Skin-on-Frame Kayak compared to a commercial Sea Kayak

I recently attended a kayak course offered by The Kayak Academy, based in Issaquah WA. I used a kayak made by Tiderace, the Xcape-X model. This was the first commercial kayak I have been in, having built my Skin-On-Frame Kayak in October. I also used a European style paddle instead of my stick paddle. A comparison of the two kayaks is interesting. One thing I wanted to find out in the class was if my homemade kayak was a sea worthy kayak, or a novelty. Conclusion: its a great kayak.

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SOF Kayak views.jpg
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Xcape X by Tiderace Skin-On-Frame

Length: 17’7” (15’ at waterline) Length: 13’9” at waterline

Width: 22.6” Width: 23.5”

Height: 11.5” Height: 12.5”

Weight: 61.7 lbs Weight: 30 lbs

Bulkheads: 3 Bulkheads: 0

Hatches: 4 Hatches: 0

Skeg: yes Skeg: no

Keel: no Keel: yes

Cockpit: Keyhole Cockpit: oval

Pedals: adjustable while on the water Pedals: adjustable on the shore

Price: $4200 Materials: included in the $1300 class

The length at the waterline is close to being equal, but the Tiderace has a long bow. I’m not sure what advantages that gives, but the Gleenland eskimos had similar long bows, and the Aleutians had the blunt nose, so I guess they both work.

Weight: the lighter weight has got to make my kayak faster, and hauling the Tiderace from the car to the shore is a two man job, vs the on arm lift required by the SOF.

The SOF has no bulkheads and no hatches. Floatation is achieved by float bags, and gear can be put under or inside the float bags. The internal volume of the SOF kayak is larger, so touring should be possible.

The skeg of the Tiderace was about as much trouble as it was a benefit. It would deploy itself and make it very hard to turn.

The SOF boat having a keel makes it go straight well, and it has a bit of rocker, so it turns well.

The keyhole cockpit of the Tiderace made it a bit harder to get the legs in, and harder to get out, but that was just a matter of getting used to it.

The pedals being adjustable while on the water was nice, but my boat is specifically adjusted for me, so I don’t need to adjust them once they are set.