Looking for a performance kayak

Hi there,
Looking for a light weight performance kayak for day tours, not for expeditions. I live in Calgary, so we only have small to medium size lakes.
Light weight: under 50 lbs
Performance: Maximum control and rolling. I want to “wear” the kayak so it feels as an extension of my body. I want to become an amphibian. I want to feel close to the water and to nature. To feel as if I belong there, not a visitor.
I’m 5’7" 150 lbs
Here are the kayaks I’ve been looking at so far:
Delta 15s
Zegul Greenland 17/7
Zegul Arrow Play LV
Thank you!

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Why do you think a rudder makes it a beginner’s boat?
What about the hull shape of this boat do you like- rocker or lack of, secondary stability, amount of maneuverability…? Cockpit fit?

There are lots of boats with good hull shapes for the activities you describe. But they can be very different from each other.

Lots of folks will have ideas here but based on your size and your desire for maximum control, ease of rolling and kayak weight the Sterling Kayaks Ice Kap, Illusion or Progression would fill the bill. Pricey though.
Ice Kap

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Hi Celia,
I read it here https://www.thomassondesign.com/en/paddla/kajakpaddling/paddla-utan-roder

Thanks 3meterswell

You might be mis-informed about the rudder aspect. I wouldn’t make a decision based on one website’s opinion. There are plenty of high end boats (and expeditioners) that have rudders. The Rockpool Taran comes to mind and at nearly $5000 USD I wouldn’t call that a “beginner” boat.


When I opened the link I read this: This page is currently available in Swedish only. I may find the time to translate it eventually, but in the meantime Google Translate may provide something intelligible.

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After translating the page in Google Translate, the relevant part seems to be:

" Most beginners (which in this context includes most rudder paddlers) make two cardinal mistakes -they do not move in the cockpit and they fight the kayak instead of with.

Everyone can learn to handle their kayak with just the paddle. For some it is easy - those with easy-to-maneuver kayaks, good paddle technology and who are not spoiled with rudders. For others, it takes much longer. Not so few get tired and mount rudders…"

The author’s bias seems to be not so much that all rudder-equipped kayaks are for beginners, but that a kayak is easier to handle if it has a rudder, even if you don’t have good paddling skills, and that without one you are forced to learn more advanced techniques. As to whether that is true, or whether the OP would be better off without one, I’ll leave that for others.


You are absolutely right! Many good boats come with a rudder!

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from the drop down menu in your browser choose “translate”

I personally would only have a skegged boat for a couple of reasons, but l am mostly a day paddler with occasional overnight. If l was doing expeditions l would have to rethink that.

The earliest circumnavigation of Greenland were made by extremely GOOD paddlers using boats that had been fitted with rudders, in some cases rudder and skeg, in order to handle the difficult conditions with reasonable safety margins. Many excellent paddlers have completed the Maine Island Trail as well as West Coast major trips in expedition boats with rudders.

The page apparently says that beginners tend to rely on rudders in ways they should not. Not that rudders are necessarily bad. You have the freedom to behave differently.


Two questions:

  1. What type or rolling? Are you thinking about getting a dependable roll or are you wanting to start working on the various Greenland type rolls?
  2. Are you located in North America or elsewhere?

I have no such drop-down menu but that’s irrelevant as the claim that a ruddered kayak is a beginner’s boat is ludicrous.

The guy making that statement apparently has never heard of Freya Hofmeister. Her boats have rudders.


@Ilan Which boats have you paddled, how much time was spent in each, and how would you rate them in terms of characteristics that you are looking for in a performance boat?

Hi rival51,
I’m not training to any competition. I want to have fun, close connection with the kayak to the water and nature. Dependable roll. The Zegul Greenland kayak seems to fit the bill. I’m in Calgary.

Hi Ilan
In your performance criteria, you want to be able to roll it well. That’s clear enough.
“Maximum control” is rich in ambiguity. Could you clarify that?

I’m a beginner. Started last year with Old Town Castine 140.

sure… I want to “wear” the kayak. I want to transform to an amphibian. I want it to be an extension of my body.

Ilan, I hopped in someone’s Zegul Greenland GT a couple months ago. Nice efficiency, seemed very well-mannered in the light wind of the day, easy to roll, maneuvered nicely. I
would really enjoy owning one. You would want the smaller size, but this seemed like a really nice sea kayak.

Thanks CapeFear!
Yes, the GREENLAND 17/7 - 3D C-CORE seems to be my size.