Kayak: how to choose the right model

I’ve just updated the kayak page; the whole family belongs to the same stitch & glue building system, based on plywood & epoxy, a system which guarantees sturdy, nimble and beautiful hulls with a reasonable amount of building time; it took me about 75 hours to built my own Bette 500 HV , you can find a step-by-step building tutorial here
This post is meant to give some advice to choose the right kayak to build, right for your paddling skills, your needs and your structure, here it is a “familiy view”:

kayak display ENG LR




Several tips on how to choose the right model:

  • stretching/shrinking the boat: any of this projects can scaled up or down  until 7% without concern, this will add much more flexibility to your choice; of course stretching / shrinking the boat you’ll change the hull beam accordingly with the length ;
  • for example: a 7% stretched version of a Raju 500 Narrow Hull , will be a 535 long hull with a 55.5 cm beam


let’s now consider several typical paddlers and their best choice:


  • unexperienced medium-heavy paddlers who need good loading capabilities , marine environment, not too windy area:  this is basically the piece of cake of the grandfather of the whole family, Bette 500 HV (High volume); she features a huge amount of stability , good pace, and a “truck style” loading attitude; pay attention: when half or low loaded she’s quite high on the water, so avoid her if you normally paddle in windy areas and your average use is a low load configuration. If you need stability, a capable load carrying hull and you paddle in windy areas, go for the sister Bette 500 LV (Low Volume) , same hull lines, slightly smaller lockers and definitely less windage.



  • light-medium weight paddler with an average level of experience , low-average load carrying needs:  my personal choice would be a  normal or slightly downsized Raju 500 (standard version), in the standard length or taken down to 4,80


  • heavy experienced paddlers: I’d go for a upscaled Raju 500 stretched to 5,30 m  ( + 6% rescaled )   , narrow or standard version depending on you skill and on your attitude to paddle narrow boats


  • the perfect weapon for long range raids for a really skilled paddler : a normal or slightly stretched version of Raju 500 (Narrow version), something between 5,0 and  5,30 meter length; this will be a fast paced, slender seakayak with a more than decent storage volume


  • unexperienced light paddlers, teenagers: Mariposa 420 was born exactly for this paddlers; anyway, she has two lockers, so there’s enough space for food and a sleeping bag for a night on the beach; il you downsize her to 390 cm she’s a good choice as first kayak for a light teenager


  • an average sized crew that requires a two seaterAlenu 540 is your piece of cake, and there’s enough floating volume to take some luggages too, in case you ‘ll use the boat for overnight trips


  • kayask fishing: Definitely the Dentex 420 , the perfect stable platform, quite light compared to most commercial kayak fishing boats, that means more loads or more speed, to improve the range of your fishing trips


  • a beach paddler that doesn’t want to bother with closed cockpit and eskimo: definitely Dentex 420 is your choice !


of course if you have ideas for a new model drop me a line !

fair wind !

Cristian Pilo