Friday, 29 October 2010
The Epic V8 - The Inclusive Racing Ski
I've just picked up our demo Epic V8, a boat which has had Apple-style secrecy surrounding it's prototyping, testing & design since whispers about it started late last year.
I'm an unabashed advocate of the V10 Sport as an ocean ski for sea kayakers as the secondary stability is very sea-kayak-like, once you get your head around the fact that it has no deck. The general ergonomics of the V10S make it a superb trainer for sea kayakers looking to transition to ski paddling, but not wanting 'learn by immersion' on the elite designs.
Even so, I've had our demo V10S around the various sea kayak expos & symposiums we attend as instructors & sponsors, encouraging sea kayakers to hop onto this sleek & slightly intimidating-looking beast & give it a whirl. A straw poll of testers shows a 'nup, can't even imagine paddling that thing' at about 25%, a 'gosh that looks like fun but could I really get the hang of it' at about 40%, and the rest hopping on & falling into the same lust driven obsession that befell me when I first paddled it.
The V8 is aimed squarely at the 40% who can't quite decide on whether they'll ever master a boat that still calls on a degree of core strength for balance. It's essentially the fast & stable hull shape that saw Freya circumnavigate the country in her Epic 18, with the latest developments forward of the cockpit that the V12 offers in cutaways for close paddle placement & hydrodynamics. The key to the design is the wide aft, or exaggerated Swede form. This boat is stable. Did I mention how stable it was? S-T-A-B-L-E. The good ski paddlers around would probably use it as an SUP to show off, but like the Epic 18, that doesn't stop it having an impressive turn of speed. On a brief test paddle this arvo I had it sitting comfortably on 10kmh over 3km without breaking a sweat. Anyone who has seen my few race results will know that I'm no speedster. On the water it feels very much like the Epic 18, except that the cutaway foredeck lets you really catch high & get a lot of power into your stroke.
It has some nice touches like a water bottle recess & a tether point for your leg-leash, & features that sea paddlers will appreciate like bow & stern carry handles. The 'heavy' club layup weigh in at about 16kg, so it's an easy one to car-top even for our weight conscious lighter paddlers out there worried about boat loading RSI.
The muscular world of ski paddling can be a bit of a turn-off for some sea kayakers, but in my opinion this particular design promises an inclusive, high quality, well designed & eminently paddleable ocean ski that will see many more sea & recreational paddlers including a ski in their quiver of paddle craft.
There are only a handful of V8's in the country, with plenty more arriving next month, so please give either Rob or myself a call if you'd like to take one for a spin.
Price on the Club layup is the same as the V10S, $2750, and you can read more about it HERE.