This is our sixth outrigger canoe review! This article will reference the last five boats as design comparisons and flatwater test results. You can check them out here - https://www.k2nonlinepaddleschool.com/post/outrigger-gear-review-kai-wa-a-draco-pro-ozone https://www.k2nonlinepaddleschool.com/post/outrigger-gear-review-kai-wa-a-ares-ozone https://www.k2nonlinepaddleschool.com/post/outrigger-gear-review-puakea-kahele-ozone https://www.k2nonlinepaddleschool.com/post/outrigger-gear-review-puakea-cantare-ozone
Currently we have Canoe Specs, Measurements, Boat Comfort/Quality of Life, and Flatwater Testing.
I am 5ft 6 (167cm) and 140lbs (63.5kg) slightly above the intermediate skill level as a reviewer. I typically fit in all canoes without issue but have a good general idea of a paddler being too big for a given vessel based on club members using boats. The Stingray is a definite blast from the past when looking at the history of outrigger canoes. This model was made in 2006 by Outrigger Connection and is a great showcase in the evolutions made to the boats shape and ergonomics. This boats design from the ground up is to be proficient in large downwind swells specifically and many innovations at the time came at the cost of the boats inherent course racing strengths. Course racing defined as going into and out of conditions in a loop style event as opposed to a one way race contest. Unfortunately I can only flatwater test this model which will highlight the weaknesses of the boat, but we can look at the shapes in the hull to understand where they are stronger and why some of these concepts do not continue to carry over into the current era of boats. Learning what makes a boat behave in a certain way gives us a mastery of identifying where it can be used for maximum efficiency.
Stingray Specs 21ft6in long x 15.5 inches wide (6.55m x 39.3cm) Seat Depth- 2 inches to Velcro (on top of deck) (5cm) Seat Depth with Seat - +1 inches over Velcro (Seat above hull) 2.5cm Seat Width - 15in/38cm Footplate Leg Distance (One setting) 35in/89cm Heel Depth 8.5 inches/21.6cm Ama Distance- Shortest 38in/96.5cm Longest 40in/101.6cm Boat weight for testing - 28lb/12.7kg rigged Rudder 8inch Outrigger Connection Surf Rudder
Outline Measurements from nose 15 inches from nose - 4 inches wide 38cm/10.2cm 30 inches from nose - 7 inches wide 76cm/17.8cm 45 inches from nose - 9 inches wide 114cm/22.3cm 60 inches from nose - 11 inches wide 152cm/27.9cm 75 inches from nose - 12.5 inches wide 190cm/31.8cm
Outline Measurements from tail 75 inches from tail - 13.5 inches wide 190cm/34.3cm 60 inches from tail - 12.5 inches wide152cm/31.8cm 45 inches from tail - 10.5 inches wide 114cm/26.8cm 30 inches from tail - 8.5 inches wide 76cm/21.6cm 15 inches from tail - 5 inches wide 38cm/12.7cm
Cockpit/Seated Area The first thing to point out is the seats are custom to fit one size rider, not the typical small seat with velcro to adjust. It looks like you can cut the foam to make it longer or add more foam to shorten it. With some ingenuity you could make it easy to adjust for different sizes, but the default design is more of a fixed seat. The next feature is having the higher seat position comparatively to the hulls we sit inside of today. The higher position is a definite leverage advantage with the stroke but the higher tipping point adds instability, as a result there are some aspects of the ama that help to counter this for stability. That will be discussed further down. Heel to sit bone ratio is very standard with around a 10 inch/25cm difference, makes for good leg drive potential and comfort with the legs. The steering pedals are carbon which is a nice touch, but are known to warp over time with the stainless steel cable pulling on them. This model is in great condition but I have owned other outrigger connection boats where the pedals will fold over a period of time. Heat will weaken the thin carbon then pressure on steering will win the battle.
Quality of Life Details
One quality of life feature that is much different is having the iakos attach with a twisting screw mechanism at all four points into the canoe and the ama. Works great and secures the boat wonderfully, just be careful not to lose these! The weight of the boat being made with fiberglass is around 28lbs/13kg fully rigged. The extra weight overall is not that big of a deal in the world of paddle craft in general but specifically in the OC realm we have been spoiled with ultralight vessels. The heel ergonomics, like the hurricane, can be a little uncomfortable if you do not have adequate dorsiflexion in the heel from lack of flexibility.
There is a lot to unpack with the design of this boat and the innovations at the time that were integrated into this hull. We will look at these designs at face value, their purposes and then with the flatwater testing see how they contrast in that situation specifically. First is the length of the boat at 21.5ft/6.5m with a minimal rocker line. Rocker is the banana curve boats have to help with surfing, but this design keeps a large majority of the hull in the water and finds its surfing ability from being very buoyant. We can see the majority of the buoyancy in the tail outline measurements that comes in almost 30% wider overall than most boats today with a sleeker profile. This big tail is amazing in finding lift on swells and keeping the boat high off the water. The rudder placement is around 3ft/1meter from the tail. This is a metric I have not quantified but its around 50% further forward. The further forward the rudder is, the more maneuverability you will have, and this boat with all its length definitely is the most nimble even compared to the 18ft/5.6m Cantare. The ama can be rigged through a huge range of balances, at its most "light" setting the boat is actually leaning to the right side without a rider in it. The biggest feature of all is the "chines" on the bottom of the hull. Chines are hard straight angles that help push a boat up with enough force, akin to a foil board on a much lesser extreme. These hard angles, combines with the buoyancy in the wider tail, and a very forward maneuverable rudder makes this an absolute monster when surfing waves! Surfing and flatwater glide are on a spectrum together, as you move to one end, you pull away from the other... which we will look at next.
(With all canoes your height, weight, age, current skill level and paddling environment will influence how each boat feels and that dynamic will continue to move back and forth on a spectrum forever)
Flatwater Testing Overview: For all tests ongoing we will be using the format of 3 miles 4827m at a specific stroke rate. This lake has the same water depth annually for consistency, and the course is marked by 4 buoys that do not change position making it easy to run different boats on the course for cross analysis. The Stroke Rate goal is a submaximal 55SPM with a margin of error for 1SPM 54-56spm. Noting boat weights and rudder sizes as potential future differences amongst similar shaped boats. This serves as a good general guide on boats that vary dramatically in shape, but will also be fun to see how boats compare and factoring in the outline measurements towards that.
Flatwater Testing - Whew.... that was a brutal 3 miler for me! For reference I was able to take my Draco at 8:52/mile for 3 HOURS recently, so going 13s/mile slower for 1/6th of the duration tells a lot about the contrasting boat designs. Having a longer hull, low rocker, high volume, wide outline, hard chine, and forward rudder boat while also being a lightweight creates a tremendous amount of friction to overcome with limited weight to throw around. When nature creates waves the boat can harness that energy, but when you are solely creating that energy it becomes very hard to create and maintain that glide. More length can be a faster cruising hull but its on a diminishing returns spectrum. The outline of the boat is not much of a dart shape and more of a rectangle, which adds to the lack of glide created. These features alone are not enough, the real culprit to limited glide potential is the hard chines in the water. Rounded edges create less friction through the water, which is why a majority of kayaks/canoes have a very smooth semi-circle shape. As water rushes into these chines it creates more friction which slows the boat. Paddling it was interesting since with powerful strokes I couldnt create enough energy to sustain glide before the boat slowed on the recovery, and if the stroke rate went up the power wasnt there to move the hull enough at all. In a full sprint scenario it behaves well, but anything beyond a few minutes and those shapes are working against you.
Final Thoughts: Overall these boats make excellent entry level ways to enter the sport, and are wonderful training resources for paddlers to use. When we do these reviews we are looking at them in the most optimized race setting, but this isnt a showcase to put down a boat. We want to understand these designs and see why the industry has moved away from these them towards modern innovations. Hopefully I can get more of these Outrigger Connection boats because they have a fun progression through their models like the Fusion, Fuze, Osprey and so on.
Thank you all for checking out the article. If you have any questions about boats or our online coaching feel free to message anytime via Live Chat or my email Robertnorman142@yahoo.com