Length/beam=Speed? of Boreal vs. Riot

I know, I know … many of you don’t even want to look at plastic boats … but I would really very much appreciate your advice how to evaluate a boat for cruising speed.

I’m comparing two Tandem Kayaks the Esperanto from Borealdesign vs. Polarity from Riot Kayaks:




I read the length-to-beam-ratio is a good indicator for speed: Esperanto=8.2 vs. Polarity=7.6. Thus, the extra lenght of the Esperanto makes up for the wider beam?


The round hull of the Esperanto should be faster than the twin-hull?


Esperanto=96lbs vs. Polarity=78lbs. My weight is above 200lbs … I understand the difference for loading but cruising speed is my main consideration. Doeas the extra 18 lbs eat all the advantages above?


Is there anybody out there that could comment how these two manufacturer compare?

is one indicator, as is Cp, your strength etc. The fastest hull may not be the fastest for you.

re: your last item
I would add to that: service. Riot has been virtually nonexistent when it comes to sea kayak customer support (anyone with different experience please chime in).

I don’t know what you mean with Cp. I’m heavy but I do regular weight training and cardio exercise and consider myself being a relatively strong paddler. I paddle a plastic Necky Looksha IV (L~17ft/W~22inch) at about 5 mph (for ~13miles) with a relatively big bladed paddle in a single. My wife, who will be joining me in the tandem, is light weight but athletic and is rather a recreational paddler. Thats why I have some additional consideration for the Esperanto which does not require paddling in sync. I was hoping I could keep working out and just push or pull her along (where should I sit?) when she want to do some breaks during the trips in the tandem.

Riot Polarity
I’m slowly adding to my offerings of Riot boats and just received shipment of my first Polarity a few days ago. I’m very impressed with construction and design of the boat. Riot has recieved some criticism – in the past – for not being very responsive in the way of customer service. My impression is that the company has undergone some changes and is doing better in that department.

Regarding where you should sit. You will get more of a workout paddling in the bow. Also the stern paddler can skip a stroke or two and then get back in synch with you – and you can just keep going.

Seat Position
Thank you for the feedback on the Riot boats.

I learned that the stronger paddler should sit in the front but when we were renting recreational boats I always felt it would be better to sit in the back. I felt my much higher weight (~220lbs vs. 120lbs) would be better in the back and I have no problem with staying in synch or steering the boat vs. my wife having to learn it.

Meanwhile my wife has some more paddling experience in a single and when we buy the tandem we want to learn doing it the most efficient way … I was planning to just trie it both ways for multiple times.

divorce boats
If you’re going to sit in the front and your 100-lbs lighter wife in the back you’ll have some handling issues,making steering more difficult.

My thoughts on the Esperanto.(though i’ve never paddled it) I’ve looked at and paddled another Boreal boat and thought their plastic is on the soft side compared to some other manufacturers. combined with the length and weight i think its just an icky combo though the aluminum keelson should give it more rigidity than if it was just a plastic tub.

The polarity looks like a 2 person version of their Voyager single. That bottom profile (dual channel/twin hull whatever), i bet it’s meant 90% to give the boat rigidity against oil canning and not tracking or stability. honestly looks like someting a strong current could catch and flip.

My 2c,if you want a fairly basic day-trip or really lightly packed overnighter, go with the riot, if not i’d go looking for a used fiberglass boat. Me,i’d find a used Prijon Excursion and call it a day.


– Last Updated: May-17-07 3:11 PM EST –

Though I get confused with all the letters (it looks like alphabet soup to me) I'll put a vote in for the Esperanto. We have paddled them several times over the years and liked them alot. It is the boat of choice for the outfitters/rental places up in Quebec, at least the areas that we go to. We have been in pretty heavy stuff with them with good results.
We haven't tried the Riot tandem but at 16'6" it seems a bit close to me (my touring single is 16')
I'm not sure which boat is faster but we didn't realize we were in a near 100lb boat till we draged it on shore... that's where we really noticed the weight.
We are looking at the Beluga next year for a lighter tandem Boreal Design..it would put us over the 20' mark which is a consideration when travelling by ferry (rates go up).
I see both boats are Canadian... if your up there you'll have plenty of chances to try the Esperanto..I'm not so sure about the Riot. I have seen single Riots but not the Tandem version.
We were taught that the front person sets the cadence and the rear person determines the direction.
Good luck.