A Simple Time Trial Of the Epic V5 / V8 / V10
Buying a new surfski is a big decision, and inevitably one of the key factors to consider is speed. More often than not, someone who is intrigued and committed to buying a surfski is doing so to gain more speed in their paddling.
I was recently trading e-mails with a potential customer and I went to send him a link for a blog I thought I wrote and published last year, only to realize that I never published it. In the spirit of better late than never, here it is.
On a late summer evening in August 2017, with light winds and a very small swell, I did a two mile time trial (out and back) in a V8 Ultra, V5 Rotomolded Plastic, and V10 GT. My goal was to maintain exactly the same level of effort (based on monitoring HR) and see what sort of difference I saw in speed.
I know from experience that my heart rate takes a while to ramp up, so I did a 2 mile warm-up to ensure it was stable before recording the time trials. This is a one time sampling with a sample size of one, so keep that in mind, but the results were consistent with what I observe and can be utilized for directional guidance. The conditions were essentially flat and stability is not an issue for me in any of the boats, so that should be factored into the equation as well. For a beginner or intermediate paddler in anything but flat conditions, the increased speed of the narrower/longer boats would likely be less.
Below are the actual Garmin tracks for each of the above time trials:
There are many more detailed speed charts and boat comparisons on different websites, but hopefully this very simple analysis still helps. The key message is that the trade-off in stability doesn’t come with a big gain in speed. If you are an elite paddler racing for the podium or age group wins, then .2 mph will be significant, but if you are looking to be have fun, race competitively in triathlons, learn to surf, and be safe, then buying a stable boat is the only way to go!