Let me first say that this is an awesome site, which I’ve been studying for weeks. I’m in the process of buying a second house on a large lake (not suitable for powerboats thankfully), and I want to get a sea/touring kayak for fitness/recreation. I used to race bicycles and really love machinery built for speed and efficiency. We have two kayaks already, both Wilderness Systems Pungo 100’s, which are perfect for the streams around our other home in the Ozarks. My problem is that I’m not really able to travel to a store that sells sea kayaks, so I’m dependent on reviews/advice that I receive, primarily from this site. I’m of the larger sort, 5’11” 190, but most of that weight is in the upper body and not the legs/hips.

It would be nice to have a kayak that I could use on the lake as well as on the lazy creeks/rivers near our other home in the Ozarks. That’s not a deal breaker, since we have the Pungos. I would primarily like something that was smooth and efficient for the home on the lake. Based on my lengthy research, here’s what I’m looking to buy, site unseen, from online. I would appreciate any input you fine folks would have on this important decision, and I promise to post some pictures once the yak/house is secured:

Current Designs Kestrel 140 Thermal

Current Designs Kitsilano 150 w/Rudder Thermal

Wilderness Systems Tsunami 140 w/Rudder Roto

Wilderness Systems Tsunami 175 w/Rudder Roto

Native Inuit 14.5 w/Rudder Roto

P&H Capella 166 w/Skeg? Roto

Delta 14.5 w/Rudder Thermal (long drive, but worth it if it’s the “one.”)

Sidekick Trooper 15 w/Rudder Fiberglass (This seems to be the best deal of all at 38#s, but I can’t find any reviews about it)

If anyone can offer advice on any of the above or direct me toward others I should be looking at, I would appreciate it greatly. I look forward to perhaps meeting you someday on the great waters this country is blessed to have.



– Last Updated: Jan-24-11 11:31 PM EST –

Try before you buy - any reputable shop allows a demo.

Various aspects of hull design play a role in performance, feel and comfort in the kayak. Kayaks with long amounts of wetted surface tend to be more stable in large open water waves. They span the waves allowing a bit of glide (adding efficiency) instead of just riding up and down like a cork in the wave action.

Maybe QCC?
If fitness is your goal - that is you aren’t trying to get rolling or paddling involving a lot of maneuverability into the mix - you may want to look for a boat that is tuned pretty much just for speed. Some manufacturers have that in their mix as well as touring boats that are more do-it-all boats. The more extreme of these boats aren’t going to turn without dropping a pretty deep edge, but you probably want a boat that is less specialized than that.

Basically, the more you maximize the length compared to the width, the faster the boat is likely to be. At some point it also loses a lot of primary stability, so depending on your comfort about handling a capsize there is a point in this development whee you want to stop.

Thinking of your goal, you probably should take a look at QCC brand. They are fairly plumb bow boats that tend to be tuned for speed while still being pretty kind to the paddler in terms of stability, and the way you order them is via a phone call with the company. So you get some pretty good consultation on what will work for you as a part of the buying process. They are great on the warranty - if the boat arrives and fails to work for you, they will absolutely take it back. (at least as far as anyone I’ve known who has had one)

I feel your pain on this whole demo thing. I did not have that luxury either and I have five boats that I love equally. If you are primarily boating lakes look for boats with less rocker and a long waterline. With your size you really aren’t that big. All sea kayaks feel tight at first but you get used to it. The tsunami 17.5 is too big. But that line of boats would be fine. You probably want to keep the boat height under 14.5. I would suggest a composite boat and I would save some money and get a qcc. They have used boats on there website occasionally. If you don’t want to spend that much. I would look at thermoform boats. The delta looks cool. I have not paddled it however. Look at the hurricane tracer.

You can go sit in some boats when ever you can, like on vacation. Just keep track of the boat dimensions and then order accordingly.

I promise that when you order a boat you arent just going to hate it. Especially if you only have a pungo to compare it to. Maybe it is just me but I don’t mind adjusting my style to the boat I’m in. Good luck.

Ryan L.

All too short
All of the boats on your list are too short for what you say you want. As suggested above the QCC 700 would be a good choice. I paddle one and I am 5’10", 190.

Another option is the Epic 18x.

I was going to suggest the same two,
but they were not on the OP’s list.

Both the QCC-700 and the Epic 18 are two of the fastest sea kayaks available.

Between the two, the QCC is much better built.

It is also a great kayak in rough water and for kayak camping with it’s large compartments

jack L


– Last Updated: Jan-25-11 11:18 AM EST –

Going fast on a lake only 2 miles long gets When I can paddle my plumb bow shaped hull "Epic Endurance 18" at 5 mph for 3 to 4 hours , the lap thing gets extremely repetitive on a short lake. If you are forced to drive miles and miles to the prime location, you just won't go paddling that often.

Convenience = time in the cockpit training

2 very different Plumb Bow Kayaks - Dagger vs Epic

“Love speed & efficiency"
I understand the thing with speed and efficiency. In reviews, a lot of boats are described as fast and efficient. As an example, whitewater boats are often described as fast. Unless you have some paddling experience, it’s hard to understand the “compared to what?” piece.

So we all have to make assumptions. I’ll assume you’re not really looking for racing hulls. Based upon your list, I have to assume you’ve focused on what’s fast and efficient among “recreational” kayaks. Given your love of that feeling of efficiency & speed, it’s hard not to recommend “sea” kayaks vs where you have placed your focus so far.

The QCC recommendation seems like a good one. One boat that I recently sat in inside a store is the Current Designs Cypress, and CD seems to be available for you. I’m 6’ 185 lbs. It was a very nice fit for me. I really want to get one of these out, but haven’t yet. So no personal experience. It reviews very impressively on a few points in Sea Kayaker, especially coming from the person closest to your size and weight. Neutral in the wind, neutral in waves, on evidently an exceptional level. This is a beautiful thing for anyone I would guess. And it seems they actually took this boat out as a rough water boat vs all flatwater testing. The speeds reported at cruising and workout paces are exceptional for a 16’ 9” kayak, and their calculated drag figures show it to be a fast cruiser as well. Compare it to other reviews like the Impex Hatteras (to be fair, speed isn’t at all what they were going for, but just to demonstrate that the Cypress has achieved efficiency among overall sea kayaks) or even the Nordkapp LV. I would bet that the Cypress isn’t quite as maneuverable as the Hatteras, but if you know, or learn, how to edge, I’m guessing it would turn quite readily. I guess I really just want to try one. It strikes me, and reviews, as a rough water kayak for someone like myself who is really drawn to that extra speed and efficiency. I would bet the bow may bury a bit easier in steep waves or surf compared to sea kayaks really designed to excel at that particular activity in favor of efficiency (like the Hatteras). But I haven’t been in a sea kayak yet that the bow isn’t easily buried in the surf zone, so it’s always giving up a little of this for a little of that. I’m assuming for your personal tastes and uses, the efficiency will provide the greater thrills overall. And for my size, it has a great fit without excess volume. I don’t hear much about the Cypress, but it’s definitely at the top of my list for kayaks I want to try. It appears to represent, for me, an efficient and playful rough water kayak. For you, I think it would give you that speed and efficiency thrill without bumping up to the longer expedition kayaks, and still allow you quick maneuverability should you play around enough to pick up some edging skills.

So how’s that for sharing my excitement about a kayak I haven’t even had the opportunity to try out on the water? On the other hand, I’m not connected to anyone commercially, and I’m not simply touting the kayak I purchased. As always, take it for what it may reasonably mean to you.

I know I fit comfortably in the Cypress. Anyone know how someone around our size would fit into a QCC 600?

dittoing others

– Last Updated: Jan-25-11 10:18 PM EST –

My advice is pretty much the same as what others aid.

1) find a way to demo boats. Take a vacation to some place that has boats you can demo. Maybe find a paddlefest or similar large demo event where they have lots of boats out. Each boat will feel different, and you need to spend time in a boat on the water to know if it feels right to you.machine, you probably want something

The exception to this is if you can buy a used boat cheap, where you could buy it to use as your own demo under the expectation that if it doesn't work, you could sell it for the same amount you paid to buy.

2) Fast boats are long, have less rocker, and are usually narrow. If you really want a fast, efficient kayak, you may want a surf ski or something close to one (like the QCC boats). But, does this work for the lake? If the lake is small, there wouldn't be much benefit to a boat that you can cover the length of it in 5 minutes.

Fast boats go fast, but are not better for fitness. A slow boat is just as good at making you fit.

In lakes where you may make lots of turns around rocks, in narrow channels of the streams entering it, etc, a shorter boat could be more useful.

Something completely different
Pyranha Speeder

You would like the 700 better …
then the 600.

I am a lot shorter and lighter than you, and I much prefer the 700, (Have had both).

Also the 600 will never match the speed of the 700.

jack L

I like it…

– Last Updated: Jan-25-11 2:16 PM EST –

Pyranha Speeder - Looks a lot my discontinued old Dagger Crossover with an extra 2 feet.
Great idea for a "messing around boat" lake, river, etc.

Looks more like a downriver racer, but the beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The Speeder is RMed, which should make bump tolerant than those carbon/kevlar racing affairs. And, plastic scratches - the harder you paddle the more workout for the distance covered you get.

Speed vs. glide

– Last Updated: Jan-25-11 4:09 PM EST –

I agree with posts above re: speed. If you're paddling alone, it doesn't really make much difference how fast you're going. And if your lake is short, it's all over very quickly.

I paddle alone mostly, and it's the acceleration and the feeling of effortless glide, i.e. getting up to speed quickly, then coasting for a long time, that I enjoy. If you have no intention of pushing a hull to its hydrodynamic limits, then shorter can be more enjoyable. A shorter hull will accelerate more quickly and coast farther, as it has less skin friction because of the lower wetted surface.

As long as it tracks well enough, that is - it sucks being in a boat that wanders around when paddled hard. To get good tracking in a shorter boat, you need a well-designed hull. I have two boats that are like this - a QCC Q400S and a Cape Falcon SC-1. Both of these would do well in the OPs situation. The Delta 14.5 looks quite a bit like the Q400 (both designed by John Winters).

If the OP really does want to go faster in an absolute sense, however, then I agree with the earlier posts about the longer QCC and Epic boats.

Interesting boat if …
you are paddling down river. But according to reviews it is not fast or manageable in flat water. This harks back to the earlier distinction between a fast WW boat and a fast sea kayak.

Many Thanks
I can’t thank you enough for all your suggestions. Unfortunately, they’ve only served to broaden my search instead of narrow it. In my latter years, I’ve come to realize that it’s the journey that’s more important than the destination. I now have more things to discover.

To be honest, I was not aware of QCC, and I have to say they have some impressive boats. I had researched Delta, but it’s a five hour drive for a potential purchase. The CD suggestion wasn’t on my radar but now is. The Speeder comes out of left field, but given my desires, if it does perform as intended it would be hard to pass up. Man; I’m on to more research.

As for lake size, the 2nd house is on a 6,700 acre lake, and the current house is 10 miles away from a 45,000 acre lake. Between the two are numerous rivers and creeks of amazing beauty, which is why the Speeder is very interesting.

As for the “any boat can provide fitness” comments, I’m new to kayak touring but not new to going fast. I remember long ago when I got my first real racing bicycle, and the difference was amazing. I didn’t mind spending 5 hours plus in the saddle and suddenly found myself able to keep up with the folks in the fancy jerseys. If you’re really going to spend some serious time in/on something, you deserve it to yourself to get equipment up for the task. This is why the QCC suggestions have put me in a tailspin. Dang; I have to quit over thinking this stuff.

Again, thanks for all the comments, and I hope to meet you all someday. To that end, if you haven’t considered it before, Arkansas has some amazing waterways to explore.


Speed is relative
Most of the time the kayak speed will be in the 5 to 10 mph range on a flat water lake.

It goes a bit higher if you’re surfing a wave or getting pushed hard by some current.

Lots of choices

– Last Updated: Jan-27-11 1:02 AM EST –

There really are a lot of great boats out there.

I'll just say that the QCC guarantee is the real deal - if you don't like the boat you pick, it can go back in 30 days and you can get a different model or just have your money back - no catch.

I'd like to put one more boat on your radar screen, as you appear to really want to go fast - it's the Kayakpro Namu. It's a fairly short, but performance-oriented fitness paddler, reviewed in the December issue of Sea Kayaker magazine. It's definitely worth a look, IMO, and the owner of the company is a former Olympic paddler, and a p-net sponsor.

KC paddler
If you’re in the Ozarks, you’re not a really long drive from a really big dealer:

Bill H.

If you want durability, speed, tracking,
storage, and handling, consider the Eddyline Fathom. Bill