Sea Kayaking UK have the largest range of composite sea kayaks on the market. The core of their range are know for their performance in rough water, whether thats playing, day trips or expeditons. These models are characterised by their fish form profiles, soft chines, shallow V shaped hulls and high rocker. From the Echo for the extra small paddler to the Excel for the extra large they have a model for everyone, but which is the one for you? Read on for our complete guide to their current range.
Length - 507cm (16’7”), Width 49.5cm (19.5”)
Average Paddler ≈ 165cm (5’4”), 60kg (130lb)
The Echo is designed as a do it all boat for the extra small sea kayaker. For this size of paddler it fits into a length somewhere between a day trip boat and a full on expedition boat. While this is a compromise it certainly does excel at fitting the smallest paddlers and there isn’t another composite boat on the market for paddlers of this size. Like most the other boats in this range it is neutral in the wind, meaning it weather cocks slightly but isn’t too hard to turn into the wind when stationary. Theses are characteristic's that are more important the smaller and lighter the paddler. And like the other boats in this range the seat can be moved for and aft to fine tune this for the individual paddler.
Length - 475cm (15’7”), Width 50cm (19.7”)
Average Paddler ≈ 170cm (5’6”), 65kg (145lb)
For the small paddler, the Pilgrim is an ocean play, day trip and weekend expedition boat. With still very few sea kayak models of this size available on the market it is sought after by the smaller paddlers. As with the Echo and most other boats in the range its knee bumps help it to fit a range of leg lengths and give a wider leg position, better suited for rough water paddling. Its shorter length means it isn’t the fastest boat, and can’t carry the weight required for a longer expedition. However its ease of manoeuvrability means boat handling in the rough is its forte.
Length - 519cm (17’0”), Width 50cm (19.7”)
Average Paddler ≈ 170cm (5’6”), 70kg (155lb)
The Pilgrim Expedition is designed for the small paddler who wants a fast day trip or expedition boat. The longer length of this kayak gives it more displacement meaning it can carry the extra weight required for an expedition. It also gives it speed, another useful characteristic for expeds and for those paddlers looking to keep up a higher pace. This length inevitably makes handling a bit more difficult and it isn’t quite as wind neutral as most of the rest of the range, being slightly harder to turn into the wind, but weather cocking less. This can adjusted to suit the individual paddler by moving the seat forward slightly, as long as your legs aren’t too long to accommodate this.
Length - 525cm (17’3”), Width 50cm (19.7”)
Average Paddler ≈ 175cm (5’9”), 75kg (165lb)
The Latitude is designed for the medium sized slim paddler. Essentially it is a modified Pilgrim Expedition, with an additional 50mm of length in the stern and in the cockpit rim. The length in the stern makes the boat more wind neutral than the Pilgrim Expedition and by improving the fore and aft trim it improves the boat’s speed. The length in the cockpit accommodates the intended paddlers longer legs and helps with getting in and out quickly, useful for self rescues and rough landings. However although it can accommodate a larger paddler than the Pilgrim’s it is still the same width which means it isn’t quite as stable for the intended paddler size.
Length - 475cm (15’8”), Width 54cm (21.25”)
Average Paddler ≈ 175cm (5’9”), 80kg (175lb)
It's all in the name with this boat, a true classic. It is the original boat that SKUK, formerly Nigel Dennis Kayaks, made and its design and attitude is obvious in the rest of the range. Built for medium sized paddlers, it is an ocean play, day trip and weekend expedition boat. It is one of the very few boats in the range without knee bumps, which gives it a slightly flatter leg position. Its high bow rocker means it will never be a fast boat but manoverability and rough water handling is where this boat shines.
Length - 533cm (17’6”), Width 54cm (21.25”)
Average Paddler ≈ 180cm (5’10”) and 85kg (185lb)
Designed as an expedition boat for the medium to large paddler the Explorer is a lengthened Romany. To make it they cut the Romany into segments, stretched it out a foot and a half and filled in the gaps, quite literally. Due to this process it can take a slightly larger paddler. This boats qualities are shown in its expeditioning achevements. Not necessarily the fastest expeditions as the first ones, where rugged dependability and predictable rough water boat handling are required, and thats what this boat has in spades.
Length - 533cm (17’6”), Width 54cm (21.25”)
Average Paddler ≈ 185cm (6’0”), 88kg (195lb)
The HV Explorer is an Explorer for large paddlers. The differences are it’s deck is 35mm higher around the cockpit area and it has knee bumps added. It is the same hull as the Explorer. This means it isn’t quite as stable as the Roman Surf but that isn’t to say it is a particularly unstable boat at all. It has all the same expeditioning qualities of the Explorer, just with a bit more room to accommodate a larger, or longer legged paddler.
Length - 492cm (16’2”), Width 55cm (21.5”)
Average Paddler ≈ 185cm (6’0”), 90kg (200lb)
The Romany Surf’s hull is essentially a wider and slightly longer version of the classic Romany. This width is to provide more stability for the large paddler which is who the boat is designed for. To complement this the deck is raised a little and has knee bumps that put the paddlers legs in a wide and stable position which works really well with this boats rough water handling abilities. With its extra displacement this boat can carry a little more kit that the Classic Romany but it is still very much an ocean play, day trip and weekend expedition boat, with an emphasis on the play.
For more info see the Full Review: SKUK Romany Surf.
Length - 503cm (16’6”), Width 57cm (22.5”)
Average Paddler ≈ 195cm (6’4”), 95kg (210lb)
The Romany Excel is essentially an enlarged Romany Surf. It has been enlarged in every dimension; length, width and depth, but primarily width. This means it brings all the same great qualities of the Romany Surf, just in the right proportions for the extra large paddler. This makes it a great ocean play, day trip and weekend expedition boat.
Romany Excel Expedition
Length - 533cm (17.6”), Width 57cm (22.5”)
Average Paddler ≈ 198cm (6’6”), 100kg (220lb)
The Romany Excel Expedition is a 30cm longer version of the Excel. With the same width and depth it accommodates the extra large paddler with most of the same characteristics. The primary differences being the extra length increases the hull speed and reduces the manoverability. The extra length also increases the weight carrying capacity making it an excellent expedition kayak for the extra large paddler.
Explaining the numbers
When it comes to the dimensions of the boat things are fairly clear cut. However when it comes to the dimensions of the paddler things are a lot more ambigious. Rather than giving a range we have given an approximate ideal paddler size. Lots of factors can affect this though, foot size, or rather footwear size being a good example.
When it comes to weight things get even more dificult. Sea kayaks are obviously designed to carry additional weight, particularily expedition models. However paddler weight makes the boat more unstable and it is this that we are primarily looking at when we suggest an average paddler weight. If you are ok with the reduced stability you can significantly increase this number. And like wise if you are looking for increased stability a larger boat will work as long as you are ok with how the boat fits around you.
It almost goes without saying that you will only really know if you try the boat, preferably in wind and waves.
By Philip Clegg
With over two decades of working in the sea kayaking industry, Phil can be found on a daily basis coaching for Sea Kayaking Anglesey. That's when he's not expeditioning, playing or putting kit to the test.