I recently purchased a demo X16 at Bill Jackson's in Pinellas Park, FL. The folks there were very helpful. So far I used it on the twisting Weeki Wachee River as well as on a trip in the Gulf to Shell Island in the Crystal River estuary. This was against a flowing tide in a strong offshore wind. The X16 performed very well in both conditions.
Generally I do not like rudders but the SmarTrack rudder was easy to use and is the only rudder I would want. The hatches are huge and the covers are a dream to open and close. The day hatch with its hinged cover is easy to open and close while on the water. The shock cords in front of the cockpit are closer together then on my other kayak, so that I cannot use my regular deck bag but I use a North Water turtle bag which is just large enough for my electronic stuff. For larger items that I want at hand, I have installed 2 other bags inside the cockpit.
The X16 is the kayak I would consider for a multi-day trip involving big water. It is a fast, maneuverable, sea worthy, high volume kayak. I only wish my garage could fit the X18. Perhaps if I were to remove a wall... I ended buying a used Epic 16 -2006 model due to its’ light weight….39 lbs. My Nordkapp HMC is 58 lbs. and paddling once a week single handed was not fun for a guy who is not that strong. What I mean is the loading and unloading it from my van. I sold my NS Fuego due to the small cockpit opening (my idiosyncrasy) and kept my Nordkapp HMC. The Epic 16 I did not quite understand at the beginning. With the rudder up it is very nimble which is excellent but on the down side it does not track straight. I figured that this kayak was made to use a rudder.
Initially I had problems using the rudder pedal. No matter what I do, my toes invariably push the pedal. So the kayak goes zig zag. A guy at the CCK store (Oakland CA) by the name of Socrates advised me on how to adjust the height of the rudder pedal. And boom……problem solved.
I also did some minor modifications. The plastic fittings that hold the perimeter lines were giving me problems. The 3/16” cord slips out when I pull hard on it after a wet exit re-entry maneuver. I replaced the said fittings with the better ones from Necky? The people at CCK ordered it for me.
Now that I have been paddling Epic 16 for awhile, I must say that I’m beginning to really like this kayak. It is fast……6.7 mph w/ current assist (GPS) on a sprint using a wing paddle. Easy to load on my van due to its’ light weight. It is straight tracking with the rudder. And if I have to maneuver a lot like in a corkscrew slough, the rudder goes up. And did I say it looks like a red Ferrari?
The Epic Touring 16 has been replaced by Epic 16X in 2007. The epic Cruiser 16 was purchased in Carbon Fibre primarily for its weight, which at 15.5 Kg has to be one of the lightest touring Kayaks around . Being perilously close to 60, I was finding that loading a kayak onto the roof rack was an ever increasing challenge with a 25Kg boat and an 11st frame!
The performance required was for an estuary / lake / inshore kayak in the UK, to carry a paddler of many years, plus equipment for a full days paddle in comfort.
This boat brings a big smile to my face every time that I use it. It is light, a joy to paddle, responsive, comfortable and fast! Stability is remarkable considering its cross section which is basically round and it recovers well, which to my mind is a more important factor than primary stability. Being low in profile at the bow and stern it makes light work of cross winds.
The seat, backrest and footrest are all easily adjusted for perfect balance and the build quality is very good.
Often paddling alone, I would have preferred a colour other than the black of Carbon Fibre, but overall this is my only real criticism and I can truly commend this kayak to you for consideration, should you have a similar requirement to myself.I just bought my wife an Epic Cruiser 16. The boat is 16' long and 22 5/8" wide. It has a semi-plum bow, soft chines, rounded bottom with a flat section under the seat extending towards the rear of the boat. I had to beg my wife to let me take it out for a spin and I'm sure it will be the last time I get to paddle it...we'll see. I Thought I would review the boat while the memory was still fresh in my mind.
I paddled the Epic on the St. Johns River in a wide section (three miles wide). The water was flat to about a foot and one half. This boat's fit and finish is very good. Not quite as good as my QCC 700 but Epic's quality control is definitely getting better. I could not believe how fast it was. Cruising at 5-5.5 mph was easy. It seemed about as fast as my Epic 18 or my 700 (cruising) and it was very easy to keep up a fast cruise. Against the current, right after I got in the water (no warm up), with three liters of water behind my seat, dragging the water line, in a quick sprint, I hit 7.8 mph. It usually takes me about half an hour to warm up and about five or six sprints to hit my fastest sprint. My first sprint in the 18 with no water on the boat and on a lake (no current against me) was 8.7 mph. THIS IS A FAST BOAT! How can Epic make a boat this fast and so short?
It is also so stable that anybody could paddle it. When a large yacht passed close by me I took the opportunity to see how it surfed. I had some nine mph rides on those two to three foot waves and when I stopped I was about one mile away from my buddies. I turned and paddled at six mph back to them. How can Epic make a boat this short and this stable go so fast? Best of all, it only weighs 39 pounds. Not much more than my surfski. It makes my carbon/kevlar QCC 700 feel down right heavy. It is very light.
I am impressed with this boat. As a macho guy, I must have at least an 18' boat to feel good about myself (I wonder what Freud would say about that?) BUT this boat would be good for anybody. Epic has also finally got a great seat and back band. Very comfortable and first rate. I would whole heartedly recommend this boat to anyone! Truly anyone.
After much deliberation, I am very pleased with this boat choice for my wife. I believe she will easily keep up with the club, she will become very confident in the bumps and will not grow out of the boat any time soon. With it's speed, stability and light weight, I know she will love the boat. Oh yeah, the seat adjusts too. You can adjust the seat to trim the boat for performance or to allow smaller or shorter people to get their legs in the proper bracing position/location of the boat. Nice touch! Great Job Epic! Happily submitted!