We've just landed our first stock of the brilliant Epic V10 Sport Surf Ski, the surf ski that we feel is best suited to sea kayakers looking to expand their paddling into this exhilarating sport.
I have been paddling my own V10 Sport now since December, and have loved every minute of it. I find myself staring at the BOM site looking for wind predictions of 20kn thereabouts, and then zipping down to Botany Bay when they start to arrive. I then paddle straight into the wind as far as I can (generally a good 6-9km depending on where the winds is blowing from), then turn & blast back downwind riding the little sea developed by the breeze, or some days the swell that wraps into the Bay when things are a bit bigger outside.
It's incredible fun - the ski is made for downwind flying & you rip along at speeds unimaginable in a normal sea kayak. You very quickly develop control skills involving your core muscles, and learn a completely new way of paddling. The stability is palpable - about the same as my Valley Aquanaut, taking into consideration that you don't have the points of contact that a decked boat offers. I've given the boat a fair old workout in all sorts of sea conditions, and can testify that Epic's new purpose built factory, now into it's second season of production, is turning out ski's of the highest calibre. While it's not a boat I would fancy endo-ing through a 2m breaking wave, if you're sensible enough to use this boat for it's intended purpose - paddling on open water, rather than as a surf kayak - you'll have yourself a longstanding & sturdy craft.
Transferring back to my sea kayak, I find I'm enormously confident in most conditions thrown up locally, and my acceleration is greatly improved by the low-resistance workout I get with the ski when I'm paddling upwind.
We've had a few people ask lately why we'd bother with these types of boats & this sort of paddling, we're sea kayakers after all. The answer is that this is also sea kayaking, just with a different slant on it, and in a craft that can do different things to a standard sea kayak. I will personally give anything a go in paddling - it's all good as far as I'm concerned, and I don't mind enduring the 'completely hopeless' phase while I learn something new. In the end it all comes back to how I paddle my sea kayak, and all of these things help my development as a paddler. We don't claim to be all things to all paddlers, and can understand that surf ski's aren't for everyone, but those who choose to paddle them will undoubtedly end up with an edge in skills, balance & speed over paddlers who stick to one single boat, one single method of paddling.
For the price of a pretty stock-standard plastic boat the V10 Sport is a fantastic addition to your boat quiver, and will teach you things that take many dedicated years to learn in a wider, slower kayak.