Slicey kayaks are on the way back. After years of super short and relatively high volume playboats the “old school” makes a return. Now old school is relative, for some of you out there it may be a blast all the way back to 2010! However I’m talking about going back to the 1990s and early 2000s. This is great news as those boats were super fun. Add in some modern design thinking and better outfitting and these new slicey kayaks have a lot to offer a wide range of paddlers.
One of the newest releases is from Titan Kayaks and we have a pre-production Titan Nymph in for review at Unsponsored for almost two months. Other than the graphics (missing on this one) and some tweaks to the outfitting this kayak is the same as the final production version.
Now let’s get this out of the way. There have been quite a few comments about how similar this kayak is to the Pyranha Ripper, Dagger Rewind etc.
Looking at the computer design of the Nymph could lead you to the conclusion that this boat is identical to the Ripper. Closer inspection of the real thing shows that these boats are very different. Yes they both have high volume bows and low volume sterns but the devil is definitely in the detail. The Nymph and the Ripper and indeed the Ripper and the Dagger Rewind are different boats.
For reference the Pyranha Ripper in medium is 274cm in length, 62cm wide and has a volume of 235lt. The large Ripper has the same length as the medium but is 63cm wide and 271lt.
The Nymph is 274cm long (same) is 65cm wide, which makes a huge difference and a volume of 250lt. Much wider than both the Pyranha Ripper and the Dagger Rewind.
The view towards the bow is interesting as it shows Titan’s trademark profile as seen on the Rival. Pointed and rounded at the same time!
There is a hell of lot going on the hull with rails, edges and hull profiles fading in and out. Given that this is very almost the same as the bow on the Titan Rival I would suspect that the Nymph should be able to ride high, surface well and punch through just like its stable mate. Given the flat rear deck this is a must, you’d spend your time back looping otherwise.
Compared to the Ripper the hull of the Nymph is way wider. The deck graphics are missing on this pre-production version. Expect that large flat area to be filled by the cool Nymph logo.
The rear is super thin. I can’t recall many plastic boats getting this kind of low profile. Possibly the Liquidlogic Session, but it had a different overall profile.
The basics are covered – ratchet back band, hip pads, some seriously good thigh braces with padding that extends right down the side and a full plate footrest. The full plate system is simple and works well. The plate can be adjusted so that gaps between it and the shell of the boat are minimised.
This one has space for a water bottle or throw bag to be housed but no bungee cord. Is this doesn’t appear on the production version it would be an easy fix. It does appear on other Titan boats with this “Reactor” outfitting system.
The back band is pretty good. It’s easy to get it cranked up. At the rear of the seat padding you may see a white area. This is where the padding is fastened to the seat with a plastic plug. I’m not sure what life this Nymph has had before landing with me but that seat padding has pulled away from the plug. The plug pulls out of the seat and can be sorted out quickly. Something to watch out for though.
The hip pads are secured to plastic plates that are riveted to each of the seats posts. This boat needed one of the plates swapped out due to the rivets being pulled out. I suspect this may have occurred when one of the previous paddlers had pushed down on the system too much as they entered the boat. A message to Titan saw a replacement along with an option to use rivets or bolts arriving at Unsponsored HQ within a couple days. Over the few weeks I have had the boat I haven’t had an issue getting in and out that has resulted in further damage.
Grab handles appear well made and are good to hold. It would be good to see some security bolt being used on at least one set. May be that one on the front deck.
The Nymph feels pretty stable on the water with the length of the kayak and the width work well together. This may sound strange but there are number of designs (old and new) out there right now that need forward movement to get a good sense of stability due to having a long and narrow hull.
Stability is good, as is forward speed. The relatively long water line and slightly chined hull aid this. The rocker feels about right with the bow being able to punch through waves and holes as expected.
The boat feels nice and fast, it is super easy to dip the stern when you want. And importantly it is also controlled enough that it won’t do its own thing and catch you out. The Nymph feels well balanced and not at all nose heavy despite the bulk of the volume, and plastic being up front. This means that the Nymph shines as a river runner. Stern squirts and pivot turns feel well controlled and balanced making eddylines super fun again.
The Nymph also surfs really well and flat spins easily, but I did have to remind myself that the Nymph is way longer than my last play boat which was a Dagger Jitsu. I also had to think a little more about edge control. Once reminded a full 360 rotation flat spin on the face of the wave in the Nymph took me right back to the early 2000’s. Superb!
At £750 the Nymph offers superb performance and versatility at a great price. You won’t get the slickest or most fancy looking outfitting system around but you do get a well-designed kayak that will appeal to a wide audience. If you get the chance to try one out I would highly recommend it.