Review: Kayak Centre V10

Sunday, 18 June 2006 22:31 | Written by 
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ImageOne of the perks of writing for is that I sometimes get the opportunity to test drive new skis... and the latest was the Kayak Centre V10. 


Kayak Centre, in Durban, have a license to manufacture the Epic skis for the South African market and the first production units arrived in Cape Town at the end of May.  I went in to (the all new refitted and snazzy) Brian's Kayaks and Sports to have a look at the skis (they had a V10 Sport there too) and the following weekend I took the V10 for a paddle in Hout Bay.


First Impressions


The build quality looks very good.  Both the finish and fittings lived up to Kayak Centre's reputation for high manufacturing standards.


The build quality looks very good.


Kayak Centre have placed their own stamp on the design:


  • A handle has been placed at the front of the cockpit, designed to be used when waiting in the water at the start of races.
  • The tiller bar has been replaced by a wheel. As shown in the photo, this means that the rudder cable is a single continuous length running from one pedal to the other, thereby eliminating the weakness of joining cables to the tiller bar.
  • Steel cable has been used for the rudder cable which is joined to lines aft of the rudder pedals, giving the strength and longevity of the cable combined with the convenience of the easily adjustable pedals.
  • The rudder is the standard Kayak Centre product, as used on their Dorado skis. 



V10 (left) and V10 Sport (right)
...replaced by a wheel



V10 v V10 Sport


The major differences between V10 and V10 Sport are:


  • The V10 Sport is slightly shorter
  • The V10 Sport's cockpit is further forward than the V10's
  • The V10 Sport's volume in the nose is slightly less than the V10's


The V10 sport's cockpit is located further forward...



Build Technology


Kayak Centre is currently building the skis in glass fibre lay-up only.  There are plans to produce carbon skis, but no firm dates for when they might be available.


Given that the Epic skis are bigger and longer than many of their competitors, how would they fair in terms of weight?  Brian's Kayaks have a handy scale set up and we put the V10 onto it.  The result?  Seventeen kilos on the dot.  This is comparable with most glass skis on the market.



Weighing the Kayak Centre V10
...seventeen kilos on the dot...



Paddling the V10



For a larger image click here


I took the V10 out in Hout Bay, around to Seal Island and back.  Although it was a relatively calm day, there was the usual chop at the base of the Sentinel peak and some small runs to be had on the way back into the bay.


I had the good fortune to paddle a V10 (one of the early SA-built skis) for a month at the beginning of the year in several races and all kinds of weather conditions.  I loved the ski then and this one felt no different.  It was just as stable in the choppy water, and seemed to pick up runs just as easily.


It also rubbed my coccyx raw, just like the earlier ski! 



What I liked


  • The build quality - this feels like a strong, well built ski.
  • The extra Kayak Centre touches (like the handle and the rudder tiller-wheel)
  • The stability - this is not a beginner's ski, but the extra stability compared to a Fenn Millennium or Icon frees me up to paddle instead of bracing in the chop.
  • The performance - although I didn't paddle this example in a race I can confidently predict that it'll go well upwind and downwind. 
  • The agility of the ski compared with the demo ski that I used previously - the steering was much more positive.


What I didn't like


  • The rudder pedal assembly, which felt flimsy to me.  The same assembly was used on the previous V10 that I paddled and, while that example was admittedly an abused and battered demo boat, the pedals had not stood up well.
  • The footplate, which also felt very flimsy.  I couldn't push my heel onto it with any force without it bending away.


(NB: Kayak Centre has since announced that they are taking measures to beef up both the rudder assembly and the footplate.)




For more information:


  • Go to
  • Call Kayak Centre in Durban on 031 - 765 7041 or 082 873 5544
  • Call Derrick or Andy at Brian's Kayaks and Sports in Cape Town on  021 511 9695

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