USCA Recreational Racing Class

-- Last Updated: May-19-08 10:28 AM EST --

USCA Recreational
- 16' or less in length AND 22" or greater at 4" waterline

Looking for a rec kayak in plastic to keep the cost down (under $1500), just wondering what models out there are known to be speedy given the above requirements. A couple of Wilderness Systems models keep popping up in my searches.

From what limited racing I've done so far in the K1 Short (under 13') class, I'm way overpowering the Manitou 13, and when I tried a Nelo for kicks after a race, was able to outsprint lots of folks. Definitely more of power paddler/high angle slicer, if that even makes sense for a non-racing kayak choice.


This should be one of the fastest…
Take a look at the waterline.

Not sure about the 4" beam.

day touring

– Last Updated: May-19-08 1:43 PM EST –

Many day touring boats may meet this requirement. I am thinking of something like the Looksha Sport (which is no longer made).

Not sure how to read the width number. 22" or greater at 4" waterline? 4" above the surface at the center point? Boat has to be submerged to a draft of 4", and then width is measured?

why not just get a fast boat?
you could get a used K1 or used surfski for less than 1500, easy. Race with the big boys and girls.


For what it is worth;
No matter what you get, no two races are the same as far as their specs for rec and racing classes go.

To fit the various weights, lengths, materials, etc, etc. you will need five different boats, and many races stipulate that the " boats will be placed in classes at the race directors discression"

Good luck



another reason to race unlimited
no screwing around with dumb classification rules. just you and a fast boat and may the best person win.


ads posted where?
Where do I look for such a boat? I don’t see that many racing boats posted on the classifieds. (Or maybe I just don’t recognize the names.)

– Mark

in the ny area
check the nesurfski site. they have a bunch of used boats. check the ads here too- feel free to ask if you don’t know what something is.


fast kayak

– Last Updated: May-19-08 9:18 PM EST –

I've got to second Andrew's opinion - get a ski. I can't speak about the k1 as I haven't paddled one, though I understand they are best used in flatwater and close to shore. I used to paddle a CD Extreme sea kayak - now called the Nomad - it's considered to be a fast boat. My surfski is MUCH faster, MUCH more fun, and safer in conditions because of the easy remounts. The ski rewards your effort, rather than fighting it. Unless you're planning on kayak camping or bird watching, for fitness paddling/day trips/racing you can't beat having a light, sleek, and fast surfski. They are tippier than sea kayaks, but a more stable ski in the mako xt/think evo/epic v10s vein is definitely paddleable with a little practice, and the challenge is fun in itself. My sea kayak friends have paddled my mako xt comfortably after half an hour or so of time in the saddle, though my mako 6 typically humbles them! Check out,, and You should be able to find a used ski easily... here's an epic v10s for sale for $1325 for example: . You may also be able to post here or the yahoo surfski group to find a local ski paddler that will let you hop in their boat for a tryout. Be warned: they are addicting and you may find yourself selling stuff on ebay soon to finance your new passion. Flatwater, high winds, swells, surf... they are all fun in a ski!

One statement about racing in unlimited class: yes, you have the fast boat... and yes, there aren't all the restrictions... BUT the level of competition is definitely higher, with guys truly dedicated to training and improving. Great people though - the guys I've met and paddle with have a love for the sport that they're eager to share.

but that’s what’s cool about it
in the other classes, you’re never quite sure whether you won because you trained hard and raced well, or just had the fastest boat in the class. it’s the “cheater boat” problem. in unlimited, they’re all about the same speed, and it’s all about training and balance and water skills. sure there are some guys you’ll never beat, so you have your own little races with the others.


I would think the Current Designs Vision 150 would have to be a pretty speedy boat in that category. For another $500, you could buy it in their glass/Kevlar Hybrid layup and have a sub 40lbs boat.

good point!
and probably easier to measure progress too… right?

Two Classes: ICF & Unlimited
To me there are only two classes: surfski (Unlimited) for ocean races and ICF for all of the rest.

I would never “ever” deal with classes. Only fast athletes can paddle fast, I have never seen a fast boat to paddle at all :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

yes Andrew, but the only thing wrong…
with your statement is the fact that in most local races there is usually only one or two boats in the unlimited class and a bunch in the rec. class.

Also most of you swifties started in a rec class or a sea kayak class at one time or another.

Most rec kayak racers can’t stay upright on a ski, or in a ICF K-1.




– Last Updated: May-20-08 10:26 AM EST –

Racing isn't the only thing I do. Also need a boat that can fit through a 3 foot wide channels that let's me do a loop on a Charles River that's a block away.

Not looking to make racing my thing, just that I can easily keep my Manitou 13's stern sucked down and throw off a ton of wake for 6 miles in a race no problem.

Just wanting to step up to a boat that can can transfer that power to more forward motion that can still handle my other needs.

The Zephyr 16 kinda crossed my mind as something that might be decently fast yet still fairly easy to turn.

Of course, I could rent an ICF boat for $300 for the dozen or so races I want to do. Hmmm...

A few hundred more,
for a few hundred $$ more you could buy your own used K-1 and skip the renting part. Even though the learning curve on an ICF K-1 can be a bit steeper(depends on the boat) than a ski, If you can presently stay up on a K-1 I’d think you’d find a rec. class boat like paddling a barge.


Rec Racing Kayak
If you’re in the Boston area, there’s probably a few people who would let you try different kayaks, are you doing the Wednesday night races on the Charles? Pam

hey Pam
I think we’ve exchanged emails via NECKRA…

Not yet, but after seeing some boats at the Herring Run, going to be stopping by next Wednesday and trying out some of the race training boats before the race, and probably use one for the race.

Mark gave me a rundown as to what is available and what fit my body type and noob status.