16X Update: I've made two improvements to my 16X that have made a good boat better. First, I had noticed that, in the feet-splayed position, with the knee/thigh braces in use, I did not have the same excellent foot-to-pedal contact that I did when paddling in the knees-together position. I needed a way to bring the pedal surfaces closer to my feet along the pedals' outer, upper corners. Solution--at a hardware store, I bought two porcelain knobs, about 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter and about an inch high, and some neoprene and fiber washers. I drilled a hole in the upper, outer corner of each pedal and installed the knobs. My feet now nicely contact the pedals. Problem totally solved.
Second improvement was to deal with the difficulty (especially in cold, wet weather) of opening up the straps that hold down the hatch covers, and removing the hatches. Solution--bought some 3/4 inch webbing snap-clips, and, using fabric glue and sewing with needle and thread, incorporated the snap-clips into the strapping system that secures the hatch covers. Now I just release the tension on the webbing via the cam locks that are stock on the boat, then unclip the snap-clips. I then just fold back the now-separated webbing and remove the hatch covers. Owners of 16Xs and 18Xs will know exactly what the problem was.
I briefly met Greg Barton at Paddlesport here in Jersey in March, and outlined my suggestions; also my view that Epic needs to beef up the deck bungees. Don't know if my suggestions registered--it was a busy time for all--but here they are again.
My friend who was thinking about getting an 18X, having tried one and having talked to me about my 16X, placed an order for an 18X Sport, in the standard layup. He's a big, strong, hefty guy, and he should be able to make that boat fly. Looking for it in June or maybe July.