The V8 is very stable and I think just about anyone could get on it and paddle without too much effort. I also found it to be very responsive to my commands and I can get it up to speed in 2 or 3 strokes. This is my workout boat and I can keep it t 6mph with very little effort. When I push it, 8.5 is not out of the realm as long as the motor does not give out! Since our lakes are getting so small I have to carry the ski about a mile from the parking lot to the water so at 35 pounds, it is very easy to do - I was carrying a 70 pound kayak before so I just love the lightness of this ski!
The only reason I did not give it a 10 was due to the foot well width (others have complained about this too). I have a size 12 foot and paddle with water shoes of some sort (too many rocks while carrying my boat to the water) and I sometimes have issues with the rudder pegs. After a little practice, I have managed to find a foot position that works for me but if they made it even a 1/4" bigger, it would have been no bid deal at all. Have yet to enter a race with the boat but I think it will fair very well when I do.
Overall, it is a great workout boat with pretty good speed, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to make the jump from a kayak to a surfski without a major cost or learning curve. The ski is very responsive and turns very quickly
It come with two Kevlar felt pads, epoxy mix, mixing cup and gloves. The instructions to use were fairy easy to understand but I did a search on the internet and found a video of how to use the kit (the video helped) Following the instructions I applied the two Kevlar pads to the bottom of the canoe (both bow & stern) and am very happy with the results. Once complete it adds about an 1/8" of Kevlar to the boat providing additional protection to the bow and stern (they run about 6" up the keel towards the top of the canoe and about 15" down the bottom). I mixed the entire amount of the epoxy to do both sides at the same time; however, I was recommend that you do it in two steps; mix only half of the epoxy for the first side, then do the second after you are satisfied with the first. I had to rush the first side as the epoxy was already starting to harden.
At this point, I am very happy with the results and I think it gave my canoe a new lease on life so we can paddle a lot more! Here is the link to the one I purchased: