A used Lightspeed Fusion kayak has shown up in my local market and in trying to do a bit of research to learn about them I noticed that the bow design of that kayak seems different than any others I’ve really seen. The front of the bow is almost vertical and seems to sit fairly high out of the water. I’m just curious if anyone has any thoughts on why it might be designed like that?
It seemed like it would be really susceptible to getting blown around by the wind, but maybe there’s some other benefit I don’t know about? The company seems to mainly make longer sea kayaks, and the others don’t seem to share this bow shape.
It looks like this model came out in 2006, so is this just an older design style? Or am I really overthinking this, and it’s actually common, but I just haven’t noticed. The image below is from their website.
I’m just curious about how different shapes change the paddling of different kayaks.
The speed of any displacement vessel is directly proportional to the waterline length. So reducing the overhang at the bow will make for a longer waterline for a given overall length. This type of bow is very common - look at any Epic, QCC, Rockpool Taran, Tiderace Pace and several others. All kayaks designed for more speed than the typical British or N American sea kayak shape.
As to handling, the kayak may feel longer than it actually is especially when trying to turn. That said I have spent some time in a Pace and didn’t notice much difference besides the bow slapping a bit more in waves. Many of this type of kayak will have a rudder anyway so any difficulty in turning becomes a moot point.
Thank you for that response Brodie. That’s really interesting.
The seller claims the new price of one of these kayaks is around $1800 and is currently asking $1150, and it does have a rudder, so the idea that it might paddle more like a slightly longer kayak (It’s only 12’) is definitely interesting.
It’s winter here, so I can’t try paddling it and I really appreciated the explanation.
As @Brodie says, vertical bow and stern profiles increase the waterline length. It is a common feature of kayaks designed for speed.
Pretty sure high bows improve tracking in a crosswind. Weathersocking is the tendency to turn upwind, due to a relative lack of water friction at the back end. More sail area in front pushes the bow downwind to counteract it. Big bow volume also helps keep you dry in waves.