Up until the V8 Pro, most of the innovations in the surfski world have been to create faster boats for world champions and elite paddlers to excel in. I’m talking of the V12 then the V14 from Epic Kayaks, and the Ion and Uno Max from Think, and the paddlers that they are designed for are incredibly successful in them.
For those of us with humbler aspirations, there are some great options out there – Epic’s V8 and Think’s Eze are fantastic intro boats to get people into the sport, or stable boats to paddle in big water, but there hasn’t been a lot of choice once you get past that level before you hit a boat that’s too hard for your average joe or jane.
That is what Epic has changed with the V8 Pro. At 19ft it is a foot longer than the V8 and an inch and a half narrower, and you can feel it. It feels sleeker than the V8 and more stable than the V10 Sport. I paddled both last weekend when manager Viv and I went for a big ol’ paddle up Indian Arm which made it easy to compare them.
Now I do not purport to be a very experienced paddler. At all. But where I particularly noticed the difference between the two models most was when any motor boats went past us – at this point in the season with the water so cold I did NOT want to swim, and in the V8 Pro I felt comfortable paddling on as they went past us. In the V10 Sport however I had to put my feet out for stability when a wake rocked us. It might not be the ultimate litmus test but it’ll do for me.
I also raced in the V8 Pro at the first Tuesday Night Race this week, and I was totally comfortable in the boat the whole way around the course; I didn’t feel like I had to brace or put my feet out even when a side wave hit, which meant I could keep my momentum and focus on my race. I’m not in it for the podium wins but I like doing my best, and I felt like the V8 Pro helped me to do just that.
So, overall…I am won over. This is a great boat for people just like me – keen to get fitter, to push themselves further than the V8 but don’t want anything too advanced. You can expect to see me in it every race from now on…until we sell them all of course! If you want to try the boat, our first Demo Day is Sunday April 17th where we will have a whole bunch of surfskis, sups and kayaks to try out in Deep Cove. We’ll be there from 9am to 2pm, or you can call us to set up a demo for a nominal fee.
Weight: Performance 33 lbs, Ultra 26.5 lbs
Price: Performance $3875, Ultra $5075