KAYAK DESIGN BASICS

THE MAIN ASPECTS OF PERFORMANCE AND HOW THEY RELATE TO EACH CATEGORY.

Recreational
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Touring
 
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Efficiency: how easily the kayak glides.
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Tracking: how easily the kayak maintains a straight course.
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Maneuverability: how easily the kayak will turn.
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Capacity: how much gear/weight the kayak will cary.
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Initial Stability: how tippy the kayak feels at rest.
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Final Stability: how stable the kayak feels when tipped.

WIDTH

A wider kayak will be more stable than a narrow one. Conversely, a narrow kayak is usually more efficient than a wide one. A wider kayak may provide more stability for both heavier paddlers and tall paddlers with a higher center of gravity. A wider kayak will also enable a paddler to spread their legs out more.

LENGTH

A longer boat will track straighter, glide further and travel faster, making it more efficient. Length also adds to stability and capacity. A shorter boat is easier to handle and can be more maneuverable.

DEPTH

Depth is a key component of a good fit. A deeper hull will be roomier for paddlers with larger legs, and increases load carrying ability. A shallower hull will be less affected by wind, and may better fit small paddlers.

HULL SHAPE

We design hull shapes for the ideal combination of tracking, efficiency, agility and seaworthiness based on the kayaks intended use. Many hulls are fairly complex and have different shapes blended together.

Shallow Arch

These have good initial stability and are highly maneuverable.

Shallow "V"

The "V" shape improves tracking, has a lively feel and delivers very comfortable stability.

Hard Chine

A hard chine kayak has a well-defined edge where the hull bottom meets the sides. This increases the initial stability greatly. Hard chines give defined edging angles and assist in holding an edge.

Soft Chine

A smooth transition from the bottom of the hull to the sides. Soft chines give smooth edging at unlimited angles. The majority of kayaks that we build have a soft chine.

A GOOD "FIT" IMPROVES PERFORMANCE AND COMFORT.

When choosing a kayak, a common phrase you’ll hear is "you don’t sit in a kayak, you wear it." Like your favorite pair of jeans, a kayak that fits right will provide you with the comfort and control you desire. We list maximum load weights for each of our models, but don't publish recommended paddler sizes due to differences in physical proportions and paddling experience. The best way to find a kayak that fits you right is to get in and try it.

ROCKER

The degree of curvature in the hull from bow to stern defines the rocker. More rocker improves the ability to maneuver the kayak, especially in rough water. A kayak with little or no rocker will track very well and travel efficiently, but may be more difficult to maneuver. We carefully control the kayak's rocker to deliver the right combination of maneuverability, speed and seaworthiness appropriate for it's intended use.

FORM

Swede Form: Widest behind the cockpit, Swede form has a cleaner, longer and more slender entry, giving efficient touring speeds and maneuverability. In shorter lengths these kayaks are very responsive. Longer kayaks with this feature have amazing acceleration and track well. Because of the narrow bow they may punch through a steep wave, rather than ride over it.

Fish Form: Widest ahead of the cockpit, Fish form kayaks have a more blunt entry but will have a more slender exit through the water. The bows typically have more flare and are usually more buoyant than others. This enables our shorter boats to be excellent surf zone kayaks. Longer kayaks benefit from this feature in large seas.

COCKPITS

Open Cockpit: Solara's feature our largest open cockpits. These are very easy to get in and out of, and give a feeling of being almost completely free from the boat. Open cockpits have enough space to put gear between your legs for easy access.

Keyhole Cockpit: A keyhole cockpit blends the openness of a recreational cockpit and the integrated thigh braces of a touring cockpit. The result is a cockpit that’s easy to enter and exit, while offering performance, fit and solid connectivity to the kayak.

Recreational Cockpit: The Kestrels feature recreational cockpits that are long enough so you can simply get in and sit down. They are unrestrictive and many new paddlers appreciate their roominess and versatility.

Touring Cockpit: Touring cockpits are generally smaller and snug fitting to help resist imploding of the spray skirt if hit by a large wave in rough water. They include built-in thigh braces on the cockpit rim to maximize control when edging and rolling. They range from 29" to 35" long, depending on the model.