Which kayak?

-- Last Updated: Sep-01-08 10:56 AM EST --

Here is the background: I had a QCC 10x. It was a great boat but I ended up maxing out its hull speed in races so I sold it and moved up to a Epic 18x Ultra. It is a light and fast boat but a little too long for my weight I think. I don't feel like I control it well. I am still faster in it than in the 10x however. I am 120 lbs and 5'5". I know the Nemo is considered the best for my size, etc. but I am not so sure I can afford it - especially since I will likely have no chance to demo it here in SC. With that said, I am thinking of getting either the QCC 600x or the Epic 16x ultra. I would likely be able to purchase a demo boat from Epic which cuts down on the cost. Any opinions on either of these boats for someone of my size? I mainly race and train for racing in either the sea kayak or touring classes. I plan to compete in USCA Nationals next year in whatever boat I get so I would like to get it soon so I can train in it for the year leading up to Nationals. I have come in second to the Epic 16x with a woman paddling it in a race in which I was paddling the 18x. And I like the QCC 600x for the superior construction quality. Anyway, any input would be appreciated. Thanks.


My dearest Karen

I wish you luck in your search but I don’t think many (if any here) can relate to 120lbs. Hells bells I can’t remember when I weighed 120lbs.

Paddlin’ on


I weighed 120 in the 6th grade.

– Last Updated: Sep-01-08 1:15 PM EST –

Richard is a rec kayak paddler and I am a canoeist so we can't help, but there are racers here who hopefully can.I would retitle the post to something like "Which kayak for serious racing".
The 'which kayak' is posted here repeatedly and people are typically asking about beginner boats.

didn’t we have this discussion
Thought you had decided it was between the Huki S1-A and the Think Fit. I paddle a Nemo and I think it’s the fastest “sea Kayak” currently out there for the lighter paddler. I’ve also paddled the 18X and it’s probably about the same in speed potential. Certainly there are faster boats if you want to race different category such as the olympic K1 style but this won’t work for rough water. All the boats you mention are good candidates for speed oriented craft for the lighter paddler. I don’t think switching from an 18X to 16X is going to make you faster. The gal who beat you in the 16X didn’t win because of the boat. Greg Barton would beat me and my Nemo if he was paddling an innertube. Well, maybe… you get the point. I know it’s easier, and more fun to shop for a new boat than to train harder. Anyway good luck in your search. I’d recommend a Nemo, if you can afford it or an S1-A if you can balance it.(or whatever boat you have now if your willing to train harder)

Some thoughts:
the 600 or the epic 16 would be a great boat for your weight and height, but I don’t think it will cut it in the nationals.

You are kind of in the position that my wife was in when she went down from the QCC 600 to the 10x, but she is smaller than you.

She also loves to race, but the 600 was just a bit to much for her, and then when she went to the 10-x, she took 15 minutes off her time in the same race and equal conditions.

There is a small guy down in Florida who used to make the 16 x fly, and almost always took a second or third to the guys with the Epic 18s and West Side boats, but he now paddles a ski.

If you could test drive both the 600 and the 16, and then compare them with your 18 would be the best way to decide.

If you don’t mind driving to mid NC, I could hook you up with a 600 and I would think down by the Charleston area you could hook up with someone with a 16x



No we haven’t
No, we haven’t had this discussion about kayaks - just about surf skis.

I know you didn’t mention it…
…but the VCP Rapier 18 has a weight rating range of 120 to 220 pounds…I was considering a new Nemo as well but found a used C/K R-18 for about half the price.

If you do consider it and find one, make sure to check it out well, mine had problems…!