How to feel inferior about a sea kayak by paddling a recreational kayak

CPS

Paddler
Joined
Oct 27, 2020
Messages
83
Location
BC
I don't know if this is a trip report, or gear talk, so I've just put it in general discussion.

We just picked up a few Stellar kayaks at work to look and decide whether to bring more in, and one of them is a sit on top.
I got the opportunity to take it out for a little paddle today to see what it's like.

PXL_20210319_170648628.jpg


It's certainly a unique looking boat. They (Stellar) call it a high performance recreational sit on top kayak. It's looks like a surfski to me, but at over 24" wide, also not quite right. It's a unique boat.

PXL_20210319_174624618.jpg


There are certainly some benefits to a sit on top boat such as paddling with much more leg drive, and unhindered ability to wiggle legs.
Being so dramatically Swede formed allows for a really high blade angle, which I quite like. And it was very stable, almost to the point of being boring.
All in all an interesting boat, but my real takeaway was that I need a faster boat.

I paddle an old Necky Looksha IV, and I have never up to this point really considered it slow. This little 14' boat is quicker to accelerate, and I was able to maintain a higher crusing speed with less effort.
Obviously this little boat isn't ideally suited for a multi-day trip, but now I'm drooling over and daydreaming of one of their longer, narrower touring boats.

Although to my old Necky's credit, I got it in exchange for a days labour, so the return on investment has been astronomical. And I know it's not really fair to compare an old, fuzzy, rotomoulded boat with a shiny composite boat.
But still...

Anyone have any thoughts on these less conventional hull shapes with steep bows and more surfski influence? They seem to be more popular abroad than on the West Coast, but maybe I'm unfairly generalizing.
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
2,651
Location
Victoria, BC
That's an interesting boat, and seems a big step up from the usual SOT offerings.

Anyone have any thoughts on these less conventional hull shapes with steep bows and more surfski influence? They seem to be more popular abroad than on the West Coast, but maybe I'm unfairly generalizing.
Yes, it's a pity that we don't have easy access to faster modern designs 'out here'.
A couple of friends have Stellars - bought mostly for the light weight, not speed, and Kate Hives has a Rockpool Taran, I think.
Stellar doesn't seem to want to sell boats very much :"If you want to paddle one, you need to buy one." was the response a friend got.
Deep Cove sells the Epics, but I haven't seen one on the water.
And there's a list of hard-to-get or unobtanium boats, all of which I think would be fun:
P&H Valkyrie
Tiderace Pace 17
Rockpool Taran and Tarantella
Audax from Australia

I like my Thomasson Panthera(s) :) but they are DIY boats so not for everybody.

And perhaps it's just the age group I hang out with (old!) but paddlers here seem quite conservative about boat selection.
The lack of more 'modern' offerings from the few remaining retailers doesn't help. The CD Prana/Sisu 'family' is the notable exception.

I never get questions or interest in my Bjorn Thomasson-designed boats (Panthera, Frej, Njord) when I paddle with others.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: CPS

CPS

Paddler
Joined
Oct 27, 2020
Messages
83
Location
BC
The Pantheras are very interesting looking. But it's probably best I don't start building kayaks. I'd probably have too much fun and fill the garage.

It's interesting that there's not a ton of information available on these more efficient, more modern, and less conventional, designs. I see a fair amount of information talking about them in the context of races, but not much in the context of touring. If they handle the seas well, why are they not more popular?

I'd love to try out a few of them, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of opportunities to try boats out these days. Maybe when demand settles to normal levels.

I know a major obstacle for me personally is having enough days off in a row to do a trip to interesting destinations. If I could cover more distance reliably, it would open up a bit more opportunities for interesting destinations on shorter timelines.
I enjoy challenging myself to do a lap of some of the big lakes nearby. Maybe a really long pointy boat would make the larger ones seem more attainable.


The Prana and Sisu are quite interesting looking boats. We have a few of them in stock but I haven't paddled them. They look good, but in the opposite direction I am drawn to.
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
2,651
Location
Victoria, BC
The Pantheras are very interesting looking. But it's probably best I don't start building kayaks. I'd probably have too much fun and fill the garage.
Yes.... "I have a friend with a problem like that...." :)

It's interesting that there's not a ton of information available on these more efficient, more modern, and less conventional, designs. I see a fair amount of information talking about them in the context of races, but not much in the context of touring.
Though they are at the larger capacity end of the range, I would put the Point65 Freya and the Epic 18X in that 'surfski inspired' group, and Freya has talked about her boats quite a bit.
Also, folks in Australia seem to have adopted those faster boats, sometimes with sails added. Some of the clubs in OZ have newsletters online, and the Expedition Kayaks (Mark Sundin and Rob Mercer) blog posts are interesting.
In the UK and Europe, it seems that the Tiderace and Rockpool boats are popular, and most of the Scandinavian boat companies seem to have some surfski-style kayaks in their lines.
If they handle the seas well, why are they not more popular?
I think a lot of paddlers are looking for the 'one boat that does everything well', and want a boat that can carry all the tripping gear (bear barrels, lawn chairs, etc. :) ) AND be good for a day of rock gardening in the middle of a trip.
And, there's the Brit prejudice against rudders at work, too.
To make a boat more efficient, reducing the wetted surface is one tactic. That usually means that the boat is going to be narrower and 'more tippy' feeling.
I know a major obstacle for me personally is having enough days off in a row to do a trip to interesting destinations. If I could cover more distance reliably, it would open up a bit more opportunities for interesting destinations on shorter timelines.
Exactly. I don't have 'a big motor' and I'll never cruise at 5 or 6 knots and need a long waterline boat. I'm looking for boats that are more efficient, and can 'hop on a wave' (aka 'catch runners') easily. And there are some places where being able to put in a 25-30 mile (or longer) day, or days in succession can avoid some nasty surf landings and increase my safety.

But having an efficient hull (and a wing paddle) can make a difference even in 'normal' paddling situations, not just on trips. Last week I was paddling with 3 friends -all good fit paddlers with many many 'miles under the keel' and we had to paddle up-current for a short stretch (Strongtide Islet in Baynes/OakBay). The opposing current was probably 3.5 knots. I was in my 'shorter' Panthera '507', using a wing paddle and a minute or so of steady work saw me through. My friends took a lot longer - up to 7 or 8 minutes. They mentioned how much work it was- several times!
 
  • Like
Reactions: CPS

Splonger

New Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2011
Messages
7
After enjoying my Delta 17 for over 10 years, I wanted something a little more efficient (faster) and spent 3 years looking for and trying other kayaks. This included the Stellar 18R (very fast, but not comfortable) the Zegul Searocket (a disappointment) and others. I finally just drove to Deep Cove and bought the Epic 18x Sport, and immediately loved it. Huge volume for camping, quick to accelerate and fast if you want to work. This kayak has superbly designed hatches, and the only day hatch behind the cockpit that you can easily open and close with one hand, without looking. After 4 years of being my go-to boat, I'd buy one again in a minute. Just my thoughts.
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
2,651
Location
Victoria, BC
bought the Epic 18x Sport, and immediately loved it. Huge volume for camping, quick to accelerate and fast if you want to work. This kayak has superbly designed hatches
The Epic 18X and 18X Sport are very sharp-looking boats; I've always liked those lines (and the paint job).
Thanks for that report.
Some of the Epic boats had an online reputation for leaky hatches, so it's good to hear that's not a problem.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CPS

AM

Paddler
Joined
Jan 30, 2006
Messages
895
Location
Vancouver
Great link, John. It reminds me of that video that made the rounds some years ago comparing an Epic kayak with a Brit design:


It’s really interesting when designers talk about the thinking that went into their boats. One of the great things about the Mariner site, for example, is that the Broze brothers really go into their design philosophy and how it applies to each model.

The Scandinavians seem to have a great naval architecture culture. So many cool boats are coming from the Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians. My boat (Tahe Wind 535) is designed by a Swede, Hans Friedel and it does not look traditional at all. Getting people to accept that kayaks designs can change is sometimes difficult. I recall the designer of the Necky Chatham 16 saying that he only put pointy ends on the boat because the marketing department said customers expected a sea kayak to look a particular way...

Cheers,
Andrew
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
2,651
Location
Victoria, BC
Andrew-
Thanks for that Epic video - excellent! :)
The Scandinavians seem to have a great naval architecture culture.
Yes, from the days of the Vikings, I suppose, but I think of Colin Archer too. And some of Archer's ideas - like the Wave Form theory- have uses in kayak design as I understand it.

It doesn't have a plumb bow, but I think the Tahe 535 (535 x 54 cm) is the type of 'modern design' kayak that we are talking about here.
Tahe Wind 535.JPG

Quite a few Scandinavian kayaks have skeg and rudder.
 

JKA

Paddler
Joined
Jul 25, 2016
Messages
114
Location
Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
I think a lot of paddlers are looking for the 'one boat that does everything well', and want a boat that can carry all the tripping gear (bear barrels, lawn chairs, etc. :) ) AND be good for a day of rock gardening in the middle of a trip.
And that may be the key point!

Anything "multipurpose" is a compromise. A surgeon needs a scalpel during an operation but uses an axe to split wood for the fire. My bush knife can gut a carcass and split kindling, but there are obvious limits.

Yesterday I was preparing to do some coaching and a friend, carrying his surf ski, came over and passed rude comment on my Romany sitting on the grass. He asked if I'd got rid of my Nordkapp, which he normally sees me in. I explained that it was 'horses for courses': the Romany was a more suitable boat for what I was doing AT THAT TIME.

He was heading out for exercise, working hard on speed, while I was going to be staying in a bay, demonstrating movements and watching closely how others did them.

That my friends, is why multi-kayak ownership is a NEED, not a want! ;)

Cheers

John
 
Top