Last Friday I had the pleasure of trying out the new P&H Delphin for the first time, accompanied by Kenny Howell, Program Director for California Canoe and Kayak.
The verdict? To borrow a phrase from a British advertising slogan – “It does what it says on the tin”. It is THE perfect sea kayak playboat. I don’t think I have had so much fun in a sea kayak since the filming of ‘This is the Sea 2’. Which begs the question, is it better than the Valley Avocet? It was always going to be a hard act to follow, but the answer is a totally biased YES. I think the Delphin totally rocks.
The outfitting is ‘borrowed’ from the Pyranha whitewater line and is just awesome – comfortable and snug and fully adjustable. As soon as you sit in the boat you know it is unlike any other sea kayak. On flat water it is relatively slow of course, especially compared to my Cetus MV. But it tracks quite well for a 15′ 5″ boat and yet you only have to think about turning and the boat goes exactly where you want it; precisely and effortlessly.
In the waves, the Delphin takes steeper drops than any any other sea kayak I have surfed. Changes of direction are easy with positive edging and it is REALLY fast on the plane, racing away from the pitching lip or soup, allowing you to hold your line all the way to the beach. Pushing mine and the boat’s limits I took some impossible drops which resulted in an inevitable bongo slide and the boat side-surfed nicely, feeling totally secure thanks to the whitewater style outfitting. The really cool thing was that it was possible to recover from a side surf and go straight again thanks to the strategically offset seat position rear of midships. Indeed I even managed a couple of paddle-out take-offs, something I have never succeeded in doing in any other sea kayak.
I was hugely impressed with the Delphin but you should try it for yourself. Make sure you take it in some waves though because that’s when it all makes sense. Enjoy!
PS. My boat is available to demo from CCK, Oakland, CA.
PSS. Kenny loved it too and you can expect to be using Delphins when you sign up for CCK’s Surf Zone Classes in the future.