Fast Skeg Kayaks for Multi-Day Trips and Day Tripping?

Which skeg-equipped kayaks do you find fast, stable in wavy conditions, fairly easy to roll and easy to pack and unpack, for both multi-day trips and coastal day tripping? (I’ve asked a similar question today regarding fast rudder-equipped kayaks, and interested to know which options there are with skegs). By easy to roll, I don’t mean easiest, like a very low-back deck Greenland kayak, but a kayak with a low-enough back deck that will allow you to roll without fighting you hard.

I’m 6 ft tall 172 lbs, 34 in. waist and 32 in. inseam and size 12 shoes. My wife is 5 ft 6 in. tall, 125 lbs, 29 in. waist, 30 in. inseam. Appreciate any suggestions. Ease of maneuverability would be nice, but it doesn’t have to be on the level of a rock gardening kayak because primary use is tripping.

We’re going to try a P&H Cetus MV soon. No idea how it performs in terms of speed, stability and maneuverability.

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My all time favorite boat was the original Caribou S… (S for skeg)

It camped well and Day tripped great.
Unfortunately it’s not made currently.

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Define fast. What designs are you hoping to be faster than?

To the group: Since KayakingOtter specified skeg-equipped boats, group input should be limited to skeg boats, not fast boats. No rudders.

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Agreed, limited to skeg boats, but faster skeg boats that can cover miles on a longer day trip or multi-day trip, handle well with good stability in wavy conditions, allow you to roll without fighting you and maneuverable (doesn’t need to be rock-gardening or surf kayak maneuverable). Interested in hearing about fiberglass and plastic boats, though fiberglass/composite will have a speed advantage.

I’ve kayaked a bunch of different skeg boats, and some are clearly faster than others when the same paddler is paddling them at the same effort. This can be due to narrower beam, longer length, hull shape, rocker, etc.

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I’ve been able to make my Cetus MV go fast enough to be first at the Blackburn.

What pace are you aiming to maintain? That might help with other suggestions.


I had a Valley Aquanaut that sounds like it would meet your requirement (assuming fast means can cover ground, but not race fast). Replaced by the Valley Etain. I had the high volume version, but you likely would fit a standard size. Your wife likely would want the lower volume version. Or maybe switch over to a Valley Gemini (what my partner uses, but she is a little smaller than your wife).

P&H and Valley make similar, mostly skegged boats from basically the same place in the UK. One is an offshoot of the other - disgruntled employee leaving to do his own thing or something like that. P&H has boats that target the same market (likely given how it has come up already, the Cetus is the line that competes with the Etain). Both are good brands and worth considering, if available in your area.

Skies the limit on price - take a look at the Sterling Illusion for you and IceCap for her.

I had the earlier Cetus, before the LV, MV, and HV were born. It was big on me, but I think the MV would fit you, but be big for your spouse. The Cetus is a great boat and relatively fast. Personally, I didn’t like the deck pod fore the cockpit.

Valley Aquanaut has a fairly fast hull, on the stiff side but will turn fine if you commit to an edge. Older boat so would be cheap. Your size. It had the big oval hatches if fussing with smaller dry bags too much bother. Excellent at handling difficult conditions.

Having been a paddler of Sterling boats for 11 years I would say that are few (if any boats) more pleasing to paddle than an Illusion, however, I have never considered it to be a fast boat. Faster than a Progession. Faster than a Reflection. Not a fast boat, though, just the most elegant paddling boat I have ever been in.

Tiderace Xceed - I paddle an S, you’d probably fit better in the “M” (usually just called the Xceed). Compared to other kayaks I have had (Valley Etain, North Shore Ocean) it is quite fast. I frequently paddle with folks in Epics and while I’m sure they could leave me in the dust, for day paddling 10+ miles at a reasonable pace I have no trouble keeping up. Excellent manners in rough water and I often take it through tight mangrove tunnels and narrow windy rivers and have no issues.

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You finally gave me the S answer. Thanks.

The first CD Caribou didn’t have a skeg but some thought it needed one. Thus they made the “S”…

As I understand it when CD made the mold off the original wooden design they had to round the aft keel to get the FG to work and that necessitated the need for a skeg…

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I paddle a Cetus MV, also 34 waist, 32in inseam, and size 10.5 shoes. Same weight but I’m a few inches shorter.

Originally I found it exceptionally tight down there by the shoes. @Marshall adjusted by pegs and taught me how to sit better and it is a night and day difference. But still, that deck pod does get in the way, I wish it was 2-3 inches shorter.

Size 12 shoes? Man, I don’t know. You’ll have to sit in one. The make an HV one but the MV fits me like a glove, I love how it feels, I’m one with it. Hopefully the same will be for you. I sat in an HV when I bought my MV but I can’t remember how it felt.

For the size 12 shoes a special order could always be made with the short deck tray like in the Cetus LV or omitted all together to maximize the interior space.

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Marshall Seddon
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Another suggestion, (discontinued models in the US but used ones turn up) would be a skegged Venture Easky 15 for you ( made in England by P &H) and the smaller person scaled Easky 15 LV for your wife.

My Vote would be an Evergreen Triton. A pretty rare beast!

I am 6 ft too, but heavier, 211. My shoe size is 11 to 12, depends upon the shoe fit. When I tested a Cetus MV, I was a bit worried about the foot room. So ordered it with no foot pegs, and the bulkhead in the standard position. I kept the deck tray at its full size, because I had determined my feet were well ahead of the end of the tray.

I have found the bulkhead foot rest works well. It gives me a wide range of foot positions and I have not had any fit issues, however, I use very slim water shoes to maximize clearance. I only need an inch or two of foam on the bulkhead to get the right foot position. I would recommend that as an option well worth considering.

As a side note, my wife, who also uses a Cetus MV, has shorter legs and did find, when test riding, that the deck tray interfered a bit, so we ordered her Cetus with a shorter tray. That has worked well, and she has plenty of room for her feet.

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A Current Designs Squamish would work for your wife. At 5’ 10" I was at the outer limits of fit for it. It was a fast boat. I can’t speak to the ability to camp since I never used it for that. I haven’t confirmed it, but I was told that P&H, CD and Venture are all owned by the same organization so I wouldn’t be surprised to find similar boats that might meet your needs in all three lines.

What is a deck tray? Thanks

The small hatch just in front of the cockpit. I actually prefer to call it a glove box, smile. But most seem to call them trays or some such, small hatch just in front of the cockpit, forming a knee tube of sorts for storage. Secondary day hatch in front of the cockpit? Here is a photo of one:

P&H Custom Sea Kayaks (

the smallest hatch.