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Surfski Gear Review - Epic V8Pro Ultra

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

This is our first boat review and will act as an outline on what we are trying to achieve. All input is appreciated so we can continue to structure these better! Currently we have Boat Specs, Measurements, Stability Rating, Remount Rating, and Flatwater Testing.

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 V8Pro is a popular model as a "sporty" beginner boat with big race implications for specific race categories of "20 inches(50.8cm) or more" like Chattajack and other various racing leagues. This width is a great starting point for our articles as we can get a lot of models that match up very similar.

V8Pro Ultra Specs

19 feet long x 20 inches wide (5.79m×50.8cm)

Bucket Depth 12.6 inches 32cm

Bucket Width(Highest point) 16 inches wide 40.64cm

Bucket Width (Lowest point) 12.5 inches wide 31.75cm

Footplate length (Longest setting) 42.5 inches 108cm

Footplate length (Shortest setting) 28 inches 71cm

Heel Depth 8.5 inches 21.6cm

Hump Height (highest point in cockpit) 4.5inches 11.4cm

Boat weight for testing - 27 pounds 12.25kg

Rudder 6 Inch Epic Standard 15.25cm

Outline Measurements from nose

15 inches from nose - 4.5 inches wide 38cm/11.4cm

30 inches from nose - 7.25 inches wide 76cm/18.4cm

45 inches from nose - 11 inches wide 114cm/27.9cm

60 inches from nose - 13.25 inches wide 152cm/33.7cm

75 inches from nose - 15 inches wide 190cm/38.1cm

Outline Measurements from tail

75 inches from tail - 18.5 inches wide 190cm/47cm

60 inches from tail - 16 inches wide152cm/40.6cm

45 inches from tail - 14 inches wide 114cm/35.6cm

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

15 inches from tail - 6 inches wide 38cm/15.25cm

Cockpit/Bucket Area

With the measurements given above we can see the footplate adjusts for a fairly wide range of paddler leg lengths. Beyond 43inches/109cm it may feel short, but may be addressed with less posterior pevic tilt. To assess the "hump" in the bucket between the foot plate and bucket the measurements of bucket depth, hump height/ and heel depth gives us an accurate idea of how high that point comes. We will look at this more when examining different brands but overall this measurement translates to a "small hump." Overall the epic buckets are fairly universal in feel (some newer models have changed this slightly) it is comfortable for many paddlers but ultimately trying it yourself is the key to knowing.

Quality of Life Details

There are ergonomic carry handles in the middle of the boat as well as the bow/stern. These provide a functional purpose off the water in carrying your vessel. as boats get more "performance" oriented these quality of life concepts will disappear. The Bow handle will pierce swells and slow your vessel for example, but depending on your on the water usage this may never be a factor. The center bars can make remounting more tricky, but not an issue if you never fall out. The footplate seems to fit a large array of foot sizes but may become difficult with larger foot sizes that also wear full sized shoes, since the boats are designed with being bare foot in mind. The foot plate adjustments are very simple with a cord to pull two pins allowing the footboard to slide freely. This can corrode easily so routine maintence keeps its transitioning very smooth. The rudder system requires two allen key locks to be loosened. This is fairly tedious since theres not a great angle to get into that rudder hatch, so each turn of the allen key is partial and it needs 10+ total rotations to loosen.

Stability Rating: The outline of the boat shows its a bit wider in the tail, and this gives the boat an extra layer of primary stability. Primary stability being how responsive the boat feels at any given moment. The bucket being 16 inches (40.6cm) wide but the boat being 20 inches (50.8cm) tells us there are 2 inches(5cm)of rail on either side, and this adds tremendously to your secondary stability. Secondary stability being how much for it takes to completely flip the boat. As the boat initiates going off axis, these 2 inches of rail will influence the boat to go back to right side up as opposed to capsizing.

As an experienced rider, this boat gives absolutely no stability demands. Within the club setting, first time paddlers that are shorter find instant success in the boat because of its forgiveness. Taller first time paddlers will feel their movements push the primary stability and you can see them tighten up a bit, so the learning curve is a little more noticeable for them. Ultimately the normal V8 being 1.25 inches(3cm) wider tends to alleviate that sharp feeling for first time taller paddlers. Having even limited experience in flatwater can make this a very forgiving boat immediately.

This is not the most stable surfski on the market, so learning with this model in 1ft+(0.5m) of chop can prove to make it feel much more challenging. In perfectly flatwater settings it can definitely serve as that entry level model, again, with bigger racing implications if it falls into a specific classification in your area.

(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: Taking the information from the stability rating and boat measurements this serves to demonstrate this boat is very forgiving to remount. With the 2 inches(5cm) of rail you have plenty of space to comfortably grab onto the boat and they work to keep the boat stay upright inherently. The wider tail means it wont swivel under you so quickly to throw you off during remounting. The shallower bucket depth means you dont have to fall deeply into the bucket which helps with that initial process of sitting in the boat. As a rough water boat it is working with you in the remount process as the more narrow models quickly become trickier to get into.

(Like Stability Ratings, we will rate remount ratings boat to boat as we complete more reviews.)

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 - For many of these beginner model boats the barrier around 7.5mph 12kmphseems to be the most effort to get past, everything before that point is only limited by the paddlers skill level. Stability and glide are on the same spectrum, as the stability profile is very forgiving that also serve to be more drag as youre pushing the boat. The true balance is being having enough stability to apply power, but not too much stability where you cant move a boat as well as possible. As we look at more 20in/50.8cm wide models we can dissect more information from these test results, since comparing them to narrower models isnt fair.

With the 6 inch Stock Rudder the 180 turns seems to have a wider radius than anticipated. The first 90 degrees is sharp but it loses its leverages in the second 90 degrees. Overall for how stable the boat is, it seems to glide well.

Thank you all for checking out the article. This is mostly a test article to give us our first point of reference going forward and to get some feedback on how to continue to make them better in the future. If you have any questions about boatst or our online coaching feel free to message anytime via Live Chat or my email

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