Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tiderace Xtreme Review

Now...where did I put that champagne?
Paul Kuthe
5'10"  165 lbs  size 10 shoe
Team Tide Race Paddler

Photographers: Dave White and Bob Burnett

Test locations:
-Rosario Strait (Washington)
-Ocean Side, Oregon
-Cascade Head, Oregon

When Tiderace Sea Kayaks first hit the scene a few years back with two hull shapes, the X-Cite and the X-plore, the choices were simple.  The X-cite was the playful one an the X-plore was the expedition boat.

Both boats featured beautiful lines with clean smooth transitions and quick acceleration, but the X-cite really turned heads with it's flat semi-planing hull and well rockered maneuverable shape.  It made you want to surf just looking at it!

Leave it to Aled Williams, lead designer of Tide Race Sea Kayaks, to make the most radically designed cutting edge hull of the time seem like an 'all around' boat.  With the addition of the new "Xtreme" it becomes obvious that he was simply compromising to start.  Careful to hit the right mark with his first offering from his new company.  Now it's time to let loose!

Photo by: Dave White      Paddler: Paul Kuthe   Location:  Ocean Side, Oregon

Let loose he did!  The boat felt smooth and greasy on the wave, willing to be coaxed and nudged in whatever direction you desired.  I have never felt a sea kayak that could so readily be spun 360 degrees on the foam pile.  The highly rockered stern is loose and dynamic allowing the boat to carve the face of both small and large waves with subtle shifts in weight and edge.  This may be the first true planning hull sea kayak.  

Photo by: Bob Burnett        Location: Cascade Head

Photo By: Bob Burnett    Paddlers: Paul Kuthe left, Dave White right

The ends of the boat are high volume making for a dry ride and the ability to break out over towering foam piles with ease.  After repeated attempts to drive the bow under water while dropping in to some steep offshore break, I decided that this boat is difficult to front ender at best, but the low deck around the paddler makes for increased control when the boat is up on it's stern.  Back surfing and back enders were a breeze due to the rocker profile and volume distribution. 

Photo By: Bob Burnett  Paddler: Paul Kuthe  Location: Cascade Head, Oregon

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to start the test by taking the boat out cruising in the San Juan Islands in Washington State on a short multi-day staff trip with the gang from Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe (a regional Tide Race Dealer here in Portland Oregon).

Photo By: Dave White

 I loader er' down and made the 3 mile crossing through the wind while towing a short plastic touring kayak and she did pretty well.  I had to drop the skeg for a half hour or so in the middle of the channel, but I was surprised at it's speed across the choppy strait.  That being said, to give you an indication of this boat's intended use, the deck is void of something we have all grown accustom to seeing on performance sea kayaks... As my eyes scanned the flat table top like bow for the first time, I noticed that it had no compass mount moulded in!  I already knew I was going to like this boat.

Photo By: Dave White  Paddler: Paul Kuthe  Location: 3 Arch Rocks , Oregon

At near 17 feet, the Xtreme carries plenty of speed even under a load, but where she really shines is on the wave.  If you want a boat that can take a beating, hold the big line, and come back for more then look no further.  The lay-up is stiff and feels rock solid on the water.  Tide Race is taking it to the next level with this one, and I don't think they are going to look back.  You have got to take it for a spin!  

Read more about the new X-treme at the Tide Race Website   and test paddle many of the Tide Race boats at Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe.


Cate said...


Joe G. said...

You stated "I noticed that it had no compass mount moulded in! I already knew I was going to like this boat."
I guess I do not understand that comment?

Dee said...

I'm happy for you and your new boat! May you have many great, safe adventures together!

Daniel said...

Looking good Paul. I think this boat suits you well.

Paul Kuthe said...

Joe G. - I like that it has not compass mount because it is an indication of it specificity to surfing and playing in rough water with less of an emphasis on tripping or touring. I am truly excited by the design of this boat.

Joe G. said...

Paul, thanks for your clarification in regard to the compass recess. It makes complete sense to me now.

Since my original posting I have come across a number of videos showing you paddling high volume tidal races. To put it quite simply: your creds and skills are far above mine. Something I can dream about, but never attain. ;-)

Wishing you safe paddling.
- Joe

Paul Kuthe said...

Joe G- Glad you enjoyed the videos! Just remember, those tidal races start out as flat water and build over a few hours. There are perfectly reasonable times to go have a play, you just have to make sure you know where and when you are ;)

JayGee said...

Hi Paul, have you tried the Delphin or Aries out and if so how do they compare? Had a try in both the other week and I definitely need something like this as pearlings starting to get a bit of a pain in current boats (back enders were a new experience though!)

I need to give the Xtreme a try out now..

Paul said...

The delphin is a cool boat but I really like the speed of the extreme. They are very different boats indeed.

JayGee said...

Yeah, that bit of extra speed would make all the difference nothing worse than just missing the wave. So, need a fast glass one for the races, plus a plastic for rock bashing, looks like I'm going to need to start stacking the kayaks at this rate ;)

hadas said...

exalent post

Erki said...

How would you describe the boat as an "allrounder" compared to the Xcite?