Speedy Plastic?

Looking for some advice regarding finding which plastic (roto) kayaks are the fastest. I have been paddling for a couple of years with primarily 12’-14’ recreation boats but am looking for something that I can use for more fitness/speed training. I know that FG or other composites are generally the speed kings, but I sometimes paddle or portage in conditions that might not be hull friendly to these materials, so plastic is probably my best choice. I know that Prijon has their Barracuda model that along with their proprietary plastics is a fast boat, but also one that requires “attention” at all times. I realize that speed and stability usually don’t go hand in hand. 6’-3" Male, 215 lbs. Most of my paddling is on flatwater, inland lakes in the Adirondaks (no ocean travel for me). Thanks for any advice

The Nordkapp RM …
is a fast plastic boat, but like other Nordkapps does require a certain amount of attention.

I’ve heard that the new Valley Etain is also quick and much more forgiving, but I have not paddled one.

Both would be within your weight range. Bay Creek in Rochester is probably the closest dealer where you could test paddle both boats.

hurricane cat 5
Cobra surfski

Spirit ski

Ryan L.

Pyranha has their Speeder, or whatever
it’s called.

Tempest 170 .

Ocean Kayak Sprinter
Designed by Greg Barton should do the trick with all the speed you can produce. No longer made in the USA, but now made in New Zealand. Just saw a used one on Craig’s List selling for the same price ($650) that it originally sole for, more than 12 15 years ago.

How fast do you want?
Do you have a certain speed or time that you want to make?

That’d help determine whether your in a sea kayak or surfski sort of kayak. .

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

Hull shape
A plumb bow makes the entire length of the boat

a fully effective waterline

  • allows speed and performance in rougher water.
  • gives the ability to carry a ton of stuff.
  • prevents heavy pitching.

    Generally speaking it is easier for

    water to split off to either side of a kayak.

    An extended bow will tend to push the water downward.

Valley nordkapp
The etain has much more initial stability but not as much speed.

Both come in a high and ‘low’ volume. I’ve paddled the high volume version of both in glass and they are both great boats.

material wise

– Last Updated: May-08-12 9:17 PM EST –

Some comments above with specific models and info about what shapes work best. In general, narrow and long water line are fast. Plumb bow gives the longest possible water line, which is why those styles are fast. But you need to chose what else you want the boat to do so you can determine if you want a fast sea kayak or a surf ski (or something different).

On materials - the triple walled materials used by some of the Brit boats (Valley, P&H, etc.) is stiffer, so would be faster than the single walled varieties (most American made plastic boats). Or consider a boat of thermoformed plastic (what Eddyline and Delta use for all of their products, and many others for some of their line). Stiffer and lighter, but still quite strong.

Then again, composite boats are not that weak that they couldn't put up with a certain amount of abuse, and can be more easily fixed than rotomolded plastic.

I have a Prijon. It’s a Cruiser not a

– Last Updated: May-08-12 9:03 PM EST –

Barracooda but made of the same material, HPT. Had it for about 5 years. The hatch cover always leaked and it dimples from the straps when I cartop it, just like roto. I give it heavy use almost year round and always on rocky rivers. I've outgrown the boat and would not hesitate to buy another Prijon. A nice roundbottom.

Are you reading this Marshall? LOL

Please clue me in as to what kind of "Attention" I should be giving my boat.

I have the prijon barracuda. Use it most of the timein rivers, lakes and bays. If I know conditions will be a little rough I take my valley aquanaut. Otherwise the 'cuda can handle a lot.

Valley Nordkapp, Etain or Aquanaut
depending on what other uses you will have outside of just speed.



cnydave, input?

– Last Updated: May-09-12 3:37 PM EST –

You're getting good suggestions, your impressions on what's been suggested?

Suntan, you surfing the 'cooda (I like that spelling) on the Mongaup wave? Cool! To answer your request, perhaps a North Shore Atlantic RM for straighter/faster or a P&H Delphin for surfier. You, the Delaware and Rocks = Plastic. :)

See you on the water,
The River Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY

it seemed really, really fast today.

Speedster/Wavehopper/Viper etc.
If you look at the Wild Water and similar racers from Pyranha (Speedster), Perception (Wavehopper), Cobra (Viper) you will be hard pressed to find a faster boat in plastic that is under 15-16 feet or so.

There are others, mainly sit on tops that come in plastic: from Cobra and others that are made like surf skis. They will be fairly fast as well.

All of the above will be rather tippy.

You can also make a skin on frame that would be able to come close (but be a bit slower) at similar lengths. But lighter.

For what it is worth, I just raced my own design skin on frame downriver against a bunch of Wavehoppers and a Speedster and placed very competitively: beating some being beat by some, all within a couple of minutes to the hour within each other.

I’ve also amateurishly raced against the Cobra Viper on flat water and I can tell you that is one fast boat. It gave a run for their money to many paddlers in Seda Gliders and Wpic 18x or intermediate Surfskis.

All of the above boats are not only fast because they have hulls designed to go fast, but also they have ergonomic paddling positions.

Thanks Marshall, I’ll be buying in June