Fragility of Epic ultra layup

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9 years 10 months ago #12467 by drjay9051
Assuming no crashing through the surf just how fragile is the Epic V10 in ultra as opposed to performance layup.

I may have the opportunity to purchase a new V10 sport in the ultra layup at the price of the performance layup.

Reason; cosmetic flaw and a kg over spec. This will be my first ski.
I know when transporting I cannot cinch down on the straps like I do with my glass kayak but aside from that issue?

It has been suggested to me in another forum that just the simple act of remounting can damage the ski if I were to strike the hull with my foot. In addition same forum poster advised that "any" direct impact such as lightly banging against say a piling or piece of driftwood will ruin my ski. He advised that the people who paddle ultra and elite are hard core professionals who absolutely need minimal weight.

Is the ultra layup really that fragile. What is your experience?

I'm thinking if I can get into the ultra at price of performance not a bad deal especially when it comes time to sell. Possibly break even when I'm ready to move up.

On the other hand, if I remount, strike the hull with my heel and cause expensive damage it is not a good deal at all.

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9 years 10 months ago #12475 by Simon Haywood
Hi, I have a V8 and a V10 sport both in Ultra lay up...had them 6 months. So far, I found them to be perfectly durable...I have raced both boats had the occasional collision with other boats and flotsam in the water. Only one small mark on the deck of the V8 where i mounted the boat incorrectly (buckle of the jacket did the damage). I would have no hesitation in buying another one.

Previous craft: Affinity, Endorfinn, Multisport, Epic V8, V10sport, V10, V12, Fenn Swordfish, Spirit PRS Elite; Stellar S18S, SR, SE, SEL, S2E, S2EL

Current Skis:
Huki S1-R
Stellar S18S - Excel
Stellar SR - Ultra


Skis on order: None!

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  • Bermy
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9 years 10 months ago #12484 by Bermy
Replied by Bermy on topic Re: Fragility of Epic ultra layup
In the 2010 NY Mayors Cup (the cold one) I connected a massive submerged log floating down the Hudson in a 30kt wind with an almighty thump that made my teeth clutter. V10 sport ultra (rental) didn't even have a mark on it.

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9 years 10 months ago #12486 by Kestrel
I've said this before on another thread, but I would think that most mfr's would make their various layups *roughly* equal in strength and durability, regardless of materials used. The huge weight savings of the ultra boats is due far more to the much higher strength/weight ratio of carbon/Nomex compared to glass/Soric (or whatever). The boat should be every bit as strong, just much lighter (and probably significantly stiffer as well), so I'd definitely go for it.

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9 years 10 months ago #12487 by drjay9051

Kestrel wrote: I've said this before on another thread, but I would think that most mfr's would make their various layups *roughly* equal in strength and durability, regardless of materials used. The huge weight savings of the ultra boats is due far more to the much higher strength/weight ratio of carbon/Nomex compared to glass/Soric (or whatever). The boat should be every bit as strong, just much lighter (and probably significantly stiffer as well), so I'd definitely go for it.


Kestral:

Thanks. Not sure why but I speak with alot of people (who may have no idea what they are talking about) and their mantra is too fragile, you don't need that , you will be sorry.

I'm thinking if I take care of the ski and exercise common sense I should be OK.

Thanks again .

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9 years 10 months ago #12488 by Rightarmbad
Or you could be unlucky.

All skis, no matter layup have to be looked at as somewhat disposable.
Shit can happen.

My performance layup didn't have a mark on it until it fought a surfer, now it's a disposable wreck.

My new Ultra has an obvious repair from the manufacturer.
I took photos of it and showed the store before I loaded it on the car, it has now developed a crack elsewhere, hasn't seen any surf that could damage it.
It may have been damaged there prior to shipping at the same time as the other obvious bit, not detected and showed with the stress of paddling upwind, don't know.
There is obvious delamination, you can here it crackling when you press on the soft spot.
And the Gel coat has now cracked a little.

But yes, I now worry about various layups.

Most of all, I worry about Epic Australia's backup of their product.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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  • JeandeFlorette
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9 years 10 months ago #12490 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic All skis, no matter layup have to be looked at as
so true! the manufacturers and their resellers are very quick to take you hard earned cash but very quiet when it comes to truth in advertising their product. RAB, you mentioned that "shit happens", when it happened 3 times in a row with me, delamination of compisite material, thing hulls, flexing skis in chop. A local manufacturer of spec skis examined the damage (multiple soft spots) and said " I woould not paddle in this craft offshore if I were you!". Imagine my dismay after forking out $2600 for a 4-month demo ski. I got my money back and went to anew entrant, same shit again, demo ski developped soft spots replaced by a brand new one which had the same issue 6 months later. I am now at the point where I would rather paddle a heavy and tough spec ski which can take a pounding in the surf. Why do you think that race organisers give a deep water start. I suspect that they want to avoid carnage whilst the boat repairers rub their hands!

My advice to anyone wanting to buy a new ski and are undecided on the construction layup, go and talk to the boat repairere and ask them which craft (make/Model) gets the most repaired, that way you can make an informed decision...

My next craft will certainly not be a disposable ski for sure, I am still searching...

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9 years 10 months ago #12492 by drjay9051

JeandeFlorette wrote: so true! the manufacturers and their resellers are very quick to take you hard earned cash but very quiet when it comes to truth in advertising their product.

In all fairness to Epic, this is directly from their website here in the USA;

ULTRA:
The Ultra construction is very light and popular with the fitness and racing paddlers. It is light, stiff, and extremely strong in the water.

Nomex foam core
Woven Kevlar fabric
Vacuum-bagged, heat-cured epoxy
Available on all kayaks and surf skis (white decks and hulls only)
Ultra construction boats have a red seam line

* Epic Kayaks is committed to manufacturing the finest kayaks available, using only the highest quality materials. Our Ultra boats are exceptionally light and therefore require more care when handling.

Avoid direct impact with hard objects such as rocks, which can dent and/or delaminate the lightweight honeycomb core.

Do not tie the boat directly onto hard metal racks. Appropriately shaped saddles or padding are required to eliminate stress concentrations when transporting these boats.

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9 years 10 months ago #12493 by Kestrel
That stuff about not banging it on rocks goes for pretty much any boat.... Even if it's a heavy old solid glass/polyester layup, you're still going to crack it if you're hitting it on rocks. And the same about tying it directly to hard roof racks-- I wouldn't do that with any boat regardless of the layup.

Having said that, I personally hate anything with Kevlar in it, because if you ever do happen to be a victim of RAB's "shit happens" mantra (and it's actually more like "when", not "if"), you're pretty much screwed if it's a kevlar layup, because you're never going to be able to repair it properly. If it's only fiberglass or carbon, with no Kevlar in it, it can pretty much be returned to "good as new" status if you know what you're doing.

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  • JeandeFlorette
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9 years 10 months ago #12499 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic Re: Fragility of Epic ultra layup
Just to clarify that my comments are not directed at EPIC as such, I was just responding with my own expericnce from the thread started as an EPIC issue but is a more overall issue with composite layup that delaminate thus creating softspots where ever you apply any sort of pressure for instance carrying your ski on your hips or shouldlers to and from the car. My issue has been with the VAJDA ORCA Racing layup and the THINK UNO Max but now I do understand that there is also a wider issue which also includes EPIC. I would like some answers from manufacturers as to what sort of stress testing they perform on those hull or are they more interested in being the first to market a new model that is super light and fast!
Boat repairers have never been so busy... even strapping my ski to a Rola kayak craddle caused a dent where the hull touches the craddles and I am not new to the paddling scene, hence I know that appling too much pressure to the straps could cause damage.
I believe that paddlers are forking considerable amounts of money and the urge to upgrade is getting bigger and bigger with the advent of beginners, intermediate, and elite classes. We have rights too and we don't like to be taken for a ride! we love big swell in a solid offshore ski...

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #12500 by drjay9051
JeandeFlorette: Good point. Being new to this I don't know if any of the manufacturers submit boats to "crash tests' as the auto makers do. i would imagine there is some very basic testing for tensile strength, impact etc. but likely not extensive tests which would result in standards such as "... do not apply more than xxx pounds of direct force when strapping boat."

I think it is similar to mountain bikes where there are different materials and it is more or less understood that certain materials are more or less fragile. i.e. carbon fibre frame vs aluminum.

Even if the makers had standards how would you control conditions such as current, floating debris etc?

I suppose we could just go out on a nice flat lake which has been surveyed for objects. i think in the end the makers want to sell boats, we want to use them and it's more or less buyer beware.

I would think if a particular brand was substandard or "cutting corners" word would get around and they would be out of business in short order.

Just go in knowing that the boat (ski) is in the end a "disposable object."

I don't like it but I cannot see myself in a steel surf ski.
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by drjay9051. Reason: additional info

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9 years 10 months ago #12501 by Rightarmbad
I can't imagine having a boat tied down tight enough to damage it when using cradles.
I have never seen cradle damage on any boat.
You barely need to do the straps up for them to be effective anyways.
Why would you crank on them?

I would show concern for a boat upside down on bare racks though.
I did this initially to my performance layup, didn't damage it, but straps were tight if it was windy and the boat still moved around.

If a boat delaminates from carrying it on your hips, then I would suspect there was something wrong with the layup.

But this is something I don't know about because I usually throw it on my shoulder upside down.
Easier to carry that way.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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9 years 10 months ago #12510 by Midlifecrisis
Finally a topic I can comment on after following this forum for a few months :)

I have an Epic V10 Sport Ultra that was new 6 months ago. I take it out around 4 times a week, so it has had a lot of use already. I mainly paddle in the ocean.

I do tend to be reasonably careful with it and it is washed down after each use and stored under cover, but I have certainly "bumped" it a few time on various objects and there is absolutely no damage. I do normally carry it a short distance on my hips (as I don't have far to go). I do carry it on kayak racks on the car probably once a week and tie it down firmly. Again no problems here.

After being warned that this layup was easily damaged, I have had no problems with it.

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9 years 10 months ago #12517 by Rightarmbad
I did have a big long reply ready to post.
I deleted it.
My boat is now in Epic hands.

I shall hold my tongue until I see the end result.........

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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9 years 10 months ago #12519 by mckengmsurfski
the new boat? bummer...

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9 years 10 months ago #12527 by arminius
I have repaired a fair number of windsurfers, kayaks and surf ski's with kevlar and kevlar/carbon layups and have never had problems on the repairs. Kevlar tends to create a lot of fluff when you are preparing the surface which actually helps the repair bond as it provides a surface to bond to physically and chemically. One consideration would the be fact that the flex would changew on a kevlar boat with a glass repair as the glass would be more rigid but I ahven't seen a repair - partliculary a delta type patch come off yet (touching a pile of wood). Doing a repair with kevlar would be far more difficult as it will be hard to create a smooth surface post repair - unless you add a lot of gelcoat which is not a great idea.

Another perfect day in paradise. A bit of sun, a bit of rain and it's not even lunch time.

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9 years 10 months ago #12532 by red_pepper
I was concerned about the Ultra layup durability when I bought my V10L Ultra, but I actually found it to be reasonably durable during the time I owned it. I had the wind blow it off a grass area, down a small incline, and onto some pavement without any damage. I carried it on my car a lot, raced it a lot on rivers (including bending the rudder on a log), and made a number of reentries with no damage to the boat.

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #12533 by duncangroenewald
I have a V12 ultra, which is now nearly 18 months old. Generally the Kevlar is pretty tough so you won't easily get a brittle failure. However it is a honeycomb construction and so any significant impact over a small area may well crush the honeycomb structure and leave a dent in the outer layer.
I have two such dents, one from hitting a railing while turning - stupid me. The other from hitting the stern of another ski during training, a glancing blow. Just small indents left on the surface. My guess is a glass layup would not show anything other than perhaps a slight scuffing of the gel coat from similar impacts.
I have also been T-boned by some idiot who decided he would rather T-bone me that jump off his ski when he was spun out on a wave. Very loud crunching sound - I thought I would have a huge hole in theq back hull so paddled to shore to check it out. Very surprised to find no structural damage, no leakage but the gelcoat was cracked and chipped off an area about the size of my hand. Professional repair cost $300, which was light glass layer and vinyl ester gelcoat and you now have to look very very closely to see the repair.
I think a glass boat would have had a significant crack and leak after such an impact. As for carbon, ouch... Kevlar is very very tough and I have yet to see a crack through Kevlar.

I have a Kevlar sea kayak and a Kevlar Vajda K1 too. Nearly indestructible I think.

The big issue is handling the honeycomb construction, or any sandwich construction for that matter as they have thinner outer layers and can be dented more easily. You must look after it to avoid the usual bumps... but in the water it will be strong as.

my V12 is also developing a hairline crack in the gelcoat around the seat area - so I am not expecting the ski to last 5 years without needing some touching up. I am pretty sure this is just a crack in the gelcoat. .... I do paddle 5 or 6 times a week sometimes in strong wind and largish bay chop.

As for roof racks, I have custom racks that are about 2m apart, about 6cm wide and foam lined. They are curved to suit the hull shape. No problems with hull damage here. I would be very nervous using normal car racks and would get a sling made as side wind will put a huge loading on the hull because the racks are usually very close together.

epic ultra has a vinyl ester gelcoat with epoxy/Kevlar layup underneath so gelcoat is not chemically bonded. As a result any crack to the gelcoat may allow water in and may result in delamination of them gelcoat/epoxy layers.

No doubt most other similar constructions have the same problems.

So bottom line is these high end boats need to be well looked after.

Resale value sucks - I can't give my V12 ultra away and it's in very good condition. But then it is fast as on the flat... Ask Garth Spencer...

Hope this is of some help
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by duncangroenewald.

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  • JeandeFlorette
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9 years 10 months ago #12538 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic Re: Fragility of Epic ultra layup
Hey Duncan, I had my suspicions about the Nomex/carbon/kevlar honeycomb composite in the Vajda Orca Racing model and I think that thie may be the source of all my problems with this craft:
1. flexing over big chop
2. soft spots anywhere a little pressure is applying, ie craddle, between the seat & pedals where you normally carry it over your shoulder/hips

I had 2 skis in less thgan a year and the second ski developed the same problems as the first very quickly. This is seriuosuly disposable material. Lately they've been flogging them as low as $1900 to the innocent buyers, a year ago I paid $2900 for it!!! The manufacturer should have recalled all of them and refunded all buyers. Hard to do business with the local rep!

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9 years 10 months ago #12550 by duncangroenewald
Well I don't think there is anything wrong with the layup itself. My K1 and V12 are pretty solid and well made - no signs of soft spots or anything like that and no flexing over chop. And the V12 does bash down a lot more that a Fenn elite with a thinner bow.

I think perhaps Vajda messed up the manufacturing on your boats - which is surprising given the high quality K1's they normally manufacture.

My Vajda K1 does not seem to have a vinyl ester gelcoat - I could be wrong but it seems to be chemically bonded to the epoxy/kevlar layers below. The K1 weights 7.8kg so its pretty light construction but is very stiff. The unsupported decks have no flex in them at all. It has seen 5 years of training and racing and still as good as new. Much better condition that many glass boats I have seen that are only about 2 years old. But then I do look after it well.

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