Comfort, safety and looks
Isn't that what it is all about?
Comfort and safety
These are perhaps the most important qualities in a kayak. If you are not comfortable in the cockpit, you will not feel safe in challenging situations. If you do not feel safe you will not appreciate a comfortable cockpit. You will not be able to develop your skills nor appreciate your trips. And then all other qualities of the kayak are lost.
Comfort is to be able to sit many hours a day on extended tours and wake up in the tent after a night's sleep feeling fresh and eager to get underway. It is preferring the kayak to the TV-sofa or office chair. But comfort is also a kayak that is dry and with gentle, predictable movements in waves. It is a cockpit/deck configuration that supports your paddling style.
Safety is, of course, a kayak that does not interfere with the paddler’s intentions, whether with excess weight, unnecessary volume, high deck catching the wind or incorrect longitudinal balance. It is a stability curve, with a healthy balance between initial and secondary stability. It is speed to keep going against a sudden offshore gust. It is a kayak that is designed for active safety (keeping the paddler out of trouble) as well as passive safety (rescues, reentry-and-roll and different kinds of rolls)
Our signature Axis bucket seat is perhaps the first that comes to mind when evaluating comfort. Combining seat, back support and bulkhead in a light and elegant structure, it provides comfort, support and, together with the adjustable knee pads, superior control. The deck is low enough not to interfere with the paddle strokes, whether these are high angle racing style or a more relaxed long-distance strokes, but high enough to avoid feeling cramped for all but the tallest paddlers.
The swede-form hull and the low gunwale midships allow a tight catch as well as uninhibited torso movements for advanced maneuvering. The sloping back of the seat is very comfortable for lay-back rolls – or for a short rest with the head on the aft deck. All Axis kayaks and surfskis are fitted with the SmartTrack footrest, easily adjustable while sitting in the cockpit.
Perhaps not the top priority, but not to be underestimated. Our purchase decisions are not purely rational – pride and satisfaction are just as important for the user as it is for us as designer and manufacturer.
The visual shape of the hulls and the decorative patterns have received much attention: we have done a lot of work on individual lines and surfaces and their relationships. We wanted the hulls to be visual statements as well as functional and efficient paddling machines – a restrained, but bold and exciting elegance that really stands out among the competition and is appealing in all viewing angles - a kayak to be proud to be seen in, and one that is easily recognized even from afar.
Safety and comfort go hand in hand. The bucket seat is a major contributor to controlling the kayak in open sea conditions. But more importantly, the initial stability is downplayed in favor of an increased secondary stability. While this may seem odd to a beginner, believing that stability is a the-more-the-better quality, he or she will soon discover that 1; the experienced initial tippiness disappears after a few minutes and 2; without the excessive initial stability normally associated with entry-level boats, the hull will move smoothly, easily and predictably in waves, and be surprisingly dry, while the pronounced secondary stability will keep even the novice from capsizing.
We strongly believe that safety is not a kayak with built-in inertia, whether disguised as stability or trackability. While such ”disobedience” may at times save a beginner from the result of his/her mistakes, it also makes it hard to handle real situations where swift action is needed. Instead, the Axis hulls are extremely maneuverable with minimal built-in directional stability (the skeg or rudder adds the tracking needed) and react directly to the paddler’s intentions. The paddler can concentrate on wind and waves, knowing that the kayak follows as a perfect dance partner – no dull sluggishness to fight. In a responsive kayak, even a beginner will quickly learn what works and what does not – the basics of becoming a competent paddler.
The cockpit configuration with low sides and flat aft deck without any obstructing gadgets make it easy to re-enter the kayak from the water, with or without a paddle float. The rounded aft seat-rim connection makes layback rolls very easy to learn and to master, and the low front deck puts forward leaning rolls within reach.