Flat Water Race Boat for Small Guy

3 years 1 month ago #32370 by mcnye1
I am a long time kayaker, who has been racing kayaks for about 5 years. Last year I got my first ski, a Stellar SEI (2G), and had no trouble with the transition. At this point, I can easily handle the SEI in the rough conditions, and think that it is time for me to move to a faster boat for use in the many river (flat water) races that I do. A kick up rudder is an absolute must due to the obstruction filled waters that we regularly race in here in central Florida. I am 5'7" (1.7m) and 152# (69kg).

The top boat on my list is the SES (2G). I did a nice long demo paddle in flat and did not have any trouble keeping the topside up. Also, that small bucket fits me very well. Lastly, the SES is available in a tough multi-sport layup which includes provisions for a stern mounted rudder.

Another boat that I am interested in is the Stellar Rapid-S. This is a "kayak" version of the SES hull designed for the type of river racing that they do in NZ. My biggest concern is that this boat is new and very few have made it to the US, so there is no way to demo one. It should be as fast as the SES and maybe a bit more stable do to the lower seating. It looks like the deck is high enough to allow K1 style leg pumping but it is hard to tell from just a picture. I would love to hear from anybody who has actually paddled one.

What other boats meet my requirements:
1. Faster than SEI on flat water.
2. Good fit for small paddler.
3. Provisions for kick up rudder.


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3 years 1 month ago #32372 by Jef58
The Think ski's in the River layups are pretty nice, but you would most likely be looking at the UNO for pure flat water speed as a small paddler. Another out of the box option...that you can source from south Florida, is one of the Knysna Racing Genius boats. The Genius GTO does come in River construction and on paper looks like a very fast boat. If you don't need a ski, the South African river K1's can be good solid choices and priced a lot cheaper than Sprint K1's.

If you can't wait for a container...there probably isn't a lot of ski's out there in River construction.

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3 years 1 month ago #32374 by J3ZZA
I am 175cm / 66kg / 30” waist. I paddle K1 and a padded out S/fish for heavy days and a CS Vault. The Vault is a genuine low volume boat. Much less bulky than many And knifes through instead of needing to be muscled over waves. The Vault has a fantastic (for me) ergonomically comfortable and correct seat - but I also pad the thighs out (yeah - Hein laughed - I’m that guy). I use the Epic thigh pads in the Vault as they are neat, clean, adjustable. They come with several inserts - just choose how many / how thick you need for good contact. I understand that CS skis can come with underslung or flip up / off the back rudders with a quick swap. Some recently delivered for use in the Avon (flooded - shallow - rocky) River descent Race recently in W Aust. Beautifully made boats. I am doing OK in the Vault in my division in Marathon on flat but also very happy in the local Harbour and outside the heads every now and then...(still working on that). I would recc you paddle a Vault and also maybe try the very recently released Boost (Low Volume) if you can in your area.

Current: Carbonology Vault, Carbonology Boost LV, Vajda Spirit K1
Previously: Fenn Swordfish, Sladecraft Sonic, Older K1, Elliott Vindicator, Elliott Marauder,

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3 years 1 month ago #32390 by mcnye1
Thanks for the comments, they have been very helpful!

I also had several conversations with dealers so a couple more boats added to the list. The Spark is a big contender. Everything that I read about it says that it is fast and built for a small paddler. The Fenn dealer also suggested the Surge, which he has in stock. If it is as fast as the Spark and I can fit in the bucket, it would be great to have a boat that is a little shorter. The same dealer also suggested the McGregor Rhythm. I have not found a lot of info on that boat, but there are three newish used boats for sale within driving distance. It kind of makes me wonder why? Lastly, I will try the Uno but I suspect that I will find it too unstable for me. A very fit young lady in our race group paddles one. She is devilishly fast, but she takes frequent “swim breaks.” I am limiting my search to those boats that I have a good chance to demo.

As before, Comments/suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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3 years 1 month ago #32393 by Jef58
Sounds like you were talking with the same dealer I was thinking of. The McGregor boats are reportedly fast. I bought a used CLK off a guy who had a Classic and he claimed it was very fast and unstable... he used it for flat water. It was a beautiful boat though. I was thinking you were looking for some kind of river construction. Good luck in the search, you have a lot of options you can source pretty close.

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