First Looks: V10 Sport

Sunday, 16 April 2006 15:09 | Written by 
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ImageHear Oscar talk about the Epic surf skis and the message is clear: "The V10 is the fastest, most stable, best designed, best built ski in the world and the V10 Sport comes a close second!" It’s more stable and slightly slower but, “On the V10 Sport, I could still win the Molokai against anyone on any ski (except the V10)”!


But there is only one Oscar – what do lesser mortals think of the ski? Said lesser mortals had the opportunity to try out the V10 Sport this weekend here in Cape Town...


First Looks


(The demo ski is the only V10 Sport in South Africa, Oscar having brought it back from the Chinese factory after his recent trip there.)


The Epic V10 Sport


Click here for a larger image. 


The build quality is superb. The deck and hull are immaculate and bear testimony to the CNC machined plug that was used to create the mold. Slightly shorter (about 16inches/400mm) and noticeably wider (1inch/25mm) the ski looks very much like its bigger brother with the same big volume nose and wide afterdeck.


V10 on the left; V10 Sport on the right


The seat is also wider and suits generously upholstered backsides.


The wider cockpit


Earlier this year I spent a month paddling a V10 and achieved some great results (for me) in the last races of the season. I particularly enjoyed two races that saw us paddle downwind at a 45 degree angle to the wind and waves – the stability of the ski made it easy to catch the runs and the directional stability made it easy to stay on them.


So how did the V10 Sport compare? I was lucky enough to spend 40 minutes or so playing in the surf, enjoying what amounted to a personal coaching session with big Oscar. In 40 minutes it’s of course not possible to form more than a first impression, but several things struck me:


  • The ski is extremely stable, but still feels fast and responsive.
  • The steering was far better than the demo V10 – something that can be attributed to the new rudder which is longer and some 25% bigger.
  • The seat is very wide and apart from the incompatibility between the V10 bucket (which rubs me raw in minutes) and my coccyx, I’d have to install a bum pad to stop sliding around in it.


The distinctive V10 afterdeck

Surf Ski School


A sea full of flailing, swimming paddlers and drifting skis bore testimony to the lively surf line that was challenging Dawid Mocke’s surf ski school students on Saturday morning.


Surf Ski School currently uses heavy old Hammerhead skis for teaching, and our purpose was to see how total beginners would cope with the V10 Sport.


Although the ski clearly isn’t totally fool-proof, as evidenced by several spills as the beginners took it through the surf line and back, I could see that the paddlers were not overwhelmed by it either. I watched a couple of the beginners take the ski out and all three attempts followed the same general pattern – a very wobbly beginning and a spill more often than not when the first wave hit accompanied by yells from Oscar, “don’t stop paddling, keep going!” A dodgy turn would be followed by an uncertain surf back to the beach. But all the paddlers were noticeably more confident on the second and subsequent trips.


...noticeably more confident


It certainly appears that this is a ski that can be handled with a fair degree of confidence even by absolute beginners.


While we were on the beach, South African lifesaver legend “Bones” Barrett arrived (on his V10). After a spin in the V10 Sport he exclaimed “you can’t fall out of this thing even if you try…” (Take this whence it comes - Bones is of course one of the most experienced paddlers in South Africa!)  


Springbok lifesaver Bones Barrett



South African consumers must remember that this particular ski is the light, (expensive) imported version – the Kayak Centre V10 Sport will be built in glass lay-up and will be somewhat heavier.


In my opinion though, the V10 Sport is a great ski both for beginners and intermediate paddlers.


What I like about the ski:

  • The stability. This is a ski suited for total beginners
  • The performance. This ski is streets ahead of the old hammerhead-type craft and will take a paddler from starting off through to intermediate racing.
  • The finish: The extremely high quality sets high expectations – I hope Kayak Centre lives up to them for the SA market!
  • The new rudder: The difference between the V10 Sport’s manoeuvrability and that of the demo V10 (with the old rudder) was striking.

The new rudder - 25% bigger area


What I don’t like

  • The seat: The V10 and V10 Sport seats both rubbed my coccyx raw within minutes. (It must be said that no-one else I know has the same complaint and most paddlers give the seat an emphatic thumbs-up.)
  • The width of the seat: The V10 Sport’s seat is designed for larger backsides and I was left sliding around in it. A bum pad should sort this out though and Epic will be offering an insert to reduce the width.


See Also


Joe Glickman's write up of his experience with the V10 Sport during the 2006 Molokai Challenge.  Click here

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