Looking into a Stellar S18 for adventure racing

Hello fello paddlers. Quick advice request. I am doing adventure racing. Everglades challenge and long distance camping activities. The preferred kayaks are the Epic 18X, QCC 18 and the kayakpro Marlin to name a few. I came across a really good deal on a Stellar S18. It’s a terrific deal. I considered the Stellar 18R with the surfski hull but I heard that’s slightly more unstable and not ideal for long days on the water where you may need to stop, relax and simply float while having a drink or a snack. Besides it’s out of my price range! So, If I were to get the regular Stellar S18, does anyone know if this kayak is in the same speed range as the Epic 18x or Kayakpro Marlin. I had two individuals tell me it’s every bit as fast if not faster but one of this individuals works for Stellar so he might be motivated to make the sale.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

The three kayaks you mentioned are very similar so I’d say the one with the strongest paddler will win in a race. Get yourself a wing paddle for racing.

I’m an Epic 18X fan, but among the Stellar 18 and 18R, for a 300 mile Everglades Challenge (EC), I would personally chose the Stellar 18R. It has a much superior 3 point footboard. This means better ergonomics, ability to paddle with feet/knees close together for better rotation and leg drive, and the angled footboard is much more ergonomic than small pedals (a huge advantage in comfort/efficiency in this grueling race). The 18R also has a better rudder.

The 18 is 21.5" wide and the 18R is 20.9 inches wide, so neither of these are close to being in the “elite surf ski” territory as far as tender stability goes. On the Stellar website they both show as intermediate level designs with similar stability. There are already participants who use the 18R in the 300 mile EC, the biggest complaint seems to be the lack of a day hatch.
I haven’t used an 18R so this is all just my opinion from listening to people who have them.

As DrowingDave posted, the motor is the most important factor, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting a faster kayak, especially if you aren’t going to use a sail (like most people do in this class). You can opt to compete in class 2 if you don’t want to race against kayaks outfitted with sails.

An EC is done at fairly low intensity (my HR averages only around 120), so having a strong aerobic base is necessary to a strong performance and to prevent too much suffering. Rather than join in the HIIT craze (that trains your anaerobic system), I recommend to build a strong aerobic base by training long distance with a relatively low heart rate and gradually build up your training volume. This also makes you more efficient at burning fat (rather than sugar). Eat and drink what you will on the race, during training, to train your gut too, as GI issues are common on races that last multiple days.


for Stellar 18R
for Stellar 18

Not even remotely close! If you don’t have a good footboard you hurt more, and have a less efficient leg drive/stroke/comfort and have less options about where you can position your feet. If you do get the Stellar 18, upgrade the footboard!