Name: gbkayak

Most Recent Reviews

The Current Design Raven is a real sea kayak, and a beautiful, lightweight, piece of fiberglass craftsmanship made for sea kayaking connoisseurs. If you are a serious sea kayaker, looking to share the love of sea kayaking with your kids, in the 6 to 13 years old range, depending on their size and comfort with water, this is the perfect boat. Yes, this kayak requires care, and is not meant to be thrown against rocks and dragged on the beach, this is not a plastic kayak. However, if you want to go on paddles with your daughter or son, give them a chance to effortlessly glide, with a boat that tracks well and yet is very easy to maneuver, this boat is a gem. Your kid will have no problem rolling this kayak if they learn to roll, and you can practice all sorts of rescue, including T-rescue, cowboys/cowgirl re-entry, re-entry and roll, etc. The kayak is very fast, my 12-year old daughter had no problem distancing me while I was cruising in my Nordkapp.

If you just want to hang by the beach while your kids mess around a few feet away from shore, or if you are running a kids program where boats will be harshly handled, this is not a boat I'd recommend, much like I wouldn't recommend taking your most beloved fiberglass kayak to rock garden.

The two complaints I have with this boat is that there is a fair amount of space under deck behind the back-band, so when you do a t-rescue, it takes a bit of effort to completely empty the boat. Not a deal breaker, but wish Current Designs would re-design that part. The other complaint is the standard back-support is really not promoting practicing rescues and rolling. Easy to replace with a simple back-band if desired though.

This boat would be a good option also for a small female adult, looking for a superlight fiberglass boat.

Specs: Tiderace Xceed (Medium), Hardcore Epoxy N8. Paddler: Male, 172 pounds, 5 ft 8. Shoes: NRS kicker remix size 10. PFD: Kokatat MsFit Women. Experience: about a decade of sea kayaking, including two solo expeditions in the California Lost Coast and Big Sur of about a week. Plenty of solo day trips off the Northern California coast. Advanced rock gardener: Pyranha Fusion (rotomolded). Intermediate short boat surf kayaker: Ride Eclipse (fiberglass) and Mega Matrix (fiberglass). Boat used for storm paddles and distance paddles involving rocks: Valley Gemini SP (rotomolded). Boat used for distance open ocean day paddles and expeditions: Valley Nordkapp LV (built in 2010, fiberglass, have been in love with this boat, love the liveliness, what some call tippiness). Boat used for sea kayak surfing: Nordkapp LV or Gemini SP. Whitewater kayaking experience: a few years, currently class III-IV level, using the Jackson Zen Medium, up to class IV, and Jackson Rockstar Medium (up to class III). Returning to active paddling after 8 month of limited distance sea kayaking due to elbow injury. Conditions: Paddled the Xceed in a range of conditions, including with gusts up to 30 knots, and swell up to 10 feet @ 10 seconds. When: Paddled the Xceed between september and November 2020 for this review. Duration & location: Over 10 sessions of several hours in the open Pacific Ocean and in the San Francisco Bay, plus a 4-day, 73 nautical miles solo trip down the Sonoma and Marin coasts of California Load: None on day paddles, fully loaded during the trip. First look: The finish is incredible. Never seen a boat with such high quality finish inside and outside. Love the lack of seam, gives a very modern look to the boat.. Carry: Very light compared to my Nordkapp LV. My Nordkapp LV is a bit of a bear to carry in the loose sand of Rodeo Beach, this one felt a lot easier. I can see myself aging more easily as a solo paddler with it. Comfortable to carry on the shoulder with my PFD which offers little cushion. I can’t insist enough on the weight issue. Kayaking is fun, but loading and unloading boats is not. Kudos to Tiderace for building a light, yet solid boat. Sit: I find the Tiderace seat very comfortable, more than than the Valley and P&H seats I have used (My Nordkapp LV has a P&H seat). No butt discomfort during my trip, which included a couple +20 nautical miles days. Minimalist, spartan design but super comfortable. The construction looks robust. Someone said in a review they did not like the back band being a bit lower than usual. I agree the back band seems a bit lower than my P&H seat, but I like it that way. See, the Xceed comes with a higher foredeck than my Nordkapp LV, because it’s designed to allow for a sitting position with higher knees. I was skeptical at first when reading about this set up, because I have enjoyed having my knees relatively low in the Nordkapp LV. But the combination of higher foredeck, seat design and low back band give me a more enjoyable paddling position than in my Nordkapp LV and Gemini SP. In the Xceed it seems I can sit more naturally on my sit bones, slightly leaning forward for effective paddling, with light or no contact with the back band. The ergonomic improvement is noticeable compared to the Nordkapp LV and Gemini SP, even though I have been a big fan of their sitting position so far. Out of the box, I get solid contact with feet and knees, while having no hip friction and no friction against the back band or need to push against the back band. Feet: Very impressed by the SmartTrack, LLC’s foot peg system. Beats Valley (With Valley system, I am unable to adjust the foot pegs when seated), beats the P&H systems (found it a bit finicky when I tested the P&H Virgo not long ago). Extremely easy to adjust the position of the foot pegs in the Tiderace Xceed while seated off and on the water. Unlikely I’d buy a new sea kayak moving forward that does not use this OEM, even though during a downwind surfing session one of the foot pegs broke (OEM sent a replacement, it was easy to swap, I assume it was a bad batch). The foot pegs are roomy, they seem to allow my feet to edge closer to the center. Not quite as good as if they were resting against the bulkhead or a front plate (as in a whitewater kayak), but closer to that “feet in the center-ish” feel. Launch: The boat feels super solid at impact when launching unloaded through surf and dropping off the back of a wave. Easy and fun to launch off the back of the waves for maximum air-time when unloaded. Rolls: Easy to roll, similar to Nordkapp LV. I read somewhere someone commenting positively on the low back deck, facilitating a back deck roll. The back deck is indeed a bit lower (8.5 inches) than the Nordkapp (9.5 inches, measurements by me), but that’s not making much of a difference for me. Primary stability: The boat feels very stable, certainly a lot more stable than the Nordkapp LV. I can access with ease and confidence the rear day hatch. Easy to pop open. I do not have to focus on staying upright as much as I have to do with my Nordkapp LV. Rear day hatch: Love the boat has a rear day hatch like in my Nordkapp LV (I really like this design to store my safety kit, water, and other items I may need in a hurry). The day hatch is easy to open (the lid comes off more easily than the Valley’s lid, and yet seems very secure when in place). During my trip, the lanyard attached underneath the lid broke. Flimsy attachment, had to glue it back. When paddling in conditions with a loaded boat, I could be mistaken, but I felt the Tiderace’s day hatch was more likely to flood if I opened it up than the Nordkapp’s LV, so I found myself deferring at times to access my day hatch. Front day hatch: Love the front day hatch in the Tiderace to store my snacks during my trip. Spinning: The boat is easy to put on edge and spin 360 degrees. Secondary stability is more confidence-inducing than the Nordkapp LV for anyone stressed out in a Nordkapp LV (I like the Nordkapp tippiness, makes the boat lively, but many paddlers despise it). Tracking: a) unloaded, no wind: The boat tracks well without the skeg, it seemed easier to course correct than with my Nordkapp LV. b) unloaded, wind at side: Does not weathercock more than I am used to in the Nordkapp LV. Tracked perfectly with skeg on. Loaded in a range of winds: I use the skeg as needed, happy with tracking overall. Surfing: the boat jumps at even mediocre wave activity to try to surf. The Nordkapp LV is fun to surf, but a bit hard to course correct when it starts to broach. I have found the Tiderace Xceed easier to surf because it’s easier to course-correct.. Skeg: Very easy to deploy and retract. Skeg button is thoughtfully placed closer to my elbow than my hand, and that’s a significant improvement over its position in the Nordkapp LV where I occasionally crush my fingers against the skeg button. I did not find the skeg box more prone to getting stuck with pebbles than my Nordkapp LV. Deck lines on foredeck. I read somewhere someone complaining that the deck lines were further away than on other boats. True, the deck lines start after the front day hatch so are further away from the paddler than in my Nordkapp LV. The commenter pointed to making it harder to attach the map. I disagree, in my map set up, I see no problem with attaching my map case. In fact I love that the deck lines are further away from me. Why? Because I generally store my pump on the foredeck and, with the Nordkapp LV, I occasionally hit my fingers against the pump handle. With the Xceed, the pump is now further away from my hands, keeping my fingers safe. Makes it easier to snap the sprayskirt on too, without hitting the pump. Handles: Look solid and very safe. I don’t feel the need to retrofit them to prevent fingers entrapment in a rescue as I had to do in the Valley set up. Acceleration. Someone mentioned in a review the boat felt a bit slow to accelerate. It’s possible it accelerates a bit more slowly than my Nordkapp LV. I find that point pretty irrelevant though. Cruising speed: Easy to cruise along and maintain speed, did not notice any material difference good or bad vs the Nordkapp LV. Feet room: Feels roomy. Paddler size fit: Clearly a taller person could paddle this boat, but the boat feels perfect for someone my size too. Paddler skill fit: This boat seems a great option for beginner to expert paddlers looking for one boat for both day paddles that involve cruising along and/or playing with surf, and for multi-day to week-long expeditions. This boat is now replacing my Nordkapp LV for distance paddles in the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean and short expeditions down the coast. Storage: Storage capacity was similar to my Nordkapp LV during my 4-day trip, with one caveat: the fixed back band limits the usability of the space behind the seat in the Tiderace. Whereas in my Nordkapp, I can drop a 10-liter dromedary there, the space is mostly a waste in the Tiderace (not to mention it’s a pain to clean the boat in this area due to the fixed back band). That’s a huge minus for the Tiderace for me. Bottom line: The Xceed is joining my quiver due to its day paddle capabilities (super light to carry, manoeuvrability, surfing), expedition capabilities (can carry a week-load, robust construction, solid tracking and speed), stunning finish (inside and out), beautiful lines (no seam) and thoughtful design, including the ergonomy of the sitting position and small touches like the position of the skeg button. My recommendation to Tiderace is to improve the design of the back-band to make it easier to drop gear behind the seat.