Name: Kevburg

Most Recent Reviews

I have an Epic 18X Sport in performance layup, bought in 2019 and have 1300 miles on it. I am 6'2", 180lbs, size 11.5 shoes, and retired. The boat has the integrated rudder. I am glad I bought the boat.

The boat replaces a fast 14' 32 lb kayak that I purchased in the 70's. Biggest problem I had was trying to test one out, as nobody near here stocks them and I was not about to drop that much money on something that I might not fit into. I contacted the closest dealer and they put me in touch with a local owner who kindly let me try his. No worries on the fit, except that my water shoes that have a big toe bumpers will not fit under the deck. Converse Allstar 11 1/2s fit just fine. The kayak was shipped from the Carolinas to my house in a big box; the semi driver was very curious as to what the heck was in it.

The boat is faster than I am capable of paddling. I average 4.5 mph on a 20 mile river run, 5.5 on flat, and I can hit 7.5 for a minute or two. At no point have I seen the bow rise up on the bow wave unlike my previous boat.

Fit and finish is good. I have not been in heavy waves or rolled but the hatches have been tight. There are grommeted air holes at the tops of the three bulkheads which could cause leakage if you roll. My only complaint is the seat; it was definitely not molded for a butt shaped like mine, and the back center edge hit my spine. Painfully. I replaced it with a custom foam seat from Redfish, otherwise 5 stars.

The rudder... I am not your normal customer for this type of boat. Most of my paddling is 20 mile day trips on a river with occasional threading through downed trees and where nobody paddles a sea kayak. I can turn tighter with the rudder up than down so I flip it up as needed. I also raise it to bomb thru local rapids. The pedals feel somewhat spongy; getting back to straight can take multiple attempts. I do appreciate the rudder on open water with side wind.

Misc... I really like the day hatch and it's third compartment. The storage space was more than enough for a 4-day camping expedition at The Massasauga; 10 days should be doable. The high foredeck makes for a dryer ride in waves and reduces weathercocking. The cockpit edge is rounded and padded enough to be somewhat comfortable for carrying on your shoulder. 42 lbs is not as light as my previous boat; I wouldn't want to lift anything heavier onto my car rack after long paddle. The cockpit in my old kayak is small and I had to slide my legs in before sitting. The 18X cockpit is big enough that I can plant my butt and then straighten my legs. I had no idea how much easier this would make entering and exiting.

Not sure I like the white. It shows dirt and the yellow pollen-stained scumline does not completely clean off. Might be good for hot weather but I do most of my paddling in cold and ice. I would prefer a more high-vis color.

So far the wear and tear has been normal. Black paint has worn off the bow and stern so I protected them with Gorilla Tape, and the deck bungees are starting to stretch loose.

I bought a 230cm bent shaft standard diam carbon Kalliste and have used it three times. My go-to paddle has been a $60 Bending Branches Whisper. I bought the Werner because my wrists and forearms get sore. Putting many hundreds of miles on the BB this COVID year it got to the point where they would start aching in 5 minutes. I was surprised at how much the bent shaft solves the problem. I paddled 23 miles the other day and could have kept going except I ran out of daylight. Glad I bought it. Cons: The blade is longer and thinner than the Whisper. For some reason I seem to get less power on a hard correcting stroke, even though the blade area is bigger. No faster than the Whisper. And the $490 list price, even minus the REI end-of-year 20% discount, is 8 times higher than the BB. Pros that I care about: Easier to hold, the larger shaft diameter and bent shaft are terrific. Warm; the aluminum Whisper shaft is a big negative in cold weather padding. Weight is ridiculously light. The blade is curved, causing less splash for a dryer trip in cross winds, and you don't have to pull it up to get that extra flip of power at the end of the stroke. Oh, and the bent shaft means it doesn't roll around when you rest it on your cockpit rim. Sizing: I'm 6'2", paddle an Epic 18X at 4.5 mph, and the 230cm length works well.

Bought this boat as a 3-piece kit in 1975 in Ann Arbor for $700. It is a high volume kevlar 14' kayak. Still paddling it and it has outlasted 3 paddles. It has been on a couple of 10 day expeditions, Isle Royale and Missinaibi, and holds all the gear. The boat has a lot of rocker so it is fairly agile. Mine weighs 33 pounds.