Dreaming of a shortened Epic Gen 2 V12L for flatwater marathon racing

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1 year 3 weeks ago - 1 year 1 week ago #40409 by peteavery247
There is a wealth of wonderful info and advice on this forum about the fastest skis on flat water. This relates to those flat water racing threads but specifically for the lighter paddlers doing flatwater 20km marathon races, mostly against K1s and a few skis. Sorry for the very long winded post….
I am a 51 year old male who is 188cm (6ft2in) tall and weighs 77kg (170lbs) with 82cm (33in) waist and a small bum. I also have long arms and long legs for my height. My jeans are 33 inch waist and 34 inch inseam. My legs are too long for a Gen 1 V10L, even with the ‘long leg’ footplate swapped in. I was an outrigger paddler for many years and after a 12 year paddling hiatus from having 3 kids I got back into paddling 18 months ago, but switched to kayaking after buying a used Epic Gen 2 V12 Elite 10.4kg ski. I train and race in Sydney with the fabulous Lane Cove River Kayakers club (www.lcrk.org.au) who have a lot of members focused on flatwater marathon racing mostly in K1s, but have a few paddlers also racing skis and long racing kayaks in 20km marathons and ultra marathons (30-110km and 3-5+ day longer races).

I started paddling a K1 two months ago and am a beginner to intermediate paddler on a K1. I am enjoying the challenge of my Grafton Paddlesports Spectrum KS K1, particularly on glass flat water at dawn with the LCRK squad. Like most of us, I am not an elite paddler and never will be, but I do want to keep improving and do a few more races in it.
I am a bit of a tinkerer and have made many adjustments to my K1, V12 and Long Rec kayak (for Ultra marathons). All of 3 them now have Nelo swivel seats, pedals, full length footplates and Tripper double foot straps. I made a removable Kevlar base plate for a Nelo Swivel seat and fitted that to my V12 which transforms the V12 in terms of 4 cm higher seating position, better leg drive and far better hip rotation (but makes it a lot more unstable). The V12 swivel seat is on a Velcro base so I can swap it out for different sized seat pads or none at all depending on the conditions. Swivel seats are a bit polarizing in the K1 community, a small minority love them, most hate them or stopped using them. I love mine. Basically, I have made my V12 fit me and my type of paddling and racing as best as possible without taking an angle grinder to the ski ….yet.

Bearing in mind my focus here is flatwater marathon racing, I really like my Gen 2 V12 with the swivel seat in it but I don’t absolutely love it, particularly since I started paddling a K1. I feel that I am far too light for my V12 at 77 kgs as it seems to suit other flat water paddlers who are 90-110 kg much better, and it has a weight capacity of 140kgs. At 6.4m, I feel it is too long for my light weight and feels enormous when I got in it after paddling my K1 for a few weeks. I go backwards on it in any type of headwinds on the V12 so the windage on it is a problem and the front gets blown all over the place in gusts making me more unstable/slower. Given my weight, even in small chop, boat waves or rough paddler wash falling off the back of a pack I have a significant corkage problem in the V12 that isn’t overly apparent on glass flat water with no wind. And the V12 bucket is too wide for my bum so I need to pad that out unless my swivel seat is in it. Paddling my K1 has opened my eyes up a bit more to ideas for the right ski for me that is more of a ski/K1 hybrid designed for flatwater marathon racing for lighter paddlers. Apart for all of that, I do think the gen 2 V12 is an exceptionally good and fast ski for flatwater and all round paddling (particularly given it is a big water boat), I just wish they made a shorter, lower volume scaled down version of it.

My K1 is on the smaller side and is noticeably tippier than my V12 set up with both a swivel seat and small rudder on the ski. My K1 is amazing paddling into the wind (compared to the V12) as it sits very low in the water (almost like a submarine) and the deck is very low, I don’t go backwards at all and actually look forward to paddling into a mild headwind when in the K1, particularly padding in a group. I am probably 5-10 kg too heavy for my K1 though given how low it sits in the water. My K1 accelerates better than my V12 probably because it is narrower and 1.2m shorter with far less wetted surface area. I definitely prefer the feeling in my K1 of being ‘in the water’ rather than the ‘on the water’ feel on my V12, particularly when there is some wind. I hate that my K1 fills up with water when wash riding paddlers who throw a lot of water, I don’t like the feeling of a foot pump under my heels and I am totally rubbish at pumping water out of my K1 whilst paddling so I often end up with 2-4+ litres of water in it which makes it increasingly slower and that does my head in a bit as I start dropping further and further back from the group I am training or racing with. My bailer slightly open on my V12 solves that water ingress problem when wash riding in the ski. The fear of falling out problem in my K1 in sloppy water is often unsettling impacting my technique with more bracing, shortened choppier stroke and reduced speed. I have fallen out of my V12 a lot (but not so much recently) so there is less fear of falling out of the ski and most importantly, knowledge and confidence that I can remount the ski and keep going quickly.

Whilst I am improving on my K1, I suspect over a 20km race I am still 1-3 mins faster on my ski. At the moment I feel that I exert more energy in my core staying upright in the K1 than I do in my ski when racing or time trialing those distances in race conditions (particularly in sloppy water, choppy water, boat waves and cross winds). I suspect that in a few months time I will be about 1 min faster on my K1 over my V12 on glass flat water with no wind over 10km so I will need to do some time trials to prove that. Trouble is, none of the races I have done have been on glass flat water with no wind for the entire race. I fell out of my K1 in my first K1 race and it cost me 4 mins because (thankfully) I got rescued quickly and was only 100m from the shore bank to empty the K1 and re-mount. If I fell out of my ski in that same race it would have cost me only 30 seconds or so if I had a quick and successful remount.
My average speed on my ski or K1 for 12-20km races is currently 10.7-11.5kmh and I want to try to get that upto 11.5-12.0kmh+ average speed for those race distances. Whilst we all know that if we wanted to improve our average speed by 5% in those flat water race distances then at least 4% of that improvement will come from improvements to the engine (me) in terms better technique, fitness, strength, endurance and more hours spent training in a boat for those specific race distances and conditions. But 1% might come from being in the best fit boat with the best fit set up for that particular race (which Is why a lot of us keep buying new skis trying to find the best fit ski for us that we are fastest on).

So where I am getting to is simple. If I start with Gen 2 V12 as my baseline, (in my dreams) how could I modify my V12 to make it best fit for me and make a shortened gen 2 V12L (note, Epic did not make a V12L nor a shortened V12 L as far as I am aware). Ideally (if I worked at the Epic factory) I would scale the whole V12 down by about 10%, making it about 5.7m long 41cm wide and putting a low deck on it. I would also move the entire seat and footwell forward by about 10cm from the centre of the ski to make it more nose down and better at wash riding, plus give it a sharper nose. But hey, I am not a boat designer or boat builder so unless Greg Barton is reading this, that is unlikely to happen.
Alternately (and this is almost sacrilege), if I had the composite skills (which I don’t) and had a doner damaged Elite or Ultra Gen 2 V12 that I got for free (or dirt cheap) I would seriously consider making my own version of a shortened V12L by cutting the front deck and seat/footwell off it. Removing about 60-70cm of length from the widest part in the centre of the hull and re-joining the hull. Cutting the bucket in half longways and making the bucket 1.5 cm narrower to fit my bum and fit the (now) narrower hull. Chopping the top half off the front deck from the footwell forward all the way to and including the nose, re-attached the bucket and footwell 10cm further forward from centre point than originally, making an ultra low deck for it and making the nose a little sharper. However, I suspect all of that major surgery would seriously impact the structural integrity though and probably add at least 2-3+kg to it, unless it was done by a magician boat builder/fixer.

Or I could just buy another user ski closer to those ideal dreams of a shortened gen 2 V12L, perhaps a Nelo 560M Air or V11 or similar that has some K1 DNA in it, but with a low seat so I can put a swivel seat in it. Whilst the V11 looks good on paper, with a 120kg weight capacity, I feel it isn’t tailored for lighter paddlers. I feel (but don’t know) that the ideal length of a flat water ski for me and my weight is probably 5.5-5.8m rather than 6.4m. The Nelo 560M which I test paddled was almost perfect for me, but my legs are too long for it so I would need to modify the footplate to get an extra 2-3com in length or get it made with an extra 5cm of leg length in the factory.

Bearing in mind, for me this is about average speeds/efficiency for flatwater racing only at my paddling level, so I am most interested in a ski that requires less energy and effort to hold an average 12kmh for 20km on flat water rather than any top speed or frankly average racing speeds of elite paddlers. I haven’t paddled a V14 but think that is better suited to an elite paddler with far better technique and I would probably still want to make it shorter to materially reduce the V12’s volume and wetted surface area and cut the deck off it too to solve the windage problem. Epic didn’t make a V14L either. I have sat in an Epic K1T but not paddled one so that is worth me doing a test paddle on (but they are way too expensive for me). I am conscious that the K1T has a Legacy XXL K1 hull, not a L hull which would be my size in a Legacy K1.

Please let me know if you are a lighter paddler (who ideally also races K1s) with similar experience in the Gen 2 V12 and what ski you found suited you better for flat water marathon racing as it is probably time for me to test paddle some other skis. I have a very limited budget so, if I was to buy another ski, it would be an older used full carbon flat water ski specifically designed for lighter paddlers and preferably not a full length (6.2-6.4m) ski. I would love to hear anyone who has done major surgery to a V12 to make it suit them better.

Lastly, ping me if you have a damaged Gen 2 V12 Elite or Ultra in Sydney are willing to donate to the cause (or sell cheaply)....or have a Nelo 560M that you want to sell.

Pics attached racing my K1, V12 and the swivel seat in my V12: V12
Dreaming of tinkering….
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Last edit: 1 year 1 week ago by peteavery247. Reason: Typos and added pictures and some additional info

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40410 by CrabStick
You've obviously put a lot of thought into your ideal marathon ski. I'd be interested to hear what Ranga quotes you for cost, extra weight and other considerations related to shortening a carbon ski. He's in Perth tho so less practical for your needs.
The final result would be more predictable in a more K1 like ski such as Nelo560 that you mention and you should also keep an eye out for a second hand Fenn Surge which is pretty close to your brief. It has high sides so likely a little harder than some skis to remount but you'd find it relatively stable. Dean Gardner at OceanPaddler is very approachable and might even know where you could pick one up 2nd hand. The Spark is perfect volume for you but long and a fair bit of rocker. The original (prior to the S) has a higher hump but your leg length and seat height would make that unlikely to be a problem.
Keep us updated on developments...

CrabStick, Perth Western Australia
Current Boats: Epic V9 ultra, Fenn Swordfish S, Fenn Spark S
Previous: Think Eze, Stellar SR, Carbonology Boost LV, Fenn BlueFin S

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40412 by Steve Hansen
Although a surfski may be as fast as a K1 on flat water, my understanding is that the real advantage of a K1 is that it accelerates faster due to less weight. Being able to go with the surges that occur in flat water racing is the name of the game. I think chopping up a surfski will just make it heavier. I'd stick with mastering the K1 and get a spray skirt.

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40413 by peteavery247
Thanks Steve, I will try a spray skirt on my K1 and see how that goes. Stopping any water getting would make a big difference to, particularly in the last third of a 20km race without the extra 2-4+ litres of water in it, slowing me down.

I am not currently seriously considering actually chopping up a perfectly good V12 ski. I would need an expert to do that work which would be prohibitively expensive and add too much weight to the ski. It was more about dreaming of those modifications to tease out my requirements and get some input from this forum for best fit ski for me.

I just weighed both boats given all the modifications I have made and, unfortunately both have gotten much heavier than stock. My K1 is 0.9kg lighter at 11.5kg with the v12 ski coming in at 12.4kg. Most of the weight gain in the ski came from the swivel seat as I made the kevlar base of that probably 0.5kg too heavy in my first attempt.

I am a beginner on a K1 (So more experienced K1 paddlers please chime in), but my understanding is, if you compare elite marathon K1s with elite skis and the same paddler with the same weight K1 and same weight ski, a K1 accelerates better than a ski on flat water due mostly to it's shape rather than the actual weight of the boat. I suspect boat length, wetted surface area, and displacement are other factors along with paddler weight and ability. Maybe some acceleration tests from a race start of say 0 to 15kmh and a wash riding surge from 12kmh to 15kmh could clarify that difference better. As a relative newby to flatwater marathon racing, my understanding is that it important to be able to accelerate well to try to stay with a pack off the start, accelerate well for surges in a pack to stay with them when someone is trying to break away or break up the pack and accelerating to jumping onto a passing wash, plus having a boat and paddler that can wash ride very well and hang onto a wash for as long as possible when you are at you limit. I still have a ton to lean about paddling and racing a K1.

If I am forced to sell a few boats (incl my K1 and V12) and just stick with one boat, then that ideal boat would be a shorter ski with K1 DNA and a removable swivel seat in it.

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40414 by waverider
An elite paddler may be slightly faster in a k1 than a ski, but most of us are not elite and most of us will be faster in a ski due to the ability to better control it in wash riding situations etc.. My goal is to be faster in my Legacy than I am in my v10g3 in real race conditions, as opposed to just gliding along on flat water with no boat washes where the k1 is obviously faster. To compete in most marathons, ICF is a class of its own so a k1 is required, the general classes are typically lower division standards. Additionally portages are part of upper division marathons and this needs a k1, pretty hard to pick up and run with a ski.

If you go chopping down established hulls you are going to completely change hydrodynamics, boat trims etc on a pure suck it a see basis so are likely to end up with a dog of a boat which is the worst of both worlds.

The difference with a Legacy XXL hull compered to others is that it is wider rather than deeper volume which is necessary to accommodate the ski style bucket. I kind of think that anyone who can readily remount a K1T is unlikely to fall out of a k1 all that often, so its not such a great advantage, yet the low volume of these boats mean they have few of the advantages of a ski, hence they arent that popular

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40415 by zachhandler
Seems like a nelo 560 would be a good boat for you

Current Skis: Epic v10 g3, NK 670 double, NK exrcize, Kai Wa’a Vega, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X
Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Nelo 550 g2, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40416 by Steve Hansen
I agree with Zach. The Nelo 560m or something in the Stellar line look low volume. Check out the profiles. surfskicomparison.com/

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40417 by mickeyA
If looking for Surfski that resembles a K1, Nelo was mentioned, and I think Knysna Racing McGregor is fairly similar. Not sure if there are any of these SA boats in AUS. I have the Rhythm model, which I can handle on flat water, is extremely quick (feather light) and fast, though a handful in chop (for me). 2’ shorter than typical elite skis, so length is in the middle of elites and K1’s. I am actually considering selling mine (NWFlorida, USA if anyone interested) because all I can really use it for is flat water, which is what you want. Now, there is an even more K1-ish McGregor called Classic that I doubt I could handle for long even on flat water, but you could. Keep an eye out for those 2 models.

KR McGregor Rhythm, V10Sport, Swordfish S, Fenn Tarpon S, Fenn XT, Twogood Chalupski, Findeisen Stinger spec. Had: V12, Stellar SE, Huki S1-X, Burton wedge2, Fenn Tarpon

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40418 by peteavery247
Thanks all, great suggestions. I am not planning on chopping up a ski, just dreaming of it.

The alternate direction is finding the right very light, very fast flat water racing kayak that is ideally 5.5-5.8m long suited to my weight and ability that comes with a very low profile surf ski style deck in it so I get a surf ski bucket and footwell and bailer.

I have only done 2 races so far in my K1; a 19.5km portage race with 5 x 120m portage and a 20km marathon race in Division 3, racing against K1s, K2s, skis and double skis. Division 3 is for paddlers (incl pairs) who can do 20km in 1h45m-1h50m. I did a 1h51m.

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40419 by zachhandler
I think the theoretical speed differences between all these boats mentioned is small at 11km/hr and would be dwarfed by the effect of the boats ergonomics and stability profile. I think the elite paddlers have zero balance issues and perfect technique and they are driving the boat 14km/hr, fast enough where differences in hull speed become exponentially larger. So for them it is much more about the actual hull speed. Personally if I were looking for a flat water race boat I would find the class of boat I want and then within that class go with the one that made me feel powerful and over my stroke with a comfortable bucket and no wobbles.

Current Skis: Epic v10 g3, NK 670 double, NK exrcize, Kai Wa’a Vega, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X
Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Nelo 550 g2, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40420 by waverider

I think the theoretical speed differences between all these boats mentioned is small at 11km/hr and would be dwarfed by the effect of the boats ergonomics and stability profile. I think the elite paddlers have zero balance issues and perfect technique and they are driving the boat 14km/hr, fast enough where differences in hull speed become exponentially larger. So for them it is much more about the actual hull speed. Personally if I were looking for a flat water race boat I would find the class of boat I want and then within that class go with the one that made me feel powerful and over my stroke with a comfortable bucket and no wobbles.

Finding the boat that makes you more at one with it makes you paddle at your best. Paddling at your best is the most effective way of going faster in all conditions, and enjoying it more, than moving up the paygrade in boats

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40421 by ggc
There's a few options for K1 style hulls with surfski seats, Carbonology Feather or the Van Dusen Mohican come to mind, but it's unlikely you'll find either 2nd hand on the east Coast of Australia.

I had similar thoughts for an unlimited class double ski, bought a 2nd hand carbon K2, took a mold off the bucket of a Gen1 V12 (which is/was the narrowest seat surfski I could find), then got stuck in with the foam and carbon until it looked like a K2 with surfski seats and a bailer.

You say you don't have composite skills, but you're clearly a tinkerer. Watch a few videos on youtube from Easy Composites and Mike Patey (I recommend the Scrappy series) and I reckon you'll be up to speed pretty quickly on what it would take to put together something good enough for personal use. It won't be at a professional/production finish level, but it will make you smile when you paddle it.

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1 year 3 weeks ago - 1 year 3 weeks ago #40422 by peteavery247
Brilliant ggc, how did the K2 turn out with the V12 molded buckets? Good to know I am not the only one who has ideas to modify boats to better suit their needs.
Thanks for the tips re composites as I will look those videos up. I have to repair the large hole I cut in the deck of my K1 to fit my feet through it so that might be a good first try with carbon composites. Making a lighter swivel seat base for my V12 then a composite bucket insert for the V12 would be next on the list if I start tinkering with carbon.
Cutting and rejoining a hull and re-joining a carbon ski hull is the least appealing part of the idea compared to moving the bucket and footwells fprward or cutting down the deck height. I think (like others) it would likely ruin the fluid dynamics of the hull.
It does seem that there are several K1 like skis out there (incl. Van Husen Mohican, Knysna Mcgregor Classic, Nelo 560M, Nelo 560ML, Fenn Surge and Csrbonology Feather for starters), just based on the excelent replies to this thread so I am doing some research on those as a starter.
Last edit: 1 year 3 weeks ago by peteavery247.

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1 year 3 weeks ago #40423 by ggc
K2 turned out alright, should be some pics attached.
Had to take some height out of the sides of the front seat to get it to fit.
Original plan was to do a clip-on cockpit cover like the original V12, but it didn't work out, and wasn't really needed.
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1 year 3 weeks ago #40424 by zachhandler

K2 turned out alright, should be some pics attached.
Had to take some height out of the sides of the front seat to get it to fit.
Original plan was to do a clip-on cockpit cover like the original V12, but it didn't work out, and wasn't really needed.

Wow! That is an awesome looking double. What an achievement to pull that off! I have dreamed of being able to place my favorite ski bucket into my favorite ski hull…

Current Skis: Epic v10 g3, NK 670 double, NK exrcize, Kai Wa’a Vega, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X
Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Nelo 550 g2, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy

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1 year 2 weeks ago #40425 by peteavery247
That is brilliant! I wish I had your carbon skills, those buckets and footwells look like they came out of a factory!

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1 year 2 weeks ago - 1 year 2 weeks ago #40434 by peteavery247
Quick update:
I did a test paddle in a new Nelo 560M today and it was absolutely terrific. Whilst the 560M was new and a demo boat, I wasn't sure of the build year/ generation. It wasn't the 8.5kg weight layup but still fairly light. The only issue was I felt my legs were 1-2cm too long for it for full hip rotation and leg drive. I had the footplate a touch further forward than the last pin and it looked like there might be another 2-3cm length available possibly by modifying or changing the footplate and pedals or rails, etc. Has anyone every done this to a 560M? A seriously exciting boat for me that meets all my requirements except for leg length (possibly solvable) and prohibitive cost for a new 8.5kg one. It would be a miracle finding an affordable used 8.5kg Nelo 560M in Australia if anyone is planning on selling one.
Also, I need to try a Nelo 560ML to see if the length length is longer than the 560M unless someone knows that already. I also don't know if the length is the same in all 560M year models.
Last edit: 1 year 2 weeks ago by peteavery247. Reason: Typos

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1 year 2 weeks ago #40440 by mrcharly
Your speeds are pretty good!

Question; in the flatwater marathon racing, don't you have to do portages?

Trying to portage a ski at speed would be a miserable experience. The south africans usually drag theirs, one end on the ground, for their long distance river races.

They are a compulsory part of international marathon racing, and being quick in a portage is very important (I was always absolutely rubbish, and would continually overtake people, only for them to get past me at the portage).

If you don't have portages, get a spraydeck. Also consider borrowing a slightly more stable K1 for a race. Staying on top of the water is definitely faster than taking a swim. A more stable boat is less fatiguing as well.

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1 year 2 weeks ago #40441 by peteavery247
Most of the local 20km flat water marathon races don't require portages, particularly in the slower divisions that I am in. I wouldn't attempt to portage a ski. I have done one portage race on my K1 as that was a specific race for ICF K1s and that had 5 x 120m portages. Was a fun experience for a me as a first timer. I will try a skirt on my K1, but I think that would probably get in the way in a portage race. I am improving on my K1 but took a swim today for the first time in 8 weeks so I have had 3 swims in it now in 2 months.

I am also seriously considering selling a few boats and consolidating to maybe even just one boat, and that would be a shorter low volume K1 like ski. I am unlike to cut up a ski though if I can find the right one for me.

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