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The XT is by far the most stable. The Sport and Evo have similar stability traits with the nod going to the Sport because of its uncanny secondary stability (as good as some kayaks). My Think Evo surf ski is their Kevlar/honeycomb/epoxy vacuumed bag layup. The Evo weighs in at about 25.5 pounds and is very light weight. The Evo is 20 feet 6 inches long and 19 inches wide. Its bow and stern are very fine. The Evo carries its width at the seat.
The fit and finish on my Think is PERFECT. It is art work. It also appears durable and it has been durable for me. To save weight, Think uses a thin gel coat and then a high tech paint for its finish. I have not had any problems at all with the finish but I am very careful with all my boats. Regarding the color, it’s great; you could see this boat from the Space Shuttle in orbit. The Evo’s bright and vivid yellow paint scheme is beautiful and very visible. The Evo does not have an external seam. Its appearance is elegant. The seating position is more comfortable than any surf ski or kayak I have ever owned, it is all day comfortable. Its venturi drain keeps the boat completely dry and unlike any other ski I’ve seen, its drain is part of the boat’s mold (very fluid). The carbon foot brace/pedals are easy to adjust and large.
As a "wanna be", I am always working on my form. Having a larger/longer foot brace allows me to "pump" without the boat wagging too badly back and forth thru the water (tough to be me). The Think has a new (I’ve never seen it before) adjustment mechanism in which you can adjust the rake on the pedals, very cool and very easy to fine tune the pedals.
With me in the boat, it is slightly faster than the Sport and considerably faster than the XT. I believe any ambitious paddler could easily paddle this boat. The Evo comes standard with a rear deck bungee, forward cockpit screw hatch and paddle leash tether. I love the paddle leash tether in the cockpit and use mine to tether my camel back; keeping it low, forward and very reachable.
My Evo rides waves great. If you prefer wave riding over quiet waters (I hope you do, that’s where these boats really shine!), their 8.25 inch deep rudder is a must. In three plus foot waves, the Evo with its 6 inch rudder wants to breach and turn up if you are not perpendicular to the wave. Linked rides are a hoot and very easy to put together with this boat.
The Think owner and boat designer, Daryl Rhemmer, has been a delight to work with; as good as or better than any person I have bought a boat from (that’s pretty good, I’ve owned a lot of boats). He truly wants you... and me to be happy. I could elaborate.
If you are interested in taking "the" next step (leaving fast sea kayaks for a surf ski), I don’t think you could go wrong with the Think Evo. It has been my favorite boat, which I’ve owned, so far. It should definitely be on your short list of boats to try. It is also a boat you won’t soon grow out of. I am delighted with my purchase of the Think and highly recommend the Evo to others.
Finally, I am not an elite or expert paddler and sadly consider myself to be an average intermediate. So, if I can do it and love it, you could too! Go try a ski!
QCC does not advertise in kayak magazines and it is my opinion that for that reason none of the kayak magazines choose to review their boats (I could be wrong?). QCC has no dealers, no showrooms, no reps. and does not advertise (except on Paddling.net! Rock On!).
At first blush, it would appear that the lack of the above would make purchasing a QCC kayak more difficult, but trust me, it doesn’t. Further, by not having dealers, showrooms, reps. and advertising costs, you and I save money. Not bad! But wait, there’s more, by dealing directly with the builder, you gain the privilege of having a boat built just for you (it’s a custom boat) and you get to work directly with the owners... pretty cool, I dig it!
We already know from reading these reviews, that their boats are fast, ride waves great, well built, custom, a good value and will carry the world, so I won’t take up too much of your time writing about that. But please know, I love boats; before finding QCC, I bought seven boats in three years. Ever the hopeless optimist, I still go to the Charleston Kayak Festival looking for a boat that does everything as good or better that my 700... I still own my 700 and I’ve been to the Charleston Kayak Festival every year for the past four years. I hope you get the point. Good for QCC.
My story is about their customer satisfaction. Here goes.
There are now seven QCC’s in the club I belong and currently one of our members is ordering a boat. That member actually got John Winters (QCC’s designer and famous Naval Architect) to respond to his questions, unbelievable (think Tiger Woods responding to your email questions). My 700 is a Carbon/Kevlar ruddered boat. AT NO COST, QCC raised my rudder position and moved the forward bulkhead back making additional room for kayak camping. Over time (the boat is almost four years old) and many saltwater outings, the stainLESS on my QCC started to rust; they sent me two new sets from a different supplier. No questions asked. One member has their old skeg design; they sent him their new design changes. It is important to note that this member bought his QCC USED from another member of our club. One member bought a 700. When it arrived, the foot peg tracks were too far back. QCC said "No sweat" and started building him another 700. He changed his mind and asked for a 500. They built him a 500. The entire time his 500 was being built, QCC allowed him to keep the first 700. When his 500 was delivered, QCC paid to ship his first 700 back to their factory (I’m not making this up!). Another buddy traded a one year old Explorer for a one year old 700 (he can’t get the smile off his face now). The hull was delaminated slightly. Remember, he bought a USED QCC. QCC said "No sweat" and is fixing the boat my buddy didn’t even buy from QCC. It was a USED boat!
My Carbon/Kevlar 700 cracked behind the seat on both sides, just above the seam. I kayak camp a lot. I carry over 100 pounds of gear on some expeditions. The fully loaded boat is moved from the shore to the water by one man lifting the boat from the bow and one man lifting from the stern. That is a lot of stress on a boat. As I stated, my boat will be four years old in July of ’08. QCC said "No sweat" and they are fixing my boat, unbelievable!
I have never worked with a retailer who took such good care of their customers. QCC truly does care and they are proud of the work they do and their boats! It’s been my experience that many talk the talk, but when a problem occurs, their only question usually has been to ask me if my check to them cleared.
These stories tell the tale; QCC never toots their own horn. Few people even know about their "above and beyond" customer service. So I’m tooting! I feel somebody has to talk about their outstanding service!
I consider myself to be the “Average Joe”, that what is happening to me is also happening to you. If QCC is good to me and my buddies, they will be equally good to you and yours’! I believe that.
Thank you QCC for my wonderful boat and your awesome service. It truly is unbelievable.
I have Yakima Mako saddles in the middle with Yakima Hull Raisers on the outboard sides. I can carry three boats. If I get the longer bars, four boats. It was a great idea marrying The Thule and Yakima systems to a trailer. These systems really coddle your boat and are a perfect addition to a kayak trailer. The trailer is totally foldable and even has wheels on the leading ends of the trailer in order to help you move the trailer around in the garage once folded.
This trailer has it all and is very well thought out. It is very light and is very easy to move around with it's sixteen inch aluminum wheels and wide tires. I purchased the spare tire, complete with the same "bad to the bone" wheel (not like my truck which came with a metal wheeled spare). I have also ordered the trailer extension so that I can pull my 22 ft. tandem. The trailer is a roof rack that you pull. Bringing it home from the dealer's shop, I didn't even know it was back there. It pulls that good. I am tired of lifting boats onto my tall SUV and then climbing all over the truck in order to tie them down. RackandRoll is just that. The owner, Patrice, was/is a delight to work with and made my puchase experience even better.
I guess I'll have to use my trailer but it seems like a shame to use it...I still think it belongs in the house. My kayak buddies are going to be green with envy but I know they'll smile real big when I tell them I am going by their houses to pick them up. The trailer, it's not cheap, and I think I may have cried that line to Patrice more than once, but the trailer is in a class by itself.
Asking for help on paddling.com, Patrick at ONNO suggested that I give his seat a try. I did. The quality of the seat is very high. The seat can be bought in fiberglass or carbon. I got mine in fiberglass and Patrick beefed up the sides because I am hard on equipment. The seat is very light weight. It was also easy to install. Patrick's directions were very clear. The seat is dynamic and flexes with your body. It also fit so well I now am more connected to the boat. In larger steep chop on the beam or quarter, my 700 could be a handful. Becoming more connected to the boat (a good thing) has improved my boat's handling and stability greatly (I should have said my handling and stability, it's not my boats fault). The seat is also very comfortable. To date I have about eighty hours in the seat and am delighted. No more numb feet! It has turned my awesome boat back into a boat I enjoy paddling.
I paddled the Epic on the St. Johns River in a wide section (three miles wide). The water was flat to about a foot and one half. This boat's fit and finish is very good. Not quite as good as my QCC 700 but Epic's quality control is definitely getting better. I could not believe how fast it was. Cruising at 5-5.5 mph was easy. It seemed about as fast as my Epic 18 or my 700 (cruising) and it was very easy to keep up a fast cruise. Against the current, right after I got in the water (no warm up), with three liters of water behind my seat, dragging the water line, in a quick sprint, I hit 7.8 mph. It usually takes me about half an hour to warm up and about five or six sprints to hit my fastest sprint. My first sprint in the 18 with no water on the boat and on a lake (no current against me) was 8.7 mph. THIS IS A FAST BOAT! How can Epic make a boat this fast and so short?
It is also so stable that anybody could paddle it. When a large yacht passed close by me I took the opportunity to see how it surfed. I had some nine mph rides on those two to three foot waves and when I stopped I was about one mile away from my buddies. I turned and paddled at six mph back to them. How can Epic make a boat this short and this stable go so fast? Best of all, it only weighs 39 pounds. Not much more than my surfski. It makes my carbon/kevlar QCC 700 feel down right heavy. It is very light.
I am impressed with this boat. As a macho guy, I must have at least an 18' boat to feel good about myself (I wonder what Freud would say about that?) BUT this boat would be good for anybody. Epic has also finally got a great seat and back band. Very comfortable and first rate. I would whole heartedly recommend this boat to anyone! Truly anyone.
After much deliberation, I am very pleased with this boat choice for my wife. I believe she will easily keep up with the club, she will become very confident in the bumps and will not grow out of the boat any time soon. With it's speed, stability and light weight, I know she will love the boat. Oh yeah, the seat adjusts too. You can adjust the seat to trim the boat for performance or to allow smaller or shorter people to get their legs in the proper bracing position/location of the boat. Nice touch! Great Job Epic! Happily submitted!