Sea Kayak for Racing

I’m looking to get into kayak marathon racing. I have more of a whitewater background, but I’m also an avid cyclist (mtn and road). I’m looking to get into kayak racing for fitness and a new challenge. I’d like to race in the 16-18’ sea kayak category. I’ve read lots of comments regarding the QCC 700 and Epic Endurance 18, but where could I got to buy a used boat? Any thoughts out there on kevler vs. composite vs fiberglass.

Any advice would be appreciated.

The classifieds here…
… are usually a good start.

Currently two EPIC Endurance 18’s. (Neither cheap - both nice). One in NE OH and another in S FL [Hey Brian - didn’t you just get that boat?]. Probably about equal distance! Nothing around ATL GA currently.

Nothing closer to home among GCA or Atlanta Kayaker folks? How about Lanier? (Unless you’re that other Jamie Higgins in the UK who’s also an avid cyclist!)

You might contact EPIC in Charleston directly and see if they have any blems/demos/used around or know of any. There is nothing on their bargain page now though.

and check for demo and in-stock QCC deals here:

They currently list 2 700s.

Considered anything more like a KayakPro, Nelo, or Simon River Sports boat? Entry level K1 or similar. I think the KayakPro Jet sneaks into the sea kayak class dimensionally and would be faster if you can handle the stability difference.

Also, East Coast Canoe & Kayak Fest in Charleston is in a month - might be options there - fast sea kayak and faster - or MAYBE someone heading there that would have room to transport a boat for you if you bought long distance. Just a thought.

Good advice,

– Last Updated: Mar-17-06 7:54 PM EST –

from Greyak,,,, just keep in mind that the QCC700 will race in the touring class against boats up to 20' long . The Nelo Razor, KayakPro Jet, Hody TK-1 and a couple other K-1 trainers fall into the Touring class and would be very competitive in flatter conditions even though they are just slightly over 17 feet. The Epics fall into the Sea Kayak class if USCA regs. are being used and are the most popular boat in that class. There is a Nelo on the Classifieds,, I believe it's in the N.E.. Grayson at KayakPro has some Club construction Jets at a reasonable price.

Being unaware of your skill level,,if novice the Trainer K-1's may have a long learning curve to be race competitive


to contact the canunut on this board or envabull.

they have the forms for a fast seakayak. Won at the nationals this year. get the forms and build your own!

QCC and Epics
It is interesting that I see Epic’s for sale but not QCC’s in classified ads, though you do see them at QCC web site. The most of the ones listed at the QCC web site had freight damage, and so the purchaser got a new boat and returned the damaged boat which was then factory repaired.

Race Class Specs vs. Sea Kayaks
Most good sea kayak races have classes that allow the Epic, QCC700, Seda Glider and other obvious Sea Kayaks to compete together, as they should. The Race the Bay series in Naragansett Bay and the Blackburn Challenge are good examples of New England races with fair rules and conditions that are sea kayak worthy.

The fairest kayak races seperate kayak classes based on waterline dimensions, not overall dimensions. The Sound Rowers up in Puget Sound do this. Their classes are defined by a simple ratio of waterline length to waterline beam. They have a great racing cicuit. The latest issue to arise on their message board is what type of food to have after their races. The following link will show you what kind of racing common sense class specs can develop:

The USCA classes have been the subject of many heated discussions over the past few years. I was all for the USCA developing logical class rules and made many suggestions, as did others. Despite good efforts the USCA has pursued an agenda that seems to have little to do with creating fair competition among the popular sea kayaks often seen on race courses today. The following link will open a pdf with USCA rules. The Kayak classes start on page 11:

I worked with John Winters to design a kayak that meets the USCA Sea Kayak rule. If the USCA sticks with their current Sea Kayak class specs all competitive kayaks will eventually look just like this boat. The class specs force this look and any kayak that varies too far from it will simply not be as competitive. This custom designed and built “Sea Kayak” is significantly faster than the QCC700, Seda Glider, CD Extreme and others which do not meet the USCA “Sea Kayak” rule. I only paddle this boat occasionally and much prefer the QCC700 in the rougher ocean conditions of my home waters. Here is a link to see this boat if you are interested in seeing what the USCA “Sea Kayak” spec looks like:

As I understand it some of the Epic Endurance 18’s have been found to not meet the USCA “Sea Kayak” rules. I was told there is some variation between their molds. Does anyone know if Epic has moved production of the Endurance line from South Africa to China where their new V10 Sport is built?

Should you let the USCA’s classes determine which boat to buy? You should if you have an interest in winning the annual USCA championship. This race is usually held in relatively flat water preferred by racing canoers that make up the majority of the USCA (United States Canoe Association). If you want to be the champion sea kayaker in this canoe style race, then you better avoid the QCC700, Seda Glider, CD Extreme Greenlander Pro and now also the Epic Endurance 18. To have the best chance you will need to develop a custom boat optimised to their very restrictive rule. Its not hard to do - just design the roundest hull you can right at the dimensional limits of their rule. Download a trial version of ProSurf and do it. Designing kayaks is easy when the racing specs are so limited.

I would encourage you to buy a boat that will be best suited for the majority of conditons and paddling style you do. Most local races will have classes that are fair to your kayak. If your local race adopts the USCA specs then you can decide whether to show up and race unfairly or not. You may have the chance to voice your concerns there, hopefully more diplomatically than I do. Just remember that most race committees are not experienced with technical issues. They are good at planning fundraising events and we should be grateful that someone is promoting sea kayak racing at all.

If performance is important you should definitely go for a carbon reinforced boat. It doesn’t matter if it is a hybrid of glass and carbon, Kevlar and carbon or all carbon. Some carbon seems essential for a non-cored traditionally built sub-50 lb kayak that will maintain adequate stiffness over time.

My all Kevlar QCC700 at around 52 lbs has been getting softer over 5 seasons of very hard ocean use with my 200+ lb weight. Its still my primary boat while I wait for QCC to get some more carbon in to build my next boat. But, I would not get a Kevlar boat again.

Glass over Cedar strip is one of the best construction methods for lightweight stiffness. The cedar strip core will maintain its stiffness an resilience for life. I think there is a good market for a company that figures out how to efficiently mass produce cedar strip kayaks. They will be light, stiff, resilient and look great too. It is one of the few viable opportunities left in the production kayak market.

Interesting note on your Kev 700. Mine’s all Kev too (x 3 years now) - but obviously has not seen the use your’s has as I have zero change in hull. It bears repeating for those new to all this that the “Kevlar” is actually a Kevlar/Glass laminate. The glass providing the rigidity and the Kevlar providing resilience.

As far as production methods - there’s too much labor on composites as is - and you want to add all those tiny strips?!!! Hey, you had yours built for you, didn’t you! L For one-offs it sure beats plug/mold - but once you have a mold strips would become extra work.

Some veneer inlays might be sweet though - for those looking to buy something upscale (is there a market for luxury kayaks? Can I create one?).

Personally - after I win LOTTO - I’d like to experiment with compression molding foam (marine grade stuff used in foam core laminate sandwich construction). Heat/mold the panels to create the shell (in 2, 4, or however many sections) - and glass/carbon/whatever it.).

As Patrick has discussed, same foam would be cool to work with in place of cedar strips, or even S&G plywood panels. Similar handling/same methods - but easier as it can be cut with a utility knife - and has the option to apply heat and get bends that cedar/ply will fight.

Even a foam/carbon frame SOF (for a super-light folder) could be done this way.

Off to buy LOTTO tickets. Wish me luck.

That Winter’s designed spec stripper is sweet - and your compare/contrast experience between it and the 700 a perfect case study of “design intent” and how different boats can be that may seem similar on paper or to the casual observer.

Always good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

I have a carbon kevlar 700 1 yr old and not used much I would sell if your in the NY area. It has a rudder which is good for racing.

Wood Strip Construction
Greyak, you are right there is a lot of manual labor involved with traditional strip construction.

I am trying to think outside the box here. There are some significant advances in strip construction efficiency that could be made with automation. It hasn’t been done because noone has recognized that there may be a market for anything built like this. Sea kayaks could be the product that justifies the R&D expense. I bet there are other products that would become desirable in wood strip construction if the price as right. I have some ideas in my head for automation. Usually that is where my ideas stay because I have neither the $$ or time to bring them to fruition.

One doesn’t have to think too far outside the box to realize that if labor costs are the issue, then China or some other country’s labor force could do the job. Look at Epic in South Africa and now China. I would consider just having china build the hulls and and decks. Assembly could be done in the US near the big markets. Hulls and decks could be shipped nested saving on freight. Hundreds of boats could be shipped in a container. Perhaps the hulls, decks, appendages and coamings could be sold as a kit for a customer or dealership to assemble themselves.

A Chinese built wood strip kayak could probably be less expensive than a comparatively sized composite kayak. They could be sold for less or the manufacturer could put the dollars in their pocket. Do you think many US paddlers would have an issue buying a Chinese-built kayak?

If the price where right,
only Dave McAdoo :slight_smile:


Has QCC has been ‘waiting’ for carbon
for that long in order to build you a boat ?

Might be another couple tears ( typo left in on purpose) with the way things are going.

For less than all out racing… with a QCC700 ???

Cored S-glass / kevlar is hard to beat.

QCC Waiting for Carbon
Hi Patrick,

Yes I am still waiting for QCC to secure carbon at a reasonable price. Its not really their fault, the market is seriously tight right now. Their source for materials is the same as for a popular sailboat manufacturer I am associated with. My conversations with the reps at this composite supplier indicate that the defense & aerospace industries as well as growing demand in China have outstripped the supply. I’m told some new sources of carbon were supposed to come on line in January, but do not know where that stands right now. I am hoping things swing the other way, like they usually do, and an increasing supply of carbon eventually lowers prices. This has not happenned as fast as I was hoping.

QCC has asked me if I had some alternative sources for carbon. I don’t think QCC makes enough carbon boats to actively pursue alternate sources. They are only a two-man operation on the office side.

Please let me know if anybody out there knows a good source for carbon suitable for kayak construction.

Patrick, Onno Rudders

Your Onno rudder system looks great on the Huki surfskis! I have my eyes on a Huki S1R and would probably get it with the option to install one of your overstern rudders. It is cool how they can be converted easily to accept inboard or over-stern ruders. I prefer the efficiency of an inboard rudder, but have a local seaweed problem for a good part of the paddling season here in Southern New England. I do not know if the weedless inboard rudders with their swept-back leading edges are as efficient as the vertical leading edge and high aspect of the overstern rudders. I would need to do some testing to figure out what I prefer.

I can feel just one or two blades of eel grass getting caught on my rudder. Sailors are very aware of the significant drag from just a small amount of weed on appendages. The adverse drag is even more significant on kayaks. The same is true for hull scratches.

Hi Jamie, your choice of boat might depend on location and what type of waters you intend to race. When you mention the 16’-18’ class it sounds like you might be down south, open water races like the Bogey and Bacall tend to use those classifications. If you’re considering marathon racing in open water, you might want to try out some surfskis. If you plan on racing inland, an entry level ICF type kayak might be what you need. See if you can’t find a racing group in your area and check out all the different kayaks available, if you can get a change to demo any, do, as they all have a different feel. If you go to the USCA website, or even the New England Racing site,, you may find links to groups in your area. If you’re in New England, come out to the Run of the Charles in Boston on April 30th, you’ll see a ton of different boats, styles, models, classifications, even some to demo.

All of the S1-Rs are already set up

– Last Updated: Mar-22-06 2:58 AM EST –

to accept the overstern rudder. Judes smaller 6" or 4" ( forgot and cannot get on website right now ) understern rudder works great for all but huge wind chop and you can paddle right through anything. I have seen it in action.

Thanks for the comments ..... FYI, the overstern rudder can be converted to shallow water/rocky use in seconds using the same components. This gets the blade out of the way a bit more + it also has a stronger 'kick back' if you have to drag the boat..... spent a lot of time on this one and it really works nice. Jude says it carves like the understern.

Gonna comment about the racing Kayak in surfski or onno/pat thread.

Most carbon going to military and those two supesize jumbo jets being developed by you know who. Pretty sure there is a legal term for one company selling most of its entire inventory for a year to another company and leaving thousands of other smaler businesses out in the cold. Even the weavers are not taking orders for carbon. China already get theirs from Japan so we are SOL.

check results
What wins and try to be on edge of best boat for class. west side eft is fastest in 20 in wide touring class at usca nationals and blackburn.

CD Stratus
If you are looking for a boat to race in the sea-kayak category, you may also want to look at the CD Stratus

Love my Epic 18!
I have the carbon lay-up. This boat seems to be the best compromise of speed and stability. It’s one of the fastest touring class kayaks, yet it is a remarkably stable boat. I used it in the Blackburn last year and was able to race in Touring Class A with a non-wing paddle (used a Werner Ikelos). The kayak really moved along and at no time did I feel uneasy with the stability in the ocean. It’s also an extremely comfortable kayak. Can’t say enough good things about it for touring class racing.