Fastest 14 foot kayak for heavy paddlers

i have been doing a river race and have been using a dagger alcamy 14 foot plastic kayak , the river is very narrow and extremely sharp corners i have tried my 14 foot wilderness system -tsunamy but cannot make the sharp corners with that boat any recommendations on a 14-15 foot maybe a 16 foot that can match the dagger alcamy in cornering , fast boat . wondering on the current design vision 140 this race is canoe and kayak some race canoe can hold 9.5 kmph i can push hard to hold 9 kmph on a flat lake for 30 minuet in the dagger alcamy so would like a slightly faster boat the reason i dont want a longer boat is because the sharp corners at every 100 meters they must be close to 80 sharp corners i am 6 foot tall and 215 lbs

I think the Stellar S14S meets your criteria. It will make 90° turns with the rudder and weighs 38 lbs.
I have one for sale because I’m too tall for it.

Maneuverability and speed are pretty much mutually exclusive. The characteristics (primarily the amount of rocker) that make a kayak fast generally also make it less maneuverable and vice versa. More waterline length will generally give you more speed. As @string suggested, a kayak with a rudder may be a better choice. The Alchemy is designed to be a play boat and consequently is very maneuverable but not very fast.

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Not in my experience with boats like a Swift Osprey and an Epic 14X with the rudder up of course.

A rudder can only turn your boat when and as long there is a speed difference between the boat and the water. For really sharp turns like 90 degree, there is too much speed loss for a rudder to turn the boat, also because a rudder mainly has an effect on the stern, not on the bow. The SmartTrack rudder of the Epic 14X also impedes turning because it can’t be turned over 90 degrees itself.
With the rudder up the Epic 14X is very fast and quite maneuverable with the turning moment resembling a whitewater kayak.

A Stellar S14 or in poly a P&H Virgo MV or HV depending on how you fit. The later if there’s frequent bumps and bouncing off of obstacles.


I thought you made it work for you

There was a used one on the paddling net classified( the 14 ft) about 60 miles from me that I wanted to buy (a green and white) but after several requests and no responses, I gave up on it…Barely used $2500…

Mine is barely used also. The retrofit worked but not to the extent I liked. The boat is a poor match for my long body.

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@kanoniem ok, but more rocker generally equals more maneuvability and more power required for a given speed, while less rocker means the opposite, for a given waterline length. There are lots of variables here, the biggest of which is the paddlers skill.

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@paddlemyboat, i would start with comparing the Alchemy and the old 140 Tsunami to see what makes one more favorable than the other. Both are near the same weight, rated at around the same capacity, they are also the same length and width. However, you should immediately notice two things about the design. 1st is that the Dagger has most of the width toward the back, while the Tsunami is more symmetric. 2nd is that the Dagger has more rocker. While the Tsunami is designed for tracking and more cargo volume, the Dagger is clearly designed to be “more manueverable” and faster. Consequently, for the Dagger to track straight, it benefits from a 3rd difference between the addition of a skeg.

Now a clever fellow would think about those differences and consider what features make one bost more desireable for your needs. Start by looking up hull designs (fish form, swede, and symmetric) to find out how one design favors specific characteristics over another. Don’t buy a rudder to turn your boat. The rudder, like a skeg is a feature that’s more suited to help you boat :footprints: track than to turn. If you study the boats closely, you’ll be able to apply what you learn and look at boat profiles to help you assess whether the design is a good starting point. Then take the winning designs out for a test drive.

Everybody comes up with different ways to turn a kayak: raise the skeg, drop the rudder, or manipulate it with paddle strokes. Your Dagger is clearly designed to be playful and easy to turn, which benefits from a skeg (OR rudder) to track straight. Look for another boat with similar design festures. Be familiar with the favorable features so you can ask the sales clerk pertinent questions

For 14 ft Tsunami owners who have a rudderless boat and get frustrated by it’s unwillingness to turn, learn how to edge the boat. Its more “efficient” than paddle strokes alone, but more effective when combined with paddle strokes. Edging isn’t leaning, it’s accomplished by controlling. As one side of the boat sinks deeper on its edge into the water, the profile widens as the other side rises out of the water creating a straighter line. The wider underwater radius profile cause greater pressure on that side of the submerged boat, which forces the boat to follow the radius. Or something like that.

I forgot to attach the pictures.

Yes, the variables are many and quite complicated. Too much rocker and the for speed effective waterline suffers. With less rocker the effective waterline for speed may be better also because it is easier to keep the boat on course then: add a crosswind and waves and the Epic 14X suffers a lot in paddling ease with the rudder up.

Cross currents present the biggest issue with my 175 Tsunami, while the 145 tracks staighte, despite being shorter.

I don’t notice the difference in rocker by looking at the 140, 145 and 175 pictures. I believe the 175 is sold rudder equipped, while the others are rudder optional. I don’t trust the pictures, because it looks like the shots could be cut and pasted. The actual degree of rocker isn’t relevant to me. Actual handling and control is. My sister’s 140 Tsunami is rudder equipped, but she has never had a reason to use it. My 145 Tsunami is without a rudder. A used model I bought does have a rudder. I moved the seat for leg clearance, which caused severe control issues with following waves. Rather than use the rudder to counter control issues and improve handling problem, I’d rather pull it out, replace the moving peg controls with locking types, which reduces peg movement or needing to reach in and push them forward, eliminates weight, makes loading and unloading so much easier, has less chance of scratching my truck paint, and I don’t have to worry about damaging it when I drop the boat.

Every used kayak that I bought (three) are rudder equipped, and they have slightly bent rudder assemblies (I dont care, because I have no need for a rudder on a 14 ft Tsunami - I’m just too lazy to take the junk off). Those assemblies are fairly robust; I know, because I handle two rudder boats and have dropped both, without substantial damage. So I know the used boats must have been dropped hard.

I don’t like buying used. Good kayaks sell fast, so if one hangs around, it may possibly be due to issues. I consider the sale price and just factor in the cost of new part. My opinion is that people sell boats because they dont feel like repairing the abuse they caused, but they all claim, like new! That’s just my experience and am glad to hear so many good luck stories.

Forgot pictures again. Included the dsggger by comparison. It looks like a bit of rocker may have been designed into the 175, possibly to aid with turning such a long boat. The rudder may be needed to help it track more efficiently. I have no trouble getting the 175 to turn, just tracking straight when in cross currents.

I’ve watched kayaks on eBay go from 1800, 1500, 1200, which I’ve bought for half the original listed price that were great.

800 bucks needed a compound and wax. I think it was 1500 or more originally.


As I said, some people get all the good deals.

Point 65 Nigel Foster Whisky 16 Rocker. I think this will give you all the maneuverability plus extra speed. I’ve paddled both. I’ve used the Whisky quite a bit

In the single race I have taken part in, many abs plastic thermoformed kayaks came in before any polyethylene kayak did, including Hurricane and Eddyline brands. Don’t forget to look at the thermoformed 14 footers for speed?

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My initial response would be to get a canoe. There are a lot of great river runners in the 14-foot range that are relatively fast but still maneuverable. My composite Wildfire is 14" long, 28" at the gunwales and around 2.5’ inches of symmetrical rocker. I’m not an expert, but I don’t think there is a kayak with similar dimensions - at least in terms of rocker.

Again, not an expert, but I recently bought a 16’ P&H Cappella sea kayak. In order to turn that boat you need to get it up on edge. Have you tried edging the boat during turns. I think that would be more effective than a rudder. In a narrow river with sharp turns, I think you would be using a lot of inside edge turns to get around the corners. Reverse sweeps would give you the most turning power, but forward sweeps would maintain speed and forward momentum.

Give it a try. I am not familiar with your boats, but it looks like both have thigh braces and foot pags that would allow you to get the boat on edge.

p.s. thinking about this some more, the two turns you might like to try are the bow rudder (initiate with a sweep, get on an outside edge, and plant the bow rudder) or the low brace (initiate with a sweep, get on an inside edge and do a reverse low brace/sweep). The low brace will turn you quicker, the bow rudder will maintain speed. You need to be careful on an outside edge crossing eddy lines - you will end up in the drink. You could also try the bow rudder on an inside edge. Once you get the stern skidding into the turn, you can go back to forward strokes.


Narrow river, lots of turns - maybe a wildwater racing boat would be more appropriate than a short sea kayak?