Advice on new boat: Kayak Centre or Vadja???

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8 years 3 months ago #21016 by fryerrobin
Hi everyone,

Thought I'd post this here on the off chance that more surfskiers are from SA and might be more familiar with the Kayak Centre manufacturer.

I'm a UK marathon flat water paddler looking to buy a new flatwater/river race boat. My choices have been whittled down to;

-Vadja Infusion 2 - River Construction (>10kg)
-Kayak Centre Raid - Marathon construction (~8kg)

I was also looking at Nelo but I just don't like the fact everyone has them, they will for sure be good boats but maybe not for me.

I picked out these two boats because
- good stability
- lighter than my existing boat
- new design (compared to my winged lancer).

From testing them this is what I got;

Vadja Inf II

Good
- Stable enough for marathon
- nice set up, fits well
- Like the finish, build quality, modern fittings
- Solid construction

Not so Good
- Very sharp nose, felt this wont deal well with collection of crap on front

Kayak Centre Raid
Good
- Lighter construction (by 2kg) for the same price as the Vadja
- Very stable
- Interesting partial V-shaped hull at front
- Recently won a load of stuff including World Marathon Champs with Hank McGregor (so it cant be slow even if it is super stable).
- Design input from Hank, who says it handles really well on wash, turning and pretty much everything else.
- Seemed to fit well

Not so good
- Construction is a bit dated, still using foam pillars at the rear of the boat as a method of reinforcement
- No modern seat fittings, still using gees molded type seats..
- Not sure they provide proper pull bars (just straps)
- Bit worried about how fast it is (was hard to judge for me) since it was so stable (but again Hank did win a shit load in this boat).

Would appreciate any advice on these boats, even just general boat purchasing advice in general. I think whatever I decided it will be a good boat regardless.


www.kayakcentre.co.za/raid.html
www.vajdagroup.com/gen_page.php?menu=1&catalog_item_id=60

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8 years 3 months ago #21017 by sAsLEX
What about local ?

www.kirtonkayaks.co.uk/home/index.php/our-boats/k1/3-typhoon

I got one for the year I am in the UK as a step up from a Swordfish.

no 11 -10 kg high volume typhoon was 1333 GBP

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8 years 3 months ago #21019 by fryerrobin
Thanks, yes I did try a Kirton Ghost(their newest model) but honestly I wasn't super impressed with the stability, speed, etc It just wasn't a good fit for me. The typhoon is essentially the same boat I have (Kirton Lancer) without wings but its a bit too high volume for me. The only one I tried was a 12kg version and I didn't feel fast in it but thats just me.

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8 years 3 months ago #21026 by Rookie
Hi having been thoroughly beaten by Hank - him in a bulldog surfski and us in a K2 carbon eagle I would not worry about what Hank paddles. He even had to wait at the turn bouys!

Find a boat that is comfortable - you want to be able to spend hours in it and enjoy!

Focus, Apex 2, Zeplin

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8 years 3 months ago #21027 by fryerrobin

Rookie wrote: Hi having been thoroughly beaten by Hank - him in a bulldog surfski and us in a K2 carbon eagle I would not worry about what Hank paddles. He even had to wait at the turn bouys!

Find a boat that is comfortable - you want to be able to spend hours in it and enjoy!


Many thanks, yes I did indeed hear even in a world champs he had to wait for the oppo to catch up. For sure I liked the design of the velox raid and the stability was excellent. I'm now stuck between this and a Zastera (which is better value than the Vajda for similar construction).

For sure the Zastera is less stable, but felt quicker than when I tested the raid but it is very hard to make judgements on speed from such short tests.

The difference will be can I paddle the Zastera in rougher waters/maintain stability in longer races.

Would love to hear from someone that had to choose between a more stable boat and a slightly tippier but quicker one.

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8 years 3 months ago #21029 by sAsLEX
The other thing to consider is feel versus results. Often boats 'feel' faster but when measured aren't.

Coupled with this is a boat on the verge of being too tippy might be fine for the first 5km and be faster than boat B, but then once you get tired boat B all of a sudden gets faster.

Then there is the all important looks....

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8 years 3 months ago #21031 by AR_convert
The Velox Raid has won a few converts amongst our Division 1 paddlers here in Western Australia due the great value they present over the European brands for us here.

Another South African brand to consider if available is Knysna. They used to build Vajda under licence and now have their own line of boats.

Also quite quick for stable boats, they don't have the top end of sprint boats but for marathon they are ideal.

Very similar build type to the Kayak Centre boats, I have just ordered a marathon weight Carbon K1 from them after having some great results in their Carbon/Kevlar model (12kg).

Unfortunately their website is pretty crappy www.knysnaracingkayaks.com/

you can see some good pics of boats on their facebook page www.facebook.com/knysnaracing?fref=ts

Always looking for the next boat :)

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8 years 3 months ago #21034 by fryerrobin
Thanks @AR_Convert I would consider Kynsna but we have limited availability of them in the UK and I don't think I will be able to test one.

Interesting what you say about converts, I take it you have the normal Euro brans (Nelo, Vajda) over there.

It's a really tough call, the UK the rivers are not so big and horrible like they are in some other countries. Despite that the starts are still en-mass and often the river is so narrow that there is shit loads of wash to chuck you out of a boat. In a too tipier boat you might struggle if you get caught in it. Thats what leans me toward the Kayak Centre.

The only thing that leans me away from the KC is the lead time to ship, the fact its so stable (giving me the impression its not as quick as some others) and also maybe the finish on the boat.

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8 years 3 months ago - 8 years 3 months ago #21035 by AR_convert
There's no doubt the Nelo's and Vajda's have much nicer finishes and the attention to detail in the fittings is outstanding.... and if money were no issue I wouldn't hesitate at forking out around 50% more for one.

We have access to Nelo and Vajda and a whole swag of others.
(Quantam, Advantage, Mango, DD3, Grafton, Evo and I know there are others I'm forgetting)

Being on the West Coast of Australia, bringing in boats from South Africa is pretty straight forward and the importer is also the retailer so with slim margins he is very competitive on price making it hard to go past him to boats brought from the Eastern states that are usually at least hundreds of dollars more, up to over 50% more for the latest and greatest European brands.

The guys that paddle the Velox Raid here wouldn't be paddling it if it weren't a fast boat. These guys average over 13 km/hr in our marathon series races and can hold and sustain over 14 for long periods so they wouldn't want to be pushing a slow boat against their competition. At the pointy end of our Division 1 you see Epic Legacy, Nelo, Vajda and Velox Attack/Raid.

Only reason I haven't entertained getting one is fit, they are a narrower boat in the hips (I have wide hips).

I'd be surprised if the importer bringing in the Kayak Centre boats couldn't also bring in Knysna, that's what our importer does. Actually he brings in the Avon Descent race boats that Hank and the other top South Africans use for the Avon.

Always looking for the next boat :)
Last edit: 8 years 3 months ago by AR_convert.
The following user(s) said Thank You: fryerrobin

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8 years 3 months ago #21036 by fryerrobin
I've decided to go with Zastera, putting order through tonight, but thanks for the advice, its been useful, and I may try to order a Raid also in the future (if I can afford it).

Basically the I trust the guy owning Zastera and he has been very helpful in explaining all the details, kayak centre have also been helpful but they are far away from the UK and the people reselling them didn't appear to have a great knowledge of boat building so if I were to damage the boat I don't think it would be easy to get repaired by the manufacturer.

The fittings are a bit nicer in the Zastera and it is maybe a bit quicker off the line acceleration wise (even at the expense of stability) which is important to me. I also sometimes have problems with the narrower boats although I cant remember how well i fitted when I tried the river spec Raid. The Zastera is also a couple of hundred pounds cheaper, so I can spend more money on wave breakers and bulkheads if needed.

Despite that I still would like one of these things, like people say it cant be a slow boat if people are competing in the top division and world champs (not to mention winning them).

Hopefully I will save enough money to purchase one down the road.

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