Reasons for "Extended Stern" on Some Older Kayaks?

I just bought a 1999 Perception Shadow as a possible “beater” kayak, and it has the long, extended stern. It got me wondering why you see this design on some older kayaks. I don’t think it has anything to do with mounting the rudder, as the second picture shows a 2000 Eddyline Falcon 18 that was never offered with a rudder.

Does anyone know if there was a functional reason for these extended stern shapes?

When I am caught up on my back log and ready to go into semi-retirement I want to build some kayaks. I have bought 9 books so far on the subject and from what I have read the style of extended sterns is pretty much based in tradition and looks. But we all love the look of a pretty kayak, so it may be a very good reason.

Extended bows have pros and cons and a lot of debate back and forth as to the trades-offs from the classic look and the transition from knife edge to fuller volume. Higher volume floats up faster and jumps over waves better and a stand-up chisel parts water to the sides and floats up due to fulness also, but the debate rages on. Windage Vs buoyancy.
Not so much when it comes to the sterns. Most boat designers (those I I have read anyway) say the same thing about the sterns.
It’s about looks for the most part.
One small benefit of an up-turned stern and bow is the fact that they have some air mass which sticks downward in a capsize so it is said to make rolling back up easier. But I have bought and sold over 30 different kayaks so far and I can’t tell the difference as a rule. Now my opinion about that detail is nearly worthless because I am NOT good at roiling. I have good days and bad days, but on my best day I can’t say I am good at it. I get by,-------- but just.
Anyone else out there good at rolling have an opinion about up-swept and extended ends VS squared chisel ends: I am all ears.

The reason for stern extensions in sailing yachts was to “cheat” at getting a longer boat into a shorter class since waterline is used to determine class. Though a boat with extended stern overhang may have the same wetted waterline in the harbor, once it is heeled over in the wind that waterline will be longer since more hull is submerged – longer waterline gives a boat a speed advantage.

I’m just guessing, but since the original indigenous Arctic peoples’ skin kayaks were most often framed with bent wood and many models had substantial rocker to add to maneuverability, that curved structure of the skeleton keelsons would result in the upturned and overhanging sterns and bows that characterize many of those watercraft.

I should add that the upturned bows of Inuit hunting kayaks (as opposed to the blunter bows of umiaks and other cargo kayaks) are so the paddler could drive the boat up onto the pack ice from the water.


Congratulations on the new boat.

Perception made some outstanding touring boats in that era and you may find, as I did, that you want to use it as more than a “beater”. I had that in mind when I picked up a roughly used Perception 2003 skegged composite Avatar (similar “cousin” to the Eclipse and Shadow models) 2 years ago from a guy clearing out his barn. It was only $300 and after I spent about $100 on replacement inner hatch covers, bungees and a new back band from TopKayaker, and slapped clear FlexSeal tape over some minor gelcoat scars, I had thought I would pass it on cheap to someone else.

But once I used it a few times I fell in love with the fit and performance of the kayak and it has become a favorite. In fact, it has similar specs and feels very much like a SKUK Romany, which I had paddled before (friend loaned me hers when I visited her on the Maine coast.)

It’s a shame Perception stopped making composite touring kayaks because they made some excellent boats.

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As I look at the stern of the Shadow kayak, I could just continue the sloping part of the hull until it intersects with the deck, and essentially chop off a small triangle of material with the rudder mount. That would leave a pointed end with a similar upswept end and slope as the bow. So perhaps it’s primarily just a matter of aesthetics and in the case of the Shadow it does provide a convenient spot to mount the rudder.

I have a similar squared off stern, albeit with no rudder, on my 14’ Clearwater Whitewater from the mid ‘70s. The boat tracks way straighter than my other 14’ boat that has rocker and two pointy ends. Same idea as a skeg, it helps keep the stern from sliding sideways.

The bow on yours might make it difficult to get over logs.

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