Epic V8 Pro vs. Think Zen

8 months 3 weeks ago #35064 by Wallyh2
Seeking incremental upgrade from Epic V8. Flatwater speed of more importance than surfing capability. And obviously, stability. I'm 6'1" 1 75. I'd like to demo both but may not have the opportunity. From photos, the Epic appears to have much more rocker which may be of little benefit to me on flattish water.  Thanks for any help.

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8 months 3 weeks ago - 8 months 3 weeks ago #35066 by Wingnut
Replied by Wingnut on topic Epic V8 Pro vs. Think Zen
I own a V8 Pro and it's perfect for me.  I've taken the Zen out for just a few minutes and my only observation between the two is that the bucket fit is quite different.  If you are happy in the V8 bucket and you can't try a Zen you will be safest buying the V8 Pro.  I can't compare rocker but do find the V8 Pro wonderful on flatwater.  It is stable but still lively enogh for me after almost two full seasons.  I don't expect to want anything more challenging than this model.  Hope this is helpful.

Wingnut

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8 months 3 weeks ago #35067 by Davelis
Replied by Davelis on topic Epic V8 Pro vs. Think Zen
Hi from Greece in our club we have both so I have test them both V8pro always is the winner in flat is just a little faster than the Zen but in
downwind there is a huge difference quality wise are the same and if
you want numbers for 1 km TT in flat with the Zen I was 5.05 with the
V8pro 4.58 in downwind with the Zen I was 4.20 with the V8pro 3.48 in
the same conditions

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8 months 3 weeks ago #35069 by SpaceSputnik
I think it depends a lot on what your goals are. If you are looking at a boat that you can take anywhere you go now with a similar comfort than V8P or Zen is the way to go. However, if you are looking to build up your skills and willing to scale down the conditions accordingly than maybe give Evo a thought (pun intended).
It's certainly fast and won't tolerate the liberties a V8 would but it probably won't dump you every few min like an advanced ski. It will teach you the skills that are more in-line with what's required for advanced boats that a V8 or V8P won't, such as proper posture, keeping the boat quiet and the stabilization value of a stroke. Will probably keep you busy for a couple of seasons. Your mileage can vary of course and it's a leap of faith if you buy without a test paddle. However, I did exactly that and find the Evo a perfect training tool.  After a few months in the Evo I did a quick test paddle on a V10L and it felt comfortable in flattish water. I was expecting to wobble a lot more.
But again, your mileage may vary.

Current: Epic 18x Sport, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Think Evo II, Epic V7

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8 months 3 weeks ago #35070 by Wingnut
Replied by Wingnut on topic Epic V8 Pro vs. Think Zen
Spacesputnik, that was an impressive leap of faith you took going to the Evo after paddling a much more stable boat.  I think I saw a video of you surfing a powerboat wash in the Traverse City training camp, you looked like you were very comfortable in it.  I test paddled an Evo gen 3 recently for just a few minutes and I was not stable.  I could probably be okay in time but I would swim a bit getting there.  I would be worried about feeling comfortable when things got rough.  You certainly made a great choice.

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8 months 3 weeks ago #35071 by SpaceSputnik

Wingnut wrote: Spacesputnik, that was an impressive leap of faith you took going to the Evo after paddling a much more stable boat.  I think I saw a video of you surfing a powerboat wash in the Traverse City training camp, you looked like you were very comfortable in it.  I test paddled an Evo gen 3 recently for just a few minutes and I was not stable.  I could probably be okay in time but I would swim a bit getting there.  I would be worried about feeling comfortable when things got rough.  You certainly made a great choice.


Oh gee, thanks!
There's some confusion here though. I did not surf the wash at Oscar's clinic in the Evo. There was a video of me with Oscar in a double:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63eJOrCRIBU&t=6s
(the red suit behind Big O). There are some other videos on my channel, but it's all in my home waters in Toronto.

The thing about the Evo is that it feels twitchy on-center at first, which may be off putting. Wesley mentions that in his reviews. It's somewhat of a false impression and requires some mental work. It goes away in time. You can feel it the most in small confused seas where secondary does not come into play. In 1-2 feet the boat actually feels more stable to me than the initial impression may suggest. But, yes, it does require respect and careful matching of the conditions to the current skill level.

Current: Epic 18x Sport, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Think Evo II, Epic V7

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4 months 2 weeks ago - 4 months 2 weeks ago #35874 by leolinha
Replied by leolinha on topic Epic V8 Pro vs. Think Zen
Being this topic relatively old, I guess that Wallyh2 has already made his decision.
I never paddled a Zen but I recently bought an Evo 3g (fiberglass layup).
Before comparing models (V8 PRO vs. Zen), one should compare brands (Epic vs. Think), since they are so different.
In general:
 - Epic skis have a wider bucket which is more comfortable, but Think skis have a tighter fit, which is less comfortable at first for people used to the Epic bucket, but do promote a better posture. After half a dozen paddles in my Evo I noticed that my posture in the V8 PRO has improved a lot.
 - Epic skis are tougher and more durable, it seems. Think skis have a PU finish which is gorgeous, but they need to be treated VERY kindly because they are so prone to scratches. Rail guards are mandatory, just a few paddle hits were enough to take off a piece of the ski. In an Epic ski this is no issue, they can take a lot of hard hits and nothing will happen. Also structurally it seems that Think skis are weaker. After just one mistake on a wave, my Evo took its very first beating and it was enough for a large crack to appear on the seam at the right side behind the cockpit. I can tell you, I took many dozens of much more severe beatings on waves in my old V8 but absolutely nothing happened, that ski was a tough bastard. On a Think ski however you should be extra careful.
That said, I thoroughly agree with SpaceSputnik: Think skis are great for learning. Their cockpits are very well thought out and will help you to improve your posture (and ultimately your stroke) in a way that an Epic V8 PRO won't.
However, if you are looking for a beginner intermediate ski, the V8 PRO has better specs. Being longer and narrower than the Zen, it will be a better upgrade from the V8.

Current: Epic V8 PRO, Think Evo 3
Past: Epic V8, Epic V10 Sport

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4 months 2 weeks ago #35880 by Epicpaddler
I have a black tip v8pro. It's my first surfski. Raced two seasons in it. It's a fantastic entry level ski and can handle any conditions. If you're paddling a v8, you might not notice that much of a difference. I paddled it in some seriously confused seas in November at the Surf to Sound race in NC. Got dumped out a few times. On my home waters of the Chesapeake Bay it's rock solid, fast , and fun. However, in my eagerness to win more races I'm considering moving up to a g3 v10. Hopefully, I'm not biting off more than I can chew, because I love the v8pro for just about every other situation.

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4 months 2 weeks ago #35881 by Cerca Trova
Epicpaddler, I sold my V8 Pro and replaced it with the G3 V10. Having more Rocker than the V8 Pro it actually feels more solid especially in confused seas. And the bucket fits me better also. Not to knock the V8 Pro as it's a benchmark beginner-intermediate ski.

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4 months 2 weeks ago #35883 by Epicpaddler
Thanks! Good to hear.

I'll be looking for any dealers that have a g3 v10 to check out.

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