Qanik Review

Qanik is a kayak from Seabird Designs. The Qanik is designed by Björn Thomasson and he has got his inspiration from the Illorsuit kayak, built by Emanuelle Korneliussen in 1959. When I heard about Björn Thomssons thoughts and ideas about the Qanik I had already planned to buy a new kayak. I was looking for a new kayak, similar in size as my Silhouette but more manouverable.

The Qanik

I bought the Qanik in february and have now tested the kayak during some trips and also during two indoor pool training sessions.

My stats are:
177 cm = 5.8ft
75 kg = 165 lbs
Feet size: 7,5 US
I have been sea kayaking since 1998, mostly my Silhouette. Im in a sea kayak approx 40-50 days every year. From short day trips up to weeklong trips.

Specifications of the Qanik
Length: 546 cm (17´10´´)
Width: 52 cm (20´5´´)
Depth: 30 (11.8´´)
Cockpit: 60×40 cm (23.6´´x15.7´´)
Capacity: 135 kg (297 lbs)
Volume: 313 L (82,7 US gal)
•    Fiberglass/ Kevlar/ Carbon:    21 kg (46 lbs)
•    Semi Carbon:    19 kg (42 lbs)
•    Carbon/Kevlar Pro:    18 kg (40 lbs)
Price from 1340 € (1900 US $ in may 2011)

I really like the shape of the Qanik

The finsish of the plastic work is really good. The setup of lines on the kayak deck is basic with a combination of static ropes (with reflective threads) and elastic cords. There are three hatches. One is reached from cockpit during paddling. In front of the front hatch there is a space that is pre-designed to mount a compass. I havent mount any compass yet.

The wiew for the paddler. The color is not correct at this photo.

Cockpit / Sitting comfort
The cockpit is a small cockpit with two wings for better support when paddling and edging the kayak. I find it harder to enter the cockpit compared to my Silhoutte which also have a small cockpit. The wings makes it litte less spacey. When you are sitting in the kayak the support of the wings are excellent. The seat comes with a soft seat that is not removable. I have removed my seat with force. There is also a soft back support. I have removed that aswell but I’m considering to put it back. The reason I removed it was because I always sat on it when entering the kayak, But it gave me good support when paddling for longer periods. The footrests are easy to adjust. Lots of space for my feet.

The cockpit from above without the soft seat and without the back support.

The cockpit from above with soft seat and back support.

I do have a good sit comfort when paddling the Qanik. It is easy to move and to rotate my torso, which help my paddling techinque.

The position of the wings might be a problem for tall paddlers.

Speed is good. I do not have any problems to keep up with my friends in crusing speed. The acceleration is really good. I catch small fast waves that I haven´t done before. I like that. 🙂 The bow splash a bit more than I’m used to but that’s ok.

A nice detail!

The initial stability is better than I thought it should be. It is more initial stable compared to my Silhoutte. It will be easier to take photos without sit and wobble. End stability is also really good. I have full control with the thigh supports

It’s a dream! So easy to do fast turns. When edging it turns really quickly both in the tailwind and headwind. It is easy to keep the edging during strokes.

Course Stability
The first times i had some wiggly course but after a while I got used to it and compensated with paddling strokes without hardly even notice. The skeg works perfectly.

The qanik is easy to roll. I am not a rolling master but I didn’t have any problems at all. The back deck is low and I only do the sweep roll. It works perfect.

Hatches / packing
The hatches are made of soft rubber material and are attached to a elastic cord between the bulkheads and the hatches. They fit very well but you have to be careful when you turn the hatches on so that the cord is not pinched. Then there is risk of leakage.

The cords are attached to the hatches. Do not pintch the cord when closing the hatches.

I feel that the space of the watertight bulkheads is less than in my silhoutte. I have camping gear which are slimmed and tiny. So I will not have any problems on weekly trips. Some people might have to upgrade their gear or bring less gear. 🙂 I’m going on a four day trip early in June. It will be my first real test for multi days trip.

I’m very pleased with the Qanik performance. It lives up to my expectations. I really like the manouverbility. It’s so easy to do quick turns when edging. It is also very fast in accelaration which is cool. To catch surf will be easy. The outfitting on deck is great and the external finish is really good.


All hatches are flushed. Cool!

My Qanik suffered from leakage due to poor plastic work. I had leakage into the stern hatch and also through the wall between my cockpit and my dayhatch. I have fixed it myself but it took me some hours. The plastic work could have been better. I have been in contact with Seabird and they told me that they had problems with the first shipping but that they have solved the problem with leakage. Some details, such as open screws inside the kayak, are not the prettiest but for a price like this it is acceptable.

Internal view of cockpit

I think the Qanik suit many different types of paddlers. For those who want to have a fast and still playful kayak at a reasonable prize this will be a really good alternative. I think this will be a perfect kayak both for surfing and multidays kayak trips.

Who shall not buy this kayak? Paddlers with really long legs might have problems to easy sit in the kayak. You have to sit at the deck before sliding into the seat. Even though I imagine it can be hard for some tall persons. If you want to bring lots of gear or are having bulky gear for your multiday kayak trip you might consider a different option.


  • Easy to manouver
  • Fast
  • Good contact with the kayak
  • Easy to edge
  • Easy to roll
  • Price
  • Flushed hatches


  • Some internal details are not the prettiest. But they are hidden by hatches and sprayskirt.
  • Soft seat
  • Leaking problems? (check out with your local dealer)
  • It might be hard to enter the kayak for tall paddlers, due to the position of the wings.

SeaBird Designs
Björn Thomasson Designs

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