When looking for a new kayak it is quite often a very difficult job to work out which route to go down. Looking at what you will be doing 90% of the time is the answer most of the time, and with a bit of advice from a friend or shop you should be able to pick out a few models which can then be whittled down by demoing them. If you are looking for a kayak that is at home on a variety of waters, and you fancy doing river trips as well as maybe throwing it on your local canal or lake but also dream of paddling on a calm sea in and out of coves there are a few choices out there for you.
The kayaks themselves are capable on flat and moving water and I’m not talking major rapids, but if you are pottering along a scenic bit of river and come up to a rapid… Naturally you want to get down it, preferably upright. Models to name drop that you would thoroughly enjoy on these types of water are; Wilderness Aspire, Robson Waikiki, Dagger Blackwater, Venture Flex, Necky Manitou Sport but I am writing this article to share my views on the hottest kayak of the moment for recreational touring or calm/moving water paddling and that is the Dagger Axis Elite 10.5.
A short Internet search will show you that there are a few different models and sizes of Axis, this is good to know however being British the Elite 10.5 will most likely be the best choice for you. It has a large cockpit but is slightly smaller than its American predecessors that just didn’t offer most reasonably size European paddlers the contact and comfort they needed to get the most out of the kayak.
With a bit of R & D the Axis Elite 10.5 was born and has been proven on a lot of our lovely British waterways; lochs in Scotland, Rivers in the valleys, Canals throughout the country and of course the shores of our great isles. The finish on this boat is superb; a smooth appearance with carefully styled logo placements and great bits of trim. Internally the seat is spot on offering leg lift for those who want the best contact with the very comfortable thigh grips and an adjustable supportive backrest. It is a kayak designed to be sat in and enjoyed, whether paddling overnight trips (with all your kit in the rear hatch) or just sitting watching wildlife.
Performance wise I mentioned that it can paddle a variety of waters, this is due to the stable nature of the kayak, whilst also offering slight edges to keep it nimble. Experience wise the kayak neither requires you to be advanced or brand new to the sport, its stability and easy paddling (combined with the drop down skeg) will keep newcomers comfortable and confident out there on the water whilst the experienced paddler will also appreciate the ease of paddling and versatility it offers.
To sum up – for a kayak with confidence inspiring stability but nimble performance that will happily paddle Calm rivers, Lakes, Canals, lochs, estuaries and calm coastal waters look no further than my favourite kayak the Dagger axis Elite 10.5
As for getting to sit in and try one of these amazing kayaks you can either hit the forums and see if it is possible to find anyone willing to come out with you for the day to let you try. Or I happen to know that Hereford and Borders Canoes and Kayaks near the River Wye have stock boats as well as a Demo which you could take for a spin on their on site lake.