Submitted: 11-19-2009 by red_pepper
While a lot of folks seem to purchase Evo's moving up from more stable kayaks, I actually went the other way. I race a Thunderbolt in USCA Open class, but I wanted a surf ski for playing in deep, rough water (where I was concerned about swamping my T-bolt), and I wanted one with a touch more stability for winter paddling (to reduce the risk of capsizing, and thinking that if did dump it, I wanted to be able to reenter quickly without having to deal with removing a hull full of water). Oh and I wanted the boat to fit within the 20'8" length of my garage! At 21' plus over-stern rudder, my T-bolt has to sit at an angle in my garage. I wanted this boat to fit with my wife's Think Fit in the "Kayak Condo" rack on my garage wall. Those requirements pretty much limited my search to two boats: the Epic V10 Sport and the Think Evo. After much research and reading numerous reviews, I opted to go with the Evo.
I chose the Evo due to its extra 6 inches in length (for a little more performance I still like to go fast!), and due to several reviews that indicated the Evo was a little faster and perhaps more importantly it possessed a more comfortable seat.
I think I made a great choice. I haven't paddled a V10 Sport, so I can't make a comparison, but I will say I have thoroughly enjoyed the Evo. The seat seems to be quite comfortable overall. I do feel it a little in my lower back after about an hour and a half, so it isn't perfect, but it feels good overall. The footwell has enough room I can wear my neoprene river boots in the winter with sufficient space (my feet are a wide size 11 12). When I tried out an Epic V10L, I barely had enough width for bare feet no room at all for most water shoes, and certainly not river boots. The foot board and rudder pedals are very easily adjustable, and allow for very small increments of adjustment to fine-tune the pedal distances.
At 34 lbs, I'm very pleased with the light weight of my fiberglass Evo. Furthermore, it's a very sharp looking boat, painted in orange and grey. I get compliments on the boat nearly every time I take it out with a group. Sometimes people just stop and ask me about it when they see it on my car especially when my wife and I have her Fit and my Evo on the car, in matching orange/grey color schemes! I've been told this is the coolest boat they've ever seen!
Primary stability doesn't feel substantially different than my T-bolt, but the Evo enjoys a significant amount of secondary stability. You can really lean it on its side. It's also somewhat faster than I expected. Not quite as fast as the T-bolt, but not that far off, either. I found that on my local river I can pretty comfortably average around 6.4 mph in my practice runs, and on a deep lake it isn't any problem holding 7 mph over extended distance (and even 8 mph for shorter distances). I have taken it out on rough lakes with confused, wind-driven chop running 2 3 ft, and felt quite confident. When I have gone over, reentry was quite easy, and the boat drains fairly fast.
I bought my boat used in late August, shortly after the USCA Nationals. It was hardly used by the previous owner, but I found it that while he picked it up in 2008, it was actually a 2007 model. As such, there have been a few improvements since mine was manufactured. The newer boats have pluggable venture drains a very nice feature when you don't want to start with a foot well full of water, or you're paddling with others who are going too slow to keep your foot well drained. I just put a piece of plastic tape over the venturi drain when I want to keep it drier. Apparently the newer boats also have improved decals. Much to my dismay, I found that the sunscreen on my legs smeared the decals on the side of my boat. I eventually removed them, and cleaned up the adhesive with some Goo-be-gone. The newer boats also have a weed guard a nice feature, since I do find that I can pick up some weeds on the understern rudder in weedy lakes. The newer Evo's also have handles on the front and rear of the boat not a big deal to me, but a nice feature. With those changes, this boat moves from really good to excellent.
All in all, this is a fun, fast, comfortable boat, and I highly recommend it. As a side note, I've found Daryl Remmler, owner of Think Kayaks, to be a great guy to deal with. He's gone above and beyond in providing support.