Kayaks with "glide"

I’ve noticed the term ‘glide’ mentioned on these boards.

You could assume that the longer the kayak, or the longer the actual ‘waterline’, or the narrower the boat is, the more ‘glide’. (ie; Seda Glider!)

But what about materials? Do rotomolded kayaks really have more friction going through the water than composite or "Airalite’ materials that are slicker-surfaced? Or is that just “b.s.”?

And are there any shorter kayaks (16 foot or less) that have a good amount of ‘glide’?

Uh let’s see now
Hoa many threads have ther been on plastic vs rotomolded in the past month.

Yes, composite boats will give best glide, thermoformed a close second best, rotomold last of these three.

Certainly boats like the QCC 5 or 600 have lots of glide, and are about 16 feet long. Designed with efficiency as the #1 criteria

I would not necessairily recommend them though, though many owners would. I don’t diss them either.

Universal question, where do you want to paddle?

Efficient in flat water may not be efficient when things are rocking.

Most of the glide i n…
rotomold versus composite isn’t due to the smoother surface of the composite, it is due to the lightness of the composite boat versus the heaviness of the plastic.

Cheers, and stay happy,


Another factor…
Most of the most effecient designs are not produced in plastic.

and rotomolding doe not permit
the fineness of lines and control of final shape that composite does.

BTW I disagree with Jack L about the composite weight being the prime difference. ten pounds more in a composite kayak will not reduce the glide all that much. That’s OK; that’s why there is more than one boat.

How about 2 versions same boat?
How about the same kayak in different materials?

Like rotomolded Capella vs. composite Capella.

Or rotomolded Perception Carolina vs Airalite Carolina?

Look closely or ask the designer

– Last Updated: Jul-31-04 5:43 AM EST –

the composite one will be crisper in tersm of line and shape. rotomolding imposes limitations.

I'd still like to have one for rocks and my ww boat is rotomolded.

Try them both…
And time how fast they slow down after you stop paddling. There are smaller boats with great glide, one being the Arctic Tern 14, it just doesn’t have top speed.

mostly detertime the hull efficiency and hence glide. If you have the identical boat in roto and glass and composite, the surfaces will determine the differences if the deformation of the paddler in the boat when underway isn’t significant.

For example: thete’s the Sirocco & the Gulfstream. The Former is plastic, the latter, glass. I don’t know about the rigidity of the Sirocco, but if it indeed IS a rigid boat, and you coat both hulls with, say, 303, then performance should be virtually indistinguishable.

The only differences between identical hulls wil be the coefficient of friction -and given identical shapes and areas under water, the only thig else is the actual surface. Identical coating then eliminatwes that as a variable.

But rotos will usually induce greater “glide”, sometimes twice as much -beacuae they’ll cost less, sometimes half as much, and contents of one’s wallet will stretch significantly more, LOL!

But in the end the diffs are generally not important -significant, but not “important” -between the same hull executed in dffering materials, and other attributes will -should? -sway decisions on purchases.

The real bottom line is whether the baot works for the paddler, and the paddler is happy ih the boat, as they

Paddle On!

-Frank in Miami

“But rotos will usually induce greater “glide”, sometimes twice as much -beacuae they’ll cost less, sometimes half as much, and contents of one’s wallet will stretch significantly more, LOL!”

Good one! Also, if you are not afraid of scratches and gouges with a plastic yak and paddle it twice as many miles as the same in composite, then the plastic yak is getting about twice as much glide :wink:

I suppose if you are a “new toy” junkie, there would be a built-in advantage to plastic: “Oh, look, the hull has deformed and faded after 2 years…MUST BUY a new boat!”

Hey Peter
If I take two of the exact same yaks for instance Perception Shadows, and one of them is plastic and one is composite, and I put two equal paddlers of the same weight in them. the composite will beat the crap out of the plastic.

Now with that said; please tell me why ???


Weight, stiffness, AND surface finish

– Last Updated: Jul-31-04 8:30 PM EST –

Some will always claim these, or some of these, don't matter. They ALL do.

A few % advantage adds up to an butt whooping over distance, but this is just not important to some paddlers.

Weight (displacement) makes more work moving more water AND more friction from having more boat (deeper) in the water.

Stiffness is the least discussed, but hull flexing disrupts laminar flow. More of an issue on folders and inflatables, but affects plastic hulls too. In some wave conditions the flex of a well designed folder (or SOF) can produce better handling (and so speed made good) - but overall it robs speed.

Plastic only owners, and anyone in the "scratches add character" (usually Brit boat) crowd, will never appreciate the importance of smooth surface finish.

Plastic hulls are inferior in all three regards - but still more than good enough for most uses.

I still would like to hear …
Peters reply !!!