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Submitted: 09-01-2005 by markfisher
I recently purchased a carbon Epic 18 and wanted to pass along my early impressions. I am an intermediate paddler, 44 years old, 155 lbs, 5'5", and am coming from a 14 foot rotomolded boat. I wanted to get a boat that I would not grow out of, had good speed, and handled Lake Michigan's waves well. I tried a bunch of kayaks and this fit my needs and my body best. I immediately felt comfortable in the boat. I don't think I am capable of getting anything close to the speed this boat is capable of, but it is really fast. My first real outing was for 2 hours in 1-3 foot waves. I felt comfortable after a half hour or so. I also took it out in some larger breaking waves yesterday. While I did not stay out long, it felt controllable the whole time even when I ended up broadside to the waves (my fault!).
One thing that did surprise me is how easy this 18 foot boat is to steer with my hips. I imagine it has something to do with the rounded bottom and light weight. I really love the rudder pedals. The foot braces are solid and the rudder pedal is actuated with your toes. I found this easy barefoot and with booties. It would be tough if you use rigid soled shows, though. It also seems that they must have listened to folks on this forum as they now use a firm, narrow back band that seems to work well although it takes awhile to get it adjusted properly. The only thing I don't like so far is the black color. On a big lake the boat is nearly invisible. It looks fantastic, but I am in the process of adding some 3M reflective tape. It seems like a shame to to it, but getting hit by a boat seems worse!
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