Epic V7 In the Flesh
Last fall when Epic first announced the all new roto-molded V7 I wrote a blog speculating on how it would perform, where it would excel, and how it had the potential to be a true game changer for the sport of SURFSKI paddling.
Last week I had a chance to actually experience the V7 out in Charleston, SC. Although my shipment of new boats isn’t due to arrive until early July, the team at Epic reserved a demo model for me to pick up for the Paddle Relay scheduled to start on June 1st.
I predicted that the V7 would be a true family friendly surfski, so of course I had to have the whole family try it out in Charleston. Fortunately the ocean cooperated well and over the week I had the chance to experience the V7 in some windy wavy conditions, as well as some flat calm, small shore break conditions.
With the whole family having experienced the V7, I revisited my original blog post to see how accurately my predictions measured up. Below are my key thoughts:
- As I suspected, the cockpit and features of the V7 are almost identical to the V8, with the addition of a rear hatch. I found it to be extremely comfortable and ergonomic like all the Epic boats are.
- My wife found the boat to be very comfortable and said that at least for her, in the water, it felt pretty similar to the V8 that she normally paddles
- My seven year old son had a blast surfing in the small shore break and I enjoyed not having to cringe when he tipped over and the boat got pummeled in the surf
- I took the boat out in some 2-3 foot conditions and had a great time surfing with it. I felt that it caught runs just like any other surfski. The boat I had was equipped with the the kick-up rudder, and I did not feel I had the control that I would have preferred, which forced me to do a bit more correcting with the paddle and to really stay on my toes with positioning the boat correctly on the runs so that I didn’t need to bail myself out with the rudder.
- I was very impressed with the average speed of my somewhat short and casual out and back session in the ocean. I managed to average 6.2 mph and maxed it out a little over 10 mph. For reference, I recently did a similar out and back casual paddle in my V10 Ultra and averaged 6.6 mph… so not a massive difference..
- At 46 lbs the V7 is certainly much heavier than the 26 lb ultras that I’ve grown accustomed to hauling around and paddling. I noticed this weight much more out of the water than in the water.
My thoughts and recommendations for potential buyers:
- If you already own a more advanced surfski but want something fun to bang around with in big and nasty conditions, this is absolutely the boat. No cringing at all when you slam the bow down going upwind over big steep waves. Very stable and easy to remount. The extra weight also keeps it very settled going upwind. For downwind paddling, the extra weight should be incentive to keep your momentum going by positioning correctly on the wave, versus surfing down into the trough and having to power your way out. With the standard under stern rudder, I fully expect the V7 to handle very well on the waves.
- If you want a boat the the whole family, friends, relatives, and everyone else can bang around on, leave on the beach, etc.. this is a great choice
- If you are a true boat enthusiast and you know you’ll take good care of your boat and get a lot of use out of, then I would recommend a V8 Ultra or Performance
- If you expect to do a lot of solo handling of the boat out of the water (car topping, hauling to the beach, etc..) and don’t consider yourself a bodybuilder or don’t want to risk aggravating old back or shoulder injuries, then I would advise a V8 or V6 ultra. I think anyone who has ever suffered from back, neck, or shoulder injuries would agree, avoiding a reoccurrence is truly worth the extra money.
- If you just aren’t ready to go all in on a full composite surfski, but still want to pass all your friends on SUPs at the next adventure triathlon, then I would recommend a V7.
If you really just want to experience the V7 for yourself before making a commitment, then I have the answer for you. Sign up for the Paddle Relay around Lower Michigan and claim a spot in the V7. Paddle it for 2 or 20 miles, whatever you choose, we still have lots of slots open.
After having a chance to experience the boat, I have to say that I am more excited than ever at game changing potential that I’m certain this boat has.