Based on an Epic V12 Ultra surfski, the "Matador" is for staring down the biggest bulls the ocean has to offer with grace and passion. This is the ski I'll be racing at the 2017 Canadian Surfski Championship and the 2017 Gorge Downwind Championships. Ole!
This was my first custom surfski project, and was undertaken as a creative exploration blending traits from a SUP, Surfski and Hobie Mirage. I also used the project as a way to teach myself design and engineering practices, and because it's just fun to invent stuff. The result was a very curious animal indeed. I partnered with Blue Shed Shaping for shaping and Cascade Performance Fiberglass in Hood River, Oregon to execute this craft.
This is the surfski that I used on my 2015 Vancouver Island Circumnavigation Attempt. A truly high performance kayak that handled incredibly well in the rugged offshore water as I made my way down the west coast of the island, averaging 50 plus mile days. Fast, stable and fun!
The ski has carbon reinforcements, bulkheads, both an understern rudder and a kick up rudder (not shown) and weighs 37 pounds rigged. I collaborated with Jim Teshura of Sterling Kayaks to execute the paint job.
About a year ago one fateful day after a downwind paddle, I committed the kind of sin that you only hear about after you do it. Or if you're lucky, you read about it when someone else does it. I am that someone else.
I placed the ski on top of my truck, and started to talking with my friend (about paddling of course!). I forgot to lash the ski down, and learned of my transgression at 60 mph on the freeway. The ski literally flew off of the truck and summersaulted backwards towards an unsuspecting cab driver right behind me who managed to dodge it. It smacked into the ground tail first, and slid for 60 feet. The boat, and my heart, was broken. I am still thankful to this day that no one was injured or worse for my stupidity.
I picked up the ski, stored it in my shed, and contemplated what to do next while I tried to track down another ski to paddle. JD, the Epic dealer in Hood River was able to supply another V12 at a great price, and suggested I take the shattered ski to Sterling Kayaks in Bellingham to see if it might be repairable.
The good people at Sterling are famous for their workmanship, and make some truly rugged sea kayaks. After a quick look, they felt pretty good about making the boat viable again. We decided to go even farther with it and reinforce the hull with carbon, add hatches, bulkheads and oh yeah, a tiger stripe pearl metallic paint job.
They say stupid hurts. And it does. But it can also be beautiful in the end. Behold, the "Ego Smuggler".