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Submitted: 05-26-2004 by Franklin

Well, I have owned my Epic 18 for @ 1 month. I paddle a lot. It's amazing that I find the time to actually work, bring home the bacon and stay in good enough graces with my wife. She actually says "go paddle". Am I lucky or what!? On my second sprint in my Epic, I paddled to 9.3 m.p.h.(garmin etrex legend, G.P.S.). That's pretty good! I think I may have another .5 m.p.h. in me, we'll see. Greg Barton's partner, Oscar, said he's paddled the Epic to over 11 m.p.h.!( I'm not worthy). That's fast! I have owned five boats to date. Before I bought this boat I talked with the gang from Epic, six of their bruisers anyway, all of which I thought were very knowledgeable and a delight to get to know and work with. Their interest in my satisfaction was astounding. These guys really actually care about you and me, the paddler, and it shows. Further, you know both Oscar and Greg have done pretty well racing boats. The fact that these two guys would actually help and get involved the way they do is humbling to me... and I dug it. Anyway, I also own a 19.4 ft. kevlar Necky Looksha 3( a very fast boat). The fastest I am able to paddle my skinny tippy Necky is 8.5 m.p.h. I've owned the Necky for almost one year. I have sprinted the Necky a lot. My Necky is 20.5 inches wide and is stable enough until you find yourself in 2 to 3 foot confused, wind driven, tight, steep chop. Then you'll decide it's time to practice your bracing skills. Not so with the Epic. It's battleship stable. I'm not making this up. Two weeks ago I was at St. Joe's Peninsula, west coast of Florida. The wind was blowing to over 30 m.p.h.( I have a wind speed indicator). The waves in the bay were big. The waves were not rolling swells but four foot white capping river chop. In the trough you couldn't see over the next on coming wave! That's the biggest/roughest conditions I've been in. My ride out was relatively dry. Bracing was something I thought about. In the Florida Bay, while paddling my Necky, last spring in lesser conditions I did more than think about bracing. (I wore strawberries so bad on my knees that my paddling buddy teased me about it for the whole kayak camping trip. He told all in the kayak club, we both belong to, about my paddling skills or lack thereof.) Anyway, my Epic was confidence inspiring. My only real thought paddling back to shore was to try not to get there too fast. The boat is a wind wave surfing machine. I had time to sit there in this fast steep chop and wait for the occasional bigger sets to come in. So, my "new" Epic is up for sale on the Paddling.Net web site and I've ordered another new Epic in carbon. I am in the construction business. I take quality and" fit and finish" to a new appreciation. Things other people would never ever see, I see, and it drives me crazy if things are not right. ( Well my wife has several words for this trait of mine but I can't say them in this public forum.) My Epic's combing is too fragile and if I use it to push off of I hear a very upsetting cracking noise. Maybe there is a weight limit on push offs and my 210 pounds exceeds that limit? I believe there should be additional material placed in the combing. The gel coat work I'm sure was done at night, and to save money the lights were left off. Both my hatches and bulkheads leak. But I, the quality freak, ordered another Epic. You know sometimes ugly women aren't ugly and once you get to know them they some how end up being not only your favorite but also the most beautiful of women. (Sorry if I have insulted any women reading this. I'm just trying to make a point. Please forgive me.) Well anyway that's what happened to me and my boat. Back to the Epic, the seat makes my feet go to sleep and the back band is not comfortable, ouch! The good, no, great news is that Epic has now hired a first rate quality control manager, Mr. Greg Matthews. Greg Barton said their goal at Epic is to build a high quality boat second to none. Now they're talking! If Epic did/does that, even the british boat owners(rudderless) would buy Epics, imagine that, quite a thought. Anyway, if you're curious about the Epic go buy the June, 2004 Sea Kayaker magazine. The magizine's reviewer wrote an article on the Epic 18 and you'd swear, but don't, that they're on the Epic payroll. The best batch of Epic 18's, to date, are currently being built! My name is on their list to buy a new 39 pound carbon Smarttrack ruddered Epic 18 (I would probably keep my current Epic except I'm getting old and the Hull Raisers/racks on my Ford Truck are over seven feet tall. Every pound counts, except for those associated with my waist-line). Ending, I can't wait for my new boat to come in. If by chance you see me on the water, stop me and ask to paddle my Epic. I'll say yes, you'll paddle the boat, you'll sell your boat, you'll buy an Epic and then, you too will look back over your shoulder and wonder why your normally very fast paddling buddies are now going so dang slow. Good Paddling. Enjoy the sport and enjoy your life....it's the only one you have! Franklin Dickinson - FSKA.org member
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