Impex Mystic

Thanks to all of the knowledgable folks who responded to the post regarding “Coaster-Like” kayaks. I’m intrigued by the Impex Mystic. Small (14 feet) and some folks have said it does very well in rough conditions. Anyone have experience with the Mystic in wind, waves and also with tracking? Also, any similar kayaks made in plastic with a skeg? Thanks in advance for all of the very helpful and thoughtful responses.


I have a Mystic. I paddle primarily
the open ocean and rock gardens in the Pacific Northwest. In the fairly rough conditions I paddle in, the Mystic is as good as any boat on the water. For the smaller paddler, I think it is a great choice. For me, personally, I think it’s perfect. But I am a few inches shorter and a few pounds lighter. Your mileage may vary.

I’m looking for a kayak for my boys future bride to use when they come visit. Would the Mystic be able to keep up with 18 foot boats once they get their skills up? Mostly flat water to small swells on large lakes.

Thanks, Paul

Keeping up

– Last Updated: Dec-15-08 3:13 PM EST –

It depends on how strong the paddlers in the 18' boats are.

At a normal touring pace, a smaller/weaker paddler will be more efficient in a 14' boat that fits than in an 18' boat that doesn't. At lower speeds, it's better to have less wetted surface area than more waterline length. Having a boat that's the right beam and depth encourages good technique and makes paddling more comfortable.

Don't forget a paddle that's scaled to the user and boat. Small folks need a smaller paddle to be comfortable and efficient.

How big is she?
Here's Necky's view on sizing for women:

Necky Eliza Series
Kayaks Designed for Women

A little understood phenomenon in our industry is the balance between speed
and efficiency. For years smaller women with less physical power have
been placed in longer kayaks under the notion that longer hulls are faster. It
is true that among hulls of similar design the longer one can be pushed to
higher speeds. In fact strong paddlers can benefit from that potential when
sprinting to catch waves, fight current etc. But this benefit is lost on smaller
paddlers who do not have the strength to drive these longer hulls.
The truth is that longer boats offer little to no advantage at touring speeds,
which for the vast majority of sea touring kayakers, rarely exceed 4 knots.
In fact drag data among many kayak models illustrates that shorter boats
often have less drag at these speeds. Add to this the effect of wind and
waves and a small paddler can find themselves struggling with a kayak that
is just too much for them to handle. Where’s the fun in that?

Enter the Eliza series:

The Eliza series is the culmination of input from many women paddlers of
varying skill levels. We even consulted with a women physician paddler on
cockpit ergonomics. The data was clear; women want comfort, lightweight,
ease of paddling, and attractive looks. These are boats that not only fit
women up to 160 lbs., but are designed to be very efficient at touring speeds.
The chine and rocker profiles combined with a slight V hull create a balance
of stability, straight tracking, maneuverability, and low drag. They have
excellent manners in wind and waves from any angle, and surf following
seas very well. Add to that, simple cockpit designs shaped for women with
CNC cut foam seats and hip pads, a supportive backband, and sensible
outfitting, and women have two new options that will help them go farther in
comfort, with less effort!

Eliza 15 composite:
This is one of the lightest production kayaks in the
world. Not only is it easy to load solo on your car, but it is a joy to paddle.
This boat is narrower than the poly version and is equipped with a skeg. The
cockpit is wide and shorter to accommodate women comfortably. No more
struggling to attach spray decks. The low profile and cockpit dimensions
allow the advanced woman excellent flexibility for rolling, bracing, rotation,
surfing and spirited paddling. Subtle edging evokes immediate response and
aggressive edging allows the skilled paddler outstanding maneuverability.
While not a fast kayak by design this is an exceptionally easy boat to paddle
up to 4 knots, which combined with its great manners in heavy seas and high
winds, make it far more efficient for smaller women. In testing, when we
put women in this kayak they were at the front of the pack. Everything
about this kayak was designed to shed weight. Two Valley ovals with
composite bulkheads assure water tight compartments, and CNC cut foam
seat and hip pads, combined with molded in carbon thigh braces, and
reduced deck fittings keep things simple, functional, and light. Even some
die-hard powerful long boat guys are paddling this little boat on the outer
coast because its ease of paddling and playfulness equate to more fun!
Capacity is small, but with careful packing week long trips have been easy.

Keeping up.
When I was first looking at the Mystic I was concerned about being at a speed disadvantage when paddling with the younger and stronger guys I frequently paddle with. As a small woman on the down-hill side of 50, that was a concern. But it has not been a problem. I’m more efficient paddling a boat built for someone my size than I would be in a longer boat designed for someone 50 pounds heavier. It won’t necessarily make an unskilled paddler faster, but it won’t slow down a skilled paddler either. Like I said, for me it’s perfect.

The over 50 crowd!!
I’m in the same situation as the last poster, female, over 50 (but I paddle with much younger folks) and short. I too ended up with a Mystic and love it. I was looking for a P&H Capella 161 but never found one. Still hope to though. The Mystic rides VERY low in the water, especially when I’ve got it loaded with camping gear. I always have to wear a skirt. Boat is easy to paddle and I keep up with the other guys. I use an ONNO paddle.

Mystic is excellent
Great all-round sea touring boat for smaller paddlers.

I love mine…
135lb 5’5" and I’ve used it off the coast of Maine, MA, NJ, NY, CT with good results. The skeg is useful in following seas for tracking but for the most part, it’s scaled nicely for the smaller paddler. I compared this to the P&H vela and bought this as my first kayak because it was a bit cheaper. For a longer kayak, I’d consider the NDK Romany 16 LV or the Valley Avocet LV or the Impex Force 3. All of those seem to be made for the smaller paddler and those last 3 are 16-17’ long. However, I’m quite happy with my Mystic and the Mysic is a bit lighter than the above so makes it easier for solo paddling.