[Editor: Dale Lippstreu is a paddler and craftsman of note. In this article he describes how he's improved the V10 rudder by adding winglets to improve performance, particularly in downwind conditions]
Downwind paddling in big conditions is for me what might be politely called a "development area". This is not an unimportant skill in Cape Town which is renowned for its gale force South Easters and paddles such the Millers Run and Downwind Dash. My problem is that I find myself broaching off runs on a regular basis and, while some skis are clearly better than others, I have yet to find one that eliminates the problem entirely.
[Editor: Dale Lippstreu is well known for tinkering with his skis - and many of his creations (rudders, rudder winglets, cockpit bulkheads, etc) have featured on surfski.info.Now he's made what is arguably the most extreme modification yet - to make his V10 Elite into an Ultra, Ultra Elite...]
What's a V10E you might ask? According to Epic, it's E for Elite, but it may as well be E for Extreme - as in extreme lightness and stiffness of construction.
The Epic website says that the skis were built with "super-lightweight unidirectional carbon pre-preg combined with Nomex honeycomb, with a very thin, clear gel coat". The result? An 8kg V10. There are two of the boats in existence with a single V10L which, according to Oscar Chalupsky, is close to 7.5kg.
It's not often that a totally new ski from a new
manufacturer is released onto the market - but we were lucky enough to lay
hands on just such a one in the form of the Oceans Pro ski from Honcho
Epic lifted the bar by introducing computer aided design and a CNC machined plug for the first V10. The new Ultra skis have lifted it further. The vacuum moulding process and nomex/honeycomb laminate totally eliminates the waviness or "oil canning" which is usually present in GRP products laid up by hand. There is a small amount of waviness remaining in the seams but no doubt somebody will solve this as well in the not too distant future.
One of the perks of writing for Surfski.info is that I sometimes get the opportunity to test drive new skis... and the latest was the Kayak Centre V10.
Kayak Centre, in Durban, have a license to manufacture the Epic skis for the South African market and the first production units arrived in Cape Town at the end of May. I went in to (the all new refitted and snazzy) Brian's Kayaks and Sports to have a look at the skis (they had a V10 Sport there too) and the following weekend I took the V10 for a paddle in Hout Bay.