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Name: paddler564437

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This boat is pretty much what I was looking for. I am 65, 185 pounds, and 6'2". I bought two kayaks in the mid '70s, my favorite being a fiberglass 33 pound 14 foot Clearwater Whitewater, for which I paid $750. It is a narrow boat with a skeg-like stern and no rocker, great for flat water and with a lot of cargo space. Over the decades I've put thousands of miles on it including week long expedition trips. The longstanding problem with this boat was that I was forever climbing my own bow wave. After 45 years when my heel wore it's way thru the hull I knew it was time for a new one, and I needed something with better hull speed; the Epic certainly fits the bill.

The good: the boat is fast! My max speed was 7.4 mph but no way I could do that for more than two minutes. It is slightly tippier than my previous, more flat-bottomed and slightly wider Clearwater, but I was comfortable with it after the first five minutes. The rudder is very useful when windsocking would otherwise force me to paddle harder on one side. The rudder design is nice in a number of ways, including that it doesn't catch weeds. It has a dryer ride in waves due to the raised bow. The hatches are very secure and I absolutely love having a day hatch! I can get in the boat by sitting first and then straightening my legs, something I couldn't do on the Clearwater with it's shorter cockpit; makes a big difference. It is 42 pounds, not bad considering the size, bulkheads, hatches and rudder that my 33-pounder lacked. And despite some things that I've read, the build quality on my boat seems top notch.

The bad: Trying to get a test ride. I contacted a surf ski dealer and he put me in touch with someone nearby who was kind enough to let me try his. The seat: ouch! The back would not stay tilted and the bottom edge hit my tailbone. This was painful after an hour or two in the water no matter what modifications I tried with foam padding and gorilla tape. I gave up and ordered a foam seat from Redfish Kayaks, hugely comfortable and probably weighs less than the carbon/glass original. This is my first experience with a rudder and I'm not sure how this compares with other manufacturers'. It seems spongy; I can't tell how far (if at all) it moves or whether I have managed to center it. And for some reason I mustn't store it by hanging it from the carry handles.

The poorly executed seat costs a star on the ratings; Epic would be better off supplying Redfish seats out of the factory. But I'm glad I bought the boat; I haven't paddled the Clearwater since.