The New Epic V7 – A True Game Changer
As many of you have probably seen by now, Epic Kayaks has introduced the all new Epic V7, a 17 foot roto-molded surfski. I am quite certain this boat will be a true game changer that will trigger tremendous growth in surfski paddling in the Great Lakes Region and across the United States. At an MSRP of $1,495 I believe that the Epic V7 will be the most sea-worthy, comfortable, fast, durable, ergonomic, and just plain fun boat ever offered at this price point. In my opinion it was a brilliant move by Epic to capitalize on a style, hull, and ergonomic design that they have spent years and thousands of seat hours refining to perfection. The Epic V8 quickly rose to the top and proved itself the number one selling surfski opening up an entirely new market. The V7 capitalizes on and copies all the great features of the V8, while offering a durable build at a low price point.
I believe that the V7 will be a perfect boat for:
- Families with young kids who want to enjoy time on the water but don’t want to be worried about the kids banging up a composite boat
- Couples who want to get out on the water together, but simply can’t justify or afford the investment in two composite boats
- Paddlers who spend a lot of time on rough, rocky, shallow rivers or lakes and want something that is fast, durable, and comfortable
- SUP paddlers who want a faster more versatile option at a price point consistent with entry and mid level SUP boards
- Any resorts or businesses that currently rent SUPs will want to consider adding a couple of these new V7s to their fleet
- Paddlers who have nice composite boats, should consider a V7 for other family members and/or for themselves to use on the big, rough, and/or cold days when a significant increase in stability makes all the difference in the world
- Those who are interested in getting into surfski paddling, but just aren’t quite ready to spring for a composite boat
- Kayakers who enjoy doing some light touring but want to experience the freedom and safety of an open cockpit and the wonderful ergonomics and surfing ability of a surfski
The Epic V7 compared to a Stand Up Paddle board
At a price consistent with most SUPs, the Epic V7 will offer greater speed and more versatility in all conditions. A solid paddler should be able to maintain 6.0 mph + pretty easily on flat water with the V7. As I talk to SUP paddlers and become more and more aware of the classic conditions we have in the summer on the Great Lakes, I become more and more convinced that surfskis are truly the best craft to have. Surfers and SUP surfers need tremendous winds, wind surfers need very strong wind, kiters need wind that is steady and fairly strong but not too strong, and the majority of SUP paddlers are typically looking for calm wind conditions. A good surfski paddler in a boat matched to their skill level, will be having fun across the full spectrum of conditions. On the very windiest days they will be having a blast downwind paddling and on calm days they will be out working on technique. But it is really those in-between days where the wind isn’t quite strong enough for kiting or windsurfing where the surfski excels. All you need is a decent sized lake and some 8-9 mph winds with enough fetch to create white caps and that is more than enough to have a blast surfing the waves in a surfski. And if you’re on a small inland lake, no worries, just find a nice wake to surf and you’ll be entertained all day long.
The other major difference with a surfski as opposed to a SUP, is that if you aren’t fortunate enough to put together a downwind paddle, at least with the surfski you can comfortably head up wind and then finish with a downwind run. On all but the windiest days, I can usually average at least 5 mph going upwind in a surfski and in many cases with a little effort I can maintain 6+.
A quick summary:
- The Epic V7 will be tremendously durable
- The Epic V7 will have an option for a kick-up rudder for paddling really shallow rivers, but also be equipped to take any of the standard Epic Surfski Rudders (get a universal for the super big days where you’ll be having a blast on the Great Lakes)
- I expect the V7 to be a tad slower than the composites on flat water, but in the big stuff where catching the waves determines speed, I predict it will hold its own
- The V7 has all the same great features of the Epic V8 including: The massively effective close-able Epic bailer, mid section handles, water bottle holder, handles on the stern and bow, and tremendous seat ergonomics including the signature Epic cut aways for an ultra close catch. Plus it will offer a rear hatch for day trips. What more can you ask for!
Contact us if you are interested in reserving your boat for Spring of 2015. I suspect they will go fast. I truly can’t wait to see the V7 explode onto the paddling scene in the spring of 2015!