Dagger Axis 10.5 or 12

I’m trying to decide between the Dagger Axis 10.5 or 12. I’ll be using it on rivers, with class II or less rapids, mainly narrow rivers, not ones that are very wide in general, and on calm lakes. I won’t need much space for overnight trips, I want it to track well. Any suggestions would be good I’m not sure if the extra 2 feet would help or hurt what I need it for.

Go with the 12
Longer is better for tracking and helps with speed. Being an inch narrower is a plus too.

Somewhat better speed at 12’ too
Either boat can easily be pushed to its maximum practical speed, but that speed for the 12-foot boat will be almost 1/2 mph faster. On a more realistic note, there should be roughly the same speed difference when comparing maximum comfortable cruising speeds (slower than top speed). One-half mph faster may not sound like a big difference, but at the speeds you’ll be going, it’s a sizable percentage, and will make a big difference by the end of a long day on the water.

Dagger Axis 10.5 or 12
Yeah I’m leaning toward the 12 footer for a little extra tracking and speed… I just want to make sure I’ll have the same maneuverability as the 10.5 around logs in narrow rivers, they are built the same however with the hull so I expect the same type of maneuverability. I’m also 6’0-6’1, 185 lbs… I have yet to sit in either one but since I’m taller the 12 may be a better fit as well.

People much smaller than you can maneuver in tight places with 13- and 14-foot kayaks. Solo canoers seldom paddle anything shorter than 14 feet, and some can really make those boats dance among obstacles. You’ll be fine in the 12-footer, and you’ll get better with practice. However, no amount of practice will make the 10.5-foot boat go as fast as the 12-footer.

Get the 12
The Axis 12 was an upgrade for my old Blackwater 10.5, which is fairly similar to the Axis. The extra length was a major improvement, never missed the shorter kayak.

Small twisting streams are one of my favorite places to kayak. The extra length of the 12 isn’t an issue.

Dagger Axis 12
Thanks, I’m leaning towards the 12 footer now, I appreciate the insight. This kayak on here is classified as a rec kayak, not a touring kayak… I thought it was kind of a hybrid type, so should I consider more of a touring one then a rec? I plan on using it as I said in rivers, lakes in northern Michigan specifically.

Get the 12.0
I picked up one this past summer. Love the maneuverablility and the crusing speed is decent at around 3.5 mph. With the skeg up, it spins easily and down still turns well when needed and tracks straight even in wind. Very stable too.


Tracking is not an issue. Once you get
good, it will track well enough. Get some coaching on paddling straight.

This slalom technique works with
shorter touring and rec kayaks with little modification. Slalom boats hate to go straight, but paddled properly, will do so cheerfully. Check the video.


Paddle for Axis 12
How about a good paddle for the Axis 12 any suggestions?

I use an…
…Aquabound Stingray 240 with the carbon fiber shaft. I’m about the same size as you at 6’0" - 200 lbs.