Everybody knows Greg Barton, the Olympian who brought the first Gold medal for USA in Canoe and Kayak racing. At the late 80’s and early 90’s Greg dominated the field and often finished with a large lead in front of his competitors. What made him so successful? To win the number of races Greg has won one has to have dedication to their training program and give everything they could during racing but what set Greg apart from many others was his work outside of the water. The work he had done in search for the most efficient paddle and boat for him to use. 20 years ago the elite paddlers on the planet had very different attitude to the paddlers going to Olympics today. It was a normal thing for an elite athlete to do their own little modification to the equipment they used in order to make it more comfortable or slightly more efficient that would give them little edge against their competition. Greg Barton took this attitude a step further when he decided to develop paddle shape to use for his own racing. When he first tested a wing paddle developed in Europe he knew that was the future of kayaking but he also knew that the shape could be optimized and made more efficient and the paddle lighter than the first wings on the market. That was the inspiration that would drive Greg to complete his degree in hydrodynamics and would later lead to founding Epic Paddles company. Many things have changed since then including the company which later included two more partners – Oscar Chalupsky and Charles Brand and a new name, Epic Kayaks. There is one thing though that remained the same. When Greg seats in front of the computer now to create a new surfski, kayak or paddle design he embraces the same attitude he had 20 years ago. “In Epic Kayaks we make the products for ourselves. Almost everyone working in the company paddles a surfski or a kayak. We all use our equipment and we let our friends and family use it too. Now, when we make a surfski that we would use in huge seas and currents we know how dangerous it can get if you have the wrong construction or the wrong design. We know that we will be going out there in open ocean taking on conditions many boats wouldn’t hold well into. That is why we make sure our boats are light, fast, stable and comfortable to seat in. We don’t compromise with quality because we know that it could be us going out and using the surfski or a paddle that is being manufactured at this very moment. This I believe is the main thing that makes Epic Kayaks different to the other manufacturers on the market. We know of companies that sell equipment for open ocean and no one in the company even knows how to use a paddle or keep balance in a kayak. That is something we couldn’t imagine doing at Epic Kayaks”
Greg Barton will be making presentation and clinic at Epic Kayaks conference in Tarifa. You will understand how our great designs are developed and maybe get some first hand information on the future development of the surfski and paddles designs.