Last Saturday I met with Drew Harrison at the Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe store on the Columbia River to test paddle the Stellar S16 and S18. I weighed these boats with my bathroom scale, the S16 Advantage at 39 lbs and the S18 Excel at 34 lbs. The seats and back bands were comfortable and the 32" long cockpits made getting in and out a snap. I then paddled these boats on the river south of the store. This is a no wake zone, with heavy power boat traffic. The current was approximately 2 mph with a good breeze blowing against it. The result was a mixed chop, which would have been very unsettling in my WSBS EFT.
I found both boats to be very stable in these conditions. The S18 was slightly faster and the S16 was slightly more stable. The rudders on these boats did not work well and I could have used them in these conditions. These were 2010 models, they are switching to SmartTrack rudders and pedals for 2011. I would rate these two boats at a 9 out of 10 because of their rudders. I am placing an order for a 2011 S18 Excel.