Sterling Reflection

Whether you’re talking sea kayaks or canoes or whitewater crafts—boat technology has reached a plateau where small advances, design tweaks, and material innovations make a big difference to paddling enthusiasts. This y

Whitewater pioneer and sea-kayak designer Reg Lake had expert paddlers in mind when he shaped the stern of this surf-specific sea kayak in the mirror image of its bow. The result is the most innovative boat to come out in a decade. Not only can it drop into waves backward, but it’s also the lightest sea kayak we’ve ever tested. To create the hull on the lightest version of the boat (it’s available in a range of materials), Sterling created its own composite, fusing military-grade epoxy resin with carbon fiber from Boeing. The boat weighs just 36 pounds—20 pounds less than its nearest competitor. The kicker here is that it also tours amazingly well. Lake included roomy hatches for overnight gear and increased control by moving the drop-down skeg from the stern, where it usually sits, to six inches behind the seat. A recessed back deck makes for easier rolling, and a titanium or carbon bar (your choice) keeps it safely locked to your roof rack. 16'; 36 lbs


Brand: Sterling $4,149
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