There is a brand new Azul Sultan that I have been looking at (with some degree of paddler lust), however I am unable to paddle due to store policy. It is on at a significant price discount which makes it doubly interesting. However I am wondering about the stability of this kayak at 20.5 inches beam.

I have paddled the Tempest 170, Perception Eclipse 17’, CD Gulfstream, and a number of other kayaks however all were at least 22" beam and the three above I found very stable both initial and secondary. Probably the kayak with the least stability for me was the perception sonoma (but I weighed over 200 when I tried it and much of that weight was above the cockpit.

I am looking for a fairly fast kayak for large rivers and relatively small lakes. The Azul is about 50 lbs and that is a nice feature as well. It seems to be very well built.

I would be using the kayak a lot for workouts and would occasionally be paddling upriver in a fairly large river.

I am 5’9" and am now 175 lbs. I would rate myself as low intermediate paddler…don’t roll but comfortable with edged turning, etc. I am 59 yrs of age and don’t want to be bracing continuously.

The reviews say that the Sultan has good initial and very good secondary stability. Can anyone give me a comparison to any of the kayaks I have listed above that I have paddled?

I appreciate any comparison information that you would share.


paddler magazine
did a review of the Sultan and the Tempest in an issue about a year ago. try and find a copy.

Basically the Sultan was the speed demon and the Tempest the wave chaser.

Sultan is considerably better at tracking (also reads- less manouverable)than the T, the Eclipse, and (somewhat) Gulfstream. It is also narrower and less stable, tho speedy. a direct relationship I’m sure you have figured out! :wink:

Think long, lean and fast.

It is well made and if the price is discounted, a find. The comfort factor you need to see for yourself.

Hope this helps!


Such a strange dealer
who would not let you demo the boat on flat water. Perhaps a $50 fee for a demo refundable if you buy the boat within three days. If they do not have on site demos perhaps a half day refundable rental?

Strange dealer indeed
The store that has the Sultan is Coast Mountain Sports which is a fairly large outdoor store up here in Canada. They have a number of recreation kayaks and two sea kayaks. The Sultan has been dropped from 3,495 to 2,499 Canadian (less than 2,000 US I believe at current exchange rates). They also have a Nimbus Telkwa which they have also dropped about $1,000 Canadian. I believe they have not sold these kayaks because they don’t allow demos and they don’t have rentals. They are the kind of store that the staff have very little or any experience in kayaking and you take your chances. Actually it is not the kind of store that you expect to see high end touring boats.

If I was looking for a $500 plastic recreation boat then I would not hesitate to purchase here…but when it goes over two grand I get nervous. I did ask about return policy and was told by the sales manager that sales were final on kayaks as they would likely come back scratched. I believe I could demo the kayak without getting a mark on it but no go.

I will try to find the article that you have mentioned Steve. Thanks,

I tried the Sultan a couple of times last summer, and I really liked it. The stability was fine and the speed was excellent. At the time I was a real newbie, I had only paddled a kayak a couple of times. I rented it from SAIL on highway 20, just north of St Hyacinthe. They may still have it available for rental.

I found it to be a fun boat except for the skeg arrangement. I tried two different sultans and the skeg didn’t work in either one of them. When I talked to the company they weren’t interested in the problem and thought they had the best set up so I had to look elsewhere.

If you are looking for speed have a look at the QCC 700. If you are looking for fun in the waves look at tne NDK romany/Explorer, the VCP avocet/argonaut, or the Wilderness Systems Tempest 165/170/180.

Hard chine boats are different
They really are. Most of them tend to turn better on inside leans and as you have been told track better. In general I find hard chne boats do not turn as well. Wider hard chine boat lke the caribou and sultan tend to have very good initial stability. By all accounts the sultan is a capable boat but I’ve never been in one.

Sultan great workout boat
I own one and it will work well for the your needs as you described them. It is quite fast and would give a QCC 700(had one also) a run for its money on speed and efficiency. Most of my paddling is on lakes and rivers and you will have no problems there. In an ocean race once I could keep up with all but the fastest hull shapes (Glider, surf ski etc), but wasn’t as quick as some of the more rockered hulls when some of the open water sections produced big swells and confuseing water due to an off shore storm, but it must be said that I am not that experienced in that type of paddling. Rolls easy and is probably one of the better built boats on the market. I have been told that it is loosely/strongly similar to some of the Nigel Foster boats. Its’ designer worked with and built Fosters’ boats at one time. I think some of the statements comparing it to other boats and their characteristics are fair and accurate. Last its’ beam I believe is 21 1/2" not 20 1/2".

Beam width
Thanks for all of the comments. The width of the Sultan seems to have changed. I found the article in Sea Kayaker that described it as 21 1/2 inch beam. Azul describes it as having a 20 1/2 inch beam. I took a tape and measured and the 20 1/2 is correct. I don’t know if they changed the design over the past couple of years. If they did, I would see the wider beam being significantly more stable than the narrow beam. I tried to contact Azul but no luck so far.

Thanks again for all of the comments. You have helped me out.


Just came across this thread.

The Sultan is the fastest sea kayak I’ve paddled. My experience is that it has astounding secondary stability.

I believe you would have to go to a plumb bow little-no rockered boat to find one as fast. And then (IMHO) it would not be as fun of a boat nor as attractive.

The Sea Kayaker review gives a good sense of the boat, except I feel it has more solid secondary stability than they seemed to indicate.

do you believe this?? >>I believe you would have to go to a plumb bow little-no rockered boat to find one as fast.

plumb bow with little/ no rocker = more wetted surface = slower hull.

all things being equal


I guess I’ve been brainwashed by the QCC/Swift folks.

I seem to recall that racing kayaks have plumb bows and no rocker.

Life varies

– Last Updated: Jun-26-04 12:09 AM EST –

What about the looksha 2. When the conditions are up it's fast.

Obviously we are dealing with water line length here which gives you faster potential speed, vs wetted surface area which slows you down at all speeds (edit: wetted surface is a bit less curcial but it does count) Very bad for low speed efficiency.

so much depends on the conditions, the motor, and the intended pace.

i’m not sure i believe that entirely, even though everyone says so. in the one race i went head to head with a looksha 2, i passed it in a mariner 2 in the ocean part, but got dusted in the flats. i don’t think they are so red hot fast anywhere, actually.


So one ocean part
with varying motors proves anything? You do not describe the conditions and the other paddler was an unknown quantity.

On flat water (or anyplace else either)Greg Barton in an epic endurance 18 will crush me in a futura 2 surfski. Does that make the epic faster than the surfski? (yeah right)

Within reason (don’t compare an westside eft to a caribou) the boat might give a paddler a 1/4 to 1/2 mph change. (that is enough to make a 20 minute difference in a race like the blackburn.)

Most paddlers (not seasoned racers with technique but paddlers)can get that from spending one hour with greg barton or one of the few other top flite paddlers who is willing to teach. (getting it in a session is one thing locking it in later is different) It’s not the boat that matters until you become very efficient

Look at the blackburn results. Look at the top ten because the standard is gold, not base metals. Look how the distribution changes as conditions get worse.

Look at other races if you like. I use the blackburn because it’s the only race I care to follow at all. I bet you’ll find that the percentage of looksha 2s as opposed to boats like the westside efts rise a lot as the conditions worse.

QCC are neither plumb nor unrockered
Just relatively more plumb than most Brit or Native designs - and relatively less rockered than a playboat.

There is nothing at 90 degrees, or anything flat, anywhere on the boat (unless you count rudder mounts or skeg boxes). My Q700 is much more like any other sea kayak of similar dimensions than not. Different, yes - but not radically. Slightly fuller ends for more LWL do not really change much else, and certainly don’t limit it in the ways some seem to assume.

Apples and Oranges
Two primary kinds of drag - frictional (wetted surface) and wave making (LWL), and two kinds of speed - paddler skill/power and boat’s design. The question is: How much combined drag both types of speed together can overcome?

Factor in weather conditions and how different paddlers and different hulls respond to them and you end up with an unlimited number of interrelated variables, most of which cannot ever be accurately measured in real world scenarios.

No wonder people are of different minds on these things.

the sultan has alot of the same hull characteristics as the foster silhouette and the legend. There are some who would say, that the designer lifted alot of things from Foster. I would say it most closely resembles a silhouette based on the beam and the deck height.

It is not a complete theft, as some of the better concepts of Fosters such as the port side day hatch, the round bottom, and the clipper bow are lost on the sultan.

If you could find a silhouette to paddle you might have an idea of how the sultan paddles. Though you might be dissapointed with the Sultan after you paddle a silhouette. Also it sounds like maybe a legend might be a better fit for you as a kayak anyway.

Sultan - Silhouette
The Silhouette is certainly a favorite for speed among paddlers I know. However, my experience was that a Silhouette demands more attention than a Sultan.

Could just be me, but I found I could relax more in a Sultan.

NIce post! NM

Just purchased a Sultan
I just purchased a used Sultan, yesterday. I wanted a Legend first, Sultan second: the Sultan was just too good a deal to pass up.

It tracks very well, and is one of the fastest boats I’ve paddled (in my limited experience). Definately not as manoeverable as a Gulfstream - which can turn on a dime - but the sultan is faster, for me. I think it’s the same size cockpit as the Legend: the Sillouette being waaaay too small for me (6’11" 185lbs). Btw, It DOES turn nicely, just needs a nice edge to get it to go. I can’t wait to surf it.

I like the rubber hatches (similar to the Legend/Sillouette), rather than the neoprene/hard cover design of other boats, but that’s a personal taste.

I would think you’d be happy with the Sultan: if you can sit in it and get comfortable, that’s a start, but I’d say paddle one, first, to get a feel. Or, plonk down the money, buy it, paddle it, and if you don’t like it, sell it used - you’ll be a few hundred dollars lighter (eek!).

I, also, am not keen on instability (i’ve only been paddling a few months), but I was suprised how much I could handle this boat, very quickly. In fact, I managed to roll it the day I bought it!

There is a design flaw, though: the cockpit leaks around the spray skirt (at the knee braces), but I’m rectifying that this week with some closed cell foam.