Kayak Centre K1 Ignite Review
First up, this surfski paddler has no business reviewing a river boat. I have done half a dozen river races including the Fish and a few Duzi’s but always in the back of a double. I have a slim line racing pencil river boat just for flat water training and TT’s. I have little idea what goes into making a good river boat. That said here is my review!
Kayak Center have launched the new Ignite which is a stable medium volumed boat. It is NOT a racing snake’s boat. I used it this morning for a flat water interval session. The first impression I had was when carrying the boat to the water. It’s rounded hull does not make for comfortable fit on the shoulder and running long portages will be a chore. I think it is the curse of all stable river boats.
On the water the boat was really comfortable. I suffer from dead leg quite severely but I had no issues with the ignite. The cockpit is very roomy and will suit the larger waist line! Once I got paddling I noticed it was quite lively off it’s centre line. After being told how stable it was, I was expecting a real picnic table of a boat, but this was not the case. It rolls of its centre line very easily. But don’t confuse this with instability. It would roll onto it’s hip, and that’s as far as it would go. This is a very stable boat, that feels like a more lively, slimmer boat. I loved it!
It’s really nimble and changing direction radically is easy. I think that’s great for a guy like me who is looking to learn how to paddle river rapids. I will be making mistakes and I need a boat won’t punish me too badly and give me a chance to make corrections mid rapid.
This morning’s intervals session had me lined up against some really quick paddlers in fast K1’s and ski’s. I had to work hard to stay in the mix and the faster guys did drop me. But this boat is fast enough. There are quicker boats out there for sure, but the speed trade off for the extra stability is minimal. I certainly did not feel I was dragging a barge through the water. From the paddler’s perspective, the high(er) volume nose does give the impression of a chunky boat. I have no clue about rapids but I expect the lighter paddler may get chucked about in the white water due to the extra volume. But the extra stability will counter those effects I imagine.
Overall I really liked this boat. My personal mission is to learn how to paddle a river well in a K1. While I am comfortable in a top line k1 in falt water, I know I will struggle in the rough water as I try to read the rapid, miss rocks, other paddlers and stay upright. I think the Ignite will remove the worry about boat stability but still be fast enough to allow me a good showing on the results sheet. I am going to try a few other boats but I think the Ignite will be hard to beat.
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