Eddyline Raven vs. Romany

I want to get my 18 year old son a new kayak. He currently uses a Necky Loosha Sport. We live in an area with, at times, extreme currents and tides. A lot of push from the water either towards shore or out to sea. Which would be better–an eddyline Raven? or a Romany? Mainly, he wants to paddle distances of no more than five miles, from Stonington Borough, CT, over to Watch Hill, Rhode Island.

Those 2 are playful sea kayaks
I know you presented it as a comparison of 2 kayaks, so these considerations may already have been made. But I’ll just give you some thoughts on the potential limitations of playful designed sea kayaks fighting currents over distance, since currents seem to have been presented as a major issue.

I seem to hear and read a lot of “there’s no such thing as a fast kayak - only a fast paddler” coupled with somewhat of an idea that you have to be Wonder Woman/Superman - ish to realize the higher speed efficiencies of “faster” hull designs. My own experiences have lead me to disagree with the Wonder Woman/Superman piece.

Since you’re concerned with fighting currents, this is one area where I find more efficient hull designs really shine. Just the other day I was out in the river paddling against the current just a few miles, and I found myself wishing I had chosen a different kayak to paddle, fighting hard for every bit of shoreline, passing by at what seemed a snail’s pace. A couple months ago I took off on around a 10 nm evening paddle against strong wind and current, trying to get to a campsite. I was in my Capella 169, significant rocker and very playful, but not terrific top-end speed. I was wishing I had paddled something “faster” shortly after leaving, and ended up not finding the campsite before dark and stealth camping on my own for the night.

On the other side of the coin, on Friday I was out in the NDK Greenlander, known to be fast for a Greenland style kayak. I was against the current at mid-flood, and able to cruise right along against it.

I believe that these differences show themselves even with average paddlers, and fighting current really seems to reveal the differences. I lived on the ICW and paddled 4 nm one way most days back and forth to work for a couple years. Masonboro Inlet was in between home and work, so I was with the current part of the way, and fighting the current part of the way. I am well in tune with the speed compromise in sea kayaks with a stronger bias towards playfulness in the rough, and those type kayaks were decidedly not the best tools for making distance efficiently against a current.

The 2 boats you listed are designed to be very playful. The Romany has a lot of rocker that’s useful in steep waves and surf, but actually on the low end of speed efficiency. The Raven is specifically designed to be very playful, though I haven’t paddled or seen one yet. I would want to try covering some miles against the expected currents prior to pulling the trigger, unless it’s all about surf play and not about traveling efficiently. The compromise is obviously up to you. But I’m not seeing either of these as exceptional in terms of avoiding trouble fighting currents. So it will depend quite a bit on his personal needs and priorities. I’m not sure if the priority is playing in steep, beach-breaking style waves (lends itself towards Romany style) or traveling through open water waves and current (lends itself more towards Greenlander style - to use NDK kayaks in this example). The ability to travel efficiently against currents can no doubt be a significant safety issue in some circumstances. I just don’t know where it falls in your case.

I would agree
I recently sold my P&H Delphin that I have almost exclusively been using on. White water on the Potomac river - strong currents, much stronger than one can paddle against (10+ mph in places, large waves, boils, etc). The Delphin was great for playing and surfing there and attaining (eddy hopping upstream).

I got a Valley Nordkapp RM to replace it, as I wanted a more “open water” boat for a change. Of course, I had to take the Nordy on the same rapids as I have grown used to with the Delphin. Quite a difference - the Nordkapp is not nearly as maneuverable, but even though it has a similar waterline as the Delphin, it has much higher top speed. In the Delphin I could outmaneuver the Nordkapp and zigzag my way upstream around rocks. In the Nordkapp, sometimes I could not turn tight enough, but I could just power through where the Delphin would have been pushed back downstream as I would hit its hull speed limit sooner.

Very different boats for different purposes, but if paddling a considerable distance against current or wind is the objective, I’d take the more “efficient” Nordkapp over the Delphin.

I am not that familiar with the Raven and the Romany, but I think the Raven might be faster and more efficient to paddle at faster speeds than the Romany.

Same with surf skis - they are faster with the same engine in it (me). I could overpower a 7mph current in the ski, at least for a short distance, where I would not be able to do it in a sea kayak.

Talk to Greg Paquin at Kayak Waveology

He operates out of Stonington and sells Nigel Dennis kayaks, new and used. He would be able to advise you on the best kayak for your son. Greg is an excellent instructor, and if your son is going to be paddling in that area, he would be well-advised to get some instruction and demo some kayaks in the conditions he’s going to be paddling in. You can’t go wrong with Greg.

It depends…
I haven’t paddled the Raven yet, but I doubt that its significantly faster than the Romany. The Romany is no speedster and usually weighs more than it ought to, but it is a very capable, well balanced, forgiving and responsive boat for the right sort of paddler. Although it’s a novice-friendly boat for developing skills, it’s also a boat that some of world’s most accomplished paddlers never outgrow. Neither the Romany or (likely)the Raven are the greatest point A to point B boats. While they can keep up with a group just fine (it really is the motor more than the boat), playing and exploring is where they excel. There seem to be mainly two kinds of paddlers - those who are all about the journey and not the destination, and those who pick a destination and just go there as directly as possible. If your son is in the first group, a Romany sort of boat is great. If he’s in the second group, there are other, speedier alternatives that might make better choices. you might want to seek advice on the ConnYak Bulletin Board (your local paddling club). Going along on a local ConnYak paddle could expose you to a wide range of boats (and opinions) to consider.


thanks. He’s mainly interested in going straight efficiently and speedily. Recommendations?

Eddyline Raven
Paddle them both and then decide. Taking advice from people that have not even paddled the boats is of little value.

It’s the concept that counts

– Last Updated: Jun-27-13 2:29 PM EST –

Granted, b/w these 2 one can't compare without having paddled both, since fit is probably the more distinguishing factor for the intended use here. But I think the purpose of the boat the OP has in mind seems to be to cover distance. Neither of these would be my top choice for this. And even though I have not paddled the Raven and have very little time in the Romany - they are not designed for this (especially the Romany)... Either would work, of course, if top speed is not an issue...

Second Paquin
Two reasons. Greg is quite good - I’ve been in a couple of sessions he has coached. Also, what your son wants to do now may not be the same later. Everyone starts out wanting to straight fast it seems, but there is some fun stuff like surf and tidal water in that stretch too. Your son might get a taste of that and change his mind at least a little, and Greg Paquin is a great choice of someone to work with for that.

Epic, QCC, Norkapp, Cetus
If “going straight efficiently and speedily” is the primary goal, I’d look into kayaks that are designed to do that: QCC 600 or 700, Tiderace Pace series, Epic 18x (Sport or regular), Stellar 18, etc. Kayaks like these are designed to cover distance quick and can cope well with conditions too. Might require a bit more skill when things get rough.

One step down from these in terms of speed are the likes of Nordkapp or Etain series from Valey, Cetus series from P&H, etc.

Too many choices and the size and weight and personal preferences of the paddler would be what drives the final choice - hard to recommend online for someone who has not paddled that much yet and can’t make their own choice…

For more relaxed and reassuring feel you have to go to “slower” designs, and there you have lots of options too. The Raven and the Romany are yet another step down the speed ladder from the above, but offer more excitement and playfulness when things get rough.

If he likes the brand, Looksha II is said to be very fast?

I think you have just made plans to go see some kayak specialty outfitters to test paddle a variety of brands. Let me know if you would like to play with some P&H, Venture or North Shore kayaks. The Valleys I have aren’t the right fit for your 18 year old - (Etain 17-7 and Avocet LV).

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



The Eddyline Raven is my all-time favorite sea kayak. I have not paddled a Romey. Be advised however that the Raven has extreme rocker for a flatwater boat. That is what I like about it. For an inexperienced person that wants to go straight it is a very poor choice.

My vote goes to
I too have not paddled the Romany, but I have paddled the Raven. I have a friend who has a Romany and speed never seemed to be its strong point. On the other hand, the Raven felt like it was capable of a nice turn of speed. It didn’t squat and it certainly didn’t hit the wall prematurely as some boats do. I wasn’t able to paddle the Raven in rough water, but about its ability to handle bumps, there is no doubt. My overall rating of the Raven is that it is tied with the Nordkapp for the second best boat I have ever paddled.

Eddyline Raven
As the co-designer of the Raven, it was my intention to create a very playful boat that did not give up forward speed for playfulness. The reviewers from Sea Kayaker Magazine were quick to point this out in their review. If you look at the boat carefully you will notice that it is not heavily rockered, it just looks that way do to the raking stern. Again, I would advise actually paddling the boat to understand this concept.

Hey Falcon…
Congrats on the Raven. Since you are obviously an inside guy, what’s the height of the back deck and what’s the best size range for a Raven jockey?

I presently have one of your RockPool/Eddyline hybrids and it is a fantastic all around boat but I’m always on the watch for what you guys are up to (the RP is my second Eddyline). I really like the thermoform material. Twice on windy days the RP has blow off the top of my car while I’ve been unloading it (I’m more careful now) and once the wind continued to roll the boat across some hard stuff… no damage!

I’ve also had the RP out in some pretty rough stuff and gotten knocked over fewer times than anyone else. That was because of the boat, not me:)

Anyhow, assuming the Raven would fit me, I certainly would like to give one a try.

It is a 15 foot waterline …

– Last Updated: Jun-28-13 12:35 PM EST –

It is about 15 foot waterline with a rather flat bottom under the seat. It may be efficient to paddle at certain speeds and it might be faster than some similarly proportioned boats (which I expect it to be due to the nice rounded hull profile in key areas and full lines/not pinched), but again, it would not be my top choice for, as the OP stated, getting fast from point A to point B is the objective. I did not mention the rocker, someone else did (with reference to tracking). And I did mention that it will probably out-speed a Romany, so I think we are saying the same things here. It is just a matter of degree and this boat falls within a certain (very nice playful all-rounder) range, but we can't pretend it to be something else... And let me be clear - I am not putting down the Raven! In fact, it looks just like the boat I would be interested in and, if I was in the market for a boat right now, it would be at the very top of my list due to its great construction and nice lines, and my very positive experience with the type of material it is made of (from paddling other thermoformed boats, including some Eddyline models).

Thanks for the comments. The measurement from the hull to the top of coaming in rear is 8". Actually you will have more foot room in the Raven than the Rockpool TCC. I am 6’2" and 200# and it fits me very well.

Hi Kocho,

The OP did not say he wanted high speed only that he was interested in going up to 5 miles in distance. He also stated that some current was involved. While testing the Raven I was able to get a top speed of 6.1 kts in a flat out sprint and over 5 kts with a little effort. I can easily maintain a 4+ crusing speed. I am not trying to challenge you, just to make sure the OP’s concerns are addressed accurately.

Taran too …
Worth a read: http://seakayakphoto.blogspot.com/2012/12/first-outing-in-rockpool-taran-16.html