Displacement, draft and my waterline

Can you suggest how I should think about how low my cockpit is in terms of functionality?

Here is the reviewer (Baltic Surge) and how he sits in the water

Any special considerations?
I am assuming this design is for turning efficiently.
Do I need a heavy duty spray skirt (I have neoprene one and have t had any incursion but haven’t been in big waves yet)

The guy who said I’m eating too much does have a kayak and thinks it sits too low in the water but I think he is wrong.


:laughing: he does alright wíth it I wouldn’t worry.

I posted his picture because I’m not any lower than he is.

My friend that told me has a kayak like this, so I need a comeback :laughing::canoe:

You are too lightly loaded or your trim is too much bow heavy and the sheer is a bit exaggerated IMO.

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For a boat designed more for “play”, given its rocker, I think you have plenty of freeboard. Looks to be at least 3". Even if you put in an additional load of 30lbs, I would be surprised if you lose more than an inch of freeboard.

When in rougher water, its not uncommon to have water come over deck (never mind extreme edging or capsizing). My Stratos 14s gives me about 3" of freeboard. A lot of times, playing/edging in surf, the coaming edge is submerged.

Several hours of this, I’ll get maybe a liter of water in the cockpit, which is far from endangering the stability of the kayak. Test your skirt out with edging and rolling practices. Note how much water gets in. If you get a lot of water in the cockpit in a short practice, then upgrade to a better fitting skirt.

PS - The low height behind your rear coaming edge is designed to facilitate laid back sweep rolls that became more popular with the growth of interest in Greenland style paddling and equipment. For example my Greenland SOFs only have a freeboard of about 2". The area behind the coaming was about 6-7", in comparison to about 8" for the “low” backdecks offered by some manufacturers for LV boats.



I think you should paint that 'yak yellow and complete the ‘banana look’.

Seriously, fore and aft look high and dry.

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The height needs to be enough that you can move around and stretch your legs in there but still have solid contact with the thigh braces for control. Best way to figure this out is from sitting in and preferably paddling the boat.

A skirt can let in a bit of water without it being a problem unless you really cannot stand a wet arse. In which case you need to stay on land anyway. You have to be able to get the skirt off in a pinch if you are quite tired, without being able to see the grab loop, because that is when you are most vulnerable to a capsize. Bone dry is not necessary especially if you have the correct layers including dry wear for colder temps.

Freeboard needed comes down to whether it affects your ability to turn or similarly manuver the boat. When it feels like you are plowing water or trying to get a semi truck going the balance may be off. But it is largely subjective. SOFs correctly sized for paddlers are often barely above the water.


Freeboard is your friend in a loaded kayak. I would never paddle a boat like the ones in the photos. Kayaks keep getting smaller, and Americans keep getting bigger.
When your spray skirt is next to the water, your chances of getting flooded increase by a lot.

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To me it looks like you are almost too light for that kayak. The “knuckle” of the stern is almost out of the water. I see plenty of freeboard all around. The color scheme of the boat accentuates the sheer and may make it seem like the freeboard is lower than it actually is. Unless you are burying your spray skirt with even a little bit of edging I think you are fine.


Your boat looks fine. Some boats are designed with a lower freeboard like the Pintail and other Greenland designs.

A well fitting skirt is important because in many boats that already have low to moderate stability by design for various reasons, it only takes a few inches of water in the cockpit sloshing around to dramatically decrease stability.

A well fitting skirt is also important if you are performing an assisted rescue. In a number of boats your cockpit rim may be a bit under water.

My first skirt was nylon/neoprene and after a few years did little more than keep fish and leaves out.


Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

The functionality is that your kayak has a lot of rocker which makes it more maneuverable for its length and makes the cockpit low-ish. Also, the low cockpit coaming and low profile stern deck will make layback rolling and balance bracing more comfortable and “cowboy” self-rescue easier.

My Greenland style kayaks have waterlines only an inch or 2 below the gunwales. A good-fitting neoprene skirt will help with leakage, but I just got back from a 4-day paddling skills camp on the Delaware coast and even using my snug nylon skirts (I have yet to find a neoprene that fits well on my hand-made skin on frame replica) I never got more than a few cups of water inside the hull during my daily outings, nothing a few squeezes with a big car-washing type sponge couldn’t suck out and not enough to affect stability.


Does “good fitting”’just mean tight? I feel like mine is pretty drum like. I haven’t gotten any water in there yet. Is “cowboy” just coming up the stern with the kayak between my legs?

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I would say that’s part of it. Some cockpits and skirts aren’t exactly the same shape and I believe that leads to areas that are not as tight on the coaming. The really important thing is that you can release it easy enough when you’re upside down.

And yes on the cowboy scramble, it’s up the stern. Nice low rear decks (w/o a bunch of clutter) make that easier. I really had to work on not rolling one back over when I tried that on a kayak w/ a higher deck. Ended up just flopping over the cockpit and turning over . . . it was much easier.:smile:

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“Good fitting” for a skirt means that it keeps enough water out for your comfort while still being something you can release in a problem. I frankly run my skirts less bone dry than some because I had a very poor experience that was way too tight early on. I got out but it was close. So I have learned to paddle comfortably with an inch or so of water in the boat if things get messy. It is hardly enough water to cause stability problems in any sea kayak I have. If I have to find quick shelter and pump some out it is not an issue.

Plus I mostly paddle solo these days. It’d be a real embarassment watching from an afterlife to see my death played out because I actually got stuck in the boat.

Cowboy Rescue you crawl up on the back deck. Personally I can’t make enough of a vault to actually come over the stern, I come up from the side but well back and try not to capsize while I get my legs swung around to be centered on the deck. Very important note for the Cowboy, and I think there is another name often used - attach the skirt loop somewhere on your PFD before you start. Otherwise you can find yourself agonizingly close to dropping into the cockpit only to find you are stuck because the damned loop caught somewhere on the back deck.

In my case it is the pump, boats that fit me well are not kind to having the pump under the skirt. If I wanted it there anyway, have never been entiorely onboard with the idea of having to get the thing out from under your skirt if you need it for someone else.

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The draft and waterline look fine. From the first photo, I wonder if you put gear in the bow end? Because the corner of the stern appears to be a little ABOVE the water. You might need to shift some weight to the rear hatch. Give it a try.

Your “nonpaddling friends” (nonpaddling) must think paddlers need to be enthroned on high-volume boats with no rocker.


^^^ *this * is the reason I’m not wearing a chest PFD, I can only climb in with a low and smooth center of gravity. “people” are not particularly sympathetic to this issue but my first responsibility to myself is knowing I can re-enter the boat. Not to belabor the point but I’ve experienced that issue with the vault and the super new skirt being tough to release also. Now my skirt has loosened up very well and that’s no longer a problem.

Thanks for all that…

They sort of do but they just enjoy their Bubba Boats.

I wasn’t entirely sure how each specific hull characteristic translates to functionality so I appreciated reading how that was fleshed out.

For example, I looked up the term freeboard because I’d never even heard it.

Curious if you all think this looks better (he is 195 pounds, 6 ft)

I think maybe it does weathercock for me a bit, I’m not sure.

I think that model is touted as being low volume but capable of carrying sufficient gear for an overnight. Presently I only have a hand pump and a tow line so it’s basically empty.
So you think I should try adding a gallon jug of water or something? To the stern? The only waves I’ve encountered was to paddle among the large ferry waves and it handles pretty easily both perpendicular and even from the side. I’m still being conservative with edging (water temp) but have been practicing tight turns with the sweep and it feels like it turns on a dime at the center.

Never hurts to play around with ballasting stern and/or bow, especially with a kayak designed to haul some cargo.

I’m planning a “sea trial” sometime in the next couple of weeks with the 18 foot plus “cruiser” (vintage Northwest Discover) that I picked up a year ago (another $300 barn sale rescue – they threw in the dead leaves and raccoon scat for free). It was owned (per faded decals along the bow) by a touring outfitter in the San Juan Islands of PNW who ran multi-day expeditions – though the maker touts it as a model for mid-sized paddlers like moi, I suspect I will need some weight in it to get a good waterline for my unladen outings. I have a half dozen empty gallon water jugs that I can fill at the lake and use to balance the weight – nice big hatches on this monster so I should be able to cram a few in either end.

I’ve paddled some kayaks with loosey-goosey sterns that wanted to weathercock – adding just a few pounds way at the back usually sunk the ass-end enough to straighten them out (on one outing we stuck a magnum sized wine bottle in). Gotta make sure you don’t sink it so far it wants to leacock, though. There’s a delicate balance there.

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