Paddling tips, tricks, news and gear reviews from an Unsponsored point of view

An Unsponsored Kayak?

If Unsponsored were to design and release a brand new kayak into the current market place what would it look like?

An Unsponsored Kayak

Lets go through a few design ideas and see where we end up.

It would be great to design and release an Unsponsored kayak but it would probably need to enter the market place in the sub 9ft river runner/creeker/racing category as I think there is still a gap.

I want a kayak just under the magic 9ft figure. I also want a planing hull with enough rocker to boof with the best of them, shed water quickly yet at the same time can hold a fast line and stay on track. I’d also like some good secondary stability so some nice sharp lines below the water line should work really well. I’d want them running pretty much the full length of the hull.

I’m a big guy so need a good medium/high volume boat. The Dagger Nomad (Large) fits me really well and paddles great at around 271cm long and 68cm in width, so it seems like a perfect starting point. I’ve paddled quiet a few kayaks of this size and really like they way they work. That puts the new kayak, lets call it The Mystery at the same length as the Pyranha 9R (Large), Jackson Nirvana (Medium) and 2 cm shorter than the Waka Gangsta. the is would allow The Mystery to be used within the small racing kayak category (sub 9ft). Width is on par with the 9R, Gangsta and Nirvana. I like a good amount deck height to shed water, and be comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. I wouldn’t want the deck to be as high as the large Nomad as this boat will naturally have less volume so I will go for the medium Nomad height of around 37cm which is the same as the Nirvana (Medium).

So far we are looking at The Mystery being at 271cm length and 68cm in width and a deck height of 37cm. It will need to accommodate paddlers of around 66 to 116kg in mass. This will put me at the upper edge of the middle ground! It will also mean that the smaller paddlers (smaller than me) within Team Unsponsored will also be able to use the kayak without having to think about a different size at this stage.

While we are on with it lets square the back end of the kayak off. No need for a pointy stern.

It’ll need some decent outfitting, something that works, something that I have used for years and am really happy with. I love the simplicity of the Spade Kayaks outfitting but my only gripe would be the fact that I cannot easily raise the front edge of the seat. I love Riot’s surf seat back in the day and would love something that would create a similar effect. My current playboat is a Dagger Jitsu and it is fitted with the Contour Ergo system. Super easy to adjust and love the fact that the front edge of the seat can be raised to help position the paddlers knees and support the legs.

How about safety? Full length foam for buoyancy, and a step out pillar would also be great. Five security points/grab handles. Two up front, two just behind the cockpit and one at the stern. They’ll be metal bars fastened in place using security torx bolts, stainless of course.

I’ll need a full plate/bulkhead footrest in there just in case I manage to piton the boat at some point. My ankles and knees need to be looked after.

All of this needs to come in a package of around 23kg. I’ll need it to take some knocks yet without breaking my back on the walk ins/outs.

So what will this look like? Thankfully I spent two years successfully completing A Level art and still have a few essential tools in my pencil case. So here it is The Mystery kayak. Full specification included.

An Unsponsored Kayak

What would your sub 9ft kayak look like? What would it be called?


  1. T. Roberts

    How is this different from the 9RL? Planing, rocker, edges?

    • Unsponsored

      How would you make it different?

      • T. Roberts

        I’ve never paddled a 9RL, but it sounds like that’s what you’re describing. My ideal boat would be a party 9R with dagger outfitting.

  2. kayaker2015

    You asked “What would your sub 9ft kayak look like? What would it be called? Ths short video answers both questions, We have the deck mould done and doing the hull mould this week. Length 9 feet /274 cm and width 62. I am only 65 kg and the wife is 52 kg. kayak will be made in composite materials with weight 12 to 14 Kg. Leila wants something light in the portage and responsive on the water. Video is unlisted at the moment so this is the first time our “mystery” project has broken cover, Don’t take the commentary too seriously. Had to say something for my mates.

  3. David Mc

    You just drew the Dagger Phantom.

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