Sisu vs. Volan


Long preamble follows, but tl;dr: could anyone compare the Current Designs Sisu and the P&H Volan?

I’m looking for a new kayak that’s more suitable for what I actually do than my current kayak (delphin 155) lighter for the inevitable time when lugging around what is basically a 60 lb boat gets tough and most critically, with a roomy cockpit, to help with knee angle for my back issues.

I mostly paddle on smaller lakes in Ontario with trips to the Great Lakes to play.
Longest tour ever was 8 days but I pack very light and always paddle on fresh water. Storage capacity is not a concern.
I’ve been in and out of kayaks and canoes for more than 4 decades, but I’ve only really spent a lot of time kayaking for the last 7 or 8 years. I’m comfortable enough rolling in practice but boring enough that I’ve only had to use that skill once.

I really like an agile boat, but shedding a smidge of agility for something that tracks better than a delphin (probably just about anything) is good

I’m looking for something around 16’ long, though a bit shorter or longer is fine

I recently paddled an arrow play, and the hull form felt like exactly what I want (at least on flat water) however the front deck is very low and the angle I need to put my knees at is just too rough on my back

I’ve identified the current designs Sisu and P&H Volan as candidates. The Sisu is generally comfortable to sit in (the back deck could be lower but it works) the Volan looks good on paper and is frequently mentioned as having a roomy cockpit. I’ll be confirming that it fits this weekend.

But I won’t be able to try these boats out on rougher water

Has anyone had experience with both, and could they compare them?

Thanks for any suggestions!

I am watching this thread too.
I intend to start building kayaks in a few years after I finish up my back log.

So looking at hull and deck designs has a special degree of interest to me. I have now bought several books on building and design work, and I love to get information from various paddlers (asking their hight, weight, leg length and waist diameter ) to help me with my coming ideas of building.
The info is limited on these 2 kayaks and nothing very technical is to be found on line, so getting feedback from users is probably best. From what little I have found it seems the Sisu has more rocker then the Volan so probably is easier to turn, but that’s still just a guess. The ability of a paddler to hold an edge is critical, so a “less maneuverable” kayak can be used to out turn a “more maneuverable” kayak if the paddler in the “less maneuverable” one can hold a more pronounced edge.
That’s the problem with trying to gather truly useful information:
As with most skills, the ability of the man or woman is often 80% of the equations and 20% of it is the equipment.
To have valid comparison what would be ideal is a single kayaker paddling BOTH kayaks back to back. Then you do the test again with several other kayakers of different sizes and weights to gain a valid overview of 2 kayaks being compared. Sadly that is not very likely to happen unless you can go to a paddlers gathering or symposium and ask others to do the same test you are, with both kayaks at the same event (and using the same paddle for both kayaks too.)

The issue is quite complex.


I recently test paddled both the Sisu and the Volan. I purchased the Sisu, primarily because it was deeply discounted.

From what you’ve described, the cockpit on the regular volume Sisu might be better for you than the low volume. I purchased the low volume, and my knees might not be as high as I would like, but that’s not entirely clear to me right now. The regular volume Sisu would place my knees considerably higher. Kayak Academy has a rough fit guide: Current Designs Sisu & Sisu LV | Kayak Academy.

If I recall correctly, the cockpit of the Volan is quite similar to that of the LV Sisu, but perhaps a bit narrower inside. It was equipped with hip pads, which made the seat far too confining for me. I’d need to remove the pads. Others have had that issue.

I’ve never paddled the Delphin, but I would almost bet that the Sisu paddles quite a bit like the Delphin. Some reviewers say the Sisu is faster than the Delphin, others say the Delphin is faster. A very thoughtful review of the Sisu it at this URL: Gear Review: Current Designs Sisu Sea Kayak – Kitchi-Gami, if you haven’t already seen it. There are many reviews of the Volan on line, as you probably know.

The Volan edges and turns quite easily, and it definitely tracks better than the Sisu. It would be quite good for multi-day excursions, while the Sisu might be a bit challenged doing that. The Sisu tracks reasonably well with the skeg extended, but I’m frequently adjusting the keg. That’s just the way it is.

I haven’t rolled either the Sisu or the Volan, so I can’t make any comments on that.

Surprisingly, the Sisu is quite sensitive to the type of paddle I’m using. The kayak seems to come alive with a relatively broad, high-angle blade; it’s much less responsive and even a bit boring with a paddle that has less surface area. I think it’s a fun boat with the right paddle. If you have a chance to test the Sisu, I urge you to try a variety of paddles, particularly rather broad high-angle blades.

Also, don’t automatically exclude the Prana. I gather its quite popular on the Great Lakes and smaller waters in the area. I wish i had given the Prana more consideration.


Unfortunately I haven’t tried the Volan. I have tried a Delphin and Sisu back to back, and the forward paddling efficiency difference wasn’t particularly subtle. The Sisu is more efficient for forward paddling. But the Volan is a different kayak than the Delphin.

I love the cockpit configuration of the Sisu, Prana, and Karla. It just leaves your legs better situated for better leg drive and better all around comfort. At 6’ 200 lbs I went with a Sisu LV, and find it very comfortable. I use it for playing in waves, and it’s a great sea kayak for that. Some sea kayaks feel like the stern always wants to get away from you and you broach when surfing a wave. The Sisu comes up to speed quickly, and the feeling and behavior is that it’s happy to continue down wave, and it"s much more possible to switch directions in many surfing conditions. That’s not to say it can’t or won’t broach. Long and narrow hulls will do that. But you can tell pretty quickly that some new possibilities have opened up with this hull.

It rolls quite easily. It should feel quite stable for anyone venturing out into rough water. It maneuvers really well for a sea kayak. To me it has always seemed quite neutral in the wind.

I also had the opportunity to demo a Prana at the same time as the Delphin & Sisu LV. As I immediately recognized that the Sisu was more efficient than the Delphin, the Prana was more efficient than the Sisu. I also got the opportunity to paddle a Prana LV for a few days. I paddled it on the Cape Fear River and then out at Rich’s Inlet on the Atlantic Ocean for some surfing. It gives up a little in the playful category to the Sisu, but it is still very maneuverable. You mention you’re “boring enough you only had to use that skill (rolling) once”, this is one comment that could suggest the Prana for you. The other part is this: “I recently paddled an arrow play, and the hull form felt like exactly what I want (at least on flat water) however the front deck is very low and the angle I need to put my knees at is just too rough on my back”. I own a Zegul Arrow Play HV. The fit in that kayak is tighter than my Sisu LV. The Prana LV and Sisu LV felt like the same fit to me. The Zegul Arrow Play and the Prana and Sisu have the same designer. The Arrow Play is most similar to a Prana. If the Arrow Play hull felt like exactly what you wanted, I think you should be impressed with the Prana’s hull and probably really appreciate the cockpit layout as well.
Good luck in your search!

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Thanks for the information

I hadn’t actually spent much time thinking about the prana, but I will

If I take a profile image of the arrow play and put it beside the prana, the two boats look shockingly similar (Chines notwithstanding)

It’s at least worth sitting in or a test paddle if I can arrange one

Thanks for clarifying the relative speeds of the Sisu and Delphin. I was suffering some buyer’s remorse, thinking that maybe I should have purchased a Delphin. Perhaps I misread some of the reviews. They may have been referring to the faster speed at which the Delphin turns, which makes sense, given the Delphin’s hull design.

Did you have an opportunity to test paddle the Volan? If so, what were your reactions?

I did not, the only one in my area available to try sold before I could get to it


I ended up trying and loving something that wasn’t even on my radar.

A Tiderace Xtra HV, which, by happy accident, a diligent salesperson and a generous current owner I was able to paddle (for a short while) in some fairly rough high frequency chop.

Critically it has a better seating position (for my back) than my delphin, fun to surf, just really fun all round.

Not exactly a touring boat but the way I pack I’m sure I could put 8 days+ in there.

Definitely not a speedster but fast enough.

Lovely chines. Felt weird at first in a quartering sea then something kind of clicked and it just felt really natural.

Plenty agile enough for anything that I will ever be able to do

Doesn’t exactly hurt that it’s drop dead Gorgeous


Photo pls

Cool choice! I see Tiderace does have some way-cool color schemes, as well.

My hunch was that an HV would be a better fit for you. My low volume Sisu doesn’t allow for a lot of adjustment, and that is likely to be a problem for some paddlers.

Eyeballing a few images, the Xtra’s hull seems more similar to the Sisu’s than the Volan’s. The Volan still intrigues me, especially its chines. I wish I had an opportunity to paddle it in more demanding conditions.


Congrats on your new Tiderace! Yes we need pics!

Here is the Tiderace Xtra LV being surfed by the designer himself, Aled Williams: Enjoy.


Between the Sisu and Prana mostly other folks have covered the bases. The Prana cockpit in the center is about 1" shorter compared to the Sisu. The way it tapers means you’re not actually losing a full inch of room for your knees compared to the Sisu, but it is slightly more snug in terms of height. Seat width is the same so no difference there.


Late to the party but I really enjoy my Prana.
Here’s a video of Alex Matthews having fun in a CD Prana LV