that was true and report back here. I just wonder if this is one of those situations where to benefit from the potential speed of the boat you need to be very, very strong.


I paddled one
for about 30 minutes in Charleston harbor, with Barton. For background, I’m about 5’11, 180lbs, so not especially big. I’ve been paddling higher end skis for about 3 years, originally a Findeisen UX (about as tippy as a Mako) and now a CustomKayaks Mark 1 (a bit less tippy). I’ve also paddled a Stealth spec ski (high seat, rather tippy) and for one race only, a Mako Millenium (I liked it a lot and actually didn’t think it was nearly as tender as people will have you think).

The day that we went out there was a pretty good amount of confused chop in the harbor, boat wakes, wind waves, current, etc. I found the V10 to be extremely predictable, and probably around as stable as the Mark 1. It is clearly faster than the Mark 1- catching any sort of small wave was extremely easy, as the boat accelerates effortlessly. I didn’t go absolutely flat out, but I paddled fairly hard and didn’t feel at all that I was being forced to hold back in order to prevent myself from going over. It was very comfortable and seems to be built well. According to Barton they are now individually testing all boats for any leakage before they are sold (this is not standard, believe it or not). Barton claims it is significantly faster than the Mako- if for the sake of argument it is equivalent, it may be the faster boat for all but the most elite paddlers, as it is clearly more stable. I don’t think that it requires an unusually strong paddler to make it go fast (certainly I’m not all that strong), but as with any 21’ boat, you do need to be capable of driving it up to hullspeed.

I’m very seriously considering getting one when I can come up with the money for another boat, and so emailed around on the Yahoo surfski group to people who have them. I got one extremely detailed reply from a guy in Bellingham, WA who sold his Huki S1X to buy the V10, and who thinks the V10 is better in all conditions except pure flatwater.

Let us know what you think if you do try it out.


ICF versus ski

– Last Updated: Aug-26-05 11:12 AM EST –

I find skis slower than ICF boats on flatwater, even the elite skis. The wetted surface area is a killer or maybe it is the weight.

I'm trying out a used Mako that I might buy to replace my Mamba. The Mako is carbon and between 30-35lbs. The seat is padded up so it feels subjectively faster as the paddling position is more powerful. I time trialed all of my race boats on Monday on a dead flat calm lake for 1000m.

Stealth Mamba: 4:15
Fenn Mako: 4:07
Knysna Stiletto Maxi: 4:02
Vajda Supersonic: 3:51

Weight is probably affecting these times. Next windless morning I will do multiple runs in each boat and get a mean and standard deviation. I wonder how fast the Mako would be if it were vacuum carbon.

The Mamba is heavy (~40lbs). The Mako and the Knysna weigh about the same (mid 30's) (the knysna is glass and not exactly a state of the art design with a gigantic overstearn rudder). The Vajda is super stiff vacuum carbon balasted to legal sprint weight (~26lbs).

I tested the Mamba and the Mako for a couple of hours in 2-3ft ocean chop on Tuesday and found the Mako with the seat padded up a tad twitchy but much easier to accellerate onto runs and the higher seating made the stroke more efficient. The Mako has less deck volume than the Mamba and was easier going upwind.

All this talk of the V10 makes me wonder if I should wait for one or at least wait to scrounge the cash for an ultralight pristine new Mako.

As for speed over distance. I haven't timed the Mako yet. I have timed the Mamba, Knysna, and Vajda quite a bit over the last few months as I've gotten comfortable in the ICF boats. I don't know the distance but I have a time trial course from my house downstream to a channel marker and back.

Vajda averages 39minutes
Knysna averages 40.5minutes
Mamba average 41.5minutes.

I also have a longer course from my house to Crow's Bluff and back. I need to get a GPS and measure the distance.

Vajda averages 1:25-1:30
Knysna averages 1:30-1:35
Mamba average 1:35-1:40

Here’s a link to
a discussion where a few other folk are trying to assess this boat:



Ski & Paddler skills

– Last Updated: Aug-26-05 11:38 AM EST –

For a paddler like you closer to an elite paddler than to an averge racer, a Mako is the boat of choice.

Stability won't be an issue, and you will be able to take advantage of a faster/rounder hull.

If you are buying an used boat, pay a lot of attention to its weight. A carbon Mako weighing more than 30lbs might indicate that is holding water within the foam core. First, water will rotten the foam, and later the whole ski. The ski first become flexible and later breaks apart.

A while ago, I was looking for an used glass Mako to be used as a trainer boat, and keep my vacuum bagged only for some races. However, I realized that is difficult to find a cheap used ski in good structural conditions. I mean a ski able to handle 4 to 6 paddles a week without doing any major job, and the price of the ones in very good conditions were pretty similar to a new ski.


Hi Andrew,

I guess they are testing the ski for leakage because a lot of the new V10’s have that problem. 2 out of the 3 V10’s that were at Nationals were leaking quite a bit throughout the rudder cables. The paddlers were joking that was a design to keep the boat cool! Also several of the ski that were/are being sold are blemish.

In the long run, Epic has done amazing quality works, and I am sure that in one or two years is going to be the same with the V10. However, we should not forget that they are pretty new at building skis, so right now, buying a new ski from Epic, it is like paying their tuition for learning how to build skis.

Epic needed several years, to be able to build the quality Endurance 18 we are able to see now.

Just my two cents,

definitely my concern
That is definitely my concern with the used boat. It has been watertight for test paddles so far and the fit is perfect but it is a touch more flexible and heavier than I expect of a carbon boat so I wonder about the condition internally. I’m probably going to hold out for a newer Mako or I might have to break down and call Bruce. I need to sell my touring boat and Knysna to raise some cash.

you very well may be right
i’m not buying one just yet, but i did like it a lot. i don’t think it is a “big guys” ski at all.

mw and i are coming down to do the atlantic classic- we have our reservations. hope to finally meet you there.


I have not seen one (V10) yet …
Is the stern area fuller than what you have seen before on other skis ?

You can get a single footwell in the Huki as well.

One of the first skis to use the single footwell was the Valhalla Victory Special … new boat being developed from them right now too… just have to stick up for the local guys.

Winter Classic
It’ll be great to see you both down here. This is one of few trully surfski races I know of in the East Coat. I am sure scombrid will be here too.

Now, I am in a two weeks off of training/paddling after an eight months nonstop paddling. After that (one week from now), I’ll start training looking forward to that race.


planning on it
I should be there.

Ski Weight

You may not need to go for the lightest Fenn out there. I have heard that Dean Gardiner is choosing a fiberglass ski to race at the Us surfski champs. My own experience there last year proved that heavier is sometimes better. My ski lost its plug and started taking on water from the beginning. When I went out into the very big chop in the Pacific, I was unusually more stable because of the water in the hull. I started passing paddlers who were bracing way too much. As the boat took on more water, it became too heavy and eventually forced me to quit as it was sinking. A super light Mako is great for acceleration, but lacks the weight maybe for better glide. The difference of 5 lbs, on flatwater might be huge, but in the ocean, I think less so. I am installing a fat bag hatch to put my water in the hull of my Mako and make it more stable.

One note on Carbon boats. Next year I think we will see the prices go through the roof, as there is just so little carbon available.

I look forward to seeing you all down there(FL).


I’ve heard the same thing
as Seawave about the price of carbon/kevlar. After talking to the fine folks at QCC about the layup for my new 700, they admitted that prices were most likely going to rise to due an unforeseen rise in the price of carbon/kelvar. They have said that the are getting shut out by their suppliers, not sure where the increased demand is coming from, but with a War going it’s not too hard to figure it out.

It’s the carbon, not the kevlar or glass
Military yep, but everyone else is scrambling to get what ever they can… gonna get worse before it gets better.

Have heard of some manufacturers ( aircraft not kayak :slight_smile: buying out entire runs of carbon @ full retail before it even gets out the door.

looks like t-bolt
Saw the V10 and t-bolt upside down on the grass and hulls look very similar BUT do you sit a few inches higher in a ski? Seat in kayaks might be at or below water level. My t-bolt does have thigh braces from old dagger boat and I love them. Also added 2 bulkheads to eft and I love them. Seats in a ski might be a few inches above the water level. Cannot imagine trying to paddle t-bolt with seat raised up 4 in. Anyhow thanks for all the great comments and here is tip I heard last week. Look at the gps and try to go faster without increasing stroke rate. Maybe that means paddling deeper…

distance per stroke, seat depth, etc…
Distance per stroke comes from power and glide. The paddle is only used at one depth, just deep enough to bury the blade. Distance per stroke and speed for a given cadence is bought with rotating out fully, not “unwinding” until the blade is buried, and getting the blade out clean and early so that you do not decelerate the boat at the back of the stroke. Reach/rotate out and hold that until the blade is in. Then explode.

As for seats, ski seats are pretty deep. Sitting in a ski feels like sitting in an ICF K1 with the seat out, only you actually fit (I’m too wide to get in most K1s unless the seat is jacked up a bit but skis fit me fine). I was paddling a Mako today with the seat padded up about a 1/2" and felt a bit sensitive in small craft advisory conditions. My Stealth with the seat pretty much at the bottom of the boat was more comfortable running on swell perpendicular to the wind chop. My understanding is that the V10 seat is pretty deep.

Don’t sweat the lack of thigh braces in a ski. If your backside fits the bucket you will be able to learn a lot of control with just your butt and feet as contact points.

The Yahoo surfski group
has a good discussion going on this topic now, with commments from some S. African paddlers.


I have been wanting to test a V-10 myself as i am Oscar sized,(Not Oscar Skilled!!) however I want to tour with it as well and am wondering if it will have options for hatches, also on My tarpon i use my thigh straps a lot, how come many of the skis i see dont have this? I bought my Wing from Oscar a few years ago, and was looking at one of the Epic boats and how it was so much like my Qcc 700.