Delphin vs Zephyr

-- Last Updated: Jul-04-12 8:16 PM EST --

Im looking for a kayak 60% play and 40% short trips. To Use in surf and big wave conditions. was really impressed with how maneuverable these were very rough conditions and the speed you can achieve on a wave.

I have tried each of these in rough conditions for a fair bit, but was only able to try them out on calm waters for a short while. HAs any one spent a fair amount of time in each ?

WHich is better in your opinion for playing or trpping in rough waters

Which is better for longer trips of a few hours or so on normal waters as fas as tracking, glide and ease of paddling go?

WHich do you think is a better all rounder?


If it Was Me…
I would put the Alchemy on your list and take off the Zephyr. I don’t think of the Zephyr as ‘60% play’.

The Delphin
Is IMO a better playboat than the Zephyr.

Both are OK for flat water, with a slight preference for the Zephyr (tracks a bit better and I feel deals with very strong winds a bit better - has less wind age, especially at the bow).

The cockpit volume distribution and outfitting is also slightly different and for my body structure the Delphin is more comfortable.

The Zephyr has a lower rear deck and hand rolls easier.

The Z is probably 10lb lighter in plastic.

Both had 100% watertight hatches for me in normal paddling use in heavy waves and white water and lots of rolling (2010 models). Water did get in in very small amounts in both during rescues where one would compress the hatches a lot.

The knee hatch on the Delphin is very handy. The bunnies on the Zephyr seem to accommodate my spare paddles better.

+1 for the Alchemy,
Previous owner of a Zephyr 160,(though I have paddled the 155 that fit me better),and have paddled both 155 & 150 Delphins a little. IMO the Zephyr is noteably faster than the others. The chubby little Dagger is the lightest, carries the easiest and cruises about the same as the P&H’s, though I think it’s a better play boat. The Dagger plastic is notoriously on the soft side, the hatches are pretty poor but the cost is significantly less than that of the Delphin also.

i was looking at the alchemy. I still have to find one to try out.

it is 400 cheaper than the zephyr and 500 less than the delphin, so if it works out, that would be even better

another one you can throw into the mix
is the new Venture Islay – basically a 14’ version of the Delphin.

Alchemy vs Delphin
I have an Alchemy. have paddled the Delphin a decent amount.

If play you mean more surf than rock gardening, then the Delphin is better. The seat being slightly back of center and the high volume up front keeps it from pearling as much as the Alchemy does.

Is more rocks than surf,. then I’d lean toward the Alchemy. I find it a bit more manueverable.

Delphin can hold a little more speed and also hold a little more volume of gear than an Alchemy, if you think about some tours out of it.

Alchemy is less expensive.

Since you didn’t make…
… cost part of the criteria, if you can find one, try paddling a Sterling Reflection.

Amazing playboat.


2nd the Dagger Alchemy(s)
I have only paddled the smaller Delphin once but own a dagger Alchemy(s). I call it my “cheater” boat because it is so easy and fun to paddle. Delphin did seem a bit quicker initiating a change in direction though.

Not sure if the L Alchemy (wider) handles the same.

Bill G.

Charlotte, NC


– Last Updated: Jul-11-12 1:05 PM EST –

I own a Delphin 155. For me it has been a GREAT play boat for fast moving water, (tide races, crossing eddylines, etc) rock gardening, or in surf. IMO It does not have great speed or a long glide, the speed/acceleration is fine for catching a wave, just don't expect the boat to hold that speed in the glide.
I don't have any tracking issues except in high winds, the skeg fixes that for me, but I can paddle a flat bottom WW kayak in in straight line so... I have been told by reliable sources that the Delphin 150 seems to have a little better glide for some reason. My speed, and glide observations are in comparison to my composite Nordkapp LV. In comparison to the Nord LV the Delphin feels like it has training wheels on, it is to me relaxing to paddle even with the added paddling effort.

I have not paddled the Zephyr so I can't compare the two.

The Aries (the composite version of the Delphin) is significantly faster and has a much better glide, I'd love one for surfing and tide races but I'll stick with plastic for playing in the rocks.