Fathom vs Nighthawk

i’m interested in both and i need all your expert advice to help make the decision.



– Last Updated: Dec-08-07 2:16 PM EST –

Are you referring to the Blackhawk Phantom, and the Blackhawk Nighthawk?

If so, what do you want to know about them specifically?

Need more information.


Which Fathom & Which Nighthawk?
I assume since you’re a guy you’re looking at the regular Fathom and the Nighthawk 17.5, as opposed to the Fathom LV and the Nighthawk 16? The NH 17.5 is a huge boat and unless you’re well over 200 lbs the Fathom is probably a better choice. It has hard chines so great secondary stability, plus the rounded deck sheds water well and makes it easy to roll.

If you are indeed considering a Nighthawk, make sure you get one with solid (opaque) bulkheads. Eddyline put clear bulkheads in their boats for a couple of years and there are serious problems with the bulkheads coming unsealed because they’re very thin and flexible, and Eddyline only spot-glued them in four places rather than running a bead because the methylmethacrylate glue eats the bulkhead material. So the bulkheads flex and pop the glue welds.

Also, regardless of what kind of bulkhead you get, they only caulk the side of the bulkhead facing the cockpit, and there is an unsealed lip on the other side (in the hatch) that can collect water, sand and small rocks that work their way under the bulkhead and cause the seal to fail. So go in with Sikaflex and caulk the hatch side of the bulkheads before you use the boat. You will probably have to use your finger to lay the caulk in because the space is too small to get a caulking gun in.

Fathom is an awesome boat! I’m 6’-3" tall and 270#. I demo’d a Fathom and a Nighthawk 16.5. They were both nice, but the Nighthawk was too small for me. The Fathom was comfortable and handled like a dream. All this is from the viewpoint of a first year kayaker, mind you. I didn’t get either and passed on demoing the 17.5 due to cost, and construction. I didn’t want to get a glass or carbon model as a first boat.

thanks all
just a few more personal stats -i’m 5’10 195lbs.

i’ve paddled the fathom and liked it but haven’t tried the nighthawk yet.

nighthawk comments

– Last Updated: Dec-09-07 7:57 PM EST –

I have a Nighthawk 16 and a Pygmy Coho. I am 6'1" 190lbs. I really enjoy the Nighthawk. It's been a great boat. It turns easy, but tracks well too - especially with the skeg. I like the lower deck of the Nighthawk vs. the Fathom. I wear size 10.5 shoes and have no problems with foot room, but larger feet might find it tight. I was concerned about speed before I bought it, but it hasn't been an issue at all.

If you have other questions, let me know.

You have to paddle both …
I’m a little shorter and have paddled the Nighthawk 16 and Fathom HV - when I weighed 195. I have relatively small feet and had no problem fitting into the Nighthawk. I really disliked the Fathom. IMO, it has way too much volume and especially, the rear deck is too high. Also, IMO, it is a bit on the slow side compared to the Nighthawk.

I have only bought one boat that I did not paddle first, but at least I sat in it to make sure I could fit. Bottom line, you have to paddle both and see what’s comfortable for you.


I own the Nighthawk 17.5 and am planning
on buying the Fathom before spring. I am 6’3" 250lbs. Forget the 17.5 at your size, it would be too big. The 16 is an excellent boat and should work well for you. The Fathom is a very nice boat as well. I paddled both, but went with the Nighthawk 17.5 for stability and general comfort. Both boats are plenty fast, I can’t speak for what others say, but the people I paddle with who use composite boats made in England and Canada can’t believe how well my Eddyline performs. Paddle every boat you are considering, and not just once around the pond, go get a workout and see what you like and don’t like. If you have narrowed your search to these two boats, do the same thing. Many of a boats least desireable characteristics don’t show up on a short paddle. Good luck.

Second Nighthawk 16
I’m smaller & lighter, but I think you’d fit fine. I guess the bottom line is to try the Falcon, Nighthawk 16 & Fathom and see which feels right for you. I like a snug fit and would check out the Falcon if I were looking to buy right now.

By the way, I don’t know if there have been any design changes, but my bulkheads work just fine and the boat is over 4 years old.


I was surprised
at how maneuverable the 17.5 was

I have a Nighthawk 16
and I don’t find it sluggish a bit; in fact, it’s faster than my Impex Currituck. It handles rough water quite well and without a lot of effort. I’ve paddled the Fathom briefly and didn’t care for it - it’s too high volume and awkward to paddle for me. I’m 5’2" (and shrinking! :wink: )155 lbs - the Nighthawk 16 fits me fine.

But definitely demo all the boats you consider buying.

I didn’t know about the clear bulkheads needing to be caulked - would marine caulking work? Thanks for the heads-up.