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, in April 2019. 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 2018. 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.
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 Natives had similar long bows, and the Aleutians had the blunt bow, so I guess they both work. They are undoubtedly tweaks for different paddling and hunting conditions.
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 one arm lift required by the SOF.
The SOF has no bulkheads and no hatches. Flotation 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. Can the SOF roll? I have yet to prove it, but the Aleut didn’t do wet exits. To wet exit in the Arctic ocean was suicide, and they had to learn to roll.
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. Being a slightly shorter boat, my boat seems to turn itself without much thought on my part.
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.