Manufacturers' Misrepresentations

I’m the guy who complained in the past about purchasing a Hurricane Phoenix 120, which is advertised as 12’ in length, over the internet to find out it is actually 11’ 3" long. Have any of you run into a similiar situation in terms of size or weight? In this era where more of us are purchasing kayaks over the internet without actually testing one out before we do so (dumb move, learned the hard way), maybe we should help keep each other informed with respect to these kinds of misrepresentations.

Have you asked Hurricane?
You may be measuring it differently. Are you taking into account the curvature of the boat? Some variation is normal; for instance, the Eddyline Nighthawk 16 is advertised as 16’ when it’s actually about 15’10". But a 9-inch difference is more of an issue, especially when the boat is as short as that. I’d ask them.


– Last Updated: Oct-17-10 9:12 PM EST –

I see you added your experience to the reviews here - I think that's the right venue for it, as your experience will benefit others who are interested in the boat.

I think it's not acceptable for a 9" difference in boat length. The BS boat weights provided by some manufacturers are just as bad, just more difficult for a casual user to verify.

Interestingly, I notice that in the reviews, the boat is listed at 11'6". I guess this was entered by the first reviewer, so you're obviously not the only one with this problem.

Kayak lengths
Not to say that Hurricane shouldn’t have accurate info on their site, but there is a kind of shorthand that everyone tends to fall into talking about kayak length. That may have affected the folks who did the web site and maybe lacked input from the Hurricane staff who had the accurate numbers. It’s not uncommon for web designers to have to guess because they can’t get what they need from someone at the company.

Day boats in sea kayaking are talked about as 16 ft boats, even though they are never actually 16 ft long, usually a few inches less to several inches more. Expedition length boats tend to be talked about as 17 ft boats, even though they would average to a length closer to 18 than 17 ft.

Discussions about 10 ft rec boats tend to include a bunch that aren’t exactly that, and talking about moving up to 12 ft boats usually means 11’9" to 12’7". And so on.

My guess is that the people doing the web site were told to move it out as of a certain date and the vetting that was supposed to happen from others didn’t in time. With luck going out with errors will get the right attention. You should let them know via email too.

I know I complained to P&H
That their Capella 160s, 165s, and 170s were in fact a few inches off,

and they immediately changed the names to 161, 163, 167, and 173.

maybe they should advertise waterline?

Hurricane Knows
Someone else on this message board recently posted that he contacted Hurricane about the length of the Phoenix 120 and was told that the actual length is 11’ 3". Yet they continue to advertise it as 12’. It is just wrong.

Recreational & Touring boats
I have seem it a lot in recreational & touring boats -above all, regarding weight (Epic touring boats are the exception here).

In racing crafts (even at cheapest lay up), length/width are exact. Actual weight tends to be lower than advertised weight. In fact, all my boats came with their weight written in the hull, which is lower than the advertised weight.

To me, if a manufacture made a boat at a higher weight than advertised, it should sell it at a discount -as a blemish boat. Otherwise, they are screwing with us…


Many powerboats measure length
by measuring the keel line which is longer than the footprint length. They can call the model anything they want but usually if it is a number it gives an “idea” of length. If size matters ???

Do you find a noticeable performance
deficit because it is 11’ 3" instead of 12 feet? The real question is, does the boat DO what you expected it to do. Yeah, the 9 inch shortfall is kind of shoddy, but it’s the performance that counts.

Some causes of variations

– Last Updated: Oct-18-10 5:41 PM EST –

Sometimes differences are how the boat is measured/weighed.

I've noted some differences in how metric is converted to imperial. There is always some rounding and how that rounding is done may vary. For example the NDK Explorer was initially listed as 17'6", then for a while NDK/SKUK was stating it was 17'8". There had been no change in the boat. Sea Kayaker measured it at 17'6" and I measured three different era Explorers and came up with 17'6" on each. Now, with an automatic conversion on the NDK/SKUK site the imperial is back to 17'6".

Another difference is in depth measures. Many manufacturers measure the outside top to bottom at the front and/or rear of the cockpit and give that as the depth(s) of the boat. Sea Kayaker magazine measures internally at front and rear of coaming.

Weight is even more variable. Many manufacturers give the weight of the boat without hatch covers and rigging and sometimes seats - a difference of a few pounds compared to the weight of the boat as you heft or paddle it. Also, the weight of boats can vary among individual examples. This is especially true of boats which are, at least in part, hand laid. I was told once that a 5 pound variance was not unusual for British hand laid boats. My Pro-lite Aquanaut weighs considerably more than my standard layup Nordkapp LV even though it is listed as only an inch longer and a half inch wider. And I paid an extra $450 for that 'lighter' layup ;-)

Sea Kayaker Magazine measures and weighs the boats they review. I find their measures far more accurate than manufacturers.

Finally, one should never take the number that is part of the model name to be an accurate representation of the length of a boat. For example, the Necky Chatham 16 is more like 16'5" and the Necky Chatham 18 is closer to 17'9" than 18'. The numbers as part of a model name are often meant to give only a rough idea.

I trust that my ww boats, whose model numbers reflect volume, might bear a closer resemblance to reality...

The cockpit was too small
for my massive, 5’ 10" frame. Perhaps if it was the 12’ as advertised I would have fit. The boat turned out to be just too small for me.

are a real problem for some. Perhaps we should bring a scale with us during purchase. Why not state that weights are determined without hatches or trim etc. Pretty deceptive and false advertising to make a sale.

Valley does note
"Weights stated are approximations for our standard Diolen construction, excluding hatch covers."

-Valley Sea kayaks website.

I don’t understand
Why do companies list weights without seats, hatch covers, etc.? How many people are buying their boats without these things? Perhaps I can understand seats, as some people change them.

The Capella 163 is 16’5"
I measured it when I was considering it as a personal boat.

Weights are a joke
Lengths are only a ball park figure and the name does not mean it is that length. A Tarpon 140 could be any length between 12 and 16 feet depending on how you want to measure it so their marketing people pick out 140. Same with other brands.

For Old Town add 10 to 20 pounds to their listed weight for the true weight of the canoe you can buy.

men have been guilty of misrepresenting
length since the beginning of time

Like the guy standing next to you at
the urinal saying; “wow, this water is cold!”

Jack L

Marketing might be a big factor …
… Buyers paying attention to boat weight usually want lighter boats. Take off hatches and seats, you can say your boat is lighter.

Length may also be influenced by marketing. Buyers looking for smaller boats may be looking at length vs. volume, so “rounding down” may be a way to make your boat more appealing.

In reality, length should be a pretty straight forward measurement. Weight can have variance, especially if the boat is hand laid composite. Another weight variance could be if a mfg changes components, especially a larger one, like a seat.

I find load ranges to be most confusing. Some are total load, person plus gear, while others are person only. Some mfg’s have a max load, but no range. Ranges, when used, are often very wide. Leaves a lot to interpretation. I a;ways figure aim for the middle of the range, if there is one, but I know many would disagree with that.