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!