Qanik first impressions

Which kayak should I buy? That question I asked myself last fall. I have paddled a Silhouette designed by Nigel Foster since 1999. That is a kayak that I have greatly enjoyed paddling. I fit well in the Silhouette, it is easily driven, it has a small cockpit and a low hull (I have the old version with a small cockpit). I think there is only one major drawback to it. The Silhouette is not particularly fast when turning. At least I can’t get it to turn quickly. So when I decided to buy a new kayak last year, I wanted to have essentially the same characteristics as my silhoutte but with better turning abilites.

The Qanik unwrapped. There is still thick ice on the sea. Here is Qanik at the place where I usually launch my kayak in Göteborg, Sweden.

I’ve looked and test paddled Anasacuta from Valley Kayaks. A very nice kayak actually meet most of my requirements. There are three things that made me not buy a AnasAcuta.
1st Price
2nd Speed
3rd Design and my vanity

I’ve also tried and paddled the Clapotis and that is an excellent kayak in many ways but it is too big. I have tried to convince the constructor Johan Linder to build a low and slimmer version of the Clapotis but without any success.

After reading about Seabird Designs cooperation with Björn Thomasson and when I understood that they had outlined a new kayak model, I was curious and interested in the Qanik. I made contact with Bjorn and asked my questions and talked about my requirements. The answer was  positive to all my issues and with the fact that the pricing of Seabird kayaks is about 50% compared to Valley I decided to go for the Qanik. I bought it without having test paddled or even seen the Qanik.

I still have not paddled it but now it is in my possession anyway. The new kayak was delivered last week.

Qanik has a low profile and a classic shape

The finish is really good.

Screws in the cockpit. Im not used to have open screws at the seat. I know that some kayak models have it.

The first impressions of the Qanik is really good. The external finish quality is good, much better than i expected. Everything seems to be well planed on the deck. I really like the lines and shapes of the kayak. I fit in the cookpit. Seating comfort seems good but it has a soft seat that is riveted. There was surprisingly lots of space for my feet.I’m used to much tighter in my Silhouette.

The Qanik comes to a low price. You can tell by certain construction solutions such as the internal seam between the hull and deck.  They like to use rivets and screws in different locations. They will hopefully do the work but from a designer perspective it could have been done more gracefully. Fortunately, you wont see most of these details externally.

Now I’m curious how the kayak performs in the water and if it will be dry. I will found out soon. We are going to some indoor pool practice in two weeks. And hopefully the ice will melt within a few weeks.

Which kayak should I buy?

Which kayak should I buy? I’m considering buying a new kayak. I have been paddling my Foster Rowe Silhouette since 1999 and I enjoy paddling the Silhouette as long as it is not necessary to do quick turns in strong winds and rough water.

I have been searching fo a new kayak for a while and even considered building one by myself. But hey, I have the thumbs in the middle of my hands. I can’t build anything that can float. I have to buy a kayak.

So which kayak is the best choice for me?

My demands is:

  • Small Cockpit
  • Easy to turn
  • Fast
  • Low Deck
  • Fit my gear for a one week trip

I would love a low version of the Clapotis Seakayak. The Clapotis is very easy to turn and has a nice cruising speed but it is huge compared to the Silhoutte. The designer Johan Linder is quite tall and has big feet so his priority isn’t  a small cockpit and low deck. Besides that, he only produce a few Clapotis Seakayaks every second or third year.

A kayak friend of mine, Anders Olsson, has build a low version of the Clapotis Seakayak. It is beautiful but unfortunately not for sale… And as you remember I have dropped the idea of building one by myself.

I almost bought a Anas Acuta from Valley last year but I think the Anas Acuta is to expensive and I´m concerned it might be a bit slow. I’m not a fast paddler so I do not know why this should be a problem anyway but I´m still concerned and that affects me. I do like the maneuverability and I fit well in the kayak.

But a couple of months ago I found an article at the web site of Björn Thomasson that caught my attention. Björn is the designer of the Black Pearl. (The Black Pearl was rated 10 out of 10 when it was reviewed by  The article mentioned that he has designed a kayak for Seabird Designs. The kayak is named Qanik. The Qanik is Bjorns version of the Illorsuit kayak. The reading was very interesting and the design appealed to me. Here is the summary about the information that I appreciate about the Qanik.

  • It is build a few inches longer to increase the speed compared to Anas Acuta. I like!
  • Lower stems. I like!
  • Slightly lower deck. I like!
  • It should be much easier to turn than the Silhouette. I like!
  • Hopefully cheaper than the Anas Acuta. I like!

Qanik designed by Björn Thomasson. The original image is found at

The Qanik is soon in production and will be presented at the Kanu Messe in Nurnberg, Germany, in October 2010. It will be available at dealers 2011. According to Swedish dealers the prize will be about 14 000 SEK = 1 420 EUR.

I’m certainly going to have a closer look at the Qanik as soon as possible. There is a hand made version done by Erik Franzén, Here is a link to a picture of the Qanik during a rolling session with Dubside.

Do you have any other suggestions on kayak models that might be good for me?