Paddled a Phoenix Match II downriver

racing kayak yesterday:

Contrary to the way the pictures looks, the waterline width of the boat is quite uniform through the mid section of the boat and doesn’t widen out like it does above the water line. I think that this was done to meet race boat width requirements. I suspect that the above-the-water line flare also contributes greatly to secondary stability, but I was unwilling to test the secondary stability in 32 degree water (I had to break ice to get on the water). Is anyone out there familiar with this style of boat able to confirm the function of the above-the-water line flare?

The Match II really felt tippy and precarious compared to my Phoenix Isere: After a few minutes I started to get used to it and kept thinking to myself “relax, loose hips save ships”. This worked out pretty well for the Match II, but wasn’t enough to relax me in the other old down river racing kayak of similar, but fuller and more rounded hull design. After paddling the Match II, the other boat felt like sitting in/on a log and I never got close to comfortable in it. I wasn’t willing to play in that boat anymore with 32 degree water and 34 degree air temps.

I got back in the Match II and it felt quite solid and stable compared to the other boat! I wanted to try the Match II because I wanted to try a fast, go straight boat and it definately likes to go straighter than my Isere, but without having the Isere there to compare side by side, it was difficult to tell if the Match II is any faster. I was surprised how much bow wake the Match II had. Maybe the bow wake was that big because I actually was going pretty fast, the shoreline seemed to be passing by quickly.

Anybody race this type of boat or use it for exercise? I understand that it’s an old design and isn’t competetive with newer race designs.

I think I now have an idea of what cooldoctor1 experienced the first time he paddled his Prijon Barracuda after being used to his Calabria.

I’d like to try those boats again in warmer water.

At this point, I’m leaning away from adding such a boat to my stable. The Isere is pretty good for just getting out there and paddling hard to go fast for exercise.

Happy paddling.

minimum width requirement
All race legal wildwater and slalom boats (the one you were asking about is a wildwater boat) have ‘wings’ above the water line to meet minimum width requirements.

Do the “wings” also help with secondary

What are some modern, still produced
examples of these wildwater and slalom boats?

Is there a web site that you’d recommend for learning more about them?


phoenix cult
of few. i own a cascade, an appalachian, and a (no longer produced?) brown pelican. my friend victor has a phoenix too, i love 'em!


– Last Updated: Feb-27-06 11:36 PM EST –

Downriver or wildwater kayaks have a max length of 14'9", just under 24" width & no rudders allowed. They are very fast for their length having very little hull in the water/big bows for charging down rapids. There is so much wake because the boat really doesn't have the total waterline to replace the water it cuts at speed. Paddling the Dr's more rounded mid section will help your skills a lot!

Thanks DGreen. It sure felt like
paddling the Match II would improve my paddling skills! I may try something like it again in warmer weather.

What cult?
I only have an Isere, Vagabond and Poke Boat. I’d been wanting to try out the Match II and am glad I had the chance. I was surprised how straight it tracks.

A couple of things
Are you considering the DR boat for flat water paddling or for use in whitewater as it was intended? I’m not familiar with the model you’re asking about but in general to cope with whitewater these boats have a lot of volume in the bow and tend to have a fuller bow than a flatwater racing boat. Being fuller reduces the flatwater top speed and the extra deck height means they get blown around by crosswinds a lot. Even moderate winds can reduce a paddler to doing sweep strokes on one side only. The maximum length of 4.5m also makes them slower than the longer flatwater boats. They are excellent for their intended purpose but have major drawbacks for other uses. For more information check out these websites-

web site and wings

Perception used to make a plastic wildwater boat called the Wavehopper. I think they might still be available in Europe, but not in the US. Otherwise, you’re looking at a composite from a small maker.

From the racers I’ve talked to, the wings don’t do much other than make the boat wide enough to be legal and slightly iteresting to roll.

Thanks for the links.
I was thinking that the wings might make it interesting to roll.

Thanks for the links and your insight.
I wouldn’t be using the boat as designed because there isn’t any wildwater around here. I would be using it on flatwater and slow rivers.

I was surprised how much beter it tracked than my Phoenix Isere. I was expecting a down river or wildwater boat to have more rocker and relatively poor tracking. I guess that shows that I know next to nothing about wildwater paddling and this type of boat.