Rumour by Nigel Foster

Does anyone have experience with the Rumour designed by Nigel Foster? I understand that Current Designs will be producing this boat after the first of the year. Built with the “smaller paddler” (under 150 lbs.) in mind, hard chined, 16 ft long and 19.75 in. wide. It appears to have an ocean cockpit and skeg. It should be at Canoecopia in Madison in March. I have it on the best authority! I currently paddle a Slipstream and GTS. Nancy K.

My girlfriend has one
She likes it, but despite being a very accomplished paddler, she still find the Rumour to be “challenging” at times. It’s not a relaxing boat to paddle. Compared to her other boats (Anas Acuta, Pintail, SOF), she’s much more tired after paddling the Rumour. BTW, she’s 5’1", ~115#, so it fits her well.

It’s one of the least stable boats I’ve been in, even moreso than the low volume skin-on-frame boats we’ve built or the Silhouette that I used to own. Other than that, I can’t tell you much about it personally, since it’s too tight for me to spend more than a few minutes in it. Nigel Foster boats in general have little primary stability, rocking easily from chine to chine. Secondary stability ranges from low to moderate, depending on the model.

The cockpit is a “large ocean” size, essentially the same size that Betsie Bay uses. Personally, I don’t like that size, as it’s “neither fish nor foul”. It’s too big to offer the same level of security as an ocean cockpit and too small to function like a keyhole cockpit, except for the smallest paddlers (like my girlfriend).

If you’re a smaller paddler looking for a high performance boat, the Rumour may be for you. It’s reasonably fast for its length and rolls easily.

thanks Brian. About it’s rollability…
could you go into a bit more detail as to how easy it is to roll? Is it Outer Island/rolling qajaq easy? Can elbow rolls/straitjacket rolls be done in this kayak?

I can’t help you…

– Last Updated: Oct-17-05 10:33 AM EST –

...since I haven't rolled it myself. I'm simply passing along what my girlfriend tells me. She's a better roller than I am.

The Rumour is an awesome
boat, and I’ve been lobbying here, to Nigel Foster, and to his manufacturers to get it back in production for a couple of years now.

As others point out, though, it’s definitely not for everyone.

Its main unique features are narrow beam (at 19", the narrowest beam of any production non-racing sea kayak) and very low aft deck (similar to the low deck of a traditional skin-on-frame boat).

Unlike a skin-on-frame boat, the front deck is plenty high, leaving room for the feet.

The low back deck makes it a rolling dream. It rolls completely effortlessly, round and round and round : )

Nigel Foster says that it’s a performance boat for paddlers up to 150 pounds, and a rolling machine for paddlers a few pounds heavier.

The narrow beam makes it tippy–but if you’ve paddled a surfski it won’t seem too bad, and it has great secondary stability. Plus, if you go over, you just pop back up like a cork. His Vyneck, which is about as tippy, made me a better paddler, I believe.

So the Rumour is appropriate for intermediate to advanced paddlers willing to take on a tippy boat that rolls like crazy, is well-balanced in the ocean, and actually fits–unlike the typical bathtub marketed as a kayak. (Most kayaks are designed for large male paddlers with camping loads, and have excessive windage and volume when paddled by lighter people, unloaded.)

I’m desperately working on explanations to my wife for why I need a 6th kayak.


thanks Sanjay…
I remember your thread in the QajaqUSA message board about working on the elbow roll with this kayak. Did you ever get it this boat? How does it compare to the Outer Island in regards to rolling (which is the only production boat I can elbow roll)? If you haven’t figured it out, that’s my number one criteria for buying a boat these days. :slight_smile: I’m a strong enough paddler to keep up with most groups but I’m not a distance/speed addict. I realized that the vast majority of the time I spend in sea kayaks is rolling so why fight it. My latest rolling qajaq (built by Pete Strand) is only aorund 18 inches wide so I think stability should be ok for the most part (I’ve spent minimal time on a 15 inch wide surfski which was stressful to say the least but I typically kept it upright). I’m dying to try out the Rumour.

Hey Current Designs, how about loaning me the kayak for a month or so and I’ll write a killer review! :slight_smile:

And the Echo?
The companion boat to the Rumour is the Echo. Also 16ft and intended for paddlers up to 160 lbs. Sure would be nice to see it return along the the Rumour.

19" beam

The Rumour sounds like a wonderful boat.

I’m aware of two other 19"(48 cm) beam none-racing sea kayaks:

Qaanaaq 512 from Japan:

TM Umiak from Germany:

AFAIK they are not sold in the US though.


Comparison Of Bow Volume
between the Rumour and my SOF can be seen in this pic (taken by Brian) in this pic:


mmm… Qaanaaq :slight_smile:
Rather than the 512, I’d like to try the Qaanaaq SS that Freya just picked up. That looks like a fun rolling boat. As much as I’d love something like that, since I already have a rolling qajaq, the Rumour (or Outer Island) would probably be the more practical choice for me.

Nigel Foster
A good review of a Nigel Foster boat would be of the “Shadow” in a recent Canoe and Kayak mag . It entailed a comparison of several expedition boats . The Shadow was

thought of as"a kayakers kayak with good speed and tippy".The Shadow is 23 in wide

and about 17 10 long .Its a lot different than the “Rumour” in stats yet in essance it has

the same profile.I have a Shadow and while it seems to have good init stability , if you

try and take a break when you are tired , you notice the tippyness .It has decent speed and

a smoth ride . I suspect the Rumour has a smoth ride for a kayak its size . John

I think the rumor would be a fun boat

– Last Updated: Oct-18-05 11:10 AM EST –

to try. But I'm not sure I would want to own one in retrospect. If I was rich, sure... why not. But I have a really good sea kayak from foster. In fact if the silhouette wears out, I may just buy another. But I've been thinking about what a 16' long boat that is only 19" wide would get me that an 18' long sea kayak would not.

Certainly the rumour would roll better. The rumour may be more more maneuverable if they did indeed give it a bit more rocker.

But I really like how the silhouette handles, and you can pack it for trips, for me it is the best compromise of any sea kayak I have paddled. For as big as it seems to be for those looking at SOF's and S&G models, it edges beautifully, has two turkey platter hatches, and is quite fast. I feel like maybe there are a few rolls that would be easier in a rumor, but that I should be able to perform them in the silhouette anyway, i.e. elbow roll, under the hull sculling roll, (two I'd like too get)... But if I went out and bought a rolling kayak I would be sort of cheating. I'm more interested in being able to perform all these for lack of a better word, trick rolls, in the boat I use all the time rather than in one dedicated to rolling.

I've paddled a few extreme low volume boats. Airwave's S&G for one, and while it is super nice, it is goofy to edge, and doesn't have sufficient freeboard for the type of maneuverability I like. It pretty much would go fast in a straight line, or roll. I like both of those, but it lacks the third thing I like about kayaking which is the ability to carve turns, edge and skid out, etc....
Foster's rumor for me, with my weight in it would not be what I want, or expect.

I suspect this might be the case with some other folks too.

i still have to try the sillouette…
There was one at Qajaq Training Camp but I was so busy playing in the sexy low volume rolling qajaqs that I didn’t have a chance to try it out. I think I’d love it as I loved the Legend even though it is way too big on me. I’m also a big fan of manueverable kayaks (the one thing the Outer Island is poor at) and I agree that you should be able to perform most rolls in your every day boat. For me however, rolling itself is the destination. It appeals to me the same way that playboating at a local park and play hole (or even flatwater) appeals to me. It’s the fun of learning new tricks and challenging yourself. I bought a rolling qajaq just to master a straitjacket roll. From a playboating perspective that isn’t all that crazy as there are boats that cartwheel better, surf better, loop better, etc. and people buy them to master specific skills. I can do my entire rolling repetoire in my big ol’ Valley Skerray with the elbow roll being the lone exception (I’m close but it’s not there yet in that boat). I don’t really go on extended trips so being able to pack a weekend camping trip is the extent the kayak needs to handle for me. I’m not sure how much you weigh, but something like the Rumour or the Outer Island would replace the Skerray (which frankly is too big for me) and be my everyday boat which I would take camping as well.

The Shadow is the highest volume Nigel Foster boat. While I think all Foster boats cut through the water smoothly, the Silhouette is probably the currently available model that would be closest in feel to the Rumour. My understanding is that the Rumour has even lower primary than the Silhouette, which has the lowest of any expedition boat I’ve paddled.

Sea Kayaker did a review of the Legend some years back. The Legend is the Foater expedition length boat for ‘medium’ size paddlers. It is also the boat Nigel Foster paddles the most.

I only weigh 170 lbs

– Last Updated: Oct-18-05 3:05 PM EST –

But I know a rumor isn't about doing trips. I do a little bit of camping from my kayak each summer. At least one or two over night trips and one week to two week trip, so I try to keep that in mind.

Rolling for me, as Doug Van Doren says every year at symposium, is "A" part of kayaking, but not everything. Certainly that's true for me too. I try to keep rolling in perspective, because I like to go forward too, turn, surf, and roll. I spend as much time practicing rolls too, but I also try to get some miles in, do some turns, bow rudders, hanging stern draws, sideslips, stern rudders, side sculls, and so forth so that everything is in balance. I figure a paddler who can do 30 different rolls is pretty good, but a paddler who can go 25 miles upright with very little fatigue and do 30 different rolls is probably even better. This is the element about seamanship that I think is lacking for a lot of qajaq-brownshirts.

But you are right, from a playboating perspective it is dead on, if you want a boat you can straightjacket roll buying a super lv sea kayak is the way to go. I'd like to think I'll get there in the silhouette! I am working on my forward-forward rolls in it, and so far I can get there, I think after I get both sides on my forward forward norsaq, I will try the under the hull sculling roll... I tried last year in the pool but failed so miserably.

If you haven't done any trips alex, you should do yourself a favor and try to go to the Apostles this summer with me and a few other folks. I'm trying to sign derrick up too.

I practice the other stuff too…
but I practice forward stroke, draws, etc. whenever I’m paddling (because I can) and typically I do not have specific training sessions on those skills unlike rolling and to a certain extent playboating which you can’t really practice while on the move. Yes rolling is simply a part of kayaking but without it, I probably would have converted fully to whitewater/surfing. I’m comfortable paddling 15-20 miles at a pretty good pace but I am by no means a long distance guy. I’d rather do a whitewater play run, mess around in surf, or hang out on a lake and roll. I’ll do 20 miles and then do 30 different rolls but I’m not sure about 25 miles and then 30 rolls. I’m 5 miles short! :slight_smile: I haven’t rolled the silhouette but if it’s anything like the Legend, an elbow roll will be pretty hard to get in that boat. Heck the only production kayak that Maligiaq could elbow roll was the Betsie Bay Recluse. Aside from the Betsie Bays, I think the Romany also probably could be elbow rolled with some practice, maybe the Rumour, and obviously it’s possible in an Outer Island. I’m pretty solid with my onside forward forward norsaq but my offside needs help and my forward forward hand roll still has a ways to go (I need more hamstring flexibility to kiss the deck). The under the hull sculling roll still confounds me as well although I did get the vertical forward finishing sculling roll which is helping me understand the forward scull. Hopefully winter pool time with allow me to learn that roll (along with the straitjacket).

I paddled the Apostles this past summer (second time there) and had a great time. I’d definitely be up for a trip if you’ve got something in mind.

well I had the keewenaw peninsula in
mind too.

I’ve never been there. Might do family/paddling trip there.

Thank you for the correction
and interesting info. Personally, I believe production boats should start around 16 inches (for kids, teens, and petite people), and go up from there. I can’t figure why so many boats are made same size “large.” Just as whitewater boats are starting to, sea kayaks should have S, M, L, XL.


I had only two short
outings in Rumours. I got one sort-of elbow roll. Last fall I used a real rolling boat, and elbow-rolled without difficulty, but I’m still sure I could do it in the Rumour if I had a few hours.

(For those who may not know, the “elbow roll” is a Greenland rolling technique that is like a hand-roll, i.e. no paddle, but you put your hand behind your head, so the only sweeping leverage you have is your elbow. It’s the penultimate roll, the ultimate one being the self-explanatory straitjacket roll which, to my knowledge, can only be done regularly by a single U.S. paddler, Cheri Perry.)


Among other advantages,
being so much smaller makes both of those boats really light–just over 30 pounds each, in fiberglass. That Greenlandic one looks very sweet!