When I was researching the purchase of a kayak, First and foremost I needed a boat I could load/unload myself and be able to carry to and from the water. After a miserable experience trying to paddle a 75 pound tandem into the wind and seemingly against the current both ways with my 10 year old, I made sure I bought a light and agile boat. I tested several lighter kayaks but none really fit the bill. I loved the idea of a surf ski because of the above but didn’t have a chance to try one until 2 years ago. That 45 minutes in the epic V8 led me to order it immediately! Granted I had a great opportunity as I connected with Randall Taylor who is an epic rep here in Jax Beach and took the time to educate me on the use before and during that trial. Surf skis are not as stable as SOT kayaks but the V8 was very easy to adapt. There is a learning curve but I had no experience with surf skis until that demo day and I had a blast. When you paddle, the boat moves and usually moves quickly! Heading out through the surf I felt very stable as well as paddling behind the surf. Even taking a break, I didn’t feel ‘tippy’, especially if you hang your feet over the side to take in the scenery. Coming in with the surf is the most unstable I feel and have been dumped (the leash is a must!). But overall, the boat is easy to get in whether I’m starting from shore or in water over my head. I’ve had my epic V8 for 2 years and love this boat! I use it in lakes, ocean and rivers. I have paddled 2-4 miles upstream in the Satilla River without any trouble for a great workout and floated/paddled with a group and felt very comfort. I have paddled in the Gulf for miles at a time and been able get great exercise as well as get to a spot quickly (dolphins, birds, etc). I’m 6 feet 180 pounds and very comfortable in this boat. I’m not a work out junky and, by no means, strong and this boat is easy for me to maneuver in and out of the water. Epic was awesome when I purchased the boat, making sure I knew what it was all about as well as the importance of safety (PFD, leash, paddling with people at first). The V8 is pricey but it also gets used due to its light weight and so much fun to paddle. If your budget allows, I highly recommend the epic V8 Performance layup.