your paddlesports destination

Epic V8 Surfski Reviews

See all reviews for Epic Kayaks Inc.
  • 18' Length
  • 21.25" Width
  • $2,995 MSRP

Average Consumer Review:

(17 Consumer Reviews)

Read reviews for the Epic V8 Surfski by Epic Kayaks Inc. as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

Very stable and great for learning

After much research and having listened to ton's of opinions, I decided to buy the Epic V8 for my first ski. It was an excellent choice. Let me explain why...

I got into ski paddling to catch runners (waves in the sea). I saw so many people having fun in the waves that I just had to get into the sport. The V8 was perfect for learning primarily because it is so stable. This meant I was able to concentrate on developing good technique right from the start and was able to have some fun in the waves too.

The Epic V8 is also fast! Despite the emphasis I have placed on stability, which I think is the priority when learning, the V8 is fast. I guess this is partly due to the design and partly because I was able to put the power down early.

After about 6 months I sold my V8 and bought a surf ski (more for paddling in an out of the shore break). For the next 4 months I spent more time in the water than on the ski and began to regret my decision to sell. I have persisted and am now OK on the surf ski but there are times I miss my old V8; especially when the sea is big and rough.

I highly recommend the Epic V8 to anyone starting out in the sport. It's the perfect ski to learn to paddle on. It's also a great investment if you want to paddle in rough conditions and big surf.

I sold my PH Cetus LV and...

I sold my PH Cetus LV and Huki surf ski five years ago, both great rides. But long paddles had got boring and I became a wave ski junkie big time. Were I once did everything possible to stay vertical and dry I now paddle a wave skis and wipe outs are just norm for the sport. With that said I still missed surf skis especially when the waves are missing so I picked up a new V8. Back in a surf ski at 62 years old, a problem at my age? Not on this ski.

First forget all talk about initial and secondary stability you often hear from sales reps, this ski is just flat out stable with a secondary that will not let go of you unless some how you just flip your self out of the ski. The ride is smooth and controlled, it tracks well, maybe it could turn a little sharper and as for speed it has it but at 62 I am not a power paddler any more but for it's size it's fast. The new Pro V8 just came out and I look forward to a demo test on it until then I'm going to have a blast on this ski.

having just been paddling...

having just been paddling 6 years I got my V8 a year ago and basically use it for fitness. I found the ski to be stable and fast my only gripe like everyone else is the narrow footwell with my size 13 feet (UK)! I live a good hour from the sea so the bulk of my paddling is done on the lakes in northern England so the biggest waves are maybe 5ft on a very windy day. The ski handles these very well indeed only limited by my lack of skills, as for surfing it's outstanding and great fun!

It took me 6 tries to get...

It took me 6 tries to get it right, but I finally have the perfect ski for me. It is stable enough to handle the roughest conditions, but fast enough to be fun. In the really rough stuff you might even find yourself moving ahead of some of those longer skinner boats.

I bought a V8 performance...

I bought a V8 performance model a few months back and have given it a pretty good workout since. I paddle inland lakes and rivers only as the Pacific Ocean is about 2 hours away. Although our lakes here in Northern California are getting smaller and smaller (drought) I am still able to find a good stretch of water to get this ski out and get a good workout in.

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

My Kestrel 14 SOT was...

My Kestrel 14 SOT was bouncing running into the bow wave so I purchased a V8 performance. Using a GPS to track the Epic's speed is sorting out my technique; small changes are measurable with this boat. The V8 handles very well and will get up and go; well worth the money.

Love this boat so much...

Love this boat so much that I bought another one (V10 double). Really enjoy how stable it is in all conditions and weather. At 6'4" and tipping the scales at 215lbs, its nice to have something that fits me well enough. I can say that I wouldn't mind a bit more length in the footwell but this is my second season and still love it.

The Epic V8 is very...

The Epic V8 is very playful in the whitecaps. My V8 is the proprietary layup and is about 28 lbs. This is a well made boat with great fit and finish. I really like the rudder system with large pedals and the rudder built in about 18" from the back of the kayak. This helps it turn sharper than a rear rudder. I find the primary stability very good and the craft to be very fast.

The only reason that I did not give it a 10 is the seat comfort. The seat is molded in with no padding but then this one is for speed, not comfort. The V8 is my sixth kayak and the one that I paddle most of the time.

I just bought a V8 today...

I just bought a V8 today and was able to get out for a bit. This is an awesome boat. Been paddling a kayak for the last 10 years, mostly for endurance racing. Did the Yukon River Quest. I once had the Epic Endurance 18. It was a good boat. Now I'm paddling mostly for fitness.

The V8 is the new kayak for fitness. I love the idea of not being enclosed in a cockpit with skirt. I bought the Ultra version. Very light, good tracking, good stability. Maybe a bit more stable than the kayak Endurance 18. My local dealer had lent me a demo boat. So this is the third time I've been out in this boat. No regrets. Very happy with it.

For the equivalent price of a kayak, this boat is considerably lighter. So if you don't need the storage of the bulkheads and go out mostly for day paddles, this is the boat. I bought it from http://www.kayaksport.net/ in Toronto. Michael is awesome, service is awesome.

Just to add my 2 cents to...

Just to add my 2 cents to the many positive reviews of the V8 on the web...
Got into Surfski last year and bought a V8 over the winter. Am hugely pleased with it. Comfortable (though only just small enough for me at 5'6"), well built, great stability while still having a great turn of speed. It's a perfect entry to racing skis and just a great boat to get out and play in the waves is.

Re-entry is no more difficult than on many rather more pedestrian sit-on top designs while the massive secondary stability lets you get away with all sorts of crazy heel angles while surfing!

Just a great boat all round.

I have owned both the V10...

I have owned both the V10 Sport in performance layup, as well as the V8 in performance layup. The V10 Sport is more efficient than the V8 above 4.5 mph. Below 4.5 mph, the V8 is more efficient. This is due to the larger wetter surface area of the V10 Sport, yet longer waterline of the V10 Sport. Both surfskis are ergonomic and comfortable. I have never had my legs, feet, or toes fall asleep in either.

In terms of stability; on flat water or waves up to six inches high, they are about the same. But in waves any higher, the V10 Sport will require your attention, and you will not feel as relaxed as you will be in the V8. Being that I almost always kayak alone, and in waves from one to three feet high, I tend to prefer the more relaxed feel and greater stability of the V8. Ultimately, the V10 Sport is faster, but it is at the cost of less stability.

It really depends on your paddling priorities, your ability, the conditions you paddle in, your skills, and your personal preferences. Either way, Epic makes very well designed and constructed products.

I have taken the V8 out 6...

I have taken the V8 out 6 times just bought it two weeks ago, it is very stable, there is a good review at fatpaddler about the V8. The only negative is the width of the footwell, with wintertime approaching wearing muklocks is a little tight.

Speed is good for this style hit 7 mph first time out on a small lake. Cruises well at 5.8 mph through 6.2 mph. would have gave 10 other than footwell width. Workmanship is excellent

OK, an Update from my earlier posting (02-29-2012). I have completely removed…

OK, an Update from my earlier posting (02-29-2012).
I have completely removed the Epic Pedal box assembly and fabricated my own fixed position one from lightweight stainless steel. This has given me an additional 1-2cm leg length and most importantly an extra 1-2cm footwidth. this has made a huge difference.

Can I ask Epic: "Why the obsession with ultra narrow footwells in a boat you claim to be for beginners or people transitioning from sea kayaks?" You may be expert paddlers who designed this boat but you forgot that a wider footwell is certainly more stable for us lesser mortals. The V8 is a great boat, just widen and redesign the footwell and you will have a better boat for the stated market.

Hate to give anything a...

Hate to give anything a 10/10 but that being said, I thought the V8 'ski remarkable. Really enjoy this boat!

This is the surfski for those of us who aren't about to hang up our sea kayaks and dedicate our lives to mastering the inner gyroscopic workings required to paddle an elite surfski. The V8 is stable. You aren't used to seeing that word next to the word surfski so it bears repeating for those of you who may be thinking "he said what?" after reading that last bit. The V8 is a stable surfski. I hopped on a V8 and was super impressed; there was no "oops, oh crap" moment so familiar with the dilettante surfski enthusiast.

That stability comes from somewhere though and it isn't as fast as a V10 but it isn't meant to be. It's designed for and is aimed at a different paddling market - it's aimed at the market where you and I live...not Greg and Oscar and the rest of the 'ski elite.

In the Blackburn it's going to be in fast kayak division (same hull as an 18x). And most likely win. Besides being flat out fast, on a day with any bump at all, the under stern rudder is going to have an advantage over the over stern retractable jobbers. I think that certainly a sub 3 will be the winning mark.

It's stable, it's fast. At 6 feet, 230lbs I found it to be comfy and my only hesitation would be that the foot well was a bit cramped....but that may be me having to say {anything} critical. In any event, I found that to be entirely forgivable.

For what it is and supposed to do and for who it's aimed at, I give it full marks all around.

I've had my V8 for a month...

I've had my V8 for a month now, moving up in the world from my excellent old Cobra Expedition plastic boat.
The V8 is very nicely built, a great moulding, I really like the cut-away sides, this lets you get a good paddle blade entry. It's stable for a race boat but way tippier than the old Cobra Expedition. I've read the other rave reviews so I don't need to bore you with all the good stuff and there is plenty of it.

OK the negatives (for me): I paddle a river here in Australia and the lack of a trailing rudder option was initially a concern but I built my own simple, strong lightweight trailing rudder system that has no extra holes and is fully reversible in minutes. My real gripes are two. I find the narrow footwell, well, too narrow. I wear 3mm scuba boots when paddling and my feet push painfully against the cockpit sides while wedging together in the middle. Cockpit Leg length is another issue, I read a review that said it will take a 195cm paddler, well only if you are built like a duck mate! all long back and short legs. I am a pretty normal built for 190cm and I swear I need another 2-4cm length than its longest setting to reach what I consider a decent paddle posture (being able to fit a clenched fist and thumb under my knees)

It carries my 105kg easily but there isn't any spare 'butt width' either. I suggest that 188cm and 105kg is about the max for the cockpit even though the boat could carry more weight.

Sorry Epic an 8/10 is the best I can give, you seem to market this boat for larger paddlers and its just not so.

I am a novice skier and...

I am a novice skier and currently paddle the V10 sport. I have demoed the v8 twice allready. once on a a fairly calm lake and another at the Surfski Championships Demo day. Needless to say this boat feels right at home for anyone that comes from sea kayaking. It does feel a bit sluggish for the first few strokes definitely for those comming from the skinier racing skis. As you start moving along you realy catch up some speed and feel totaly in control. This is probably the only boat you can take directly from the shop to a down wind race without any preparations. in the Demo day I took it out and surfed it back down wind and felt as if i could win the Molokai :-)

You have absolute control on the wave and my GPS showed 9 mph which is the fastest I ever got with any Ski. On the flat water I got 7.7mph as my top speed and it to was my fastest speed for the flats. Paddling the boat is a lot of fun and even though it's 22" wide it feels like a lot less. the boat Catch recess really works and I never hit the boat shears (sides) due to it.

Epic used their 18x sport hull for this boat and I say that maybee they would like to make one out of their 18x narrower water line beam boat so we can get an even livelier beginner-Rough water Ski.

Once again I find myself...

Once again I find myself at Gloucester High School, home of the Fighting Fishermen, bearing up beneath dark storm clouds and a gale of calendar pages. I'm staring down the barrel of my 56th birthday and Father Time's itchy finger grows heavy on the trigger. The words of Mike Livingston play over and over in my head:
"Good morning. We are privileged to live another day in this magnificent world. Today you will be tested."

Just two years earlier a vascular conspiracy brewed in my bloodstream. It knocked me flat on my back and left me unable to get out of bed. Faceless strangers wheeled me down hospital corridors as I stared at the ceiling tiles and counted light fixtures. The "eternal footman held my coat and snickered" and in short, I was enraged.

Today, the roster of competitors in the 25th Anniversary of the venerable Blackburn Challenge includes yours truly. Attention to detail, relentless analysis and dedicated training will combine with old age and treachery for a go at the winner's circle. A former friend owns a veterinary pharmacy but he selfishly refused to provide horse steroids. The best I can muster is a fair representation of a caffeine-fueled jackass. Heat is an issue. Last year, I used a yak with a cockpit. Three miles from the finish line it flipped in some chop. With no skirt, the boat took on water and I hauled an extra 100 pounds of shifting payload to the greasy pole. Again this year, a skirt is not an option because of the heat. Yesterday, we had record temperatures at Cape Ann. These wormy legs would bake into cramps under that black shroud so I've found an alternative, the Epic V-8. If the boat flips, you can jump back on and it will self-bail.

At the starting line is Roger Gocking who took first place last year. He jumps ahead early and as we hammer the water to catch him I sense I'm going out too fast. Dave Furniss is on my wash and the three of us snake down the Annisquam River as a single creature with loose joints. This is unsustainable. I'm on the express train to Bonk City. Somehow I make it to the ocean in second place. Gocking slows down ever so slightly and things get a little easier. Furniss is stuck on my wash like a tick on a bird dog. Near Halibut Point we find some small bumps and the kid blasts ahead. He moves to the front. Now I'm in third place.

Three or four times, I have had to fiddle with my "hydration system" only to fall off their wash. Each time, the acceleration and responsiveness of this vessel lets me rejoin without undue effort, but now the bumps are throwing me beyond Gocking's stern and I can't find the brakes so I steer past him. Catching some good runners, I surge ahead, but at a 20 degree angle away from their course. For a few glorious seconds the corn dog is in first place! I think I've found a faster line. I am an idiot.
It is now just a matter of holding on to third place as they shrink in the distance.

Approaching Dog Bar, the swells increase. My gaze remains locked on the turn at the seawall but I'm conscious of cold water crashing abeam into my lap and filling the cockpit. The stability is dead solid and I never miss a stroke. As I'm surfing toward the rocks, trying to exploit the bumps, the safety kayaks are getting nervous. One paddles towards me to steer me away. My right shoulder is screaming. The temptation to coast is enormous but I won't. After coming this far, it might as well be Olympic gold on the line. I finish the race without ever having made the first brace stroke and officially become what Bart Simpson calls the "second loser".

Roger later says that at the seawall, the swells and slop were a concern. He became tentative and Dave pulled away. That would have been my moment. That is where the better boat would have won the day, if not for a weak motor and a bad decision. Now, I'm on the beach enjoying Ipswich Ale and visiting with my favorite people. Tomorrow we will resume the battle with unemployment, personal relationships and all the thorns and spurs of this life. Today is for savoring the simple privilege of just one more day. As for the boat, the numbers speak for themselves.

Blackburn 2010 11th place 3:37
Blackburn 2011 3rd place 3:04
Seventeen surf skis finished behind me.
My sincere thanks go out to the folks who hosted this event and the many people who supported me in this crazy pursuit. That last part would include Wyndy, who suffers from a strange affinity for skinny old men with abnormally large heads. See ya at Molokai.