My good friends at Sydney Harbour Kayaks let me know that the latest container-load of kayaks had arrived from Boréal Design, and that I should try out the newly-designed Epsilon kayak series*. This interesting series has been designed as one kayak idea in a range of configurations to fit everyone. They come in either plastic or composite, and come in three sizes scaled to the size of the paddler. But in all other facets, they are basically the same kayak. Brilliant!
Being a big fella, I chose the biggest of the plastic Epsilons, the P300. With a roomy cockpit I had no problems getting in and my XL Boréal Design sprayskirt (which I use on my big volume BD Nanook) fit the cockpit perfectly. With a quick seal-launch onto Sydney Harbour, I was away.
Immediately I noticed the incredible fit. My thighs fit perfectly into what felt like custom-made channels in the cockpit, comfortably braced by thigh pads. The fit was so good I felt like the kayak had been made precisely to fit, and the control this natural brace position offered over the kayak was a true pleasure. If there was only one key point to make about this kayak it would be this point – the fit, and bracing, are sensational, especially for a big-thighed bloke like myself.
Once in, I head off quickly for my local rock garden. With so much control, and a strong plastic hull, this baby seemed perfect for a bit of close fun in the rocks and waves. So once at the point off Chinamans Beach, I pushed her through her paces by zooming in and out of the rocks as ocean swell rolled throught the rock formations. Now I was seriously starting to have some fun!
These are the closest photos I have to show the fun I was having (considering I was bobbing about in the rock-zone holding a camera in one hand and my paddle in the other!). When not taking photos, I was zooming back and forth in the rushing swell laughing my head off at the fun I was having.
Then I decided to head away from the rocks and towards the sea, throwing the Epsilon over both ocean swell and boat wakes and plunging her nose-first into other on-coming waves. No problems here either, the water rushing over the bow would sweep away to the sides and barely looked like it would get close to the cockpit.
With the waves behind me it was even more fun – the Epsilon launched itself down the face of waves, surfing easily and maintaining a good track with it’s flip-down rudder. After catching a few waves through some more rock formations, it was time to return the kayak to its Sydney Harbour Kayaks home.
My final verdict is, frankly, embarrassing. I was gushing over this kayak. The incredible fit, the control, the performance amongst the waves & rocks and the well designed deck configuration all make this plastic sea kayak a fantastic fun boat. I’ve yet to try the composite version as a comparison, but I have a funny feeling I’m going to like the plastic version better anyway, especially as I find myself drawn more and more to the buzz of rock gardening. The low profile back is going to make this a great eskimo rolling boat and with that skill firmly in my sights for this summer, I can’t help but think this would be great kayak to add to my collection (note: adding more kayaks to my garage will unfortunately lead to severe marital conflict!).
Brilliant stuff Boréal Design, absolutely love it! 🙂
*Epsilon kayaks now available in Australia from Sydney Harbour Kayaks, The Spit, Sydney.