Review: Think Evo Surf Ski

Friday, 03 August 2007 20:00 | Written by  Chris Nagle
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Image[Editor: Canadian Chris Nagle sent us this review of the Think Evo ski.  Think Kayaks is based in Vancouver, Canada, while the skis are manufactured in China.

Many thanks to Chris for the review.]

The Lowdown

The new EVO surf ski by THINK kayaks has been a winner for the short time it has been available this spring and summer in Western Canada.  Since its arrival it has become a choice local surf ski for all levels of paddlers.  The Think Evo achieves  remarkable stability for a competitive  boat.  At 20'6" inches and 19" wide, the Evo has plenty of hull speed to keep up with the pack.  With a one to two foot increase in length over other 19" wide surf skis, the Evo has noticeably good glide and likely increased hull speed. 

Think Evo ski (Photo: Chris Nagle)

As a big water boat, the Evo provides comfort in otherwise sketchy conditions.  On a recent 5 knot Ebb Tide surf session in Vancouver Harbor,  an opposing wind kicked up challenging conditions.  With 6'-8' waves coming from different directions I was catching great rides, linking waves together.   With such unpredictable water creating challenging conditions, I felt quite comfortable with the Evo. 

Fit, Finish and Construction

Think currently offers two constructions for the Evo, a fiberglass/coremat and a Kevlar/honeycomb core.  Both constructions use premium epoxy resin and both are vacuum bagged for an optimal weight to strength ratio.  The Kevlar/honeycomb construction weighs in at 12 kilos and  comes with a yellow and gray topcoat.  The fiberglass/coremat model weighs approximately 15 kilos and is finished in gray with an orange bow and stern 

I particularly like the fresh new color schemes which are a little different other surf skis on the market.  The gray is light enough in color not to attract too much heat on a sunny day.  The appearance of the both layups are quite slick. 

Having seen the inside of many surfskis in the past (not usually a favorable situation for the surfski owner), its clear the Evo has been assembled with a reasonable amount of care and finishing. 

Foot Controls and Seating Position

The comfy bucket seat in the Evo is positioned slightly higher than the footwell. The foot controls  offer a tool free adjustment of the footboard with amble micro adjustment.  They have a fixed, double looped strap with a single footwell.  The adjustment system for the footboard appears somewhat utilitarian however I have had no problems with the demo boat I have been using. 

Footplate and rudder assembly (Photo: Chris Nagle)

Rudder pedals (Photo: Chris Nagle)

An interesting feature on the Evo (that I suspect we'll start seeing on other skis in the near future) is a recessed deck fitting in the upper section of the footwell.  It is an ideal place for a boat leash as opposed to within the footboard system which tends to hinder re-entry on other skis.

The under stern rudder assembly on the Evo threads into place with a wingnut alleviating the fear of ones rudder from dropping into Davy Jones' Locker.

...with a wingnut... (Photo: Chris Nagle)

Speed, Stability and Performance

This is where most reviews become subjective and I am going to tread lightly and  not  make any bold statements. 

The Evo offers quite a predictable hull.  It has quite well pronounced primary stability with very predictable secondary stability.  In racing to catch a wave I find the predictability of hull allows me to dig in with greater confidence much stronger than other skis. 

At the top end of speed, the Evo appears to hold its own.  There are several local elite level EVO paddlers that are consistently beating V-10 and Fenns on any given evening.  I have also noticed several new surfski paddlers make the transition on to an Evo quite seamlessly. 

One challenging issue with the Evo is how awkward it is to carry. 

Although only 12 kilos, there is no definitive place to grab hold of ski while solo carrying it.  More of a nuisance than anything, but it would be great if Think could incorporate some type of divit or grip at the mid point to alleviate this issue.


The designers of the new Evo surf ski have hit a great balance of speed and stability.  The Evo allows for skilled paddlers to focus all their efforts in paddling forward and catching waves as opposed to staying upright.

Contact and Additional  Info



The Reviewer

Chris is the Manager at Deep Cove Outdoors/Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak ( in North Vancouver, British Columbia.  He is a regular competitor in the Deep Cove Tuesday Night Race Series which draws over 100 competitors each week. 

Chris is a long time ocean and river kayaker.  Since discovering the joys of surf ski paddling 2 years ago it has been hard to look back.

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