QCC vs Impex Kayaks

-- Last Updated: Apr-17-06 9:17 PM EST --

I am at the very dangerous stage. I can read. So far, I like what I read and see from these two companies but would really appreciate your comments in general and for a new kayaker who wants both speed and stability. For the QCC I am looking at the 500 and 700, for the Impex, I like the Currituck...

(I did delete a prior posting that mentioned the wrong kayak...)


– Last Updated: Apr-17-06 9:44 PM EST –

One easy thing first - skip the 500. Search old posts for volumes on why. 500 is a good boat - but very big, deep, etc. It's an older design inherited from Swift. 600/700 are newer designs. Faster, more responsive, easier to roll, etc.

I have and love a 700. Great performing hull, great quality. Again, more old posts on the merits of this boat and QCC in general than you'll have patience to wade through.

With Impex - also good quality and performance. I have tried a Force 4 and an Outer Island. I have not tried the Currituck. I would think that they would have kept the best of that and improved on it in the newer Force series. If they are night and day someone will correct me. Of the two, I like the Outer Island better than the 4 as it's lower volume, an easy roller, and seems faster. The Force is just a really good all around sea kayak with very good maneuverability. Seems big ahead of the paddler to me, but I'm used to my 700 which is widest behind the paddler, not in front.

All good - but different personalities.

It's spring, and demo days should not be too hard to find. It is worth traveling a bit. Demoing same boat more than once is also a good idea. Contact Danny at Impex for dealer/demo opportunities near you.

You wont find QCC at demo events as there are no dealers/reps - but Phil at QC can point you to owners in your area who may be able to give to a test paddle.

If not - order a QCC. While it's being built go test other boats. Once you get it take it to demo days and compare side by side. You get 30 days to return for ANY reason. If you find an Impex or other model you like better return the QCC and get your $ back for the other boat.

If my 700 got trashed -I'd be torn between replacing it - or going to an Outer Island. I'd probably have to give up the commercial search and just design and build something with best features of both!

Easier to roll …

– Last Updated: Apr-17-06 10:03 PM EST –

As a new kayaker is that a feature that is good for me? I am 58 years old as well ... Also, since Impex is sold through dealers, is there much variance on what they are sold for on the East coast?

Price variations
Prices at various demo days/expos or whatever tend to be good. Some dealers routinely sell 10% off MSRP, sometime more depending on demand and time of year.

At least that has been my limited experience.

Buying used is generally a good wy to spend less and get a great boat. Don’t see many OI used for sale and the Force boats are too new for them to be on used market.

OI is claimed to be very, very easy to roll, but I doubt if Force boats are hard to roll by any means. Its definitely a good skill, but many paddlers do not have it.

Should be easy to test the Impex boats
Check their website for various weekend events that they will be at. If you can get to one of the events you can test paddle the entire fleet, even some boats you probably can’t fit into very well (too big or too small)! Impex makes great quality boats, as does QCC and others. You probably won’t know what you like about a boat until you’ve paddled for at least a year, taken some lessons, and had a chance to demo other models (friends boats, rentals, etc.). So, my advice is to buy a used boat that fits you well and is fairly popular. When your skills improve you will have a better idea of what type of boat you want to suit your current needs and desires. You also will have gained much knowledge about how to select a boat, and you will be able to sell your first boat for near what you paid for it (less depreciation if you buy used)! Speaking from experience here - I kept my first boat nine months. It was a Swift Caspian Sea (same hull as a QCC 400) that I bought as a demo/used model.

I have never paddled a QCC, but I have paddled most of the Impex line that I could fit into. The Currituck is a very nice boat overall, but I liked a Force 5 prototype better based upon a short test paddle last summer. I was not as impressed with the OI because I was cramped in it, so fit is very important and something that only you can decide is good or bad. All three of these boats are easy to roll. Not that you care, but IMO I’d rank their roll-ability from easiest to hardest as OI, Force, Currituck. You could do many more different style rolls in an OI than in a Currituck if that turns out to be your thing. Good luck!

kayaks don’t roll,paddlers roll
You’ve picked some very different kayaks, sure, pick one, otherwise you need to be more specific on the expected use and your size.


Both good quality and service
I still haven’t encountered a Q600 or 700, so I don’t have any relevant experience to comment on them.

I’ve demoed a Currituck and was not impressed. A bit cranky in its stability points, IMHO. I’ve paddled a friend’s Outer Island and was VERY impressed. Fast and fun. It has amazing primary for a boat of its beam and volume. Rolling it is as if there is no boat! I think it might be the closest to the rolling boats the Greenland folk love that is availble manufactured in composite.

I haven’t tried the Force boats - I have an appointment in two weeks to do so. Word of mouth thus far has been good.

"Stability " is in the eyes of…

– Last Updated: Apr-18-06 6:04 AM EST –

the paddler.
What is stable for you might be tippy for me, and vice-versa.

If you want speed, get the QCC-700. It is the fastest of the three you mentioned.

If you want stability, the 500 is more stable, but much slower.
I know several people who changed from the 500 to the 700 after a few years.
I own a 700 and like yourself, I was very apprehensive about it's stability when I got it.
For me it turned out to be as stable as any touring kayak that I have been in.

Why not look around in your neck of the woods and see if you can find someone who has the boats and see if they will let you try theirs.
Call Phil at QCC. They used to and I am guessing they still do - try to hook you up with someone local that has one that will let you try it.

As far as your question on age goes and rolling, I have about twelve years on you and don't roll and have no intention on ever rolling, so if your not interested in rolling don't even put that into the equation.

Good luck,


A statement like ALL KAYAKS ARE EASY TO ROLL makes me believe you either are a great roller or you can’t roll at all, what’s the case?

In my own personal experience and with my very limited rolling skills I found not all kayaks are easy to roll, a “barge” is not as easy to roll as a small volume kayak, but off course if your first name is Maligiaq you might have a different opinion :wink:

within a conversation where people have the skills to discern differences between various enthusiast kayaks it’s safe to say that “all kayaks are easy to roll”. The comparison isn’t between a 25" Manitou and an Impex Outer Island, it’s between a QCC700 and a Currituck. The attributes that make a kayak “easy” to roll besides being narrow and snug outfitting is a low aft coaming. You could have a low aft coaming on a relatively wide kayak and that feature would be more useful while upright to twist ones torso backwards than the often stated desire to a lay back roll.

I’ve seen quite a few folks learning to roll in their “easy to roll” kayaks where they rely on laying back more than a hip snap. They get the kayak up but the last 30 degrees is a struggle where the ability to get their torso close to the axis of the hull hides poor head technique. So they develop a roll in flat water that leaves them looking at the sky and not the water.

I’m not saying a lay back roll is not good,any effective roll is good. I’m saying that beginners relying on layback rolls because a low aft coaming makes it possible may be misleading themselves as to the general utility of a low aft coaming and that one kayak is “better” because there’s a discernible difference in it’s stability curve or ability to do a layback roll.


– Last Updated: Apr-18-06 10:34 AM EST –

It's the "layback" roll that primarily distinguishes whether a sea kayak is "easy" to roll. A low rear coming height is very helpful for this type of roll.

You don't need to layback to roll.

I’m actually good…
I’ve won a lot of money from people who’ve told me this double, or that open double rec boat could not be rolled! Rolling is easy…people make it hard by creating all sorts of mystique around it. So when I hear about ANY kayak within the range of sea touring being hard to roll I question the paddler. I’m impressed with the greenland folk and all their cool rolls and have been having some fun with some of those, which I’m sure I’m bastardizing. But it’s all fun and yes rolling any production sea kayak should be easy.

follow up question…
Yes most kayaks are easy to roll with decent form, etc, etc…

With that said, do you recognize that some kayaks are considerably easier to roll than others? The Outer Island rolls significantly better than most sea kayaks and even among sea kayaks there is a HUGE range in easily they roll. Sure Maligiaq could roll anything but he would be able to recognize the differences in how the kayaks roll and identify those that roll well. I seriously doubt he’d say that all kayaks are easy to roll.

Another safety reason for low aft deck

– Last Updated: Apr-18-06 12:06 PM EST –

Although your question has to do with rolling and other matters, in general a kayak that allows you room behind your seat to lay back is NOT ONLY important for lay back ability for rolling, it can be a huge SAFETY consideration when knocked over by waves and a shallow bottom, in surf, etc.

Why? If the deck is close to the seat and the reck deck high you can break you back or seriously strain it. Not good.

I find that Impex quality, design, and dealer service tops, but with the exception of the OI and I don't know about the Force boats yet, the back of seat to rim is too close for my comfort and possibly others. This is a consideration imo.

Regards rolling, it is true that the most robust roll makes use of a strong hip, leg, torso, and shoulder move which enables maximum boat rotation. However, as others state, lay back or lay forward to utilize the boat's floatation is also a part of the complete most "bomb proof" roll. The goal is to have a roll that is completely unconcious, proficient in the most shocking moments, even if exhausted, sea sick, and to do 10 of them or more over time. Then you start to relax about your self reliance somewhat and your abiility to lead others.

Yes I recognize
that certainly some sea kayaks are easier to roll than others, especially as LeeG describes lay-backs. BUT, I believe that all the well known boats described here and elsewhere on this board fall within the range of easy. So it’s a matter of easy Vs super easy. I would say that some modern WW boats and surf kayaks can be trickier than sea kayaks. It’s a matter of playing with different techniques and finding the best for a given boat. And that is something good paddlers do instinctively. As for this thread, I very much like Impex boats, and respect QCC. I’d gravitate toward Impex for my paddling style, but everyone is different. Hope I havent offended anyone by sugesting rolling is easy, but that’s what I believe. I’ll also be the first to say that not everyone needs to roll to enjoy paddling. Good day

don’t get me wrong…

– Last Updated: Apr-18-06 11:26 AM EST –

Rolling IS easy. I think as a rollaholic I just really enjoying comparing the various rolling merits of different boats (distinguishing b/w easy rolling, really easy rolling, and ridiculously easy rolling). At any demo day I'm jumping into every single boat and putting them through my rolling tests (hand rolls - forward and backward finishing, angel rolls, spine rolls, balance braces, ec.) and then I rank the kayaks and add them to my running list of kayaks based on ease of rolling. It's a hobby of mine. Of course there are exceptions. My playboats, while technically tougher to roll, actually roll very well if you have good form. Heck my first elbow roll ever came in my Riot Dominatrix.

Double Exactly
SPak, Salty, LeeG you all make very valid points. All three of the boats mentioned are easy to roll. I have been rolling for less than a year and have rolled all three. The OI is super easy and the Currituck is more difficult, but all are still easy if you have good technique. I wouldn’t choose a Currituck to learn the many Greenland style rolls, but maybe would an OI if I fit better in it. I didn’t like the OI because my large frame was too cramped in it.


if a person needs a low aft deck to roll,they’re screwed anyway. The low aft deck allows for wide gyrations of the torso, whether you’re rolling or not. If the person can’t carry their torso through a wide range of motion it really doesn’t matter where the aft coaming is located. A person with limited range of motion might be able to pull off a roll with a marginal hip movement and a stiff neck but it looks like a struggle in flat water as they scull up.

In rough water if you’re laying back you’re not about to paddle forward,which is a nice thing to do if you were knocked over. Laying back is a nice way to look at the sky.

Wide gyrations of the torso?

I thought I knew what you were going on about - but that last post makes me wonder if you’ve ever done layback rolls or are just making assumptions.

Ever been in a boat with decent low rear deck that allows you to just lay on the deck comfortably? It becomes immediately obvious what is possible when you can keep your torso close to or on the deck while recovering. The point of the lower rear deck is to allow you to lean back at the hips/legs more and not have to bend your spine back.

Laybacks can easily flow right back into an upright forward stroke - you can even get the first stroke in as you’re sitting up (which is a split second). You can also stay back there and scull instead of getting knocked over again if you happen to roll up at a less than ideal time or place. Many options.

Leaning forward and back control moves in the same way leaning and edging are - and all work together. Freedom of movement is a good thing - and it DOES matter where the coaming is in realtion to this.

I do agree low rear deck is not required for rolls - it just allows more options, variety, and comfort.

Laybacks can be full or partial. Depends on what you want to do, and what boat you’re in - with flexibility factoring in third.

I am far from flexible. I’m more of a stiff, middle aged, out of shape, and overweight office worker. The layback position for me - in a boat with low rear deck and decent outfitting - is more like relaxing for a nap than doing some sort of gymnastic feat. The roll in such a boat is smooth, simple, and a very low energy/low stress maneuver.

In higher decked boats I may need to come up off the seat and add progressive amounts of arch to get some layback - and it becomes harder, and less beneficial. In such cases I opt for less layback - or none at all.

Sometimes my sweep roll is face up Greenland style with a as much layback as the boat allows. with my QCC that’s not much without some arch - but with some, I can touch head to deck - but don’t do it while rolling that boat as I don’t need to and it would be wasted energy). Sometimes I finish upright with chin tucked and looking down the paddle at the water ala “Kayak Roll” - or a C to C finish (sweep to C). Often, it’s somewhere in between and technically sloppy by either standard - but works.

None of this requires anything approaching “gyrations”. No difficult, dangerous, overextended, or even uncomfortable positions.

The layback’s usefulness is certainly not limited to flat water - or Greenland style practice (which derived from rough water/rough work/rough environment needs!). With Eric Jackson - a hardcore whitewater boater - teaching a rolling method with layback - I think you may need to re-evaluate your thinking on it. Watch “EJ’s Rolling and Bracing” DVD. Watch “Rolling with Maligiaq”. Play around more!