Friday, 24 January 2014

New Toys - The Epic V10 Ultra


We can be a jaded bunch, us blokes of EK. 

Off for a surf tomorrow, shall we take the Gemini SP or the Xtra if it's going to be big, or the Xcites if its going to a bit full? To stop us fighting, we've got a demo each of the Xcite.

A downwind burn along the coast, a Pace 18, Epic 18X, Taran 18, Pace 17, Taran 16, or an Evoke if we want to have a play halfway?

A trip out to Broughton to camp the night, cover the 20km of open sea to get there & then have enough tricks in the hull for a bit of a play, eenee-meenee-minee Nordkapp, Xplore L, Etain I,II,III, not sure which sort of performance I want? 

Conundrums.

Sadly, these are the conversations we have from time to time, then we spend a few minutes trying to narrow down what will work better based on the forecast.

Even sadder, it makes us horribly immune to the thrill of a new boat, we tend to get very analytical the moment we jump in something new, and miss out on the magic of getting to know your very own, new kayak. It's the savage price we pay for having 17 different demo boats on tap.

Poor us right? Tissue handy anyone...?

Anyway, bucking this trend today, I snaffled myself a brand new Epic V10 in the ultra layup. It's one up from my now former V10 in the performance layup (for sale for $2900 to a good home, with a free steak knife), weighs a ridiculous 12kg, and tragically it may mean I've now turned into one of those ski paddlers who thinks a saving of 3.5kg may turn me into the next Clint.
Seve about to launch
With a bustling nor' easter forecast this arvo, I cajoled Seve (not his real name, he should also perhaps have been at work) into abandoning his budget forecasts and join me on a maiden voyage out of Port Hacking. The aim was to head along the coast off Cronulla, Elouera & Wanda across as close to Boat Harbour as we could get, then see what my new machine could do downhill.

The video above shows the fun part, we plugged into a wind that gusted to 34 knots until we realised that our 5kmh speed was going to get us another ten minutes of downwind, if we stuck it out for another half hour. Too bloody hard....

My impressions of the V10 Ultra in comparison to the Performance layup? More buoyant, slightly less initial stability & more tendency therefore to heel, but a marked improvement in acceleration & 'pick up'. Not for beginners, but an identifiable performance jump, even to a non-elite ski paddler like me. I had a swim, & climbed back on with ease in some messy steep waves, testament to the low gunwales in all of the new Epic designs, and their easy facilitation of rough water remounts.

The magic of a new boat? Umm, yep, it lives up to the hype.

I've got the Royal Challenge next weekend and will take part in as many of the Open Water races around town over the next few months as my schedule will allow just to make sure I get my money's worth.

Thanks to Seve for riding shotgun and allowing me to indulge a baptism of wind & spray, on a day that I may not have taken on by myself.

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