Initial stability

As a ten year kayaker finally moving up to a better boat, I do have a question about stability. I’ve been told that going from a somewhat wider kayak of 24-25 inches to something narrower, I’d likely adjust after a bit of time on the water. I’m interested in the Eddyline Fathoms. Would I notice a great deal of difference between the Fathom’s 22" width vs the LV’s 21? Of course I know there are other things between these 2 kayaks that come into play as well. Im hoping someone has enough time in both can shed some light on this for someone finally taking a big step.( well, for me anyway)

I’m 5’9", 160,( trying to get down closer to 145-150😬)

I paddle mostly easy water, but don’t want to limit myself in the future. Thanks!

Kayaks start to feel fast around a 21 inch beam. Their initial stability will be somewhat different and feel more tender. Having equipment in a cockpit type boat lowers the center of gravity and firms them up.

FWIW, my limited experience

– Last Updated: Nov-03-15 7:24 AM EST –

is all of 11 months as of today. I don't count the winter months since I get no seat time then, other than the limits of pool practice.

My first boat was 26" wide with an open cockpit. Second (and current) boat is 22.5" with a keyhole cockpit. On my test paddle I felt more stable in the skinnier boat because I had good contact and the kayak quickly responded. Recently paddled a 20.5 wide boat and it felt just as stable as my own boat. I was more aware of the difference in the length (my boat is 14') than beam.

Now, I do work on core strength and balance. I think if you have pretty good balance on terra firma, you'll be balanced (stable) in your boat.

No advice, just best wishes for a relaxed and fun time.

If you’ve been paddling 10 yrs…
…a couply days in nearly anything, no matter the stability, and you’ll likely be used to it.

doubt it

– Last Updated: Nov-02-15 4:23 PM EST –

you'll notice more of a difference between your boat and the Fathoms. But I think blackboat hit it on the head. You may feel like you took a 1/4 step backward but that'll disappear fast, and you'll probably feel more engaged and in control as rookie says.

Anecdotally speaking, I've paddled a Fathom and it didn't feel touchy to me, just a bit big, and I'm your size. But I always err on the small side. No sense paddling around extra length or width that you don't need.

A lot
of what you’re being told is spot on. The stability of a kayak comes mostly from the paddler, not the hull. They hull shape alters how the boat tips (initially) and how it firms up in a lean (secondary stability), but it is the paddler that keeps the boat in control and keeps the boat under their butt rather than over it.

-if the paddler’s contact with the boat is strong, the system is more stable and responsive. Many beamy boats compromise this contact in favor of initial stability (which is generally less appreciated as one’s paddling proficiency improves)

-if the paddler is comfortable leaning, carving turns, and generally putting a boat through it’s performance envelope, narrower boats often have greater secondary stability than beamy hulls and improves performance in conditions where boat handling is needed

Boat handling is a complex dance between the paddler, the hull, the particular activity the paddler performs (one may want a different hull for photography than, say, fishing or playing in surf), and the dynamics of the water/conditions.


I’d go with fit.
At 5’9" 160, you’re probably in middle ground somewhere, so the width of your hips and fit of your thighs will determine whether the LV would work. Also see how each performs under your weight. You can feel faster and more nimble in a bigger kayak if the smaller one ends up becoming a bit sluggish due to the load.

You’ll get a little bit different ideas on proper sea kayak fit, and it can be difficult to figure exactly what people mean before actually experiencing it for some time. I actually find it almost maddening to paddle a kayak where my hips are restricted from movement and my legs don’t have some room between being on the bottom, and up into the thigh braces. My rule is just sitting relaxed, nothing should be touching. I can slide my fingers down on both sides of my hips. You don’t want a lot of room, but a fingers width is pretty key to hip movement. With my footpegs set so that my feet are vertical when resting on them and my legs down straight on the bottom of the kayak, feet not bent back or forward, I can give my heel a little slide backwards without my foot leaving the footpegs, and bring my knees/thighs locked into the top of the kayak. This is not an exercise in holding your legs up into the thigh braces. You slip your heel back an inch or two, and can relax your legs - just in a different position. From a straight legged position, about an inch and a half slip of my heel raises my knee a good 4 inches. And if you should get to where you’re actually connecting leg power to your forward and maneuvering strokes, this leg movement is key. If your legs and hips aren’t moving together, your legs and hips aren’t moving your kayak.

I’ve compared a too-snug fit to a stiff joint. I can still do everything. I just can’t do some key things as well. And some people really do come into circulation, cramping, and even back issues when they get themselves locked in too snugly.

And yes, I paddle rough water fairly regularly. So comfortable fit and movement isn’t just a lily-dipper thing. I know when I started, all the talk of wearing your kayak and your kayak responsive to every little move had me thinking a sea kayak should be snugger than I came to experience that it should. So I’m just trying to give ideas of where a line might be drawn between going for lower-volume, and where a little extra volume plays out better than pushing it on the low-volume side.

Paddler rather than boat
Boats don’t capsize on their own in normal conditions. Paddlers capsize boats. Learning to relax and let the boat do its thing is the most important factor in stability. If you can, take a boat out in moderate waves in shallow water. If you capsize you won’t drown and can just get back in. Do the loose hips thing. Don’t try to correct and don’t stiffen up. Just keep your head centered and let the boat rock and roll. You will be surprised how stable that is.

As long as you’re looking at Eddyline kayaks, do yourself a big favor and try out a Raven. The Raven will do it all and look good doing it.

You won’t have a problem
My wife went from a Tsunami 140 to the Fathom LV and was surprised how little difference the narrower hull made to her stability.

I went from a 24.5 wide Tsunami 145 to a 22.5 Eclipse this year. I was a bit trepid the first time out but other than a quick brace (that’s a euphimism for panicking and slapping my paddle hard enough to nearly break it) after looking back over my shoulder I didn’t have any problems.

Third time I had it out was in three ft seas and 20kt winds and all I thought about was what a barge the 145 would have been.

Going to test Eddylines
tomorrow. Thanks everyone for all the advice and suggestions. Going to paddle both Fathoms in Crystal River, Florida, and since “magooch” strongly suggests the Raven, I’ll hopefully try it out in early December. I’m not able to afford a quiver of boats to cover a variety of water, so I feel a good bit more confident in making this expensive (for me anyway) decision.

Admit I’m envious,
because of your conditions. I plan to paddle tomorrow as well, but chances are it will be snowing and 30F. At least the water is still liquid…

Do have a great time and let us know your thoughts about the Fathom and the LV model.

Both Fathoms
were great. I do think I like the tad bit more room of the Fathom over the LV. It was just a demo of the boats and really calm conditions. Im hoping to try out the Raven soon before making a decision. I do love the lines and design of the Raven and though I’ve not tried it yet, can appreciate its style as compared to the Fathoms. A couple of folks have commented that’s it’s a “longer” boat than the Fathom, and it does seem like Shorter kayaks have been even more popular lately.

But the Raven is only 4 inches longer than the Fathom! That can’t be that big a deal can it?

What kind of difference with stability would I likely notice?

I’m wondering if the Raven would make as good of an “all around” kayak as a Fathom would for me. Ugh! Tough choices indeed!

I certainly thank all of you and value the advice I get!

Glad to hear

– Last Updated: Dec-21-15 10:18 PM EST –

you had no issues with stability and that you liked both Fathoms. Hope you'll write about the Raven once you've had a chance to paddle it.

I'm in the market for a LV kayak longer than my 14-foot Samba. Would like to give the Fathom LV a try, as I do like Eddyline's outfitting.

A couple other LV boats have been recommended, but those demos will involve a road trip.

In a perfect world we'd be able to demo each of the boats we're interested in, one after the other on the same day - with re-tries available.

Don’t worry about it
Focus on other issues. You will adjust to whatever you have.

What I liked about the Raven over the Fathoms is secondary stability is predictable were the fathom just all of a sudden went over it didn’t have good secondary stop point like the Raven has. Plus rolling a Raven is much easier than either of the fathom’s not that the fathom’s don’t roll just not as easy. The LV fathom fits me better felt like I was sitting just to deep in the regular fathom. Iam 5’8". The Raven is just a more lively fun boat to paddle. Fathoms remind me of prjon kayaks which I find boring to paddle. To each there own.

I think beam has a lot to do with how kayaks feel, and their initial stability. 21 inches is starting to get tender, which can obviously be overcome with good bracing and technique. Most kayak paddlers today are not very skilled, otherwise we wouldn’t see all of those cheap, fat slow boats.

The Raven has a lot of rocker for a sea kayak which makes it very responsive and fun to paddle. Long kayaks with straight keel lines can be handled easily in rough water, by making turning strokes on wave crests. In quiet water, some can be leaned over for turns.


– Last Updated: Dec-22-15 5:27 PM EST –

My friends red Raven at work in link below. I am in the blue Current Designs Solstice. Boat handles great, looks great, and would be my choice over the others you are looking at 4" is no big deal. My wife has a Journey which is nice but I hate the seat. The new ones have a different one now. I have a Current Design Nomad and a Solstice 21" vs 24" they definitely feel difference but you will get use to it. First time in a Nomad I was exhausted after 40 minutes. Now I still feel a difference but it fades after 4-5 minutes of dock departure. Square chine hull should offer a bit more initial stability but may also feel twitchier when hit with side waves as they don't pass as easily under the kayak. If you look at the pictures of all three you can see the Raven has the flattest bottom and it even states that in the literature.

Hi paddledog52
Could you give me that link again as it wouldn’t open up for me as I try to click on it. Thanks!


– Last Updated: Dec-22-15 8:34 PM EST –

copy and paste the link in your browser. Just tried it and it works.