Best option for new paddler's first boat: V8 or V8 pro

1 month 2 weeks ago #37346 by Papa Surf
Hello,

I am new to the sport and about to buy a first boat. I have tried the Epic V8 and the V8 Pro.  I feel completely stable in the V8. After two times in the V8 pro, I am beginning to apply foot pressure and feel somewhat stable in chop and very stable on flat water. I can remount the V8 Pro. I do a lot of small dinghy sailing (laser) and ocean sculling, so I am used to balancing on the water and reading waves.  I plan to paddle on the ocean in New England, where we get a lot of short chop.

My question is whether the V8 Pro is typically too much for a new paddler. I know it all depends on the person's athletic ability. Mine is average. Can I grow into a first boat (V8 Pro) or should I start in something that feels totally stable (V8)? I don't mind getting wet but wonder if starting in a more challenging boat might lead to bad habits in the stroke. On the other hand, I don't want to buy a boat that I outgrow too quickly.  That's the choice as I see it, but please beg to differ if you think that's a false choice.

Thank you for any opinions offered.

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1 month 2 weeks ago #37347 by zachhandler
You never outgrow a v8. I use that line a lot but its true, at least for downwind.  I can paddle any ski in any conditions but my fastest downwind ever was in a V8. Boyan Zlatarev, arguably the world’s best downwind instructor and a true master of downwind does everything in a v8. Look up some of his videos. When he taught surfski to  Ivan Lawler, multiple time world champion marathon kayak racer and accomplished instructor in his own right, he put him in a v8. 

The V8pro is faster on the flat, but from everything I have heard, including from people that own the boat, it is not as good of a downwind boat because of the low rocker. There are plenty of skilled paddlers who make the V8 pro go great downwind, but those are skilled paddlers. I firmly believe that to learn downwind you want a boat that makes downwind easy, and that means a boat that is stable and turns easily. 

if your goal is to paddle in waves, and potentially learn to surf downwind, go with the v8. If you primarily want to paddle flatter water for exercise,  the pro might be better.   
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1 month 2 weeks ago #37348 by Papa Surf
Thanks Great videos! Other opinions out there?

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1 month 2 weeks ago #37349 by Epicpaddler
I would not hesitate to start with a v8pro. I had a bit of a sea kayak background (I also raced Lasers) before I bought my first surfski. I demoed a v8, v8pro, v10sport, and v10g2. The v8pro was the Goldilocks boat. Just right for me. I've been paddling for three seasons and still love it. It's rock solid in all conditions and reasonably fast. I paddled 9 miles worth of intervals tonight and several of my 1 miles sections were over 7 mph in about 1' chop. I'm looking to move up to a v10 or v12, but I won't get rid of my v8pro. It's like the Swiss army knife of surfskis. Great for just about anything. Good luck in your decision and welcome to the wonderful work of surfski paddling.
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1 month 2 weeks ago - 1 month 2 weeks ago #37350 by MCImes
What body of water are you on and what are your goals?

Either boat can be mastered without trouble and are great starter boats - especially if you already felt somewhat comfortable in the pro. You cant go wrong with either. 

As Zach wisely says, look at the rocker line in this pic. The V8 is 1ft shorter and to me the rear rocker appears much more extreme behind the bucket, which leads to a better surfing of waves and more maneuverable boat. But that is a slight disadvantage on flat water.

So, if you mostly paddle flat water the Pro is probably the superior boat. If you are interested in or able to surf waves, the V8 is a proven platform for that.

Either way, my guess is you'll have fun!

Edit - Plug to surfskicomparison.com/ for kicking ass

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"
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1 month 2 weeks ago #37351 by LaPerouseBay
I'd second Zach's advice to get an 8.  The Atlantic is probably kinda knarly. 
  
The great thing about skis is their ability to steer around and harness the power of the ocean.   They are very responsive to user input. 
 
Learning to harness the power of the water is all about being comfortable zooming across sketchy water.  It's going to take years to truly learn the water and develop your stroke.  A tippier boat will only prolong the learning process...  

Ski is like any sport.   The magic happens when you get your hips into it.  It takes time.   

downwind dilettante

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1 month 2 weeks ago #37352 by Papa Surf
Thank you for your opinions.  It is going to get rough here in the next few days and I plan to try both boats again. 
Other opinions are certainly welcome. Thank you !

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1 month 2 weeks ago #37356 by LaPerouseBay
Have a look at this thread.  Boyan is a smart, accomplished, professional athlete.  He saw a big hole in ski discussions online and approached it in a very novel fashion. 

www.surfski.info/forum/2-announcements/1...sign-ultimately.html

Here's Boyan in a V-8.  This is the distillation of all downwind theory, in a nutshell.  The same thing applies in the tiniest waves on the ocean.  Not a whitecap in sight and you can use this advice to great effect.  
 
www.facebook.com/watch/?v=13051467461817...tid=Ki7XXJM1Slt4NOjn

When you get the angles right, it's like someone shoving you from behind.  If your boat is stable enough, you can experiment.  Then the fun really begins, because those shoves can be unexpected.  Chasing that green line is not as easy as it looks.   

If you start in a boat that is too tippy, you may never be able to go across the waves - of any size.  Downwind requires good strokes on the trickiest part of the wave.  That's when you need stability.  Chasing that green line works upwind too.  The ocean has waves going all directions.   Skis are great at feeling them.  

Here's Boyan again, making it look easy.  That's really hard to do.  And those wave are a lot bigger than they appear. 

www.facebook.com/surfskicenter/videos/387772765950779/

downwind dilettante

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1 month 3 days ago - 1 month 3 days ago #37427 by LaPerouseBay
Here is a great video review of a V-9. 



The video resonates with me, because have 3 of the boats he references, the 12, 10L and my favorite, the 8P. 

Mark has sage advice on how common it is for beginners (or like me, a few years under the belt), going out in conditions with "too many numbers on the boat"  Ha ha, so true.  I may not fall in the 12  (thank God, it sucks to remount) but it's not my skill that keeps me upright - it's the rocker and the groomed conditions.         

My downwind average times are faster in the 8P than the 12.  If I tried to push any harder in the 12, my times would get slower.  "too many numbers on the boat."  And the garmin timer...  ha ha.      

I'm also 99% sure I'm faster across flat water in the 8P than the 12.  I can feel it in my catch, lock and rotation.  IMO, you cannot underestimate the importance of a forward stroke.  I don't have a good one in either boat, but it's far, far better in the 8P.  I've had advice from 4 pros, the most succinct was Oscar.  In his own way he took me aside and said "you suck and you have too many numbers on your boat."  (I was in the gen 1 10 back then).  Thanks Oscar, hope your recovery is going well...   I'll never know of my speed in either boat across flat water, because like the reviewer, I'd rather stick forks in my eyes than do a flat water time trial, staring at Garmin.             

I checked a few of Mark's videos in the 12 - that guy's a stud.  I wish I could do that in a 12.

downwind dilettante
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1 month 3 days ago #37428 by zachhandler
Sticking fork in eye is not as fun as downwind, but it sure beats not sticking a fork in your eye!

Zach in Minneapolis

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1 month 3 days ago #37429 by Papa Surf
Thanks for all the input. I ended up going out on a rough day in the V8Pro and had a hard time staying on the boat. Practiced the remount plenty!  Since I want to go out in lots of conditions, I found that to be a safety issue at my current skill level, which is zero after about 5 hours in these boats.  The water gets cold here in New England and I know from sailing that each time you go in, you loose some reaction time and coordination, making it more likely you will go in again. So I can see a vicious cycle setting up if you are out in cold water on a ski you can’t handle. In turn I bought a V8 and have already caught some waves and feel safe and ready to have some fun. Happy with the choice I made. Since all these boats cost about the same, it seems I would be able to trade up at some point if necessary without too much of a further investment. 

thank you

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1 month 3 days ago #37430 by zachhandler
Congrats. V8 is an awesome boat. You wont regret it. 

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1 month 2 days ago #37431 by Atlas
Very wise move Papa Surf.

The V8 is such a great ski for learning good technique and enjoying yourself at the same time.

Too many people buy a ski they think they can grow into. Not only does that take the fun out of paddling but by the time they (think they) have "grown into" the ski they then realise they have a mountain of work in front of them to undo all the appalling forward stroke faults they have developed while trying to stay upright.

When you think you've "outgrown" the V8 just take a look at some video of Boyan in his V8. Ask yourself if you are doing anything he can't.

AFAIK the V8 is the most popular ski in the world so when you are paddling better than Boyan you will have no trouble selling it. Not that I think you ever should (other than to buy a V8GT).

Current skis:
Epic V10L Ultra & Club, Carbonology Sport Boost LV, Fenn Bluefin, Nelo 510, Fenn XT double

Previous skis
Spirit PRS, Fenn Swordfish, Fenn XT, Fenn Swordfish S, Think Zen

Most with DK rudders.

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