In my early paddling days, I debated whether to get a sea kayak or an ocean ski, since the latter goes FAST and looks awesome. I quickly discovered however that I didn’t have the balance to stay in a ski, even a “beginners/intermediate” ski like a Fenn XT or an Epic V10 Sport. In fact, with my “additional weight” I could barely stay on an ocean ski, and would pretty much sink a surf ski!
So I was pretty excited to read about the new Epic V8 Ocean Ski, specifically designed with stability in mind to help new participants take up this exciting form of paddling. Epic CEO Greg Barton had the ski designed on the Epic 18X Sport sea kayak (which Freya Hoffmeister recently paddled around Autralia), utilising the swede-form hull (extra width behind the cockpit for more stability) and the Epic V12 bow with cutaways for better paddling technique.
The V8 is a bit shorter than your normal ski at 5.48m (18 feet) long, and at about 56cm (22″) wide is probably a faction skinnier than many sea kayaks. The stock fibreglass model comes in around 16kg so its a piece of cake to hoist on the car, even for smaller paddlers.
Despite a few nerves, I was keen to get this baby out on the water for a test paddle, and if necessary, a bit of a swim. I chose a Euro paddle for my intial test run (H2O Crystal-X), eased my big bum into the deep and narrow seat, and tentatively brought my legs up into the ski. Then with only the slightest of wobbles I was away, paddling along the beach at the The Spit (in case I fell in!) before turning out into the channel and into a very nasty wind. Not only was this thing capable of speed, but even in the wind and chop I was able to stay on fairly easily!
I did a few laps fairly close in to the The Spit before deciding to swap out the paddle and try the Epic V8 with my Adanac Greenland paddle – a paddle that very few would think to couple with a ski! I like to use a pretty high angle with my Greenland paddle, and with the cutaways in the hull I was able to maintain a fantastic high angle rotational stroke (well, it felt fantastic… technique is likely to be another matter entirely!). Now I was starting to really enjoy myself, as I combined the joy of the stick with the speed of the ski.
As I paddled a noticed a few things. The Epic V8 is still a little tippy compared to a sea kayak, but if a hefty lump like me can keep it upright, anyone should be able to. My weight did lower the ski somewhat and I found a fair bit of water would settle into the cockpit around my feet, but this was hardly a bother and more of an observation. As a paddler of skeg boats, I had real problems coming to terms with the rudder, and kept finding myself taking corrective strokes to steer! Once I eventually got the hang of the pedals, I was able to steer the boat quite easily by feet alone.
When I finally returned the V8 to the beach, I only really had one comment – Epic is going to sell a million of them. This fast performance boat coupled with brilliant stability is going to open up ski paddling to a whole new audience – it will turbo-charge the sport by easing the barriers to entry for everyday people.
I couldn’t help but think this would be an absolutely awesome boat for marathon events like the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic, with the additional stability being a real asset over long exhausting sessions on the paddle. It’s light, fast, and easy to ride – an incredibly sexy combination. I’d happily add one to my collection (if the Minister for War and Finance permitted it).
Sydney Harbour Kayaks now has one sitting with its hire fleet on the beach at The Spit, so anyone can come along and give this great new craft a test paddle any day of the week. If you’ve been thinking about skis but been worried you’re too fat, weak, old, or just hopeless – this is the one to try! And if you do, write to me and let me know how you found it! Cheers – FP
UPDATE (29 July 2012): Well, it looks like I was correct, the V8 proved incredibly popular as an entry-level surfski and Epic DID sell a million of these (give or take)! Now other manufacturers have joined in with entry level boats of their own, including the Think Eze, the Carbonology Zest, the Stellar SR and the very exciting (and just released in Australia) Stellar S18S. Happy days for new surfski-wannabies!
UPDATE (March 2013): Epic have updated the design of the V8 and released what we’re calling Series 2. See what Team Fat Paddler member Brian Partridge thinks of the new design.
The Fat Paddler ebook – available now on iTunes, Amazon & Kobo.
Nice one FP; Didn’t even notice any “ski death wobble”. I was told that paddling a ski was the best way to improve my forward stroke; however the only stroke that improved for me was my FREESTYLE!
I want one too ! I tried the Apollocraft ski last weekend and just barely managed not to fall in but couldn’t relax and paddle properly. Must try the Epic next. Might be in Sydney on the weekend so might go to SHK or Pro-Kayaks and have a go.
Fast and sexy – if only a ski was enough to help me achieve that status.
I’ve found getting used to a wing paddle compounds any lack of stability issues. I would love to read your review and comments on using a wing paddle if you get the opportunity.
Unlikely Scott, I love my GP too much to migrate to a Wing!
I am sure we have heard that before….then we saw the bedazzling Crytal-X
“If you’ve been thinking about skis but been worried you’re too fat, weak, old, or just hopeless – this is the one to try!”
I fit all those categories 😉
I tried the V8 and the V10 Sport on flatwater and think that anyone who is comfortable in a sea-kayak (or any kind of kayak) will be equally comfortable in the V8.
My only reservations about the V8 are 1. It’s too wide (my paddle blade kept hitting the deck), 2. Somehow the paddling position or posture doesn’t quite feel right (maybe feet are higher than seat?), and 3. It doesn’t feel fast.
However for a beginner or the ahem ‘larger’ paddler such as myself wanting to paddle in rough conditions it should be a good first ski that should save us from most unplanned swims.
The V10 Sport was tippier but just felt heaps better in terms of paddling position – it will I think encourage better technique than the V8 and is definitely heaps faster. YMMV.
I (191 cm & 125 kg) tried a V8 and a V10 Sport at Pro Kayaks last Saturday morning.No contest – the V8 is just as you described.
My brother had been pushing me toward a V10 Sport but for the casual paddler looking for a great boat the v8 is the go.
Thanks Mick and Big Gus. I didn’t find the V8 felt slow at all, but then I didn’t compare it to a V10S. Frankly, I was just happy to be able to stay upright and dry!
Last week in the 25Km Dragon Run ocean ski race in Hong Kong, Oscar Chalupsky paddled a V8 into 18th position in a international field on the latest elite ocean racing skis, beating 70 of them home. The race was won by the current world champion, Dawid Mocke of south Africa, beating the V8 by about 15 minutes. This is pretty good performance from a fat learner’s ski. I doubt if a 10S is “definitely heaps faster”
I haven’t sat in a ski for more than 20 years, and it was never like this.
FP’s been at me for years to get paddling and he’s finally found something I’m keen on. I’m 37 years old, about 90kgs (on good days) and have done no formal exercise since stopping playing rugby about 8 years ago – needless to say after a few test paddles of skis at Sydney Harbour Kayaks yesterday, I hurt in places that I didn’t even know existed.
The Epic V8 was immediately stable for someone like me who seemed determined to make FP’s prediction of becoming a submarine come true. In the first tentative 30 minutes I didn’t end up in the drink once!
The Think Evo II, apparently also a beginner ski, made me look like the beginner muppet I was, about five strokes with my feet in the straps was about as much as I could manage at a stretch. Something to aim for in the future!
The Epic V10, for me anyway, seemed somewhere between the two – I could keep it up and paddle, but only with a bucket load more concentration and effort.
Epic V8 it is – order being placed today – if you’re in Sydney and want one, be quick, the January shipments are just about sold out (and yes, that’s a plug).
watching this awesome conversation thread develop I’m reminded of the journey I’ve had on a personal level, over the past three years now, and I thought after reading Nat’s comment post, I’d share with you my little journey of the past 36 months as it may give you some inspiration in a true Fat Paddler sense and help you along your own version of this journey.
I’ve had the best time going from a 100+ kg fat bastard ( was avg of 92km for a decade then ballooned out over 6 months to 104 kg !! ) and did almost a year on plastic tubs chasing Guy Leech around Sydney Harbour, and paddling a borrowed Sea Kayak ( thank you Sean and Alison ) with a plastic paddle.. and watching the surf ski’s go flying past and the whole time wishing “..man what I would give to be able to get fit enough and strong enough to paddle one of those!”
Yes, there were days when Leechie smashed us so hard you’d find yourself wondering if you’d ever go back next week as you were tired, sore, and being the fat slow guy at the back of the pack was really starting to get to you and you had to dig deep just to get under the shower at home, get dressed and make it to work, and hope you didn’t fall over asleep under your desk.
But I found that the pain of doing some much needed exercise quickly wore off by morning tea time and by lunch time I was digging into salads and healthy food, mentally preparing for the next paddle and the next round of “how much fat can I burn off today” 😉
Over the first six weeks, paddling just 45 to 50 mins per session, doing three sessions a week ( Mon / Wed / Fri ) whereI was doing a day on, and a day off of rest and recovery, and so on – I smashed 26kg of fat off places I had forgotten were not supposed to carry fat, and I found that there was the makings of a six pack deep down in there somewhere, and NONE of my clothes fit me any more, nothing in the wardrobe fit!
After three months, I’d gone from peaking at 104kg, to someone I hardly recognised, weighing in at a mere 76kg, I’d burned off 28 kg in total, and as I got more fit, and sorted out my eating, I found I put around 2 to 3 kg back but it was muscle, not fat, and it looked good, and I felt good, and I was in a much happier place.
And you’ll be pleased to know that the fat unfit old bugger who started out at the back of the pack, had worked his way up through the ranks on the plastic “tubs” and was regularly sitting at the front of the pack on the water, and comfortably in the lead group in the beach runs, road runs, and the swims etc, and it only took weeks, not years, three months seems a long time when you’re burning through decades of shit eating and near zero exercise but it’s a mere heartbeat in the grand scheme of things.
Looking back at it all now, I’m horrified that I was so stupid, that I let myself fall into that horrible rut of eating shit food, of sitting in front of the computer for hours on end, of driving to the shops rather than walking the 1 to 2 kg to get bread and milk and fruit and veg, and if I were able to go back in time, I’d punch myself in the head and scream “wake up dick head.. you’re fat!” 😉
In the end, as far as clothing went, it ALL had go, it was eventually all given to clothing bins, the favourite tee shits, through to the expensive tailored suits – it all went, and the XXL to XL to L and then M to now S size transformation was mind blowing and I still have to look when I go to put on a tee shirt and it’s a Small or size 16 – I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to that 😉
I finally got offered the opportunity to paddle a SPEC ski ( a Burton ) that was as tippy as they come, and even more so because I was a shit paddler, and trying to paddle it on inner Manly harbour on flat water.
But I stuck with it, I wouldn’t let the guys on their modern ski’s see I was doing it tough, and I slowly worked my way up through the pack, and again, as I had with the plastic tubs, I was finally sitting on that bastard of a SPEC sky and giving the lead pack a good run for their money, and chasing that Leechy around the harbour and the buzz every time was like a bloody narcotic, it really was.
Then I found my wife had been putting all her gold coins from change in her purse every day into a giant sized plastic Crayon coin box, and had saved up the $2,400 I’d been talking about saving for a brand new Fenn XT surf ski, a shiny white fibre glass screaming machine, and a second hand paddle from Guy Leech’s pool of hire kit – I was blown away, here I was dreaming of it and bingo, there it was, the birthday gift to end all gifts 😉
A solid year on that thing and I was having the time of my life, I’d literally paddled every nook and cranny of Sydney’s water ways, in the same way our dear friend Sean has in the past couple of years on his Kayak, and I found I was jumping out of bed at 6am to go down to Balmoral and paddle out to the heads and back and couldn’t wait to do it again and again, either on my own or with friends.
After a year on the mighty Fenn XT which I am sure received more care and love than any other Surf Ski know to man kind, I sold it for almost as much as it was purchased for, and got into a 2nd hand carbon fibre Fenn Mako 6 that Guy Leech had gotten from the legendary Dean Gardiner ( Ocean Paddler ) for me at a good rate ( thanks Leechy, thanks Deano ).
Boy, what a challenge it was going from a 24kg fibre glass ski to a 14kg carbon ski that seemed to have a mind of it’s own, mostly plotting to sit on top of me and not the other way around. It was like I’d gone back to the basics yet again, and was having to figure out why the gravitational force of the ocean had seemingly increased ten fold ( yet again ) and seemed to want to suck me in like a big black hole, rather than leave me in peace sitting there on my new surf ski.
But again the Dezzy tenacity came to play, I literally paddled myself ( struggled the whole way ) out around middle head, and just went back and forth up and down that fun stretch of water for 3 hours till I found I was solid in the ski and a yet again a whole world of new fun opened up to me, a fast, skinny racing machine that just loved bumps and once we had sorted out who was supposed to shit on whom, we got along a whole bunch better 😉
The ultimate test of man and ski for me back then was to enter the 2008 Bridge 2 Beach paddling event and see if I could a) finish it, and b) place in the top 100 and just see where I was in the world of paddling in the Sydney region – how did all my hard work getting fit, burning off more weight than both my kids weighed combined back then when they were little bubba’s.
So I jumped in, I trained like a bastard, I ate right, slept right, managed hydration and off we went, and when I hit the beach and sprinted to the finish line I felt great, and I was pretty confident I’d made the top 100 ( out of around 385+ entrants in 2009 ) and so it was just a matter of time waiting for the results.
2 hours later when the results were finally posted, and I stood there staring at the 5th or 6th page trying to find myself, and couldn’t, I was gutted, there I was mentally ready to be around 98th or 99th, or event 100th, and I wasn’t anywhere to be found on the pages around the 100th place mark, and I slowly worked my way down the pages to the end, only to find I wasn’t there – now I was pissed, they had missed me and it seemed like I didnt’ have a time, my result was missing, I was now pissed off.
I had turned around and was staring out into space wondering what to do next, when one of my mates yelled out “hey Dezzy, you got 34th mate, nice work, you put in a cracker time buddy!” – the brain took a while to adjust to the idea, “what?” I yelled, “..are you serious?” – I spun around, and he was pointing to the entry on the results sheets, there I was, in 34th place, and the gap to the next group was a few minutes, and I couldn’t breath, how the hell did I do that?
There’s nothing like that experience – no words can do justice to the high, I had tears in my eyes, and I could hardly breath, there was my name, listed in the top 40 places, I had mad 34th out of a massive field of 385+ paddlers, and I was within a couple of minutes of the first place finishers – holy crap – this from a guy who two years prior was 104 kg, and worked up a sweat running to the toilet at 4am to take a leak!
That was it, I was hooked – there was no turning back now, I was a paddler, a kayaker, and I sat on a surf ski, and the world couldn’t’ have been better if I tried!
And the story goes much the same for a year till I had the opportunity to sit in a friend’s ( thanks David Coward ) Think Uno carbon fibre “pencil” thin ocean racing surf ski and that was it, I had to have one, and the penny pinching began again, and yep, soon the trusty old carbon Fenn Mako 6 was in the hands of another to enjoy, and my good mate Steward O’Regan at Think Kayaks Australia had sorted me out with the latest and greatest thing ( still ) in surf ski design and I was out off middle head again teaching it who was supposed to sit on whom 😉
The 2009 Bridge to Beach was my next goal, to see if I still had the goods on the all new gleaming screaming racing machine, but the gods threw the hardest conditions at us and we were punching head first into the most insane conditions you could imagine on Sydney harbour, 12 to 14 km of gale force head winds and half a meter of chop, one stroke forward, two backwards, but again I managed to hold onto a respectable top 40 place, I think I placed around 35th or 36th which on a new ski that I was still getting comfortable on and in crazy wild conditions, I was again elated and I can still feel the high just typing about it now in fact.
From there it’s a whole ‘nuther story about my now near obsession with reforming the whole entry level paddler experience with time trials, races tailored to “punters” like me, and for that you’ll have to either a) learn more about the Blast Paddlers project or b) come for a paddle and make the mistake of asking me about it hee hee, or c) ask Sean as he’s probably written more words about Blast than anyone on the planet ( love your work mate ) for me and deep down I know he’s a Blast Paddler.
So when you’re falling in and getting wet next time you jump on your ski, and you’re wondering why on earth anyone would keep doing this, hopefully my journey and the outcome will be at the back of your mind and help in some small way to inspire you to get right back on that ski, and have yet another crack at it, and keep banging away at it till you’re a legend in your own pond and you find even half the joy I have from paddling my surf ski, and even a tenth of the bliss I’ve had from paddling as a sport, if you do that, you’re sure to be in for some fun times, get much fitter, burn off some fat, and find a much happier place to be within yourself and your world around you.
Very inspirational tale, Dez! My experience with paddling for fitness pretty much tracks your own, except that I’m way older and have not managed to get as fit as you have. But, it’s all true! You really can paddle your way to good condition, and it’s very addictive.
I Started out in a fattish heavy plastic sea kayak (Perception Captiva) and determined that, if you try a bit, you can get a good workout in just about anything. Last year I got introduced to wing paddles and finally bit the bullet and laid out some serious cash for an Epic 18X Sport. Quickly learned that an intrinsically fast boat is a lot more fun! Now, I’m starting to get surf ski fever. If only the northern winter will hurry up and get over with.
You guys are all getting into faster boats, and I’m going the other way and getting into canoes. Go figure!
FP many thanks for the review. Your’s is one of the few sites I’ve come across with an objective look at the V8. I took a test paddle in the V8 and the V10 Sport early Jan and for me the V8 one hands down.
I have been paddling a sprinter (plastic sit on) and wanted something a little more substantial. The V10 Sport seemed like the right choice on paper but for my lack of stability. I’m sure that several months of practice I would feel comfortable but what I want to do is paddle and feel confident and the V8 delivers on those fronts.
I may upgrade to a V10 at some point in the future but right now I just want to paddle, get fit and have fun.
Cheers Griff! I suppose I review from the point of view of recreational paddlers (like you and I) where you may not get out 3 times a week, but you still want to get out, get some exercise, and have fun. That’s what this site is about, and I think the V8 is a great hybrid ski for the “less than deadly serious” paddler! One of my oldest and bestest mates has come over to the “paddler side” finally, despite years of harrassment from me, and it was the V8 that finally got him there. 🙂
FP just thought I’d give you an update on the V8. I purchased the Performance and took delivery weekend before last.
I deliberated for some time about purchasing the V8 or V10 Sport but after having had the V8 out last weekend I know I made the right choice.
On Saturday morning feeling confident I paddled out towards the heads to see what the rough stuff was like. The winds were at about 30 knots and there was a good size swell.
It became apparent pretty quickly that I was in over my head without a PFD or leg leash so I turned around and started for home.
I now had the challenge of trying to surf back with the swell which for a beginner in those conditions was tricky to say the least. Through it all the V8 was fantastic. It did everything I asked of it and more. Had I been on the V10 Sport I would have been in the drink trying to remount in less than ideal conditions.
What the V8 gives you is a great deal of stability and as such allows you to challenge yourself more than you would with something a little more tippy.
My objective is still to move on to the V10 Sport but right now the V8 is a great ski.
The only gripe I do have is the ease in which the rudder shaft can be bent ever so slightly so causing the rudder to jam on the hull. I’m very careful in how the ski is handled and it’s amazing how delicate the shaft seems to be.
Apart from that I’m loving it.
Thought the Hawkesbury video was great. Better luck this year.
Well done Griff, those conditions were pretty crazy on Saturday. And thanks on HCC10 – looking to do much better this year!!
Thanks FP. I am an absolute novice. Bought our first kayak two months ago to take up to Moore River as something to do whilst staying there. Not only did I love it but so did my wife. So went back to Perth, bought a Malibu and returned to the campsite and we all enjoyed three days of paddling.
I woke up on the first morning back in the city and decided to take the Malibu for a spin up the river to Guildford. Was enjoying myself right up to the point when a 70 year old and his great grandson passed me like I was going backwards.
Took the kayak home feeling very dejected as being 6 foot tall weighing 106 kilos doesn’t leave you with many options or so i thought until I read your review of the V8.
I’m proud to say that 24 hours after reading this very page, some great advice from T2 at CanoeingDownUnder down, I have just got back from my first outing. The first thing I noticed was the speed, the second thing i noticed was the wobbles, the third the lack of dexterity operating the rudder through the pedals , the fourth was the abundant amount of jelly fish in our river and the fifth is that if you are trying to remount a ski for the first time, its best not to do it 100m from shore.
30 minutes later after dragging the ski to shore after seventeen unsuccessful attempts, much to the amusement of the local fishermen, I sat breathless contemplating whether if this was the thing for me.
Ten minutes later, concentrating on my technique, paddling very shallowly, I finally experienced the exhilaration of the sport.
I’m hooked and working towards a V10.
Thanks Fat Paddler. Without the review,I’d still be paddling that 40 kilo cliff face around.
Brilliant stuff Andrew, love the description! You might want to read this new post on the Think Fit vs the Epic V8 too – its an interesting comparison.
Thanks for the great review FP and an inspiring story Dez.
I’m still deciding which ski to get but i went down to SHK this morning and took a couple of skis for a spin over 2hrs. First up was the V8 and my initial apprehension about going for a swim in the middle of August was quickly gone. After paddling up to the Roseville Bridge and back I felt lke an old hand in the V8 and apart from the sides of my feet rubbing on the foot straps I felt really good in the ski.
Returning back to SHK I handed the V8 back and took the V10sport for a run and instantly noticed how much more unstable it was.Heading off towards the Balmoral this time the chop/swell was an extra challenge. I managed to find a rhythm but couldnt really put any effort in to get the ski
anywhere near top speed. After 5-10 minutes the enivetable happened and I was introduced to the water temp in winter.
I’m not sure if the point is to buy a ski the one peg beneath your ability or one peg above. As dez mentioned it took a short while to let his skis know who’s boss but FP you really got me thinking when you mentioned the V8 may be a great solution for the Hawkesbury Classic. I wonder where the Fenn XT fits in compared to the V8?
The Fenn XT is equivalent to the Epic V10Sport. I couldn’t stay upright on the Fenn for more than 5 metres, but had no trouble on the V8.
I demo’d an xt yesterday at clontarf with OceanPaddlers and managed not to go for a swim. Considering I ended uo in the drink a couple of times in the Epic V10 sport I felt the xt was slightly more stable. If I wasnt looking for a boat for the classic i would have probably bought one yesterday.
So I’ve decided that the V8 will be the boat for my first attempt at the classic this year.
Now I’ve just got to find one for sale, I’ve been told that they’re all sold out and they’re rare as hens teeth second hand on geartrade.
Looks like I’ll just have to keep hiring one from SHK
I’ve just started doing training with Jarad Kohler from Peak Adventure on a Tuesday morning before work. I too have a fat arse which is only over shadowed by my gut and less than pert pectorials,(a great look in wet suit I must say). First time a went I took my rec SOT boat while every one else was in ski’s, So second time I used one of Jarads boats which happened to be the Epic V8. I’ve never used a boat with rudder before. Closest I’d come was in my Liquid Logic XP10 which as you know is about straight lines, not turning. It took me a while to get used to the foot controls and found myself adjusting constantly with the consequentual wobble the goes along with changing direction. That said I managed to stay in the boat for the full hour + and liked the boat enormously,(no pun intended). Certainly more tippy than any other boat i’ve paddled, (i’ve not paddled a sea Kayak yet), but it was still easy enough to use, and as the time went on it got easier to control. Certainly the speed and stability of the boat in the waves, (Port Philip was fairly flat that morning), was great. I found the boat fun to paddle, I was also less sort in the seat and legs than previuos week in my boat. I haven’t tried any other skis to compare but this boat seemed very good to me and as a newby to Surf Ski’s I think it speaks volumes to the sability of the V8.
It has made me want to buy a ski, I just don’t have permission yet. “She who must be obeyed” says 2 kayaks is enough. (New strategy: sell the SOT and have a ski with storage compartments, and the keep XP10. Kayak count remains at 2 therefore permission granted !).
I missed this week coz I was sick but looking forward to getting back down there next tuesday. I hope I get the same boat.
Nice one Graham! Interesting mix, an XP10 and an Epic V8. I reckon that mix would work well for me too, one for speed, and one for play. Hmm, food for thought!!
P.s. XP10 about straight lines?? Hardly!
I finally tested an Epic V8 today and was blown away at how stable it was, I actually had to try and make myself fall out. I had previously paddled a V10 but found it too tippy and would have felt uncomfortable approaching boat wake. The V8 was also fast, very fast compared to other plastic boats I have paddled in Australia (Finn Endorfinn & Finn Affinity). I might add that the V8 is even more stable than both of the previously mentioned boats which was very surprising.
I was so impressed after 5 minutes of paddling that I came in and promptly put an order in for one. Can’t wait to pick it up next week. Apparently over 10km’s there is only around 5-10% speed difference between the V8 and V10. For me, the extra stability allowed me to confidently put more power into each stroke. Highly reccomend this to anyone, even beginners.
Thanks for this article, it’s one of the best reviews around on this boat and helped me decide.
Hi FP, Congratulations on the finish this year. The incoming tide to Sackville was fun! After doing the HCC for 2 years in the heavy Ocean Sprinter and reading your article I think the V8 is the go. We train on the Bidgee at Wagga through winter so staying upright has many benefits although the amount of water taken on in Nats video looks a worry. Do you know of anyone who tried a V8 in the race for the first time this year?
Iam 66 years and have paddled for about 40 odd years have won state and oz champs a number of times with Ki K2 so I finally grew a brain after the new boats went narrow and I live on the South Coast ( gods Country) I needed a craft to handle any type of conditions I was’nt too worried about stability ,but as I am only 63 kg and not real tall I needed a boat that would suit me.Got myself a V8 and it is great I can paddle faster than the oldies trying to be young paddling V10s and Fenn Makos.So if you want fun and speed get on a V8
Hi gerry again did a time trial last week on a V8 5X 2.2km (11.2) 10 turns and managed 10k/hr not bad for 66 oldie 63 kg My wife thinks is great so I’.m going for a Steller SR so I can Paddle both.
Iwiil let you Know how times compare at my next time Trial
Hi all, I got the Stellar SR, magic ski no wobbles full power straight away. The V8 has a better footplate adjustment but the SR footplate is better quality. The sport model is lighter than the V8 and I would say has a better glide. For a rank beginner the V8 would be good. If you have done some paddling, go for the Stellar.
Thanks for all the feedback Gerry! Interesting to see your comparison of the two skis. Cheers, FP
I’ve also posted a review of the Stellar SR ocean ski.
I just found your site ,and am absolutely brand new to the sport. Reasonably athletic but I had never set foot in a surf ski or a kayak prior to last night. After learning how to get in one after falling out of it, the intimidation factor seemed to disappear. I tried the V-8 and loved it , especially after trying the V-10 sport and going back to the V-8 .
I felt confident and had a lot of fun. Then I tried the think evo and that was like trying to sit on a greased pole. I did not tip it but that was pure luck , every third stroke it seemed to want to throw me. All of this to say; what do I know I am the beginner of beginners? But I had a blast , and really enjoy reading all of your comments and soaking it all in .
i will probably buy a V-8 but going to wait and try the new think Eze before finally pulling the trigger.
My one question to you all is as much as I loved the V-8 ,would after a few months of getting proficient in it , would I start to regret not getting the V-10 sport as I progressed? How much faster or more enjoyment is the V-10 sport going to be over the V-8 in the long run?
I liked someone’s earlier comment to perhaps get the boat one step below your abilities than one step above. But hey I am a guy and we all think we are great at everything. Put me in a Ferrari and I am sure I would think I am only a few laps of coaching away from an F1 team invite … ok maybe that’s just me. :}
I am not going to be entering big races like you all do , but want something fun and I guess fast or less work to paddle.
Thanks for reading,
Lance in Vancouver BC
Nice one Lance! Speed comes down more to the paddler than the boat IMHO. A fast boat doesn’t go very fast if you cant balance it. The V8 is a good easy boat to paddle, capable of plenty of speed and is great in the rough and surfing. The V10S is a tad faster, a tad tipper, and a tad more exciting. But only if you are a much better paddler. The Think Eze, Stellar S18R and Stellar SR (my favourite) are all good options to check out. Enjoy it mate!
Thanks for your advice much appreciated. I will try out the Think Eze this week, and compare it to V-8 and V10 sport again.
In looking at the width and length of the new think eze it is a little narrower than the V-8 but a bit wider than the V-10 sport. Maybe it is the ‘new V-9’ the perfect fit :}
I know at my level they are all great options, and again really enjoyed all your advice and reviews.
Lance in Vancouver
Loved this review and all the comments after. I’m looking for some advice: I am shopping for my first sea kayak as I want to enter the MR340 ( a 340 mile, 88 hour race from KC Missouri to St. Louis). I was almost sold on the Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 when I was exposed to my friends Epic V8. Now the soul searching begins. The Tempest 170 is a do all boat that is very practical and robust at 17′ long and 22″ wide, requiring little to no maintenance or worry when it comes to rocks in smaller rivers or rough handling etc. The V8 is sexy, sleek, and screams performance & speed, but has no real way of carrying supplies and seems a little high maintenance with the always present and delicate rudder and fiberglass layup.
With any long race, I would have a ground/chase crew to meet me at checkpoints with supplies etc. I wonder how much faster(if at all) the V8 would be over the Tempest..especially when the seat in the Tempest seems to be a lot more suited to longer journeys, potentially allowing me to stay seated for longer intervals between rest periods. Also a consideration would be the weight of the ski at nearly 40lbs vs 60lbs(Tempest) for ease of everyday training and fitness paddling transport. Any thoughts?
Scott, the Wilderness Tempest is a great boat but once you start ski paddling you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier. Much faster, a better seating position, improved paddling position, and all round far better experience. For many of us, once we got in a ski we never returned to sea kayaks. I think you’d love the V8 or any of the other surfskis and if you don’t need to worry about carrying gear, then go for it.
Forget all this. The V7 is the way of the future. All the V8 comfort. 98% of it’s speed and ……BASHABILITY!!! In addition you can get two V7’s for about the cost of one V8.
Come on out and play on the water!