First Impression: New Epic V12 vs V14

2 years 6 months ago - 2 years 6 months ago #28641 by Cryder
I am working on a full tilt review, but wanted to jot down some first impressions as a total surfski frother who paddles and races day in / day out in open water downwind in a V14:

A few thoughts:
1. The stability is shocking. Truly. Shocking. I've had the ski for all of four days, and I've done several downwind, upwind, chop, rebound, wind to 35mph against a full ebb tide with jumbled, messy stressful wind that blows the tops of waves into gun smoke. I've intentionally done things that that would should earn a swim, and this thing just stays calm and surfs on. As an advanced paddler that is in a k1 every morning and a V14 every afternoon, I have a hard time judging stability these days but it feels more planted and secure in the big stuff than a flatter bottomed ski (V10 etc.). It doesn't bounce or skip on the surface. It sits a bit deep in the water, and I think that is part of the magic formula.

2. If the V14 is about commitment, the V12 is a trip to the playboy mansion with a coke budget: I spend most of my time in k1's and the V14. Those types of rides are all about commitment to reap the rewards of a low volume missile and chasing your technique flaws down like a cartel hitman one by one to avenge your ego...The V12 however is just a totally different animal than anything else I've paddled. It's aggressive, but playful and changes direction effortlessly. Today in a very bad stretch of water where the wind waves come together from two directions, I found myself just attacking through everything without a second thought and not even remotely stressed. Think of a pit bull chasing a laser pointer in a china shop. Not a single f*ck given, and totally hilarious. Very unique and very, very fun.

3. The bucket is great for me. The V12 seat is a smidge wider than the V14, but good contact at the hips and no obvious pressure points. I love it. I recently paddled a Nelo 560 and was surprised that even at my specs (6'3" 225 pounds) I would need to pad it out. It also had a strange pressure point right at the tailbone. I've talked to other friends who paddle the 560 and they adore it - so waves for wales, dolphins and sharks I guess. The back of the V12 bucket rises nicely, then tilts away from the waste, limiting chaffing allowing for extreme laybacks when doing silly things in big water. I also noticed that the seat is further forward than the previous generation V12, and that lends a bit more aggressive attitude to the pilot.

4. It's a dry ride. The front of the cockpit is deeper, and has nice transition lines to the foredeck. Very clean and handsome transition lines. But if you look at where the foot board rudder pedals meet the side of the ski, you'll notice a 1.25 or so distance to the top of the cockpit vs. a V14. The bucket is a bit deeper, but not to the degree that it would be an issue in remount with decent technique. At the back of the cockpit I would measure the distance as maybe only .5 deeper at the rails than the V14. Nice move Epic. Heading upwind, it takes a lot more wave to make it's way into the cockpit than the V14 (a fairly wet ride in exchange for the low volume). And it's noticeably dryer downwind. I have started 3D printing my own custom wave deflectors for Epic skis, and I am not sure the V12 needs one. I'll be doing some downwind runs offshore in the pacific next week, so I hope conditions help me to know for sure at that point.

5. There is a bit more volume in the bow than a V14. But a whole lot less in the tail. I set both the V14, and the V12 next to each other. The V12 carries more volume into the bow, most noticeable from a directly overhead point of view. And it has a whole lot less volume in the stern. The tail of the V12 is noticeably petite from a profile view, but wider when viewed overhead... which might help explain why it's pretty unshakable in messy breaking waves but sniffs out runners very easily... there just isn't much back there to mess with with. Also, the 1st gen V12 had lots and lots of volume, which I personally always liked. But now that I paddle the new V12, I don't miss it. As I paddle out beam in the V12 in high wind, there is a bit more ski for the wind to grab than the V14. But the stability more than makes up for this.

6: Rocker rules. The ski has more rocker than any other Epic ski I've seen to date, and it rules for short period, steep, technical messy water.... yet it still glides well in the flat. Not as much glide as a V14. Nope. But it does glide well enough that I would race it flat water and probably be within a 5% margin of my V14 time.

7: The new V12 vs the old. When I switched from the 1st gen V12 to V14, I missed the incredible secondary stability. But damn, the V14 was so much faster and asked me to be a better pilot so off I went. The new V12 however has both primary and secondary in spades... to the point where it messes with your head when you first hop in. "Wait... whut?! Why is it so stable? Is it slow? Nah... Daggerboard?! Nooo... is there a gyro in here?! Better ask Greg..." It is impressively stable.

Final Thought: As a die hard Epic V14 fanboy, I asked myself if I would be willing to part with my magic missile to go frolic in the waves with this mistress? If it's gonna be rowdy and wild, you bet.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Steve Hansen, rhainan, Atlas

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2 years 6 months ago #28645 by AR_convert
Great write up, thanks. Photos would top it off nicely.

Current - Carbonology"Flash" Vajda "Infusion II K1" Previously ~Finn"Molokai Mk II"~Knysna "Vantage Pro K1' Carbonology "Vault"~Epic"V10L & Sport"~ [/b]Fenn"Mill Double" ~Spirit"PRS"~Finn"Affinity"
Always looking for the next boat :)

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2 years 6 months ago #28646 by zachhandler
Nice review nick. One correction. It is counterintuitive but a 5% speed difference is huge - 3 minutes over an hour That is about the difference between the v8 and a v14. Greg Barton's estimates would put the v12 at just 20 seconds an hour slower than the V14.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Cryder, Atlas

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2 years 6 months ago #28647 by Cryder
Hey Zach, I did an extended flat water session today (25 miles), and then a short 5km race. Happy to report you are quite right. My overall flat water "cruising" speed was identical to the V14, and the race pace was within 1% of my V14 time / speed output. Good catch.

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2 years 6 months ago #28653 by Hipgrave
Great feedback Cryder and I couldn't agree more. I'm also a V14 fanboy and just picked up the new V12 and agree on all points. Don't want to steal the thunder of your review, but I also put my thoughts down comparing the V12 and V14 right here and we share many of the same points.

chrishipgrave.com/2017/03/30/review-epic-kayaks-v122g/

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2 years 6 months ago #28655 by Kiwi Dave
Any thoughts on how the new V12 would be for a lighter weight paddler of around 70kg / 155lb ? I have been thinking what my current 'forever' boat might be but choices are somewhat more limited being lighter and smaller than what most boats seem to be designed for.

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2 years 6 months ago #28657 by Cryder
I've lent the ski to a few different types of paddlers over the last few days, some who are women weighing 130#, and others who are guys from 150, 170 and one who was 245#. All were very impressed with the seat, and as I watched them paddle, the ski was consistently well trimmed and appears balanced in the water. All of them remark that the bucket is very comfortable, and that the ski inspires confidence and felt playful. "Wow! Stable!" was the common comment for advanced to elite paddlers. Novice paddler were more tentative, and commented "I think I could paddle this with more time." No one swam.

I relate to your comment, but I don't think there is such a thing as a "forever" ski. While this one is quite the accomplishment, the first V12 was too. So was the V10... and the V14 opened new horizons for a number of paddlers like me. There will be more. But for the time being, this is new new and it's a game changer. You'll likely change as you master your next ski, and then find one that ads just a little bit more to your skill library.

Hope that helps.

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2 years 6 months ago #28659 by MCImes
Excellent review! Thanks!

If you or anyone has the experience, how does the stability compare to a gen 0 (2006 model, before the gen 1 blue/black/red tip) v10?

Now I just need to find one used in About 8 months...

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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2 years 6 months ago #28677 by Cryder
That's a tricky comparison, but I'll try. To answer your question, I consider the V12 quite a bit more stable then the 1st Gen V10.

I've paddled a 1st Gen V10 quite a bit in downwind when I was in Baja, Mexico. and it reminds me quite a lot of a the V14 in it's current iteration with it's fast roll rate. Being a newer paddler, when I took the 1st Gen V10 out I thought "ah, so this is what older surfski's were like... this is an elite ski first and foremost that isn't even remotely designed for the novice." The new V10 is one that I would describe as "surprisingly fast for how accommodating it is!". The new V12 is more stable than the 1st gen by a country mile, but it has a decidedly more aggressive handling personality. Hope that helps!

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2 years 6 months ago #28678 by fredrik
Now that v12 has been out a little while: I am considering a Elite S or a V12. V14 sounds too far off stability wise. The Elite S is a nice predictable ski, but I was hoping that the V12 was slightly more stable on the rough days.

Any inputs on the V12 compared to the Elite S?

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2 years 5 months ago #28745 by OceanDC
On the v14 Hank has had his Butt kicked by the Ando, Cory Hill and struggled to fend off Dawid Mocke. On the V12 Hank has been unbeatable in this years World Series
Paddles the v14 and really hated the instability in refracting waves
Would rather the v12

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2 years 5 months ago #28746 by OceanDC
Have paddled the Swordfish full carbon, Elite S Hybrid and the V12 Ultra
On a big day the Sordie is by far the best boat. The V12 is the next most stable ski with good secondary and primary stability and an awesome downwind capability that makes catching waves child's play (have written up a review). The V12 is not as stable as the Swordie in refracting waves but with some training u can get used to it fairly quickly
I average 11-11.5 km/hr on the Swordie, 12-13km/hr on the v12 and 13-13.5 km/hr on a Elite S
As a spec ski convertie I have less issues with waves but more challenged with stability in refracting waves on the Elite S. if you want to be competitive in that boat you need to be very fit in the core it is less stable than the V12, but also quicker
Elite s is very predictable but no where near as comfortable to paddle compared to the v12
If the Elite S gets a seat ergonomic upgrade this year it would be my pic....but you need to be at the top of your game to paddle that ski in rough water. On the flat it's v12 or Elite S. marathon flat water paddling Elite S or V12 based on seat ergonomics preferences and thoughts around adjustable bailers/Venturi drains

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2 years 3 months ago #29196 by LaPerouseBay
I got a 12 about a month ago. I've gone completely bonkers over this boat. Never, ever had so much fun on the water. It's stable. It's dry. It steers good. The bucket is comfy.

Holy flying shitballs this boat is fun to downwind.


downwind dilettante

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2 years 3 months ago #29201 by Cryder
Easily my favorite ski ever. Just a total joy to go downwind, couple of quick clips from the Gorge.



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2 years 3 months ago #29203 by sax
Hey Cryder are you local to the gorge or were you in town for the races? Wondering because Im looking for advise on C-River locations to noob paddle/practice with minimal drama.

nice vids

cheers

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2 years 3 months ago #29204 by Kiwi Dave
Nice, has Epic come to the party with fun custom colours now ? Love to see some shots of this boat from the side.

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2 years 3 months ago #29206 by Cryder
I wish! I did the colors scheme on my own (it's a super high quality vinyl wrap!).

www.fasterfarther.com/custom-surfskis/20.../25/epic-v12-matador

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2 years 3 months ago #29207 by Cryder
PS: My instagram feed is stuffed full of custom art on skis / k1's...

The following user(s) said Thank You: supsherpa

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2 years 3 months ago #29208 by LaPerouseBay
My jaw just hit the floor. I need some for my boat - maybe stick it on myself? I'm a woodworker by trade so I love fussy detail work.

I've been dreaming about adding some character to my bland Epic boats forever. Mainly for visual safety. Bright colors on the body for sure, why not the boat too.

That stuff looks amazing. Thanks Cryder.

downwind dilettante

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2 years 3 months ago #29209 by LakeMan
That looks incredible. Fantastic design. I'm surprised the wrap stays on. Now all you need is a string of LED lights. (Not really).

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill
The following user(s) said Thank You: Newbflat

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