Newby observations of 3 Epic surf skis

3 months 3 days ago #37007 by Epicpaddler
I've been paddling for three seasons. I have an Epic v8pro in the performance lay up. I'm almost 50 years old in decent shape and can comfortably paddle the v8pro in any conditions I've experienced so far. I mostly paddle on a bay with 2-3'chop. On a weekend with boat traffic waves come all sizes from every direction. Since the racing season has been cancelled around here I've mostly paddled for fitness and fun. Today a friend of mine let me try his Epic v10g2 and Epic v12g2. The v10 was performance layup and the v12 was ultra layup. I paddled on a flat water lake. Here is my observations as a relatively new surfski paddler:

The v10 in performance layup felt very similar to my v8pro, with a slightly more narrow bucket. On the calm water of the lake it was completely stable with no twitch. I was able to apply full leg drive and proper torso rotation and without too much effort had the ski averaging about 6.5 MPH. My race pace in the v8pro is about that. I didn't go all out but could maintain 7.1 mph for a while.

The v12 g2 in ultra layup was a joy to carry. When I first got into the cockpit, I thought I'd fall right out. My fault for not adjusting the foot peddles ahead of time. Didn't fall out and once moving the v12 felt surprisingly stable. I only paddled it 3 miles, but was pleasantly surprised I didn't swim. It was very sensitive to movement, and the tighter cockpit pinched my hips a bit, so I couldn't use the same amount of leg drive I usually do. Maybe I have a fat ass, or just move around in the cockpit too much? Knowing the ski has minimal primary stability can be unnerving at first, but the secondary stability is fine. I don't think I'm ready to paddle the v12 in the ocean yet.

So I'm back to obsessing over the "next boat". Go with something like the v10, master it in all conditions, and sell the v8pro? Go with something like a v12 and use it just for flat water racing? Either was it was a learning experience and great to try out a few boats that have been on my list. 

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3 months 3 days ago - 3 months 3 days ago #37008 by MCImes
Good observations. If  I can only have 1 ski, im going for a 45cm boat like a Swordfish, V10, or similar. This is because 45cm is an excellent blend of speed and stability. Also, its tippy enough that you build good stability skills but not so tippy you cant  relax for a moment like an elite boat. The MOMENT you lay off the power (due to instability) in a 43cm boat, my Swordfish will be faster because I can apply full power in almost any conditions.

Also on huge, raging, more-directions-of-swell-than-i-can-count days, I am near my stability limit at 45cm and a 43cm boat would mean I stay home or in the harbor (and where's the fun in that? I live for 6'+ swell)

A couple friends have moved down from elite boats because they require continuous mental focus and can limit your ability to paddle in fun (i.e. Big) conditions. I am very tempted to pick up a Vega, but only if I can also keep a 2nd boat for biiiig days.

so I think you're basically right to lust for a 45cm boat, V10 or otherwise. IMO, its the best blend of speed and stability. Its still approachable to low intermediate paddlers on calm waters and is a handful but manageable on raging ocean days

Edit - if you want 1 boat, 45cm. If you can have 2 boats, a 43cm + 48-50cm is a great combo and would be my first choice.

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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3 months 3 days ago #37009 by waverider
If you can only have one boat then you dont want to push your limits as there will then be times were you simply cant go out, or tempted to do so when you shouldnt, as conditions exceed your abilities. If you can keep the v8 pro then adding a v12 as a second option may be ok.

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3 months 3 days ago #37014 by mrcharly
Skinny boats feel fast.
How much difference in speed though? 
I asked this question of someone in my club (back when I was paddling stable boats). They said that their personal experience was that each step down in stability (ie stepping up in 'faster boat') resulted in a 1min improvement to their time trial time (10km). That was after the adjustment period.

1min over 10km is an almost imperceptible increase in speed (but quite a gap if you are racing). A single extra swim would negate the improvement in speed though.

The difference between a super skinny and a bathtub really shows when sprinting. The bathtub gets very very hard to paddle with a small increase in speed. The super skinny lets you accelerate to a much higher speed.

Cruising over a distance? You are talking 0.5-1kph differences.

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3 months 3 days ago #37015 by waverider
Its not just seconds off a race as most people are not racing a lot of the time, it just feels better and more satisfying to rise to the next challenge. Just like a sprint K1 feels different to an elite ski on flat water even though most paddlers would come to grips with a ski much easier than the k1, and may never be quicker in the k1... So why do it? Its the challenge and the feel

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3 months 3 days ago #37016 by mrcharly
I don't disagree with anything you say there, Waverider. 

My point was purely that comparing speeds from a brief paddle won't tell you much.

Heck, anytime I try a new boat I go faster for a brief period. It is the new boat effect.

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3 months 2 days ago #37021 by Epicpaddler
When I look at the gps track of the three miles I paddled for each boat, I was much faster in the v10. The v12 should be faster, but the "stability before ability" thing is real. The biggest issue I had with the v12 was the tight cockpit. I must have bony hips because I felt pinched each time I tried cranking my leg drive. When I paddled my v8pro today it was like paddling my sofa. Perfectly stable and comfortable. So, I keep asking myself "why" I need or want another boat. I know I'm only chasing fractions of mph for a slightly skinnier boat. Part of it is the challenge of trying something more difficult and I guess there is some ego involved. It felt awesome to paddle an "elite" boat even if it was only for a few miles on flat water.

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3 months 2 days ago #37029 by tve
You mention "new boat" but you didn't say what type of paddling you're doing or planing to do. There's a lot more than just stability to the boat choice. The v10g3 (not v10g2!!!) is very similar in DW behavior than the v12 (g2). It's more stable and has lower gunwhales (for good and bad!). But if you're looking at flat water it's a different affair. The v10g2 has less rocker than the g3 and is probably faster in the flat. Instead of the v12 maybe you want to play with a v14?

I think the difficulty with the elite boats (v12, uno max, elite s, vega, ...) is that you have to be really fit and that's a safety issue. After a bunch of months using a v12 in the ocean on-and-off I'm now quite comfortable. But if I stop paddling for a month or two (winter, injury, travel, ...) I'm sure I will have a hell of a time getting all my core muscles back up to snuff again. Even now, there are many days where I'm just not up for the challenge. So if it's your only boat it's only safe if you have plan B and plan C every time you go out. 

BTW, training on a v12 improved my stability on the v10g3 dramatically.

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3 months 1 day ago #37038 by Epicpaddler
TVE, I'd be kidding myself with a v14!

The v12 g2 is an awesome boat, but the cockpit is a bit tight for me and pinched my hips. I'm 6' and about 190. The stability wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but I only paddled for three miles on a flat lake with only crossing one powerboat wake. I'm sure I could race it successfully in any flat water race. 

Do I "need" a new boat? No, the v8pro does everything I ask and more. I felt completely stable paddling in the cold North Atlantic off the coast of Portland Maine with big ground swell and 3-4' mixed wind chop.

I paddle 5-7 times per week on Chesapeake Bay where it can be anything from dead calm to 3-4' chop. On any given weekend I can simulate rough ocean conditions by paddling at the mouth of the harbor with non stop boat traffic of all shapes and sizes. 

I am mostly looking for a new boat to challenge myself and advance to the next level. Also, because of Covid, I'm bored as hell and it gives me something to obsess about:)

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3 months 1 day ago #37040 by tve
Sounds like you do want more of a DW boat than flatwater... The way you sound, a V12 (or equiv other brand) would be a good challenge. If you paddle that frequently and like the challenge you'll progress nicely as long as you always pay attention to your technique and work on fixing anything that is not right. The initial jitters go away after just a couple of outings, then you're into a long slow steady improvement path... You do need to practice remounts a lot initially so you're 100% confident: you have to find the spot such that when you flip your butt into the seat you're exactly in the right spot. Anything else and you'll go back in...
If you can, try to borrow that V12 again to see how you feel in it...

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3 months 1 hour ago #37061 by mickeyA
Keep your eyes open for a used G1 V12.  Some think the g1 is as good or better than g2 (unlike V10 g2 vs g3), at least in certain conditions.  They are cheap, maybe under $1k us black tip, a little more red tip. As pointed out here, the elite paddlers have no interest in buying an older model used elite ski, thus terrible resale value since the few elite paddlers are really the only ones that can paddle them.  V8Pro is a great boat, keep it.  Practice in V12 (or Fenn Elite S, SEL...—all those buckets may be tight since the boat itself is so narrow—Thinks tend to be tightest).  If you could have only 1 boat, V10 or swordfish S... is it.  2 boats: V8Pro or V10Sport or SR or XT S... AND an elite ski (used beater, ok) is the ticket.

Epic V12, V10Sport, Fenn Tarpon S, Swordfish S, Stellar SE, Fenn XT, Twogood Chalupski, Findeisen Stinger spec, Huki S1-X, Burton wedge2, Fenn Tarpon

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2 months 4 weeks ago #37066 by Epicpaddler
The crazy thing is at the beginning of the pandemic, I was seeing red tip v10's and v12's for about $1500-2000. I missed a smoking deal on a mint condition v10g2 for $1400 because of the lockdown. Now that summer is in full swing I guess people are keeping what they've got since not too many new boats are coming over from China.

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