QCC for me?

Okay…I’ve read all the reviews and even talked with Phil at QCC but I’m still on the fence about what to do. Here’s were all you experts come in!

Background: I’m 5’-9’’ and around 185#. I’ve been paddling around a year now (Carolina 14.5) and consider myself a strong begginer. I’m looking for a composite boat (~16’/22") that I will not out-grow too soon. I do not plan to surf my new boat but will paddle in varied locales over the next few years (my wife is active duty Air Force so we are rather nomadic), currently we are on the East Coast but will move in a year. I also want to learn to roll whatever boat I decide on and would like to avoid boats that are notoriously “hard to roll”.

I have found a closeout 2003 Impex Currituck that I really like and feel would fit the bill for what I need in a kayak but before I slap down my hard earned cash I want to be sure. So back to the QCC boats…For about the same money I can get a new QCC X500. Everything I’ve read says they are great boats with good build quality and outstanding support from the factory. So, am I comparing apples to oranges here? Any feedback would be great…

it’s like apples to tacos
Those two boats are extremely different. Despite similar dimensions, the 500 is a big barge and the Curritek is a British style tripping boat. The Curritek rolls easier than the 500 and it’s just an overall fun boat to paddle. You definitely should try them both out. I know you are more of a beginner, but I think the 600/700 would compare better to the Curritek than the 500.

I was in a similar position
I eventually ended up with a QCC Q700X, because a big consideration for me was rollability/advanced level and most of all speed.

From everything I read the 700 seemed to win for speed. Also just going by reviews and the number of them It’s quite impressive that QCC sells so many kayaks sight-unseen.

Now… if you tried them both…

seconding schizopak
Very diferent boats.

The QCC500 would feel quite different than a Currituck.

You would not outgrow a Currituck for a long time, if ever. To acheive such in a QCC you would probably have to move up to another model.

Impex has a very good reputation and Danny takes a keen interest in his customers.

If you go QCC skip the 500 - get the 700
Trust me on this (and see if anyone disagrees who has paddled both!).

First QCC I tried was a 500. Once I got my 700 the 500’s owner tried it and immediately put his 500 up for sale.

500 is way to big for you. Huge deep cockpit, higher front and rear decks, catches more wind, harder to roll, …

If you can’t pack everything you need into a 700 - you have too much stuff. It’s plently big enough.

700 is a breeze to roll, and will handle rougher stuff better than the 500. Don’t worry about the extra length - you’ll adapt. It turns very easy once you get to know it.

Don’t worry about the narrower beam either. I went to a 700 from a 28" wide Sit-on-top. It was a bit of a wake up call, but now it feels as stable as a dock. Very stable for a 21" beam.

Impex makes nice boats too…

The 700 is a foot longer - but almost 2’ longer waterline. Pretty big difference, but only really matters if you like to cruise at a decent pace. 700 will be lighter. 700 also has a 1" lower foredeck. Quite different boats.

If buying new - so many choices…

The Currituck is a real nice kayak
and you won’t have to wait for shipping or deal with any problems that arose from shipping.

what Greyak said. I’m very familiar with the Currituck-it was one of the finalists when I purchased my Explorer; a close friend owns one and we swap boats pretty frequently. It will be a great deal more fun than the 500 (paddled twice and I’m sure is a very nice boat to live with for pleasure paddling, camping, birding, etc., but rather like a sensible pair of shoes in comparison to the two models above it in the QCC roster). The Curri edges well, rolls easily, and is quite comfortable and well made. If you weren’t into performance paddling/speed, then it would fit the bill nicely-you’d be hard pressed to find a better all around boat. If you think you’d enjoy a faster turn of speed, or could see yourself ever entering races and enjoying it, then I’d suggest the QCC 600/700. The 600 would probably be a better fit at your height and weight, but you could paddle the 700 with no problems also. It will be faster, provided you can tap into its speed potential. Both have absolutely cavernous storage. I try to keep this little fact a secret when paddling day excursions with others, lest I wind up hauling everyone’s kit. Keep in mind also that the Curri is a skegged boat, while the Q-Tips offer you a choice. If it truly comes down to Currituck vs. QCC 500, IMHO go with the Currituck.

Thanks for the info…
Guess I knew the answer before I even asked. Hard to make a decision with so many boats out there to choose from. I think I’ll go ahead with my plan to p/u the Impex on Saturday! Seems I probably won’t go wrong with the Currituck. Thanks again folks.


i would take a currituck before I ever
considered the qcc.

valley hatches, better hull profile for rougher water, more rocker and better response to edging and leaned turns. Good drop skeg system. nice low profile deck.

But the cult may have you in its grips already.

I have three
Impex boats and have been more than pleased with both their construction and performance. Danny and his staff are great, too!

Kwikle - C’mon
I am mad at myself for even responding to your comments. I just can’t help myself. I will try to stay nice. I am as opinionated as you are so lets just say I am supporting the other side of the debate and trying not to get personal.

If QCC owners belong to a cult, then so does everyone who owns an Epic, surfski, Westside Boatshop, Sedas, Nelos, OC-1s and many other boats designed to paddle the ocean fast, efficiently and safely. The reason you and others pick on QCC is because it is the brand that has been the most successful at bringing enlightened kayak design to the masses.

I am starting to see some of the mainstream brands add boats to their lines that are evolving towards the QCC, Epic (form-follows-function) design method. It is very interesting to see how old fashioned - even ancient - sea kayak design is today. With the exception of the “cult” brands, most sea kayaks could be much more efficient for the purpose of paddling forward without giving up much in the way of handling or stability.

I will admit it. Not every paddler is interested in forward speed efficiency. Why would anyone want to easily paddle 15-20 miles in a typical 3 hour paddle after work - even in rough conditions? Who would ever aspire to catching ocean swells for stable 10 - 15 mph sleigh rides? Why would someone appreciate being able to cross busy channels at 7+ mph? All of these attributes are relatively easy with boats like the QCC’s. Not only does speed and efficiency open up one’s paddling range significantly, it makes paddling safer and more fun.

Typical paddlers in their typical sea kayaks have no idea these things are easily attainable. Its sad to me that a whole new world of sea kayaking is right there for those who might want it. But their equipment gives no clue how close it could be. I theorize that most equipment and techniques endorsed by stores, schools, club leaders and many “experts” on P-Net are to blame.

Kwikle, you imply that the QCC boats are somehow inferior to traditional kayaks in rough conditons. This is just not true for paddlers with fairly basic skills. QCCs, Epics and other boats designed by commonly understood priciples of naval architecture will absolutely whoop traditional looking boats in rough water at all directions to the wind and waves. Look to modern surfskis for clues to the preferred design elements.

Now if you are looking for a lifeboat to bob around in then there are plenty of choices at your local shop. There are also plenty of people here on P-Net and in your local clubs who will bob along happily with you. Just know there are surprising improvements in speed and efficiency available to you by simply selecting the right equipment and learning the right techniques.

I always hate myself after ranting here. Eventually the truth will win out. I am never sure if ranting here helps get the message out or just builds resentment. Certainly anybody who spent $3500 on any type of kayak can’t help but take these issues personally whether they are a traditionalist with their elf shoe or a modernist in their appliance.

The trouble with these arguments

– Last Updated: Jul-28-05 6:00 PM EST –

is your definition of the words "easy" and "easily." I don't think such feats as you describe here would ever become easy for most paddlers, no matter what the boat. Only for a relatively dedicated few who have the time and inclination to really train for this activity.


Don’t have to pick sides

– Last Updated: Jul-28-05 9:05 PM EST –

I like boats in both camps.

Johnathan's points above are dead on though, and there is a lot of misconception about these boats being perpetuated by what can best be described as the old guard.

As for definitions of "easy" - well, I'm no racer, and at best and intermediate paddler. Still, I can sprint my 700 to 7+ mph to cross channels quite easily. Using wake energy I don't really have to work much. I have done many of those 15+ mile 3 hour paddles in it. Once you experience even this low end of what the boat is capable of you'll have a hard time settling for something less efficient unless it is for a very specialized purpose. Once you do a downwind run even small wind waves you be hooked. All this in probably the most stable 21" beam kayak in production. The 700 is no one trick pony, it's an efficient and versatile sea/tour kayak. One downside: Group paddles can become a bit frustrating.

You could just look at this split of opinions as the typical Brit boat paddler just wanting to do different things - so the performance difference might not be of interest - but there is much more overlap than not. Performance differences can be subtle, not night and day. The benefits of the 700 do not really come at the expense of anything else as compared to similar size kayaks. If as most do, the majority of your time is spend going forward and you write these boats off it's your loss.

If the 600/700 had Tupperware hatches (with a day hatch), and a lower rear deck - UK imports would drop radically. Those are the only features I see on the (same basic overall size) Brit boats that have any distinct functional advantage - and even those are not that critical. My hatches stay plenty dry, I seem to do fine with an under deck bag and PFD pockets, and the boat rolls super with a range of techniques (a full layback may be a bit difficult with the high rear deck - but it's not required to roll either. Brit boats are not universally good in this regard either. Since I moved my seat, I find the layback actually easier for me in my 700 than the more restrictive [for me] Pintail.)

I really think both schools of thought have something to offer, and both (and others)influence my thinking when looking at designing my own.

I only really chime in to add info in the interest of awareness and open mindedness. I don't need to talk other boats down to talk about what is good about mine. I'm in no particular camp (or in both, and others), I have just come to appreciate what the 700s hull allows me to do. I have not ignored other designs along the way, and have many other favorites, but no production sea kayak I'd trade for.

Since Winter's isn't likely to design a 6 meter LV kayak with a 48cm beam, a really low rear deck with exactly the right freeboard for my weight, with an ocean cockpit I guess it's time to clear space and gather materials. Most of the design is on paper. Design intent? Something largely West Greenland influenced (I have no problem looking to "ancient" technolgy - Winters has studied them, and sitll is. He's working on a book on their performance characteristics) but that paddles a lot like the 700. Lighter, leaner, maybe a touch faster. Obviously a bit more challenging to paddle, and suitable for working on more than basic rolls. Not a race kayak or a flat water cruiser, but an all around boat for day paddles that can covr distance, handle open water, and do reasonably well at the occasional race. Some would say I am trying to get too much out of one design. Those people have not spent much time in a QCC 700.

Come on Greyak, you don’t like
to admit it, but you are way above average in time commitment to this sport. I manage 2-4 hours once a week half the year and it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s more usage than average. Certainly it isn’t for average long-term members of this board, but consider the guy who started this topic, for example, and came here looking for advice.

It bugs me to read of claims of sustained 5+ knots being considered easy. I don’t think that’s true of any kayak, for most people. I wish it were.


I’m about the same

– Last Updated: Jul-29-05 2:17 AM EST –

I average only once a week on the water. I don't have Winter though!

I miss many weekends, but try to paddle extra on long weekends/holidays and vacation time. Try to get at least 3 hours each time. Not worth dragging out the gear and rinsing after for less. Maybe is I make time to get the hang of the surf ski or build that lighter day boat I'll start doing shorter after work paddles.

I like to go about 5 mph, not 5 knots. If I dropped some weight and upped the exercise just a bit a 5 knot average cruise over a few hours would not be too hard. You might be surprised what an efficient hull design with a foot or more LWL and a bit narrower can do over distance.

I started paddling on my own. No one I knew paddled. I still paddle mostly alone, so I am not really paddling like any peers. I see what everyone does online and try what seems interesting. Kind of an odd mix of influences (as evidenced by my little my weird little fleet). Curiosity and play has gotten me a pretty quick education, but I have a lot to learn.

Sorry - I call bullshit
"QCCs, Epics and other boats designed by commonly understood priciples of naval architecture will absolutely whoop traditional looking boats in rough water at all directions to the wind and waves."

Total bullshit. Not only because it’s painting with such a broad brush, but because it’s so filled with utter ignorance.

"enlightened kayak design to the masses"
Is exactly the kind of sentiment that makes QCC partisans seem like members of a a cult.

All of the arguments have gone round and round for years.

One can find people who have paddled the best of QCC and Brit boats and differ on which they prefer.

QCC design comes from careful calculations and applied theory. The best Brit designs come from experience paddling in conditions and expeditions.

In the final safe summary, I would simply say experienced paddlers differ as to which they prefer.

I Was Pleasantly Surprized
with many of the things that I found out about my QCC boats after having purchased them. I bought them as boats that were way out in front of my padding ability hoping to grow into them.

I read a lot about the QCC’s inability to handle rough water and became concerned as I paddle in and around several ocean inlets here and aspire to a bit of ocean paddling as my technique improves. I e-mailed a couple of long time owners and asked some pointed questions and received some level of assurance in regard to the QCC’s ability to handle rough water.

A couple of weeks ago I joined a small group paddle which took us from one barrier Island to the next and had us crossing the inlet between the two. I had paddled this same route before and had enjoyed the paddle.

The wind and tides made the paddle this time much differant, it was rough. Rough is a subjective term and is viewed differantly by all of us. To me, a 3-5 knot current and 2-3 foot confused chop is rough and that is what we paddled through for about three miles that day.

My 700 performed beautifully. I was likely the most inexperienced paddler in the group. All the boats were composite sea kayaks, except one beautiful wooden boat. This is the only time I have used a high brace, other than in practice. I was able to more than “keep up” with the others, which was a concern of mine due to my experince level. In fact, I could have litteraly paddled circles around a couple of the others. I was not the most comfortable or fastest paddler in the group, but the boat may have been the best suited to the conditions.


Invitation to Viotar

I see your “bullshit” and will raise you one test paddle. I invite you to join me for a paddle if you are ever in the Connecticut/Rhode Island shoreline area. I will get two QCC700s with rudders and we will head out into some areas that are notorius for currents and waves. Hopefully there will be some good wind against the current to add to the fun. Hurricane season usually can bring some great waves. I’ll bring my deck-mounted GPS to keep track of our moving speed, distance traveled and, my personal favorite, max speed.

If you prefer you could use your kayak and we can do side-by-side runs in various conditions. It might be fun. We both may learn some things.

I am a friendly guy and we would have fun. I would go into it as an opportunity for me to learn something from you.

I had an Impex Curituck
and recently sold it. I just bought a QCC 700. Should come in soon. I am into endurance racing and found the Currituck had too much rocker to be fast. I think the new Impex Force Category 4 would be a better comparison to the QCC 700. Actually, I wanted to buy the Cat 4 but could find any reviews on it. I did test paddled it and loved it. I decided to go with the QCC because of the 30-day satisfaction guarantee.