Dan and I went for a paddle today, and because it was such a hot day and the water was so warm, afterwards he suggested I give his Epic V10 surf ski a try. I wrote before that I’d tried out a V10 Sport a few times and liked it a lot. A V10 is longer and narrower than a V10 Sport – it’s basically got the same lack of initial stability, but it doesn’t flare out as much so it has a lot less secondary stability. Dan said that it would be a better boat for me because of my size, and I have to say that paddling in the shallow water just off shore at the beach it sure seemed less prone to “suck water” in the shallows.
The lack of stability meant that I dumped about four times before I got to take my first paddle stroke. After a while (and a lot more swimming), I got comfortable enough to take ten or twenty paddle strokes before dumping, but I was still going from gunwale to gunwale (assuming you can call those things on surf skis “gunwales”). But that was just my first half hour in the boat – I’m sure in another 10 hours I’ll be much better – and have a lot more beach sand in my ears.
I’m not denying that the V10 would be a faster boat once I got used to it, but on the other hand, the learning curve would be a lot higher – I wonder if I’d be able to race it in the first season I bought it. On the other hand, most of the rest of the team is in V10 Sports now, and I can just imagine what some of the more competitive (but who claim not to be competitive) types would think if I were to leap frog them and get a faster boat than them.
On the other hand, Mike thinks he’s got this all worked out. He owns a “blue stripe” V10 Sport. On Epic surf skis, there are are four different layups, each one more expensive and lighter than the last, each denoted by a different colour stripe on the cheat line. The “blue stripe” (Value) ones are the cheapest and heaviest. The “black stripe” (Performance) ones are about $500 more, and about 4 pounds lighter. The “red stripe” (Ultra) are $1000 more than Performance, and 8 pounds lighter than them. (Note the constant $125/pound ratio there.) And the mythical “black boat” (Elite) ones are another $1000 more than Ultra, and only 4 pounds lighter – so due to the drop off in price/performance, I’ve never seen one of these, and nobody is likely to see once not in the hands of pros. But anyway, Mike’s theory is this: next year, I should buy his “blue stripe” V10 Sport, and he’ll buy Steve’s “red stripe” V10 Sport. Then Steve will buy something even better, probably a V12 or V10 L. It’s a great theory, providing Steve cooperates by buying another boat and selling his V10 Sport for a price that Mike can afford. And that I actually want his “blue stripe” V10 Sport. But that might work – a year in a V10 Sport might be a good way to develop some core strength and balance before moving to a V10.