It was not love at first site, but the Epic V5 is Quickly Stealing our Hearts
I have to admit that after my first experience in the Epic V5 I was not completely sold. It was in Charleston, SC and I had spent most of the day paddling an Epic V14 GT before hopping in the V5 for a quick spin. Going from one end of the surfski spectrum to the other might have been just a bit too extreme. With the wide width and short bow, the V5 felt too much like a recreational boat for me.
Despite not loving the boat myself, I liked the idea of a shorter and more stable surfski that brought the superior function and ergonomics of the Epic Surfskis to the recreational boat market, but never imagined that I would spend any amount of time paddling the boat myself.
After putting the V5 into action this summer, my attitude toward this boat has changed completely. Watching my eight year old kids be able to paddle and easily manage the V5 in almost any type of condition was amazing and something I never anticipated. I could immediately tell that they felt very comfortable and in control of this surfski. My daughter, who is short for her age, can’t quite reach the rudder pedals without sliding down in the seat, but this could be easily rectified with a pad at the back of the seat to push her forward.
Inspired by Boyan, who has recorded some incredible downwind sessions with the V5, I was curious to give it a real go in the waves. I was blown away, it surfed like a champion. In relatively small conditions, I recorded a max speed of 10.1 mph and did a full mile averaging 7.7. The best part of it was that I was surfing almost the entire time. I can’t wait to get it out for a true 8-10 mile downwind and see what kind of speeds I can hold. Going directly up wind into the waves I was able to maintain a solid 4.5 – 5 mph, but with the short bow, it was a wetter ride than I’m used to in the 21 foot surf skis. Overall, there is no doubt in my mind, this is the fastest and most versatile 14 foot plastic boat ever built.
As I continue to put the V5 into action, what I didn’t realize was how much easier it would be to manage as opposed to the longer 17, 18, and 21 foot boats. The combination of ease of management off the water, combined with how super stable the V5 is, has made it a true gem. While the V7 and V8 are stable boats relative to the traditional surf skis, they still take some time to get used to in rough water, especially for bigger people (mostly guys) who are more stability challenged. With the V5 I can safely get almost anyone right into the waves so they can experience the elation and addiction of surfing. Finally I have a surfski that I can confidently put complete beginners into and know that they will have a great experience.
My thoughts and recommendations are always evolving as I gain more experience and feedback from paddlers, but for now, I would strongly recommend the Epic V5 for the following:
Big guys who have limited kayaking experience
Anyone who isn’t real concerned about flat water speed, but wants a super stable boat to play in the waves
Anyone who has young kids (7 – 15) that will be paddling the boat
Anyone who doesn’t have the room for a 17 foot or longer boat
Anyone who wants a boat that will easily handle small rivers, inland lakes, Great Lakes, and Oceans
I would still recommend the V7 for anyone that wants good flat water speed and is not stability challenged
I recommend composite boats for those who know they will spend considerable time paddling and/or will be handling their boat solo on and off the water and need something lighter
Here is a video I recently took paddling with the kids and then taking the V5 out about a mile off-shore to surf back in.
Here is a link to a bunch of photos of the kids paddling the V5 in Lake Michigan
But enough from me, I am of course biased, I would love to hear feedback from any of you who have paddled the V5 or V7. Feel free to post some comments to this blog, or on our Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram. We want to hear from you!
The next five days look to be spectacular paddling conditions in Northern Michigan. Southwest wind and temps in the mid eighties. Get out there and enjoy! #IndianSummer #PeakPaddlingConditions #GoFast #GetFit #SurfWaves
— Products shown: Vaikobi Pink PFD and Mocke Racer PFD.
Every year I try to write at least one blog post with my latest thought, tips, and tricks to help paddlers improve their downwind surfing. It is getting harder every year to articulate with original thought, but I'm not about to give up. Hope you enjoy. Let me know if you have questions or comments #SurfWaves #InfiniteLearningCurve #MentalFocus #AlwaysFun
You might say I have a small infatuation with the Kiwis. In the surfski world we don't often hear a lot about Australia's quite, humble, and understated neighbor, but these guys and gals produce some serious results. The Vaaka Cadence Sensor and Dr Brendan O'Neill are no exception. In this Podcast I cover all things Cadence related with Vaaka co-founder Brendan O'Neill. Regardless of what you paddle, this Podcast is well worth an hour of your time. #VaakaCadence #TrainSmart #10PercentOffVaaka #PeakPaddlePerformance
We now have a small amount of stock of the new Limited Edition Vaikobi Performance PFD. This is a great lightweight option with a large front chest zip pocket to secure your critical gear! #FreeShipping #BeSafe #PFDNotOptional #VaikobiPerformance #VaikobiStyle #FallPaddlingRulz
Just in time for the fall season, we just received in the all new vCold Storm Top from Vaikobi. An excellent option for the Great Lakes this time of year. FREE SHIPPING OVER $100 #Vaikobi #VCold #FallPaddling #FunctionAndStyle
I had a blast this weekend taking the girls out in some picture perfect, classic Leland summer conditions. 2-3 foot waves, blue water, and lots of sunshine. They each had a chance to surf on their own in the Epic V7 and Nelo 520 and get a ride in the back of the Nelo 600. I'm convinced that the Surfski is the ultimate Northern Michigan Watercraft. From flat water fitness to big water surfing, the surfski does it all. #EpicV7 #Nelo520 #Nelo600 #Vaikobi #AccessibleSurfing
— Products shown: Vaikobi High Vis Yellow PFD.
Last day of our Labor Day Sale. 10% off clothing, paddles, PFDs, and accessories. Enter coupon code "ten" at checkout. Free domestic shipping on orders over $100 www.tcsurfski.com #GearUpForFall #Vaikobi #Mocke #Nelo #Epic
Beautiful day to race the Cadillac adventure triathlon. 5k / 12 mile bike / 2.5 mile paddle. 2nd week in a row chasing well behind Denny Paul. Big shout out to Paul Koepke who did it right with a Surfski lesson before renting the Epic v7 for the race. I'm pretty certain we have another Surfski convert. #CadillacAdventureTri #FlatAndFast #SummerEndcap