Nigel Foster Boats???

I am considering looking into getting a hard chined boats and have heard good things about Nigel Foster boats.

My question pertains to the difference among his three models. They appear to be basically the same boat, but in three different volumes / beam widths (basically to fit different size paddlers). Is this pretty much the case, or are they actually different hulls as well?



Foster boats

– Last Updated: Nov-26-06 7:43 AM EST –

The legend has more rocker than the silhouette. If you look at Nigels instructional videos you will see that he uses the Legend in his videos showing blade and boat control. the hard chines and rounded hull take some getting used to and in either the silhouette or the legend you end up sitting on one chine or the other until you get used to the boat (and learn to keep perfect balance) However, it is a boat that allows you to use very precise boat control and the Legend does turn on a dime while the silhouette reminds me more of an OI in terms of turning..needs aggressive leaning throughout your turn, not just a quick lean over and hope the boat continues in that direction after you have straightened up.
the silhouette is a tad faster with the longer waterline and is well regarded as a rolling boat also even though i never saw much difference between the two when I rolled them. Both very easy.
Legend packs a bunch of stuff. Very surprising the volume in that boat as it certainly doesn't look it.

I picked the OI over the silhouette and the Legend over a lot of other boats for storage and expedition camping. Just did a test where loaded the Legend up with camping gear and water and it settled right down into a well behaved expedition boat akin to a caribou or other hard chined boat.

the Legend weathercocks a bit and you can correct with proper edging but if you are lazy an inch drop to the skeg settles her right down. Concurrently more weight in the stern hatch acts in a similiar manner.

As you can see I have not mentioned the shadow but to answer your original question, the hulls have the same basic design, i.e., hard chines and rounded hulls but there are differences. Perhaps some of the experts can comment as to the specifics.

And last but not least..Just like all British kayak manufacturers that obviously failed their public school systems. (None of them know how to use a scale) add 8 to 10 lbs to any given or published weight.

Hope this helps


Made in Canada now
"And last but not least…all British kayak manufacturers failed their public school systems. None of them know how to use a scale so add 8 to 10 lbs to any given or published weight on their websites."

True in the case of NDK and to a lesser extent Valley (And maybe now that they vacuum bag their layups, they’re accurate with weight?), but Nigel Foster’s boats are all made in Canada now. All but the Rumour are made by Seaward, and the Rumour is made by Current Designs. They should be very close to their advertised weight if you buy new.

We have a kevlar Silhouette among our kayaks, and she’s a lovely craft. Fast, easy to roll, and very capable in the big stuff. Weighs about 45 lbs empty and dry.


Now 4 models

– Last Updated: Nov-25-06 8:38 AM EST –

There are now 4 Nigel Foster designs in production: Legend, Silhouette, Shadow, and Rumour. It'd be nice to see the Echo back in production.

And yes all four of these models are now made in North America - three in Canada by Seaward and the Rumour in the USA by Current Designs.

If you like Foster boats you can now get reliable QC and reasonable weights.

Paddler size for Silhouette?
Have been thinking of a Silhouette for a playful day/weekend boat. At 5’ 10" and 175# would I weigh the boat down too much and dull it out? I have been impressed by how Foster’s boats work for others and the Legend would seem to be too big for a fun day boat and assume the Rumor would be too small.


Prior to purchasing my Shadow,
I had a discussion with Nigel Foster about the difference between the boats.

He told me the Shadow was the most maneuverable, followed by the Legend and then followed by the Silhouette. He said there was a very slight speed difference between them with the Sil being the fastest and the Shadow being the slowest. He said most paddlers would not be able to discern the speed difference because it is slow slight.

The differences in maneuverability is because the hulls are all the same length but the width at the cockpit varies - as a result, the amount of rocker changes when you put the boats on edge.

BTW, I LOVE my Shadow. You can read all about it as I got selected as the “Featured Paddler” on Seaward’s web site.

You’d be OK
I’m 5’8" and 175 lbs, and I’m a little tight against the thigh braces (Cyclist’s thighs in my case), but it’s actually my girlfriend’s boat, so I don’t get to paddle it very often. I don’t load it down too much, in fact, I really like the way it handles, especially in rough water and surf.

If I were to paddle it a lot, I’d cut off the front edge of the seat, and glass on a new edge maybe 3/4" lower, or just take the seat out and go with a foam seat. Since you’re taller than me, you might actually fit better than I do.


Shadow IS so manerverable
the wider bearm gives it the most assymetric shape when edged, and it does not dig in as deep.

The shadow is a lovely boat. I liked my tern and loved my shadow.

The build quality of my shadow from seaward had a build quality and finish that put most of my boats to shame.

corrected the phrasing


did Nigel comment about any differences in handling, etc. on the Rumour? His other boats were too big for me, but my Rumour is perfect! I haven’t been able to to take it out on challenging water (just plain old flat lakes locally)so I’d be very interested to hear how it performs in better water.

At the time I had the conversation with Nigel, the Rumour was not in production. This was the first night at the Southwest Symposium a couple of years ago, and I was starting to do some research to find a replacement boat to my CD Gulfstream.

If the Rumour handles at all like his other boats, it will be great in rough water. The day I ordered my Shadow, I took a 4 hour demo paddle in the roughest water I had ever paddled. There was an incoming tide in a narrow harbor entrance with an opposing 20 knot wind. The waves were reflecting off of the jettys on either side of the harbor entrance and the clapotis was intense.

Although my stomach had risen to the top of my throat, and other parts of my anatomy were showing what the term “pucker factor” means, the boat did quite well.

I would imagine that anything that Nigel designs should be able to handle rough water with ease.