Walden vs Seaward Foster silhouette

I am considering buying a Foster Silhoutte to give my teenage daughters something fast to paddle, and would like any information on how to tell if it is a Walden built or a Seaward built (or Dutch but that is the least likely).

At this point I do not have a hull number but I will be looking at it this weekend.

It needs work so knowing if I could get skeg parts has a great bearing on what I would be willing to pay.

Since it is a rather long drive I would like to be armed with enough info to make a decision on the spot.

Also any advice, info, or just plain sharing of stories on the Silhoutte are welcomed (Especially from lighter paddlers). I know stability is an issue for some, but my kids are ok on that front since they claimed ownership of my Sisimuit skin on frame (Damn kids these days).



phone call answers all.
To answer my own question, thanks to the helpful people at Seaward,

A Seaward boat will have a “QKN” serial number prefix.

Seaward sure sounds like a great company. Lifetime transferable warranty, told me to call back with serial number and they would give the boats history.


Go with the Seaward
first, the Walden second, and the Dutch one only if you have to. We have a Seaward-built Silhouette, and it’s extremely well built. A little heavy for kevlar, but still bomber.

The Waldens were actually OK, but heavy, so I’m told. Possibly some issues with leaky hatches. My better half’s Seaward-built Silhouette has never leaked a drop in 6 years, been dropped onto pavement, run up beaches, and hit a few rocks, and all it’s ever needed was some gelcoat.

Nothing wrong with the Dutch boats

– Last Updated: Oct-21-09 8:20 AM EST –

I had a Silhouette and my girlfriend still has a Rumour, both made in Holland, and they are very well made boats. The outfitting may not be to everyone's liking, but that's true of any boat.

OTOH, Nigel's boats are an acquired taste and I never got comfortable with my Silhouette, so I sold it. I would strongly suggest test paddling it before you buy it.

Much to my delight the boat is a Seaward.

It needs work so parts availability was a big factor.

As for paddling it first… well, I need to evict the spiders, snakes, and fire ants, then fix it before it will float long enough for a paddle :wink:

When you say acquired taste how so?

Just curious what sort of ‘parts’ are
we taking about?

I am a previous Silhouette owner. My boat was made by Seaward, but the outfitting (deck lines, bungies toggles), hatches (VCP), and foot pegs (Yakima) could be purchased in any number of places.

The Seward seat pan and back band might be a little unique to their Foster boats, but again you could get a seat pan or back band from multiple sources.

Fast and tender
Foster Silhouettes have the reputation of being fast (very fast for a British design boat)and light primary stability.

The Seaward Silhouettes are considered to be the best built - Seaward is a very very good company. The backbands and seats in the Seaward built Foster boats I’ve paddled have Nigel’s design backbands and seats not the standard Seaward ones. Hatches are Valley.

Must have Subject!
I was mostly worried about Skeg parts.

The boat I am buying is a “well used” hull with an abrasion hole.

It needs all hatches, probably complete outfitting and I am assuming skeg damage of some sort(but am willing to be pleasantly surprised).

I haven’t done a full survey but being a Seaward boat the price is right regardless. (New boat are now @$4,000 :0 )

I am excited about adding the Foster.

The majority of the paddlers in the family are under 110Lbs so it is a better fit than anything else I can probably find in the price range (the hatches will cost more than the hull).

Plus it gives me a radically different boat to play in.

Now I need to start researching fiberglass repair.

Walden, Seaward, Foster-Rowe
I have a Foster-Rowe (Dutch) Shadow and while it has some issues I’ve seen bigger issues with a boat from Seaward. This might have been a fluke but I’m very happy with my Dutch built kayak.

The main issue is low stability…
…or very low stability, depending on the model. The Rumour, with its rounded hull, very short chines and slightly reverse rocker borders on the ridiculous in that regard. I swear that it’s more stable upside-down than right side-up. The Silhouette is not that bad, but it’s a boat that’s difficult to relax in, particularly in following seas. It also tracks pretty strongly, so it requires serious edging and skillful paddle work to turn it. Nigel is a master at edging and strokes, so it makes sense that his boat designs would reflect that. If you ever get the chance, take his “Wind and Waves” course. You’ll come out of it with an entirely new understanding of how to maneuver a kayak.

For glass and gelcoat repair…
…check out my Webshots albums at:


Sihouette Comparision
Can anyone give a comparision between a Silhouette and a P&H Bahiya?


Hey Bob
You should have had it on Lake James yesterday.

The water was so flat and glass like that you couldn’t tell which way was up.

Want us to give you a shout the next time we are heading there?

I doubt if the two QCC’s and the Epic 18 carbon would be prejudice against the Brit boat or even your SOF !



I have a Seaward Shadow in good shape , for a low price.

It may be to big for you,r girl and it needs a new seat,

yet it is a good kayak . John

Been all over your site

Your site has been primary in overcoming my fear of taking on this project. Thanks for taking the effort.

If you don’t mind I might send you some pictures of the damage for you input on how to fix.


is there surf on that lake?
I probably can’t keep up on a training run but if you guys are out for distance/exploring I have days free during the week.

But I will warn you you are competing with my new vice white water. So if it has been raining and the rivers are up I tend to give bumps priority over glass…

Though good company does weigh heavily on the scale.

BTW the Skin on frame has a hole from a tie down buckle chafing through on it’s last trip up from Tybee :frowning:

I apreciate the offer but
I am looking at a specific boat which is a unique find. It needs work but is priced accordingly, and it will give me a project to do with my daughters.

Also the boat is primarily for my wife and daughters, who are all quite petite so a Silhouette is about as big as we can use.

An Avocet LV would be a perfect fit, but there is no money for one at this juncture.

…go ahead and send them.

another quick small person’s boat
is the P&H Vela. It has been around for a while so used ones turn-up.


If the Silhouette doesn’t pan out, you might consider a Vela.