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Surfski Gear Review - Epic V7 (Plastic)

All input is appreciated so we can continue to structure these better! Currently we have Boat Specs, Measurements, Quality of Life, Stability Rating, Remount Rating, Flatwater Testing and Final Thoughts


I am 5ft 6 (167cm) and 140lbs (63.5kg) slightly above the intermediate skill level as a reviewer. I typically fit in all boats without issue but have a good general idea of a paddler being too big for a given vessel based on club members using boats.


The Epic V7 is a plastic rotomold surfski. These layups are nearly indestructible with a very high durability exterior that also flexes tremendously while retaining its original shape.

The trade off in this durability is the boats weight which comes in around 55lbs. This weight and added boat flex will impact its overall speed which we will discuss in the Flatwater Testing. This model was generously borrowed from a friend for this review. I have a total of 10 miles so far in this review but it gives me a lot of information to compare directly to the Spirit PRS model discussed here - https://www.k2nonlinepaddleschool.com/post/surfski-gear-review-spirit-prs-570-plastic and the Nelo 510 model here - https://www.k2nonlinepaddleschool.com/post/surfski-gear-review-nelo-510-plastic


Epic V7 Specs

17ft feet long x 21.25 inches wide (5.20m×54cm)

Bucket Depth 7.5 inches 19cm

Bucket Width(Highest point) 16.75 inches wide 42.5cm

Bucket Width (Lowest point) 12 inches wide 30.5cm

Footplate length (Longest setting) 43 inches 109.3cm

Footplate length (Shortest setting) 29 inches 73.7cm

Heel Depth 8.5 inches 21.6cm

Hump Height Depth (highest point in cockpit) 4 inches 10.16cm

Boat weight for testing - 55.2 pounds 25kg

Epic Understern Standard Rudder 6 Inch 15.25cm


Outline Measurements from nose

15 inches from nose - 6 inches wide 38cm/15.2cm

30 inches from nose - 10 inches wide 76cm/25.4cm

45 inches from nose - 12.5 inches wide 114cm/31.8cm

60 inches from nose - 14 inches wide 152cm/35.6cm

75 inches from nose - 16.5 inches wide 190cm/41.9cm


Outline Measurements from tail

75 inches from tail - 20 inches wide 190cm/50.8cm

60 inches from tail - 18.5 inches wide 152cm/47cm

45 inches from tail - 15.75 inches wide 114cm/40cm

30 inches from tail - 12 inches wide 76cm/30.5cm

15 inches from tail - 7.25 inches wide 38cm/18.4cm


Cockpit/Bucket Area

This is a pretty ergonomic bucket. It is slightly different from the Epic V8 and other similar cockpits in the line up but only slightly. The bucket itself sits an inch higher, and the contours are very slightly different. Hard to quantify the contour angles. It isn't a bad difference, just go in knowing the comfort may be slightly different if you are used to those other boats in the lineup. The leg hump in the cockpit is 4.5 inches higher than the heel depth which provides plenty of space for unimpeded leg drive. After these recent reviews it feels like anything less than 5 inches from the highest point in the cockpit shape to the heel depth provides good leg drive, and anything more begins to be like having individual footwells with more of the legs in contact during leg extension. The footplate adjusts easily with one cord pulling two pins, like the other boats in the epic lineup and keeping tension on the pedals while moving the footplate. Very nice if you are adjusting constantly for different people. It has a spot for a water bottle, which is nice to store various things.





Quality of Life Details

The carry handles on the bow and stern are very ergonomic. You really rely on these handles being comfortable with the boat being heavier. The center carry handles are solid carbon bars that are very aesthetically pleasing with the plastic. The handles can dig into your hands when carrying it suitcase style by the side, but its easier to hoist overhead when you can make a full fist with your hand. The Nelo 510 had cutouts in the hull for handles that distributed weight on the hand nicer when holding it by the side, but made transitioning overhead trickier. This boat comes equipped to install an overstern rudder but has the understern for testing. Two allen key locks screw together on a yoke to pinch the rudder shaft, same system as the other epic lineup. There is a rear hatch with a cover. The cover is secure when taking it on and off making a very satisfying seal. No front hatch opening only bungees beyond the footplate.





Stability Rating: A very beginner friendly boat and shape. Has a nice balanced outline between the front and back of the boat. Meaning in most conditions as the boat is being moved by exterior factors, like wind or swells, it has a nice consistent feel from that input that isnt overly jarring. With the extra weight being plastic you would be very hard pressed to fall out of this boat in a flatwater setting even as an absolute first timer. We have used a V8 in our club setting in Hernando for years for reference on beginner success, and this boat is even more stable. The big rails on the side (2.25inches/7cm) add a tremendous amount of forgiveness to the secondary stability. Would make a great boat to take off the beach and through the surf for the first time!


(With all surfski your height, weight, age, current skill level and paddling environment will influence how each boat feels and that dynamic will continue to move back and forth on a spectrum forever. These ratings will give some insight into what the boats shape will do for rating as we begin comparing them to other similar model widths with different outline measurements. We will work towards numerical ratings as more reviews are completed to compare boat to boat on stability.)



Remount Rating: Very easy to remount. The rails being so wide on both side give you a great platform to push and pull from, and is wide enough that throwing your chest on the rail itself will get you back into the boat. The rails being wide may make holding the paddle while remounting tricky if you dont position your hands thoughtfully. A very wide bucket to slide into, but it isnt a deep drop to the bottom with the seat being fairly high.

(Like Stability Ratings, we will rate remount ratings boat to boat as we complete more reviews. For now this boat is "easier to remount" than the reviewed Epic V8Pro.)




Flatwater Testing Overview: For all tests ongoing we will be using the format of 3 miles 4827m at a specific stroke rate. This lake has the same water depth annually for consistency, and the course is marked by 4 buoys that do not change position making it easy to run different boats on the course for cross analysis. The Stroke Rate goal is a submaximal 45SPM(This denotes double strokes, so 90SPM single strokes) with a margin of error for 1SPM 44-46spm. Noting boat weights and rudder sizes as potential future differences amongst similar shaped boats. This serves as a good general guide on boats that vary dramatically in width, but will also be fun to see how similar width boats compare and factoring in the outline measurements towards that.




Flatwater Testing - First disclaimer: I clicked my watch for a split time on lap 1 and accidentally stopped it. I immediately fired up another segment and did the second lap. Short pause there but it didn't mess up the test having a 5 second delay off the clock. I merged the two segments together to get the course map and the stroke data is each of the segments for lap 1 then 2. Neat to see 571 strokes vs 572 strokes on the same loop... consistency is key!?


Comparing the other boat models, the Epic V7 was 3 seconds per mile faster than the Nelo 510 and 12 seconds per mile faster than the Spirit PRS for me. The second disclaimer would be pointing out the rudder for the 510 was the surf style which is longer with no angles that can attribute for a small speed loss and the 510 can come equipped with a carbon bow sleeve which may make its flatwater glide superior. With the combination of those 2 variable I'm going to refer to these two boats as "the same speed" since it is pretty close! With both boats being nearly the same speed, its interesting when looking at the outline. The Nelo 510 has a narrower nose, but a wider tail. The V7 has a wider nose, but the tail is much narrower. At a glance from the front the 510 may appear to be faster but looking at the entire outline we can see it starts to balance out more. I do not think being 16.5ft vs 17ft (510cm vs 520cm) plays a big role in its overall speed performances as much as the overall outline and the inherent weight/flexibility of the plastic. It felt like it had better glide from first impression but over a period of time it ended up being similar performance. Maneuverability of the V7 on the turns was great, felt like it turned pretty tight. Overall, for my size, they felt very similar in the performance aspect!


Final Thoughts: When it comes to these plastic boats the performance limiter does feel like the weight itself, but when compared to other plastic boats they end up going around the same speed! It feels like the bigger questions are "How do I feel in this bucket for X amount of time, how do I like the foot plates, carry handles, rudders, hatches etc." With each user the usage of the boat, their size and skill level will influence which of these plastic models they gravitate to. Ultimately trying boats to see and feel these aspects for yourself is the best way to discern that information, but I hope these articles help in a general sense! This is the last plastic I have immediate access to, but the next surfski article will be running an Epic V8 to see the performance shift going to a fiberglass hull with a similar shape outline.



Thank you all for checking out the article. If you have any questions about boats or our online coaching feel free to message anytime via Live Chat or my email Robertnorman142@yahoo.com

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2 Comments


Thanks for putting numbers in to help quantify but also giving impressions.

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Mark Berthiaume
Mark Berthiaume
Feb 24, 2023

Awesome! Thx for the info.

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