Any news on the QUARAJAQ ????

Anyone heard whether the QUARAJAQ is either being produced or when it might be or is this vaporware type boat, not going to be produced?

Here’s the last I heard. Atlantic Kayak Tours said it wouldn’t hit the market until 2005. But Dale at Sea Kayak Georgia said he might get one before the end of 2004. I haven’t checked if he actually received it. Sounds like they’ll be available in 2005. It’s a nice looking kayak, “a stretch Anas Acuta with an ocean cockpit and less rocker for better tracking” according to Stan at GRO. I look forward to trying one. Valley needs an 18 foot kayak in their line-up with less cockpit volume, in my opinion.

I think you mean “keyhole” cockpit

– Last Updated: Dec-26-04 10:42 AM EST –

Sadly, the preliminary pics of the Quarajaq show a keyhole cockpit. A real shame, IMO. If I was in the market for such a boat, I'd wait for the ocean cockpit version of the Outer Island.

You’re right
I meant to write keyhole but I wrote ocean. I guess a lot of Anas lovers are sad this boat won’t have an ocean cockpit.

What are main pluses minuses of keyhole
What do you all think about main advantages disadvantages of keyhole cockpit in this type of boat?

ocean cockpits are a royal PITA. Literally.

I know Bry will see it differently, but hey if we all thought the same it just means someone’s not thinking.

in the days of modern, bombproof spray decks and decent thigh brace configurations there is no reason to have a boat you can’t easily bring a leg out of w/o raising up your rump. Difficult, technical exits and entrances are way easier and safer with a keyhole.

steve (putting up shields and flame protection)

I think you’re spot on.
Maybe it’s just the aesthetics of the ocean cockpits that get me. But still I have fallen out of my keyhole kayak but never any of my small cockpits. When a knee (the one you’re are lifting to right the boat - during nasty conditions) slips off. I also like that in kayaks with an ocean style cockpit the highest part of the forward deck is many inches more aft (lower where your stroke takes place).

I do think manufacturers and designers do need to cater to what is perceived by the buying public. Some beginners wonder if they can get out of those small cockpits. They are correct in thinking they are more difficult to enter though.

But what interests me is
that my boat with a keyhole cockpit has a much more snug fit than my ocean cockpit boat does.

The keyhole (CD Caribou) is totally stock, with no outfitting. The ocean cockpit (BBK Recluse) has knee chocks in under middle of the deck around a knee tube, and 1" of foam under the deck, and I still nearly fall out of the cockpit when I roll, especially on reverse & hand rolls. I’m 5’8" and 170 lbs, so I should fit most boats OK with a little outfitting.

In order to do more advanced rolls in the BBK, I have to slide as far forward in the seat as I can, and wedge another inch of foam under the deck to effectively trap me in the boat. In the Caribou, I just squeeze a little harder with my thighs.

So to say that an ocean cockpit is a better fit in general just ain’t so anymore. If it were true, whitewater kayaks would have ocean cockpits.


The CD Caribou
is the one I fell out of a couple of times (im 5’8" and #165), but I do like the thigh braces in it. The BBK’s forward deck is high (for G boats). I think you can make any boat fit you right so it’s mostly aesthetics.

I think people are perturbed by the Qajariaq’s Greenlandic name and British cockpit style. I don’t care I just build my own Qajariaqs anyway, and they fit perfectly (cockpit sizes: 15 x 21).

As expected, I beg to differ
While it’s true that a keyhole allows you to pull your knees up, it’s a good thing that it does, since it limits you to one leg position. You’re dependent on the thigh braces to hold you in the boat, so you have no choice but to sit with your legs splayed. An ocean cockpit provides support across the entire front of the cockpit, which allows you to move your legs around for a change of pace or to adjust to the demands of the conditions. It also makes it impossible to slip off the knee/thigh brace, so you’re less likely to lose control in rough conditions, nor will you fall out of the cockpit when rolling.

While a keyhole cockpit does make it easier to get in and out of the boat, ask yourself this: “How much time do I spend getting in and out of the boat on the water, versus the time I spend paddling?” I figure that in a typical 4-6 hour day out paddling, I spend perhaps a minute or two getting in and out of my kayak. Is a little extra convenience then worth the sacrifice of control, security and versatily of leg positions the rest of the time? Not in my opinion. And once you get used to sliding in and out quickly from the aft deck, it’s no big deal to do so in a hurry.

any differences surf entry and exits?
Great posts. Any differences noted in entry off the beach, staying in during surfing, and getting out on the beach before the dumper hits.

“Neither fish nor fowl”…
…is the best way to describe the BBK cockpit size. It’s 5" longer than a true ocean cockpit, which is enough to put the rim out past the knees of all but the longest legged paddlers (like me). It sacrifices much of the security of an ocean cockpit because of this. The highly peaked foredeck just makes the situation worse.

On the other hand, the BBK cockpit is too small for average size or larger paddlers to do a butt first entry, so it gives up most of the advantages of a keyhole, too. It doesn’t have thigh braces, so short legged paddlers aren’t secure in it.

The bottom line is that functionally, it’s not really an an “ocean” cockpit except for really huge paddlers. I love the way my Aral handles, but given the choice, I’d cut off the stock coaming and put in a recess with a real ocean cockpit. I’d lower the center of the foredeck a couple of inches as well.

There can be

– Last Updated: Dec-26-04 7:46 PM EST –

If you're in a position where you can launch by hand walking off the beach, it makes no difference, since you're in the boat and sealed up. If you're faced with dumping waves on a steep and/or rocky beach, it's a bit tougher to jump into an ocean cockpit in a hurry. In some cases, it's better to jump in, forget about the spray skirt and paddle out, but that can be true of either cockpit type. Likewise, in situations with a rocky beach and a close in shore break, it can be easier to swim the boat out between waves and enter out on the water, either solo or assisted. Surf requires you to adapt your tactics to the situation, regardless of the type of boat involved.

As for staying in the boat in surf, I mentioned before that you can't slip off the thigh supports in a small cockpit, which is probably the single most common cause for people being sucked out of their boats in surf. I don't do a huge amount of surfing, but I have yet to exit my small cockpit boats unless I intended to. Conversely, I actually fell out of an a keyhole cockpit in a swimming pool this past spring, because I forgot that I had to use the thigh braces to stay in it. It was funny at the time, but it illustrates the point about the security of ocean cockpits. ;-)

To be fair, the type of paddling one does makes a big difference, too, as does one's physical size, abilities and limitations. For a flatwater paddler, an ocean cockpit doesn't offer any significant advantages, nor is a keyhole cockpit a liability in any way. Rough water is where the ocean cockpit shines in terms of control and security. In order to duplicate an ocean cockpit's security with a keyhole cockpit, you'd have to fit it like a whitewater boat, which isn't comfortable for long hours on the water.

If more people actually gave ocean cockpit boats a real trial - rather than simply dismissing them on looks alone - I'll bet that they'd be a LOT more popular. Unfortunately, most manufacturers are going to build boats that are easy to sell, which in the American market means keyhole cockpits. That means fewer opportunities to try ocean cockpit boats. 'Tis a shame, I'd say. People don't know what they're missing.

For my techniques launching is no different except there’s no worry of the skirt imploding. It may actually be easier: after reading Brian’s post I realized that I bring my legs together when lifting the boat inching into surf. It’s harder for me to lift the kayak with my legs splayed apart.

I guess landing might be more difficult for some techniques. If you like to pull up on the beach and then exit there’s no difference. I like to exit just before landing. In my CD Caribou I do this by lifting my legs out and then just stand up when I hit the shallows. In my other boats I do the same thing but first I slide up on the back deck using the paddle for stability. I can do either just as quickly but with the small cockpit I get a lot less water in it.

My little surf boat has a small cockpit too and like it for the same reasons as my touring qajaqs. If I were to use in WW I might think differently.

I’m on the other
side of the fence from Brian. I think it’s way faster to get in/out of a keyhole in technical spots, of which I generally am quite fond of.

surf, rock ledges, fast current, BIG boats, docks, etc. While I do have great balance to shimmy back onto the aft deck while pulling my honkin’ legs and feet/Chotas out is not fun, IMO.

I find no problems in moving my legs around and finding many different positions to keep my legs/ butt comfy. Try one of them/there Phase 3 seats! and tons of security. heck how many ww boats have keyholes?? You just gotta get a good’un.

I’ve done my share of ocean cp’s as well and given the choice I always choose a keyhole.


“Try one of them/there Phase 3 seats! and tons of security.”

My most comfortable kayak is my SOF, sitting right on the bottom - go figure. Sometimes I’ll throw down a piece of 1/8" thick foam for really long paddles. My backrest is a piece of wood with some foam glued to it (in three of my boats). One thing I’ve found for myself is that when you’re in a custom built kayak you don’t use the backrest much, if at all. I wonder if some of kayak seats actually force the need to rely on the backrest and possibly put your bod into a bad paddling posture, I know my CD Caribou does. If it’s not tensioned just right it kills my back. It’s very liberating to know you don’t need all the latest crapola (no offense) to paddle safely and comfortably. Jeez, now I’m sounding like coffeeII. But anyway, that’s my last $.02.

That’s true, but…
the fact remains that the decks on the Caribou are even higher, and I have a more secure fit.

I have been toying with the idea of modifying the cockpit in my Recluse, because I like the way the hull handles, much like you say about your Aral. I just haven’t mustered up the cojones to do it yet.

I’ve paddled brit boats with ocean cockpits, all manner of other boats with keyholes, and I have to say the most secure fit I’ve ever experineced was in my whitewater kayak. I even went so far as to put whitewater thigh bracing in an old plastic kayak I had, and it made the boat feel a lot more secure than many less beamy boats.

All a matter of taste, really.


I dunno

– Last Updated: Dec-27-04 9:28 AM EST –

I used to think my kayak needed an ocean cockpit, but I may have changed my stripes on that.

I think it is just a preference. I think for my kayak it isn't the ocean cockpit it needs, but better thigh bracing.

It is really just a preference each has its pro's and cons. I have yet to be sucked out of my kayak. I have padded the silhouette really well. I mean if I had a practical choice between an ocean/round cockpit and a keyhole with really good thigh bracing, I'd be hard pressed to choose. The problem is while looking at alot of keyholes for touring kayaks, they're all really too big. I do like the NDK and Valley keyholes.

Having paddled white water kayaks, I can say that it isn't the thigh braces, or the hip padding that makes you uncomfortable it is the lack of wiggle room for your feet as they are splayed out with your ankles flat to the inside of the hull.

I think it is another rudder/skeg preference thing.

My suspiscion is that folks who prefer ocean cockpits and like them, perhaps haven't had much time in a white water boat. And if they have had more time in a white water boat they are typically a little more on the fence.

Is it hard to get keyholes sealed?
Thanks all. Never quite understood each sides legitimate points of view, my personal experience with ocean and keyhole was limited to boats that did not fit me well, spoiling the comparison. Really helps here to find out why each works for some and not for others.

One other question is it hard to find spray decks that seal properly and either stay on or have a harder time coming off due to the shape of some of these keyholes, or simply the same care needing to be taken in mating cover and rim as any kayak?

the logical argument

– Last Updated: Dec-27-04 9:27 AM EST –

is that because there is simply less space that you are less likely to have it implode on you due to a smaller target for hydraulics. It makes sense to me. However if you have a keyhole with a really serious spray skirt like the mountain surf lindberdeck, (another poster was posting about his inability to get it on the cockpit rim), you have a really good seal, and that baby is not coming off.

A keyhole with very aggressive thigh bracing may have a very small target too, not as small as a small round ocean style cockpit, but quite small.