This is our fifth outrigger canoe review! This article will reference the last four 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
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 Hurricane was the original game changer in lowering the volume of outrigger canoes. Dropping the length of the traditional boat around 3ft/1m it was the first of it's kind in being a streamlined design. This boat has won a Molokai title in the past so its ability to surf has been proven but its most frequent usage in the 2020's will likely be on flatwater. This used to be my primary boat for a number of years so I am very familiar and fond of this vessel. That being said we have been referencing older boat designs in previous articles and this is the first vessel we can look at to compare directly on these quality of life details and their evolution through the decades.
20ft6in long x 15 inches wide (6.25m x 38.1cm)
Seat Depth- 0 inches to Velcro (on top of deck
Seat Depth with Seat - +2 inches over Velcro (Seat above hull) 5cm
Seat Width - 16.25in/41.2cm
Footplate Leg Distance (Longest setting) 37.5 inches/95.3cm
Footplate Leg Distance (Shortest setting) 24 inches/61cm
Heel Depth 7 inches/17.8cm
Ama Distance- Shortest 35in/88.9cm Longest 37.5in/95.3cm
Boat weight for testing - 17lb/8kg hull
Rudder 4 Inch/10.6cm Ozone Flatwater
Outline Measurements from nose
15 inches from nose - 4 inches wide 38cm/10.2cm
30 inches from nose - 6.25 inches wide 76cm/15.9cm
45 inches from nose - 8 inches wide 114cm/20.3cm
60 inches from nose - 10 inches wide 152cm/25.4cm
75 inches from nose - 11.5 inches wide 190cm/29.2cm
Outline Measurements from tail
75 inches from tail - 11.75 inches wide 190cm/29.8cm
60 inches from tail - 10.25 inches wide152cm/26cm
45 inches from tail - 9 inches wide 114cm/22.9cm
30 inches from tail - 6.5 inches wide 76cm/16.5cm
15 inches from tail - 4 inches wide 38cm/10.2cm
The first distinction in comparison to boats today is the seat being on top of the hull. All the boats reviewed so far have had a recessed seating arrangement where the seat goes into the hull as opposed to on top of it. This puts you around 2 inches above the top of the hull. The most interesting part of this is the sit bone to heel distance is virtually identical at 9 inches difference. The Hurricane achieves it by placing the heels 7 inches into the hull and the sit bones 2 inches above the hull. Our other boats have done this by placing the heels around 12 inches deep and the seated area about 3 inches deep. Seeing this similarity shows us this is a universal comfort/leg ergonomic ratio. The other note about the seat is it is not held inside of a track with sidewalls, so the seat can lose velcro connection and fling you off the boat in heavy surf hits.... which I have lived through a few times!
The next distinction is the footwell setup. This era of boats (surfski included) had individual footwells for each leg, as opposed to one bigger footwell for both legs. The issue with this setup is your leg drive is slightly hindered by not having total freedom of motion. As you extend the leg you will likely push your calf into that footwell area. You can get around this by sitting really far forward but this ends up being a comfort issue in longer paddles. The larger single footwells are definitely a nice change across OC and Surfski alike.
Quality of Life Details
This is where we can really see modern innovations shine as we look at some different/missing aspects on the Hurricane. The first major quality of life change is the iako system attaching the hull to the ama. The pin system, as simplistic as it is, has been a huge stride in that system. This Hurricane has a "Twist and Lock" System. You insert the iakos into the ama at the vertical axis where the opening is larger, then twist it to the horizontal axis where the opening is smaller and it wedges itself secure as it faces the hull. This system with fresh equipment works excellent. The issue is over a period of time the twisting will wear out the ama and the iako, making it looser until it does not cinch together. You can add epoxy to maintain this or add tape, but it is definitely an ongoing hassle. The connection into the hull is simple, using a twist collar to twist inside the hull. The opening is moulded into the canoe and is very simple and effective. There are also 6 setting on each Iako insertion point (4 places) leading to a very high number of possible configurations. Ultimately all roads will lead you to the lightest settings on each of the four.
The pedals allow for easy heel drive through the stroke, but the angle of the foot can be uncomfortable for many with limited ankle dorsiflexion (the top of the foot pulling towards you.) The rudder does not have the self centering feature which isnt a big deal but you get spoiled quick having one!
Boat Overview: The Hurricane has a very sleek outline that still holds up today. It is not extremely narrow immediately at the tip of the hull but it holds a very narrow shape all the way to the center which helps with the resistance per stroke and also helps it hold a nice glide. Looking at the tail its actually got a little more volume at the end that plays a role in the tail pushing over swells in the surf. The hull only being 15 inches wide would make it nearly impossible for many to sit inside of, but having the seat above means you can be wider than the hull without too much issue. Sitting higher than the hull provides a little extra leverage in each stroke that helps with the overall feeling of going fast. With the array of ama settings you can make this boat very forgiving for first timers, or very sporty for advanced paddlers. At my weight the majority of the waterline is in the water. I am not sure of its maximum weight for a rider being lower volume but supported by 20ft6 of waterline has made this successful within our club with paddlers around 200lbs.
(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 - Its great when these tests become splitting hairs! This test is ONE second different from the Cantare test which felt about right. With the hull outline it reminds me of the Draco where paddling with power or faster strokes will lead to tangible boat speed increases. The resistance per stroke is fairly low from being so narrow and sitting high in the seat, but the nearly 20ft waterline helps it hold glide easily to any input of force. The ama is easy to manage and keep light on the water for myself, but I've logged a lot of hours in this boat so it may be a learning curve to not lean on it so much. Being inside of a boat gives you better control of using your hips to keep the ama lighter. Bear in mind this boats greatest strength is in the flatwater setting and would struggle more downwinding or dealing with conditions in general. Being low volume with a low rocker line, it easily gets kicked around in conditions and doesnt manage swells the same way as todays boats.
Final Thoughts: A real blast from the past doing this review! Like I stated at the beginning, I am fond of this vessel but can be objective to point out that it is dated. If this is something you pickup secondhand, it is an excellent introductory to the sport in learning your paddle stroke while still having a similar performance potential as most boats in flatwater. Comfort is king and its the main thing this boat is missing comparatively to sitting inside the cockpit designs.
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