TideRace kayaks

In a different thread, TideRace kayaks came up in reference to the original designer of those, about ten years ago.

The designer in those days was Aled (not Alan) Williams, who did indeed work on the Romany design, way back, as Celia stated in that thread.

I remember TideRace came out with a model, the Excite-S (small person’s boat) that would have had me traveling to demo it, if I didn’t already have the Pilgrim Expedition.

A few years ago the surfski/K1/OC maker Nelo began manufacturing TideRace sea kayaks, with someone else doing design. I did not see any truly small-person kayak in the lineup, but maybe I missed something with my skim of the website. If my Nelo surf ski is any indication, the kayaks should be lightweight (for a sea kayak) and very nicely built.

Celia’s description of both the Romany and Explorer in LV versions as having the same hulls as their standard siblings but with a lowered deck is correct. The Romany LV was still wonderfully playful for a small person such as me, but the Explorer LV I got always felt like too much boat. Extremely stable, though! I got caught in a violent thunderstorm while paddling it to my first night’s camp and wondering if that was going to be my last day—of living. That boat kept me upright securely enough that I could put all my energy into propelling it to the nearest good landing. A solid long-trip kayak that also is good for rolling practice, etc. But later, SKUK and others made kayaks that fit small people better.


Probably the only kayak from Tiderace I would be interested in, although Xcite S is still more volume than I need for a day boat. (Only time I kayak camp is when I am kayak fishing in the Boston Harbor Islands. For that, my Scupper Pro has performed as I need for those concurrent purposes.) Of course, it helps that former PNetter, Kwikle, likes his Xcite and I know that we share a common interest in kayak playboating.



Aled Williams was also involved with Rockpool and designed the Alaw Bach.

In other trivia, The Alaw Bach TCC was built by Eddyline, and the 2nd generation Raven was loosely based on those design elements.

I have a Tiderace Xceed S built by Nelo. It was my understanding that the Xceed series was also designed by Aled Williams. There is also an XS version of the Xceed which I have paddled and is a great boat for the very small paddler (I can fit in it but it was a little too restrictive for me at 5’7”, the S is a better match). The boat is beautifully made and very unique looking with the seam finished smooth. I love how it paddles and is my go to kayak unless I want to sail or camp (when I use the Mirage 580) or I’m going someplace rocky or twisty or certain places where a plastic kayak is better (so I take my Valley Gemini SP). Mine is the N9 carbon layup and weighs very close to the advertised weight, around 46 lb.

Going from my memory, the original Excite-S had a 19.5” beam and was either 16.5’ or 17’ long. But memory could be wrong.

Any current versions might have been made wider, like what happened to the Shearwater Merganser when it became licensed to a different company.

Too much upsizing…in vehicles, too.

Nelo calls that “seamless.” The surf skis are like that, very clean edges and attention to detail.

I test paddled a Raven at some point, can’t say if first or second generation. Decided it was not my boat but a hell of a nice one. Another blast from the past.

Nice that Nelo picked up the TideRace boats. They were outstanding layups and Nelo is able to continue that tradition. Unlike the Nigel Foster boats, which also were gypsied around in maker. Admirable designs but a used buyer had to pay attention to what year of boat they were getting. The various manufacturers over the years did not produce the same quality.

If I live long enough I suppose I will get around to a newer boat. But there are so many lovely older ones out there!