Thursday, September 15, 2011

Delphin 150 Surf Test

William and I took the chance to test two new P&H Delphin 150s that arrived in the shop this week. We headed to the south end of Folly and beach launched in ~5-10 knots of wind with 3-4 foot surf rolling in: Overall, optimal conditions for us to see what this kayak could do.

We shot some photos which may not be the greatest action shots...but should give a sense of the day and the conditions.

First William’s impressions —

“I found that the Delphin 150 performed nearly identically to its bigger sibling, the Delphin 155. For me at 5' 9'' and 155 pounds, it fit — I didn’t feel like I was sitting in a “Sherman tank.”as I have in the larger boat. I have loved paddling the 155 and feel it is an awesome rough water play boat. My problem has been that it has just a little too much volume for me. I sit too low in the cockpit and feel somewhat swallowed-up by it.

“The new Delphin 150 has a significantly tighter cockpit, lower front deck, and less volume. It feels much livelier to me. I was stable in the waves and really felt one with the kayak. It still had the classic edging, planning, maneuverability and stability of the larger boat. But I felt much more comfortable sitting in it.

“I was also impressed with how well it punched through the waves and the way its high rockered, high volume nose split the water and basically refused to nose dive. I came straight off the edge of several 4-footers and the nose hit the bottom and simply planed out instead of burying. The maneuverability it provides on the wave is unmatched in any other long boat I have been in before.

“I rolled it several times both on purpose and after being knocked over. It comes right over and was much easier for me to roll than the bigger boat.  I really can’t say enough good things about it and if  I decide to add a rough water play boat to my kayak stable this would hands down be the one. Great job P&H!!”

For myself, I generally agree with all that William had to say. I've also enjoyed the larger Delphin 155, and found it to be a great boat to surf, and develop surf skills in. But I've always preferred lower volume and tighter fitting kayaks — and the Delphin 150 delivers. P&H brought their white-water seat and cockpit outfitting into the Delphins, and it gives the boats great comfort, a secure feel, and surprising versatility when it comes to paddler size — we've had shop folk 5' 8'' to 6' 2'' in the original Delphin and I won't be surprised if a similarly wide range of smaller folks can make good use of the Delphin 150.

I spent less time in the boat and more time with a camera pointed at William, but my most notable impressions were of liveliness, of confident maneuverability and responsive edging on and off the face of the waves, and supremely buoyant action when punching out thru the surf, or when you felt another boat might have buried itself. This will be a great confidence builder for students (or anyone) developing their surf skills, and William won't be the only skilled paddler who chooses a Delphin-that-fits as their first choice when they go out to chase the waves.

Stay tuned for impressions form more paddlers and in a wider variety of conditions.


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