Eddyline Nighthawk 16 vrs The Big Three

I’ve read a lot on the forum about what I call the big three, P&H Capella, WS Tempest and the CD Sirocco, but rarly see anything about the Eddyline Nighthawk 16. I’m upgrading from my current Old Town and have test paddled the 3 kayaks I mentioned and so far I haven’t decided because they are all three very good kayaks.

I recently ran across some info on the Carbonlite 2000 Nighthawk. If the literature is correct I would have expected to see alot more talk on the net during the discussions of the other three. Can any one who owns one or has test paddled a Nihgthawk shed some light on it’s lack of popularity? Or if you own one tell us what you think or why it should be more popular?

I plan on testing one this spring, but up here in Minnesota the ice is going to be with us for a while.

Thanks to all who respond.

Limited Distribution

– Last Updated: Jan-15-04 5:54 PM EST –

I bought one last year and I'm very happy with it. It's well worth trying one out.

I can't make a comparison to the other boats you have mentioned, but I can tell you that in my area, Eddyline doesn't have the wide distribution that some of the other brands have. There is really only one Eddyline dealer in my area, but quite a few that sell Perception, Wilderness, CD, Dagger, Impex, and Necky.

When I asked these dealers why they didn't carry Eddyline, they all pretty much said that Eddyline makes a really good boat, but they can only carry so many kinds of boats. I interpret this as a supply and demand issue. I don't think that Eddyline is as widely known and advertised, so there is a smaller demand. I'm not sure, but I suspect they may be more popular on the west coast.

Good Luck


Folks I’ve Run Across WIth Eddyline

– Last Updated: Jan-15-04 6:18 PM EST –

like them. The issue is that the "carbonite" -- a form of plastic -- is priced at almost the cost of a composite. Folks know plastic as "low end" and composite as "high end." From what I've seen of the carbonite -- the relatively rigidity and lighter weight to other plastic, the color that goes right through the material and thus hides scratches well -- makes it a very attractive. The issue is whether it is attractive enough for folks to want to pay a price almost comparable to composite.

In terms of Eddyline models, I hear nothing but good things about the nighthawk. I think the Falcon also gets pretty good reviews by those who like to paddle at a faster rate.


BTW, many would dispute what you listed as "the big three." I am surprise the NDK, VCP, QCC followers haven't jumped in yet. Of course, you could be talking about just plastic boats but even then the choices would be disputed. :P

Friend has one
I haven’t paddled it too much but she likes it a lot and is a “more serious” paddler than I. I think it is a boat worth considering. Priced between rotomolded plastic and composite. With the hot summers here I think Carbonlite would deform less than rotomolded, but don’t know that for a fact.

Try one, and if you like it, buy it.

big three
I just called 'em the big three because there has been a lot of discussion about them. I am refering to plastic boats. I realize that what might fit and perform for one person may not work with another. I not trying to start A “KAYAK WAR”, I just want “friendly” fire! Thanks

I don’t have a nighthawk, but…
I do have a Falcon 18 in fiberglass. It is a terrific boat. I too am puzzled by the lack of recommendations for Eddyline. They are clearly a company that produces good designs and is innovative in materials. Perhaps it is number of dealers, don’t really know. But it is certainly worth trying one out. Demo, demo, demo and make up your own mind.

Love It!
I have a Nighthawk 16 and I think it’s great. I’ve dropped it a couple of times off the top of my van and there was no damage at all. Hatches have been bone dry. I love the way it handles. I can’t imagine anyone being dissatisfied with a Nighthawk!

NightHawk 16
was on my short list. The only reason I didn’t get one was that my inquiry to a dealer wasn’t answered. In the interim, I saw a want ad for a used Impex Montauk, checked the boat out, saw it was practically brand new for a asking price of something like $500-600 less than retail, and still less than a new Nighthawk. Well… The choice was pretty easy.

Had the dealer answered my emails, I would probably have a nighthawk in the fleet right now.


nighthawk 16
I paddled it once in flat water and a very short stretch at the beach/little surf. It’s a quick kayak for it’s length. I’d research the option of the Modulus version if rougher use is expected. I don’t have long term experience or knowledge about them. Pick the boat before you pick the material it’s made out of.

I’m curious about the Phoenix model.

I would put it on the short list. More room than a WS T-165, not as wide as a Scirocco.

That’s about what is happening
to me. The T 165 is a bit tight while the T 170 and the Sirocco is a bit roomy.

Thanks for the replies!


I love my Nighthawk
I just bought one last year and absolutely love it. I feel that it’s lack of popularity is a regional thing. We see lots of Eddlylines here in the Pacific Northwest.

My choosing of the Nighthawk happened like this:

I wanted a lightweight, shorter boat that I could handle and car-top by myself. I was interested in plastic boats due to cost. I decided that the best first step (even before test paddling) would be to just sit in lots of boats and check out the fit and comfort. I must have sat in at least a dozen boats on my first round, and eliminated most right off the bat. The Eddyline Merlin LT felt the most comfortable in that first round. I eliminated several Necky and Prijon models, among others. Once I determined that the Eddyline seat configuration, thigh braces and deck height were the most comfortable, I looked at other models in Carbonlite. When I sat in the Nighthawk, I knew I was home. I wasn’t even looking for a boat that long, but at 49 lbs, it was within the weight limit that I had set for myself. The cockpit is the same size as the Merlin LT, but the beam is narrower so the knees don’t fall so far to the sides. I’m 5’6’ and 160 lbs., female, 50 years old.

The carbonlite is very tough material, and beautiful. I find the Nighthawk fast and maneuverable. It has enough capacity to pack for a few days of camping, but is easy to throw on the car and just go for a quick spin.

I investigated many options, and the mid-pricing, durability, quality, design and fun of the Carbonlite Nighthawk sold me.

First and foremost, though, was that it just felt right.


WS Tempest
Oh, and by the way, the only other boat that I felt fit me well was the WS Tempest. I liked it also, but like the Nighthawk better because of the material and looks.


what I like about the NH16 compared to the T-165 is that it’s got more footroom and I"m pretty sure is a faster boat. It’s a good smaller boat for the average sized person whereas the T-165 loses a lot of folks in the thigh/seat area. It would be interesting to put a Sonoma13 and a rm T-165 out in various conditions and paddlers for an A/B comparison.

Night Hawk
I rented the NH 16 for a couple of hours and liked it very much (seemed to have good speed and was quicker-turning than my own kayak, a CD Squall). Unfortunately, in a short time the seatback had me in pain. It pressed on two bony protusions at the back of my hip, something that real backbands don’t do to me. I would’ve rented that boat for more paddling but couldn’t stand the seatback. If you buy one and feel the same, you can of course change it out.

Don’t know about the Nighthawk
but I have an Eddyline Merlin LT in carbonlite, and I like it very much. It is lightweight, attractive, comfortable (although it’s really intended for smaller paddlers, and I’m not, so it’s a bit hard for me to get into and out of). I recently demoed the Merlin XT and that’s the boat I should’ve gotten for a proper fit.

I’ve heard of Eddyline having hatch problems, but mine have always stayed bone dry. I also like the low profile of it - I don’t have a rudder but have never felt the need for one with this boat… the wind just doesn’t seem to catch it. My overall impression of Eddyline is quite positive.

Was that the molded glass seatback? I remember having the same impression when I demoed one.

Those Were My Thoughts Also

Eddyline Seats
The seat in my Nighthawk is molded plastic. It has the tractor-seat type bucket. The back is molded plastic, mounted at the bottom on a spring-hinge. There are three height adjustments for the seat back. The back is also suspended by nylon strapping to the cockpit, making for adjustments forward and backward. The molded seatback is lightly padded. I find it very comfortable. But then, I have no bony protrusions on my backside either!


I think it was plastic
It looked like a cross between a standard seatback and a backband: deep/tall like a seatback, but curved around like a backband. The plastic was white. It did not flex at all but had some padding on it. Was a jarring touch on an otherwise-nice kayak.

Thanks for the description – I remember it now.

Since you can’t design a seat to please everybody, it’d be nice if all seat parts were easily removeable, and there were anchor points for aftermarket backbands.