from soft to hard chines

I wonder if there is a prevelance of sea kayakers who have moved from a soft chined to a hard chined kayak, or if the majority went the other way. It wouldn’t mean too much to know the answer. The bottom line, of course, is a personal preference and there are so many variables such as where one paddles, what one looks for in the sea environment for entertainment. etc. But it does seem to me that chine preference would br an indicator perhaps of what the majority of paddlers are looking for in the "feel " of the sea.

Anyone who has, or has had more than one sea kayak of both types, and has paddled for at least a year or two might have developed a preference. I still enjoy both types, but I have a strong preference for hard chines after a few years of a round bottomed hull.

I have had four very hard chine boats (still have three) and two soft chine boats. Of the three I have none have rudders and only one has a skeg. I gladly concede some top speed for the handling and simplicity of the hard chines.

Chines are more
It is more than hard or soft chine. Romanys and Explorers are soft edge hard chine boats. NDK refers to them as ‘modified hard chine’ My Valley Aquanaut has a harder chine than my friend’s Avocet, but softer than my Romany or my wife’s Explorer. My friend’s Outer Island has softer chines than any of the others mentioned.

That being said, I greatly enjoy my Romany, my Aquanaut, and my friend’s OI. All great boats.

from red to grey
I started with colorful kayaks then went to grey

I went from soft to hard to medium, LOL.

CD Squall to Shearwater Merganser S&G to WS Tempest.

I like the Tempest best. Having learned on the Squall, the Merganser felt strange at first. I got used to it, and it carves turns nicely. But I dislike the abrupt, hard slap-slap of waves against those flat panels, and when stationary or moving slowly it does not turn as well as the other two.

The Squall felt a bit skid-ey when turning, not as precise as the other two. Wakes and waves just roll under it with no slapping, a nice feature.

The Tempest turns easily either stationary or moving quickly, and the slap-slap against the hull is much less pronounced than in the Merganser. I’ve heard someone refer to it as hard-chined, but it does not feel like the other hard-chined boats I have paddled. I agree with its description as a “medium chined” kayak.

medium chined
The tempest I think woudl be classified as medium chines as well as my OI. I much prefer them to a had chined boat for now. I wonder if this will change in the future. Woudn’t surprise me if it did but I really like the way they handle.


Too many other variables
So much so that you really can’t attribute any handling characteristics specifically to chine shape.

Water doesn’t see the corners like we do - treats some sharp edges as rounded, some rounded as sharp - depending on the other factors.

There are many kayaks, that if you put paddlers in without letting them see the hull and told them it was hard or soft when it wasn’t, they’d not only believe you, they’d tell you all about the differences they were feeling while test paddling them.

Your Tern has visibly hard chines - but the relation between the the bottom and sides on your 700 is quite similar - as with many sea kayaks - with easily distinguishable panels. The edge where they meet has just been radiused on the 700 to remove some volume, smooth the handling, and gain some speed - with little if any stability loss (all fairly minor amounts of difference numerically BTW).

I have two extremely hard chined kayaks - My SOF and a Sparrow Hawk, one moderate - the QCC 700, one very soft - the Pintail, and two basically chineless/round - the Tsunami X-1 and Mark 1 ski.

I find little if any of the considerable differences between them has much of anything to do with the chines specifically. Steepness/flatness of bottom V, deadrise, and rocker are all more significant.

Build a multi-chine S&G next, or better still a more rounded/complex hull form wood strip kayak, and I think you’ll see what I mean.

Sparrow Hawk?
Greyak…you fit into a SPARROW HAWK!!!

I thought you were bigger than 140lbs which is what I was led to believe was the ideal weight for it. But then, you are used to SOFs too aren’t you? Once you paddle a tight SOF, you can fit into almost anything!!


I think someone near me has one for sale…maybe I should go check it out…


All great boats…
As Greyak says there are so many variables.

Recently looking at my friend’s OI on his car alongside his Explorer and my Aquanaut on my car alongside… He and I were speculating which aspects of each hull account for which characteristics, but the smallest aspect can produce a notable result.

One example is the surprisingly high primary of the OI. It’s a narrow boat with wholly rounded chines and low volume. Seems like it should be pretty light primary doesn’t it?

Yeah, like 50% bigger than that…
…but I fit fine. Don’t submarine it either. Not crazy about the seat )pans is short and front edge can push into back of your legs unless your legs are bent, but it beats the Pintail’s seat for me as it’s a little wider. Think I’ll eventually replace the seat and back band with and all foam solution.

I got it for Kim who’s right in the middle of the recommended paddler height and weight. Ours is Kevlar and a good 20 lbs lighter and a lot faster than the Pintail. Surprisingly fast actually. Hard to shake her now! Less work for her to keep on line and still plenty maneuverable. Only thing she didn’t like was the larger cockpit (her Pintail has regular smaller ocean) but I rigged a simple temporary masik Sunday and she was quite comfortable paddling and rolling it. She’s only paddled it twice - but I think we have a keeper. If so, the Pintail will likely go up for sale soon, along with my Tsunami X-1. That will clear the fleet of anything over 50 lbs and make my Kevlar QCC the heaviest.

I haven’t tried it with the masik (I manage to get enough contact from big thighs alone). I like the way it handles, even with my heavier load. Only thing is, being 21 1/2" wide and fishform it seems a little beamy to me from the cockpit - but after an under 19" swedeform SOF, most commercial sea kayaks do.

Wish WS would resurrect it and go 1" lower, 2 1/2" narrower, and do a real ocean cockpit. They’d have an amazing smaller person’s kayak. If I had a space to do glass work I’d consider tracing and modifying the panels and doing exactly that as a one off S&G.

Anyway, I saw that listing for the one near you. Depending on what you like it might be worth a look.

Thank you Greyak

OI is pretty round - and very stable.

An example of the opposite, a less sable hard chined hull, might be the Foster Legend of about same length and beam. Many find them to be a bit twitchy. Both are very good in textured water, decent speed, etc…