Demoing the Tiderace Xplore

I have a couple weeks off so am finally taking some time to demo the Tiderace Xplore. Can’t say enough good things about Alder Creek kayak shop. Those people are cutting edge in the long boat retail business, IMO. They’ve had both an Xplore and an Xcite available for demo for probably half a year now, and have a shipment of Tiderace boats coming in this spring. I’m just now getting around to trying the Xplore.

I’ll be paddling during Dec 28-30. The Oregon coastal conditions are obviously prohibitive, but the bays should provide some conditions. I’ll be looking for as much wind and chop as I can find on Yaquina bay, and surf on Alsea Bay. See my trip report from last year for details on winter surf inside Alsea Bay.

I’m optimistic about the Tiderace boats as they’re a little narrower for more glide and have a low back deck for comfy back finishing rolls. The Swede form is also interesting.

I’ll be interested to see how well it likes to be on it’s side for sculling and Greenland rolls, compared to the likes of the Explorer, Tempests, Chatham 16, and some others.

I’ll be interested also to check out glide (somewhat subjective, but I’ll have my GPS) given the 21 inch width and 18 ft length, and edging, turning, surfing, effect of wind, bow behavior through chop, and general feel of the Swede form.

Let me know if there’s anything in particular that you want me to check out.

I’ll post a review.


Probably a great boat
but I sure hope it gets more excitement than your enthusiastic post would suggest! Agree bout Alder Creek team. Nice folk.

If you catch this…
I’d love to hear some reactions to the Excite as well.

another boat Paul is lusting after
nice…let me know what you think of it!!!

btw: what you down to # wise Paul???jeez gotta be tiny thin now the way you were dropping pounds so that you fit into boats better :stuck_out_tongue:


Didn’t Post
because…no one can really test drive a boat for someone else…no matter what they know.

Testing is a personal thing and all must do it for themselves…it’s differant in the eye of all beholders…like wave heights

I and many others will eventually test the tiderace ourselves…

(hope this explains some of the non posts on this thread)

I also don’t want anyone to test a bottle of wine for me…or many of the other delights in the world (open to speculation)

Best Wishes


Agree fadered

How does it roll?

– Last Updated: Dec-30-08 1:25 PM EST –

I am very interested to hear your views on the Tiderace boats with regards to their greenland rolling capabilities. How do they compare to the NDK Romany & Explorer? Static Brace? Side Sculling? Is the back deck low enough to accommodate handrolls?


– Last Updated: Dec-30-08 1:45 PM EST –

Um, if we are not going to share our opinions and experiences on this site, then what is the point of having it at all?

These forums are all about sharing and gathering information. If this is not the case, then why are you here? I'm not so sure that everyone has the time and interest to personally assess the 1,000+ boats out there on the market. It is obvious that people will make the ultimate determination by their own personal experience.

Agree and disagree.

– Last Updated: Dec-31-08 8:58 PM EST –

You have a good point, Roy. I certainly wouldn’t buy a boat on someone else’s opinion, and wouldn’t dismiss a boat either on someone else’s opinion, if its design parameters and features were within a range that I think may suit me.

As I’ve advanced in paddling skills and seen how my own assessment of some attributes of the same boat have changed over time, and my agreement or disagreement of others' assessments has changed over time, I’ve become more aware of the inherent weakness of reviews. That is that people understandably tend to review relative to their own skills, and likes and dislikes. That problem can be alleviated somewhat if the reviewer can try to place the attributes on a scale relative to other boats they’ve tried, rather than purely relative to their own personal needs or likes. Even so, there’s plenty of subjectivity, bias, and other sources of error.

Having said the above, I do enjoy reading reviews of boats I haven’t tried, as well as boats I have tried. Here are a few reasons.

1. Beyond the specs for the boat, if they're even available on the manufacturers web site, others' reviews are all I have to go on until I can try the boat. I can filter according to my own sense of value of the info. A boat may move up or down a bit on my list to try, especially if I can take a number of reviews in aggregate. It can be a chore to get my hands on a particular model for a few days to really give it a try, so I welcome anything that may help me prioritize.

2. Writing the review can be helpful to me too, just to sort the attributes of the boat in my own mind, and compare them to other boats, and to my own wants. If others find it useful or enjoyable to read, good. If not, that’s fine. That’s the beauty of the internet. It's easy to tune in or tune out as one pleases.

3. As an enthusiast I enjoy discussing the sport, including boats, just for the fun of it.

By the way, on wine reviews check out Gary Vaynerchuk on Wine Library TV, if you haven’t seen him. I’ve enjoyed watching a few reviews and I don’t even like wine that much. He’s a little flamboyant, but fun to watch. I've learned a little and he's peaked my interest in wines a bit.


I’m too big for the boat…

– Last Updated: Dec-31-08 9:15 PM EST –

but I can ask around.

Update: As I read the specs, looks like maybe I'd fit in it and might not overload it if I keep the gear light. Max paddler height is listed as 6' 2", max paddler wt 16 stone = 224 lb, and same cockpit size as the Xplore. When I get down below 220 lbs I'll have to give it a try. Of course it would perform differently for a lighter person.

There's an Xplore_S now, 20" wide x 17.5'. Alder creek just got one in. I wonder if there will be an Xcite_S coming out?

I took a turn upward at xmas 2007
Went from 225 to 255 between Dec 2007 and July 2008. Got my mind right again and heading back down. At 235 now. Determined to get to and stay at 200-210. About 170 would put me in a whole bunch of boats, but that ain’t happenin’. Gotta work within the range of the skeletal frame you’re given.

The back deck is very low.

– Last Updated: Dec-31-08 8:13 PM EST –

Hi pbabler. I measured the back deck height and thought I wrote it down, but can't find it now. I know it's lower than the Tempest 170, by at least an inch. I can definitely lay right back flat on the back deck. I can lay back on the T170 too, and of course on the Explorer.

I wish I'd read your request before leaving on the trip. I would have spent more time on rolling. I did spend a little time side sculling and performing a bunch of Eskimo rolls. I tried a few butterfly rolls, one shotgun roll and one balance brace. I'll write details probably by tomorrow. I'm out of practice for a hand roll so didn't even try that. I don't think the back deck would be a hindrance though.

opinion on the xplore
I have now owned a xplore since beginning of june 2008 and paddled more than 600 miles in it since then. My other boat is a QCC 700 and I bought the Tiderace sine I like to be able to move between the contrasts that the both boats - to some extent represents. The paddling I do is mostly weekend and - during summer, 4-6 day trips in my home waters, the Baltic sea outside of Stockholm, Sweden.

I would say that the boat has a “dual personality”. Heavy loaded, on expedition paddling it becomes a stable, predictable platform no matter what conditions you paddle in. With light or no cargo however the boat feels much smaller than it’s actual size. It is by all means an expedition sized kayak but - when empty or with little cargo it feels like a much smaller boat, very lively, playful and easy to maneuver. Simply put - a really fun boat to paddle.

Fast? Well - not compared to my QCC, It’s easy to keep an ok cruising speed, 4 - 4,5 knots but… when hitting 5 knots and above, well then you are outside this boats “sweet spot”. But that is probably not what you are seeking if you are looking at a boat like this anyway. It’s quite sensitive to weathercocking as well but that’s easily corrected with the skeg.

Rolling? Very easy due to it’s low back deck. I can’t hand roll it but i’m getting close and that is definately due to the pilot, not the boat…

The cockpit is very comfortable to me and I like features like the adjustable seat and the adjustable footplate (instead of pegs) which enables you to move around your legs and feet when sitting in it for many hours.

Layup and build quality is top of the line - as good as the QCC. All in all - definately a kayak I would recomend if you are looking for top of the line, brit style kayak.

Improvements I would like to see:

  • Compass recess (on the 2009 layup I think)
  • Vented bulkheads
  • Not only a Kari-tek cassette skeg slider, I would also like to see a Kari-tek skeg box and skeg.