Which crossover kayak for my needs?


I’m looking for a new kayak, but can’t really make up my mind which one would be best for the places I paddle.

I paddle equally much in rivers (slow moving), lakes (flat water) and the ocean (coastal areas with rough sea but no tidal waters -I’m a bit intrigued by kayak surfing).

My main boat is a pyranha fusion, which I do like, but find a bit too slow for solo day trips. I plan on paddling a bit of whitewater, perhaps class 1&2. The fusion will handle that I guess.

I also have an old home made fiberglass kayak that looks like a really old racing kayak. It has no skeg or rudder and is a PITA to paddle so I avoid using it.

I’m looking for something between a sea kayak and the fusion. It has to be a plastic boat and preferably it’d have a skeg. It needs to be faster and better tracking than the fusion, but still a stable and robust boat, something that is fun to paddle and play with on many different types of water. What options are there between crossovers and sea kayaks?

Ive been looking at a P&H delphin - do you think this could be the boat for me, based on what I’ve written above? Is it faster than the fusion?

Also looked at a pyranha speeder that lookes like a fun boat, but not really sure how it’d do in the ocean and flat water. It also lacks a skeg.

Day touring

– Last Updated: Jul-20-15 12:26 AM EST –

You want a day touring, not crossover. The Fusion is a crossover style kayak.

Delphin and Dagger Alchemy are two that immediately come to mind. But many others in the 12 to 15 foot range also could work.

P&H Hammer
I also have a Fusion Medium size with connect 30 outfitting. BUT a Hammer has faster speed yet still white water capable. But man they are heavy kayaks. Plus kinda pricey.

Valley Gemini SP RM
another to consider.

I’ll take that into consideration.

The used delphin I’ve been thinking about buying was sold the same day I sent an offer.

Will shorter day tourers handle rivers as well, and perhaps even a few easier rapids along the way? (class I)


– Last Updated: Jul-20-15 10:34 AM EST –

I opted for the river touring outfitting on my fusion M. Should have gotten the connect 30, but I'll manage even though I'm not a huge fan of the footpegs.

Have you tried both? I noticed earlier that the only shop in my country that sells pyranha, has raised the price of the fusion recently 790€ to 950€. It's possible that other models have gotten more expensive too.

Then there is the Rockhopper 340 that perhaps fits in the same class as the hammer. It's cheap but it just looks way slower, and unfortunately I don't have the possibility to test paddle any of these kayaks mentioned. They are sold here, but the distance to the shop is too long.

Of the three boats
I have a Hammer and a Delphin, and had the Alchemy. The Hammer gives you some speed advantage over your crossover but a lot more rough water capability. It is more of a park n’ play than something you’d use for any distance. The Delphin is better for that, adding cargo carrying capacity. If the cost of a Delphin deters you, an Alchemy is an okay alternative.


– Last Updated: Jul-21-15 3:41 AM EST –

The price of the delphin is a bit too high for me, so really bummed that the used one got sold. Pretty hard finding used brand boats around here, there's mostly odd homemade fiberglass kayaks...

Kept checking for used ones and ran into the following ones that seem to be price fighting kayaks:

Perception Expression 14
Venture Islay 14
Wilderness Systems Zephyr 15.5
Wilderness systems Tsunami 135

They seem like they could be somewhat similar to the Delphin and Alchemy, or am I missing something? ☺

There's a used Pyranha Speeder that intrigues me as well. I actually think it could be a fun boat that could handle rough/flat/white-waters, but I'd like it to have a skeg. Not really sure if it'd be wise to custom fit a retractable skeg to it.

All different
The Zephyr comes close, followed by the Islay. Don’t buy a Speeder without paddling it first. It’s very different from the other boats you mention and some find it difficult to manage in rough conditions.

How Skilled Do You Plan On Getting
I SINKs require a higher skill level. Are you okay will having your head and shoulders exposed to danger in river current? A class II rapid can dump you. Class I means flat water. Taking a touring SINK through class II Requires a skill level superior than in the ocean. If I were you I’d think twice about class II.

Fair enough
Lets say the new boat should only be river capable for possible future use, as I would use the fusion only for rivers and WW.

The rapids around here seem pretty tame with slow moving water due to the overall flatness of the area, but plenty of smaller rocks. Generally they are quite shallow as well, nothing over class II either.

But you have a good point -I guess it would be smarter to focus on something that handles ocean/lakes, and perhaps surf better, seeing I will keep the fusion for the WW.

Venture is the more moderate priced poly kayak line by P & H. I don’t know about the newer Islay but their Easky 15 and 15LV are based on the same design as the Delphin. I have an LV and have found it very versatile from rough coastal waters to open Class 1 and 2 rapids.

pure WW stretches?

– Last Updated: Jul-23-15 1:22 PM EST –

Rather than pure WW stretches, around here, I often boat stretches of river that have long stretches of flat moving water with sections of fairly easy WW, maybe class II- but that's subjective. So, if I am frustrated that my crossover won't go as fast as I want, I take my day tourer (as peter-ca suggested in the first reply). In my experience a day tourer will handle II- fine (I suppose unless that water requires very sharp turns). The day tourer will also be fine on most lakes paddled intelligently (weather-aware, etc.) I can't speak to ocean at all -- I'm many miles from ocean. Lot's of good kayaks in the day touring category. I have a Necky Manitou 14, my wife has a WS Tsunami 14 (we both have "graduated" to longer, slimmer kayaks for our lake boating) -- day tourers are now for visitors and river sections with mild whitewater.

Different designs
The Islay is more of a traditional sea kayak and is designed more for that than play. The Easky leans more toward that than to the Delphin. The cockpit/CG of the Delphin is set back while the Easky’s is midships or even a bit forward. The Delphin’s bow is almost plumb while the Easky’s is raked. The Delphin is a fairly slim boat while the Easky is beamy for a sea kayak. If you’re going for price, the Alchemy is a lot more Delphin-like than the Islay or Easky.

I’ve Paddled Technical Desert Rivers

– Last Updated: Jul-24-15 2:32 PM EST –

As well as windy Lakes Mead and Mojave in a 14' Perception Illusion. At all times I was satisfied with performance. Those rivers includes low hanging trees and small falls. It doesn't get much more diverse than that.

That narrows down the selection.
As i’ve changed my mind about what im going to use the boat for -now primarily daytrips on flat\rough water and surfing + keep using the fusion for running rivers and rapids, the boats left on my list are:

Delphin (1890€, old stock 1690€)

Gemini SP RM (1580€)

Zephyr (1200€)

Alchemy (890€)

Hammer (1650€)

I feel the Zephyr is still within my budget, but the Delphin is a bit too much. (I’d get two alchemy for the price). Can’t however help that I feel I might regret it if I settle with the Alchemy, although I’m sure it’s a nice boat as well. Surely the Delphin can’t be twice as good? :wink:

Is the Alchemy surfable?

We don’t get any killer waves around here, maximum height would be around 5 ft I’d guess.