Nigel Foster Silhouette???

I found one of these boats used not too far from here. I may go check it out.

Before making the trip I am curious to hear feedback from those who have one / have paddled one.

I am 5’8 and 190 pounds. I currently paddle a Greenlander Pro for my “fast” flat water boat. I am considering the Silhouette as a replacement. I like my GP but I have heard that the Silhoutte is so fast and efficient that this sounds tempting.

I already have a very capable rough water Expedition boat (Explorer) so this would mostly be for flat water, fast paddling, long distances, etc.

I like hard chined boats and don’t mind “tippy” boats (the Silhoutte has a reputation for not being particularly stable but that does not bother me)

Do you think the Silhoutte would be appropriate for my weight (not sure if I might be a bit heavy for it)?

How do you think that the speed / efficiency would compare to my Greenlander Pro? If it’s not much different than it’s probably not worth my time looking at it…but I have heard so many people say that the Silhouette is blazing fast.

Overall what do you think about the Silhouette?

Again, I am just toying with the idea.



silhouette likes smaller paddlers
I owned a silhouette for a while, I’am 5’9"

155lbs & it fit good. Flat water it was nice,

rough water I was swimming alot(I owned it before

I got my roll down). Kinda felt like standing

on a marble when paddling boat in rough water.

I would imagine your weight range is to much,

legend would fit & feels good in rough water

for me anyway when compared to silhouette. It

would make a good rolling boat for your size.

I have never paddled one, but I know people who own and love this boat. They are all lighter than you by a fair amount. I thought about it because having seen it paddled by them it was obviously a fast and high performance boat, but all of them said at 180# I was too heavy and would simply dull it out.

Seaward NF Silhouette in kevlar
agree with eel. Have seen some good paddling by smaller paddlers in this boat. But at 5’9" & 185, I’m probably just too much for it. Just came up for sale today & its close to me too. But hey Bowler, how easily could you lose 30 lbs?

Epic or Kayakpro
Want to go fast? Get a fast kayak. Epic 18x, or check out Kayakpro’s Nemo!! Either will compliment your fleet and be “legitimately” fast!

If you go with Kayakpro you can rest assured Grayson is a champion Olympic paddler who was I believe a five time Olympian with England! Of course our boy Greg does pretty well also!!

Nigel F is a superb person and he makes great kayaks. None are fast relative to the Epic or Kayakpro, so you have playful sea kayaks already. His boat may be a nanno hair faster, but it aint fast relatively speaking. Cowboy up and get on with a real fast kayak… Oh, there’s also the Rapier…

you wouldn’t be too large for the kayak weight wise. it is a tripping boat, capable of carrying much more than you. your weight with gear on, is probably approaching the boats optimal load capacity.

fast? who knows, it wouldn’t be appreciably faster than the GP by any means. go demo it and do a GPS test for yourself, and compare to your GP. doubt it’s any different.

a ruddered boat is where you want to be, a Rapier as mentioned would be in the noticeable category of faster, Gliders, Epics, etc.

Legitimate Fast Boats…
Salty may be right…I am thinking that perhaps my Explorer and GP fill too close of a niche and that it may be better to go with a more legitimately fast boat for flat water. I have thought of this.

I have somewhat of an aversion for ruddered boats and true racing boats.

I have actually thought of the NDK Greenlander Race…I really like my GP and this is basically a 20 foot version. Would have to be pretty fast I would think since the GP is already fairly fast.

The Rapier would also be one I might consider. Salty can probably guess why.


Nigel himself
Nigel Foster told me I was too large (6’, 170) for a Silhouette when I was demoing boats and talking with him at GOMSKS. He put me in a Legend. I had demoed a Silhouette and found the Legend more to my liking.

However, Matt try a truly fast boat. I think Epic Endurance 18s and 18Xs are very neat and if you must paddle Brit, there is the Rapier and Kirton boats. If you have a severe aversion to rudders, get a skegged QCC 700.

Silhouette vs. KayakPro
I agree with Salty on this one. I’ve got both a NF Silhouette and a Kayakpro Nemo. I used to think the Silhouette was fast until I got in a Nemo! Now the Silh feels sluggish. Believe it or not the Nemo actually feels more stable to me in really rough stuff than the silhoutte does.

All that said, my Silh is a Seaward boat and the construction is bomber. Nothing could break that boat. The Nemo is more fragile in cabon kevlar but it probably weighs about half as much.

Different boats for different reasons …

p.s. I’m only about 120 and no one over 160 has ever tried my Silh and actually liked it.

Schizopak has one. Email him via Pnet

so does kwikle…
I like the Silhouette and it works very well for me. Of course I’m 5’8", 145 lbs so it may feel and perform very differently for me than other larger folks.

You may be a bit large for it.
I own a NF Shadow and before I bought it, I talked with Nigel about the differences between the Shadow, Legend, and Sil. He said they were all pretty similar, just designed for different size paddlers. The Shadow is slightly more maneuverable than the Legend which is slightly more than the Silh. The Silh is slightly faster than the Legend which is slightly faster than the Shadow.

IMHO, they are great rough water boats and fast compared to similar boats. They are not racing boats and my friends’ Epic or CD Extreme, are both faster.

Ths Foster boats however excel in the rough stuff. I think they are duplicating your current fleet so if you are looking for a fast flat water boat, I’d look at something else.

Just my 2 cents from someone who LOVES his Shadow.

I fit the Silhouette
5’4" and 135 pounds. I suspect you aren’t that size.

Agree with the above - if this is about speed, just go ahead and get a racing boat.

question for bowler
Just wondering if you could use your greenlander as your rough water tripping boat.

I have an OC greenlander, and honestly, haven’t had it out in anything more than 4’-5’ steady waves or a 3’ clapotis chop. A bit notchy or grippy but when it was loaded for our pictured rocks trip (albeit only 3’ seas)it was pretty manageable.

What do you think?

17’10" x 20.5
It’s my favorate of Nigel Foster boats. I’m 6’2", 180 lbs.

If you plan on expeditions then maybe not. You should try it before deciding on someone’s weight / boat classification including Nigels. Nigel likes a larger boat perhaps thinking about carrying capacity. There’s quite a trend in the paddling circuit with smaller, tighter boats. They can be fun to handle.

17’10" with 20.5 is plenty of boyancy for your size if you like the feel and fit of the boat.

jay’s too modest
If you want a fast greenland style day-tripper that is rough water capable and rolls well, try an OC Outer Island. It is faster than the Sil, rolls as well or better, and is remarkably user friendly. I don’t know how the OI would stack up with equal paddlers, but I don’t have any problem staying up with or ahead of non-racer wing paddlers in QCC boats (devotees of this style, but recreational paddlers) and I use a Lumpy GP with my OI.

Don’t assume
That these ruddered race type boats are bad in rough seas. Quite the contrary! They may not be good rock garden boats, but they excell in big ocean water A to B paddling!!

Matt, you seem obsessed with analysis, which I guess I understand, but I wonder if you might be better off just buying a dozen different boats and having them on a trailer. That way you could paddle all of them at different times. 10 sea kayaks would still cost less than a decent power boat! Or better yet, why not design and build your own? I’m not knocking you here, I’m being serious. It seems to me based on your numerous posts about boat nuances that you are always searching for something else in a boat, and within a category of redundancy I think. Mix it up. Why fall into the aversion to rudder camp? If speed is what you want you’ll note that the fastest sea paddlers in the world use rudders. Expand and enjoy both.

I have considered this. I have had the GP out in very choppy water in about 30 knott winds and it did quite well. Also have had it out in some good clapotis and done a little bit of surfing with it.

It actually handled rough water pretty well…but it is a little grippy and the bow is not as buoyant as I would prefer.

I think that the Explorer is a bit better in these conditions overall.


Waterdoc -
(for clarity’s sake), do you mean that the shadow excels in rough conditions due to confidence inspiring characteristics (stability), or that it is fun to play with in larger seas? Thanks.

I also have the OI
but have paddled the silhouette. I am 6 ft and 200 lbs and did not find it slow or sluggish at all.

fun boat to paddle but still prefer the OI anyday.