Dog, your reaction is totally understandable--the Epic is a boat that required the modifications that I made in order for me to maximize my pleasure and satisfaction in paddling it. In one or more of my previous posts, I suggested that Epic consider hanging a traditional rudder off the stern, etc., etc. None of these suggestions are new. My boat now is exactly where I want it to be, because I was prepared to make the changes to it that I have. There is no way that I would expect large numbers (or even small numbers) of today's kayak purchasers to become so personally involved in altering their boats. My interest here (like the experience with my Dirigo) is to offer a candid warts-and-all discussion of my experiences with an unusual sea kayak--its strengths and weaknesses. I think it may be more useful than the nonsense one encounters routinely on some other kayaking websites wherein happy owners tell you endlessly how wonderful their boats are (until they sell them in order to buy an even more wonderful boat).
I don't recall Freya having a problem with her first boat's hull; I know she started with a stock boat because her custom boat wasn't ready, then switched when the custom boat became available. Anybody know more? And my point about Barton and Chalupsky being racers was not that the 18X and the 16X are racing boats--they're not--but that they are the kind of boats that one would expect that racers unfamiliar with recreational kayaking would design.