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has acquired several designs of wildwater racing kayaks after over twenty years of involvement in whitewater racing. This type of boat is 4.55 long, with a dihedral hull shape that at its maximum, is 60 cm wide. The width is usually in a set of “wings” located behind the cockpit and imparts some increased stability in whitewater.

These boats are high volume boats, capable of navigating in large waves. However some skill and balance needs to be acquired before attempting anything over class II whitewater. Since these boats were designed for getting down whitewater rivers in the shortest possible time, they are well suited to adventure racing which includes downriver paddling. As well, they are also well suited to training on rivers or lakes since the hulls track and glide very well allowing an individual to focus on the technique of paddling.

The hull designs can be separated into two basic categories, transversely rounded hulls and those with a “square hull”. The square hulls are characterized by a flat bottom and defined “corners” called “chines".

The two basic shapes in cross section are shown below.

The chines aid the boat in “tracking” and the flat bottom shape helps to buoy the hull up, enabling it to be more on top of the water than the round hull shape. In bigger irregular water with turbulent waves, it is more difficult to keep the square hull flat on the water and if the chines are not equally in the water, they will exert a turning moment on the hull. This effect can make the square hull boats harder to handle in bigger water but faster on flatter water.

Round hull designs are less reactive in turbulent water and are therefore easier to keep on course. They also have good speed over a wide range of river characteristics. The choice between the two types of designs really depends on the type of water being paddled and the ability of the paddler to be able to keep the stroke rate constant while minimizing turning or corrections strokes.


This boat has the same name as our polo boat, and is a representative of the round hull design. In profile it is similar in overall shape to the Kyle, but in addition to the round hull, also has a softer (more rounded bow) making it less sensitive to being pushed off course in turbulent waves. This boat is an excellent big water design of French origin.
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This German design is in the family of “square hulls”. Characterized by voluminous decks, giving these boats a “wasp-like silhouette” in profile. The high volume decks make it suitable for big volume water, but the harder chines may make the boat more difficult to handle in this water. The boat also has quite a square bow at the water line, which adds to the speed of the boat by increasing the “wetted-water line”, which can take a beating in a rocky river and can be deflected by waves. For bigger water, this boat would be suitable for the more experienced paddler.
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  Leiser King
This boat is an Austrian design, named after the Italian river on which its designer paddled to a world championship wildwater victory. It probably tends toward a round hull design, but does have “soft” chines and therefore incorporates some of the features of both round and square hulled boats. It is an excellent big-water design with substantial volume front and back, a rounded bow and good stability in big water.
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The Delphin is a German design dating from the early ‘80s. It was one of the first square-hull designs and also featured quite a narrow front with a square bow and a high peaked deck. It has features, which make it fast in big water, such as the high deck, but it was probably more suited to smaller volume rivers that did not require excessive maneuvering. Under these conditions, it would be quite fast.
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  Passeria King
This boat is an Italian design paddled to a world championship victory on this Italian river after which it is named. The boat is somewhat similar to a Leiser King, but is narrower along the water line and is less stable because of that. It has less volume in the hull toward the front of the boat compared to the Leiser King, but the deck is high volume to make the boat rise up through waves and disperse the water off the deck (this is a feature of many of the other designs as well). This is a fast boat, but requires considerable skill to paddle well in bigger waves with turbulent water.
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  Phantom Sprint
Another German design coming from the early days of international wildwater competition, dating back to 1969. For anyone who had any difficulty paddling any of the above newer designs, the Phantom, with its stability, is an alternate choice. It has the specifications of a wildwater kayak but has no extremes in terms of a narrow hull or sharp chines. Everything is rounded in this boat, making it the ideal beginner wildwater kayak with great stability in even very big water and a great training boat for anyone who does not have the time to devote to learning how to paddle the newer less stable designs, and yet wants the training advantages of a wildwater kayak.
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For more information about Adventure Racing:

- Edmonton Whitewater Paddlers
- Whitewater Kayaking Association of BC
- Canadian Canoe Association
- American Whitewater Association
- International Canoe Federation
  More detailed information can be provided on any of these designs by contacting OBECO  
OBECO Whitewater Products 10385 - 60 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T6H 1H1
Dale at (780)982-1315 or Darryl at (780)982-1250   Fax: (780)463-0612
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