Ascente or Solstice GTS?

Hey Everyone!

I am interested in getting my first kayak and the two listed above are what I am looking at. I have attended shows and paddled a variety of boats and believe an intermediate boat will work for me. Although I love the craftsmanship of the Seaward kayaks the specifications and price are swaying me toward the Solstice. Any advice would be great. Thanks!

more info
To better help everyone help me, I am 6’1" and about 190lbs. The boat will mostly be used for day trips with an occasional weekend excursion. :slight_smile:

a more direct comparison
Would be the Ascente to the CD Nomad (former Extreme) All three are great boats. I like having an actual seat compared to Seawards paddlefloat/cushion. Speed and handling of the Nomad compared to the Extreme are very similar. The Solstice is a touch more playful waves. It would be a very difficult decision for me to choose between these boats.

i might be wrong,
but i think the correct response to your question, will eventually come down to NDK Explorer, so i’ll just tell you that now and get it over with.

I considered a Solstice GTS, too.

– Last Updated: Feb-12-08 4:50 AM EST –

Did not buy one because of the peaked, high front deck, which can interfere with paddling unless you have arms like Learch on Adam's Family, and because Current Designs boats have fairly heavy fiberglass layups typically in the 55+lb catergory (plastic is only 60 lbs) and because of the reported tendency to "pearl" unexpectedly in waves--i.e. nosedive.

I bought Valley brand in the end and am very happy. I have not paddled a CD boat, but have seen at shows and just telling you what my research and questions to other owners revealed when I was considering a used GTS in my area.

Paddle on, original poster. Enjoy the water/

construction is a bit more robust than the CD boats.

Seaward Seat
I’ve tried working with a Seaward boat that had that seat/paddle float thing in (unintended) capsize practice. If you do get Seaward, I would advise against that seat unless you always paddle with company. Getting yourself and the now-soggy seat put back together in the boat is a trick for Houdini if you are alone.

“the correct response to your question, will eventually come down to NDK Explorer,”

Of course :wink:

Nomad vs Solstice
So I am guessing between these 2 the Nomad will be more efficient. It should also have less intial stability as well correct? They are both available locally which is nice as are the Seaward kayaks. I would like to have an efficient boat but still be able to relax while snapping pictures of wildlife etc…

CD solstice

– Last Updated: Feb-12-08 3:33 PM EST –

hi, i have the Solstice GT boat in f/g....i really like the boat.i use it on flatwater but have been in 1'-2' wind driven chop and it handled it very well,at least head-on. the boat rode thru it like it wasn't ther. boat it also quite stable, very rarely do i feel "tippy " in it @ 24" wide. I noticed the Ascente was 22" wide may feel quite tippy till u get used to it. i can relate to the other post about the hi-peak front deck but not a real prob for me ...banged my knuckles as much on my cape lookout with a lower deck. also i have another post , on pnet, under " other gear" about" deck bags" that don't fit the solstice , u may want to check that out.
as is the caveat here ..paddle 1st if at all possible b4 u buy.

more serious this time

– Last Updated: Feb-12-08 4:05 PM EST –

if focusing on the Seaward vs CD boats...

the Solstice will be way more stable for taking pictures and the like. it doesn't turn well without the rudder, but has a very good rudder system, some say the best out there.

the Ascente is a nice straight tracking boat, robust but low volume, depends on your size. stable but less than the Solstice, faster too.

the Nomad has low overall stability, is notably efficient if you like to hammer. not a great
picture taking boat for most people.

current CD boats are very light, use lots of Soric core matt for stiffness.

remember the mantra: demo, demo, demo, then demo some more.

Ok, those last couple of posts
and the review (biased since its on there web site) have leaned me back toward the Ascante. In 2006 I attended the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium and had a great time. My reason for being there was to specifically test tandom kayaks and Pygmy’s singles. To me anyway the tandoms seemed pretty much equal in performance. However there is a huge difference between singles. Most notably in the stability department. (inital and secondary) With that said, I don’t mind needing to work through a learning curve for initial stability. Within reason of course.

Solstice GTS vs Explorer
It makes no sense whatever to compare these utterly different boats. The GTS is a very straight tracking ruddered boat that makes steady travel in windy choppy conditions exceptionally easy. In winds to 25 kts and chop to about 4 ft you can travel for hours without a correctional directional stroke.

Early Solstices had very narrow bows and did submerge in even small following seas. The GTS does not have this problem at all. However, in large surf the GTS will be a handful and the Explorer is much better.

Neither boat is better. Depends what you want.

I spoke to a local dealer earlier

– Last Updated: Feb-13-08 1:08 AM EST –

who sells Seaward. I mentioned my interest in the Ascente and he also recommened I paddled a Chilco. I am sure you guys already know the difference is mostly that the Chilco is a multi chine boat. I must say that I have test paddled a multi chined boat before and not sure I liked it. Do they make it harder to carve turns etc? He also recommend I try out a Seda Ikkuma 17. Appearance wise it doesn't look so hot. That turns me off right away, but I am going to look at it tomorrow anyway. If I do decide on an Ascente after paddling it I will buy it from him for sure. (great customer service) The Solstice GTS is still looking like a winner though. It is lighter and about $700 cheaper. Hopefully I can paddle one soon..... I am longing for the feeling of freedom and relaxation that paddling a kayak privides. (stress relief?) :-)

same deck, virtually the same hull, just with a couple of chines. ostensibly the chines are supposed to help with turning, not hinder it, but on these 2 boats, there is no difference. back to back trials, no one would sense the difference. as i said, these are not highly maneuverable boats, they are designed for firm tracking. where the chines do show, is the hull shows wear there first. also, from a purely technical standpoint, hard chines add some to the wetted surface of the hull, which adds frictional resistance.

interesting comment about the Ikkuma. a stunning looking boat in my eyes, and a wholly different animal in terms of performance from the boats you are considering. methinks that this kind of boat is not on your radar in terms of what you want, stick to your previous short list and enjoy.

boat use
Hi RC …the one thing u have not mentioned is how u intend to use the boat…flatwater cruising ? surf riding? fishing? back bays? fast/slow rivers ? marshes? multi-day trips? overniters? too bad u’re out in washington …dealer here has 2 GTS’ in f/g… leftovers for around $2200 / tangerine color w/rudder and 2 in kevlar/red for around $2750 ave.

I have had my GTS for more than a dozen years while buying and selling other boats (Mariner Coaster, Mariner Express, Glider, Novus Composites 17, Necky Tesla…) with and without rudders. The GTS is still my favorite for traveling from point A to B, but not for playing in surf or tide rips (although you can very easily pass through a tide rip in the GTS). Stable, goes straight, essentially impervious to wind. That said I just ordered a new Ikkuma from Seda, because it is also impervious to the wind and much easier to turn. I always like to have two completely different boats. If you are trying to decide between these two, then you need to consider your basic requirements and desires; they are so different.

Went to look at the boats today and
I had a chance to see a Seda Ikkuma and the Swift. The Ikkuma still didn’t strike me all that much. The hatches bug me. The Swift is visually more appealing. So I asked about performance. Since the is wider at 24" I figured it would be slower (less efficient) but was assured it is not anything I would notice unless sprinting. So this may also be a contender. I am still drawn to the Ascente but the extra $700 is pulling me away. The other boats seem to be built as well if not better without the high price tag… So what do you all think of the Swift???

Uses: Well, mostly lakes in northern Idaho and Eastern WA. Maybe a river occasionaly. Once and a while a trip over to Puget Sound. Which means I am looking for a fairly versitile boat. It has to track descent without to much wind cocking and still manuver.