New P&H Delphin at Folly Beach.

I had the chance to paddle the new P&H Delphin for the first time a couple weeks ago. There is a lot of excitement out there about the Delphin and I know that people are eager to hear how the boat paddles. Here are some initial impressions to hold people over until they have a chance to paddle the Dephin themselves…


By now everybody has had a chance to see the images that have been circulating about the Delphin. Heavily rockered. Buoyant bow. Chopped stern. The bow has a distinct peak to it that will shed water and resurface predictably. There are two sharp chines below the bow to help bring the boat up onto plane in the surf. The hull is VERY flat underseat with a rounded edge. Behind the seat a soft chine reappears and carries on to the stern ending at the tip of the keel line rather than “ghosting” up toward the sheer. Sitting in the cockpit the boat has very nice lines and the same “looks smaller than it is” impression that the Cetus gives.


This is the Delphin 155. And the outfitting in the boat is pre-production. It is safe to assume that things will change slightly in the final boats. That said, the fit is comfortable for me (6’1 ‘185#). It should easily accommodate paddlers over 200 pounds. Plenty of room for bigger guys without being too loose for somebody my size. The Delphin 150 will be great for shorter or lighter folks.
Back deck is low enough to allow for layback rolls. Footroom is just fine for my big dogs. Backband is Connect 30 whitewater style with ratchets at the thighbraces. Footrests are standard P&H.

First Paddle

Got the boat out at Folly Beach. Unfortunately the surf was minimal. One-footers. Enough to catch a few gentle rides but not enough to really go to work. BUT–here are some observations:


We had hoped that the Delphin would be stable enough to use as a beginners boat. It is. VERY stable. I went from the Scorpio LV into the Delphin. The Delphin is noticeably more stable than the Scorpio LV. I suspect that it is also slightly more stable than the full sized Scorpio. No problem for beginners or big guys.


Very easy to edge despite the huge primary stability. Responds to weight shifts in the seat. Holds on edge without hanging a knee. Just what we would expect from the current generation of P&H hulls.


Remarkable. This is easily the most maneuverable sea kayak I have ever been in. Edge the boat, look where you want to go, and the Delphin with rip through 180 degrees effortlessly. No problem to charge out toward a set, bang the boat on edge and turn completely around in time to catch the wave.


Here is where it gets down right astounding. The boat tracks VERY well at speed. It seems that the faster you paddle, the stiffer the tracking becomes. I assume this is due to the stern weighting/slightly rearward placed cockpit. Whatever the reason, the Delphin has no trouble holding a straight line. Weathercocking in light (10 kt) crosswinds was minimal at cruising speed.


The Delphin is no slouch. Out on the Wilmington River against 1kt of current and 10 kt winds I had no trouble maintaining 4mph (GPS) at a cruising pace. With the wind and tide the boat clipped along at 6mph. Plenty fast enough to keep pace with longer boats on day trips and ocean adventures. Just what we were shooting for.


William surfing the Delphin at Folly Beach, SC.


The waves were pretty near nonexistent. But there were a few rides to be had. The Delphin comes up to speed well. Catches small wind waves effortlessly. Can be maneuvered on the wave once you have started surfing. Scott at Sea Kayak Carolina was so impressed with the ease of surfing that he plans to buy a half dozen Delphins specifically to teach beginners how to surf sea kayaks.


Easy to roll. Pops right up onto the hull. Hand rolls are not a problem. The paddler can lay back to finish if desired.

More Reviews

The word is starting to get out. There is another nice review of the boat at the Canoelover blog. You can reach it from this link.