Seaworthy in chop

Just a theoretical question - Best boat for conditions.

The conditions are these - large lake, exposed to wind from all sides, shallow, with waves that can become very large, short, confused and choppy (which, also describes me somewhat).

A couple of weeks ago, the waves were reported at 5m!

I assume that a highly skilled sea-kayaker could manage in these conditions. I was wondering if one of the two main “styles” of kayak design would be better (i.e. British/Greenland or North American).

My bias is towards the British/Greenland style, but mostly just because they are more asthetically pleasing.

Thirt three foot waves! breaking

– Last Updated: Oct-29-06 9:51 PM EST –

I don't even know any one who I think could handle that.

That's just monstrous.

All I know is I felt more comfy in my explorer than any of the 5 to 10 boats I've been somewhat over my head in.

edit thanks for corrections, late night brain failure

It’s The Paddler…
mostly, if you’re talking about staying upright. In terms of dealing with the front surfs, then the relatively low volume bows will want to pearl. Hardest part is dealing with weatherhelming if there is strong winds accompanying the waves. Regardless of boat style, there are some that weathercock more than others. That’s why most seakayaks will have either skeg or rudder to compensate.

People will chime in that this or that style boat is better. It’s largely individual preference because of what they like (in boat styling and handling) and have become accustomed to and comfortable with.


I don’t think there were 33 foot breaking waves. 5m would be closer to 16ft, and that was just what the weather buoy reported.

I suppose it is possible, though I have never personally seen anything greater than 10 feet (I usually only go out in summer)

The paddler is the difference
Sing is right. Especially in big conditions, the paddler’s skill and experience will make the biggest difference.

Both Northwest American boats and Brit boats can be capable with the right paddler.

There are very skilled paddlers who use each…

This is refreshing!
Wow, nice to read some of the above!

It’s largely individual preference

– Last Updated: Oct-30-06 2:22 AM EST –

The boat is a tool. There are many good tools. Most paddlers have their favorites. The better the paddler, the less the tool matters.

Steve Maynard mostly uses an NDK Explorer, Wayne Horodowich mostly uses a CD Solstice. Both are expert paddlers. A few years ago at GOMSKS, I overheard the discussion on what boat to provide to Wayne for classes he was teaching. He is a big man and apparently very hard on boats. Finally, he was given a Necky Eskia (a boat not on anyones list of best boats). He did just fine with it.

Only Twice
I have only been in 5M waves twice. The second time I was solo and have nothing to compare performance with. The first time was with a class. I was over my head in terms of conditions and felt like I was “fairing” poorest in those conditions and did not understand as there were a half dozen other boats which I did not think would have performed as well as mine. At the take out two of the other commented on how well my boat, (and I) handled the water.

As others have said the paddler make the biggest differance, the boat is secondary.

Happy Paddling,


Paddler Preferences

– Last Updated: Oct-30-06 7:35 AM EST –

As above, the paddler. The "better" or "worse" discussion is usually about paddler preferences since a good boat, and there are a lot of them, will handle conditions.

Over time in paddling you end up developing preferences about the details of how a boat manages given conditions. Some will prefer a stiffer, some a more rockered ride, or a more or less active response on the part of the hull to the wave action. That is where you start hearing preferences between boats, but these aren't really a matter of how well a boat handles conditions overall. It's just in the details of how and the match to the paddler's preferences. For example, while I am sure the Rumour handles conditions marvelously, I am not sure I am ready to be the person in the boat while it is doing so right now.

Again, very, very refreshing
It’s nice to read posts like that, rather than this or that boat being better. Thank you!

5 meters = 16.4 feet, 1 meter = 3.28 ft

Narrow quality inflatable.
Grabner Discovery

What I like about this thread
is obvious, and it brings to light my own evolution as a paddler with experience in the industry over some years. I’m fortunate to have been able to work with some exceptional designers, paddlers etc., and as I look back I realize that my opinions have changed dramatically with more knowledge and experience. Attributes of boats that I used to think were the “reason” for certain traits were completely blown away. I puppeted a lot of industry jargon years ago that I know now was / is not accurate. I experienced the learning first hand with variations of prototypes etc., testing etc. It amazes me what people can do. Crossing oceans in Folboats, Audrey Sutherland paddling her inflatable all over the place, Laird Hamilton just being a bad ass on anything that floats, guys like Barton and Chalupski!! For me it’s about finding a “right for you” boat within your category of use and gettin on with it! The one thing that does linger for me is when I hear / see people convincing themselves about certain things that are technically innaccurate, and thus being stuck with a choice that may not return the paddling enjoyment that a better matched choice would. By being forced to challenge and overcome some of my own beliefs my paddling experience became more fun. Good day.

the match to the paddler’s preferences

– Last Updated: Nov-02-06 9:31 AM EST –

When we are uncertain of our skills, we want to try to get the "best" tool, hoping it will compensate for our weaknesses. As we build in skill, experience, and confidence, the specifics of the tool become less important.

Though tools aren't skills, good tools are a positive thing. Fortunately there is an array of tools (boats and paddles) available. A goodly number of them are well suited to any specific paddler's aspirations.

Which tools one chooses usually comes down to accessibility and which best match one's preferences and skills.

Of course, there are some pretty crumby tools out there as well...

Just out of curiosity
how is someone really hard on boats? Do they run them aground or bump into others?

How to hurt a boat
Usually it takes rocks, dragging and/or targeted abuse to hurt a boat. But Wayne (Horodowich) is a really big man to start with, can really just throw boats around comapred to someone like me. And at the symposium he was going to be demoing rescues and dragging other peoples’ boats over his to empty them of water.

On Point, Salty…
so thanks.

I paddle a boat that was designed a number of years ago and that has since been “replaced” by a newer version of it. (Greenlander) Despite my having paddled numerous boats that are deemed superior to mine and being pooh-poohed by the kayaking elite about my boat - it IS MY boat that brings the most enjoyment, comfort on the water and just plain contentment while paddling it.

I only hope everyone else who paddles one day finds their “perfect boat” that lets them grow as a paddler, but more importantly lets them enjoy the journey and progression as it happens.

Thanks Salty!


best for doing what in chop?
something that wasn’t too long ,didn’t have hollow concave ends or sharply defined edges.

big waves doesn’t sound like “chop”.