I remember thinking when Porsche released the Cayenne back in 2002, why would anyone buy a mid-size luxury crossover sport utility vehicle?
Stellar Kayaks’ Intrepid LV Sea Kayak Specs
Length: 16 ft 10 in
Width: 20.9 in
Weight: 40.3-43 lbs
Capacity: 245 lbs
Paddler Size: 5 ft-6ft 2 in
Price: $3,280-$5,439 USD
It didn’t make any sense. Not like I was in the market for a German sports car or a luxury mid-sized SUV. Even on principle I thought this a silly idea—dude, buy a performance vehicle or a station wagon, don’t slam them together.
I felt the same way in the ‘70s about the Chevrolet El Camino. I believed compromise was when nobody wins.
Yet the blending of category lines continues in automobiles as much as it does in kayak design. Stellar Kayaks’ Intrepid LV is a touring kayak from a Surfski manufacturer blending high performance, British-style lines and a hint of Greenland heritage.
An aesthetically pleasing sea kayak
In 2002, I’d have rolled my eyes at the Intrepid LV. But these days soccer moms can do zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds and hit top speeds of 177 miles per hour so why wouldn’t they want a high performance, fun to paddle, aesthetically pleasing sea kayak with room for a week’s groceries.
The intrepid LV or SILV is the little sister of Stellar Kayaks’ popular SI18 kayak, scaled for small to mid-sized paddlers. The LV is for low volume. I’m a six-foot, two-inch tall dude with 35-inch legs and I still fit comfortably inside with one more click left in the SmartTrack foot braces.
Being connected to this boat is fun.
The SILV has a slightly shorter and narrower cockpit rim and is 20.9 inches wide compared to the SI18 with a beam of 21.3 inches.
The LV is almost two inches shallower with a reasonably low stern deck. My wife, Tanya, and I both loved the fit of the LV, sacrificing only carrying capacity and storage space—more on this later.
Stellar Kayaks keeps their comfortable kayak seats
One thing I don’t think Stellar changed is the seat pan and cushion. The entire seat can be unbolted and moved forward or back three holes in one-inch increments to adjust trim.
I asked Stellar Kayaks owner David Thomas if it could also be tilted to provide more leg support to hold my thighs up in the thigh braces. Not so, leaving Intrepid owners to build the seat up and pad it out from the sides with foam for a truly custom fit.
Does anybody do this anymore? You should, especially in a boat like the SILV. Being connected to this boat is fun.
A stylish and efficient touring kayak
So here goes the performance mash up. We have a longer waterline than a traditional 17-foot British-style boat, so it’s faster. It has an upswept bow, moderate rocker and softer chines than most British boats.
Softer chines means less surface area and increased efficiency. On top, Stellar borrows from their surfski heritage with cutaways in the bow deck allowing for a more vertical forward stroke catch placement. And they look pretty cool.
The SILV gets full deck bungees, perimeter lines and toggle handles, compass recess and three watertight hatches—the bow and stern hatches are oval for easier loading of awkward items like tent poles and ukuleles.
The Intrepid LV comes with a Kajaksport skeg. But, to confuse the categories even more, the LV comes rudder-ready plumbed with an integrated rudder tube.
Stellar Kayaks’ British-styled sea kayak
If you’re wondering who installs rudders on a British-styled sea kayak, I was too. Apparently, it’s the Australians. These days, anything goes.
When I called David Thomas with a few questions about materials he was 12 time zones away and just going to bed as I was pouring my third cup of orange pekoe.
All Stellar’s Surfskis and touring kayaks are manufactured at the Flying Eagle Boat Co. factory near Hangzhou City, China. Flying Eagle has over 25 years of composite boat building experience, a global distribution network and an annual production capacity of 3,000 kayaks.
Thomas says the wide array of items being produced under the parent company Sino-Eagle group allows Stellar to tap into fruitful synergies allowing creative advancements and innovations in his kayaks.
Thomas told me I was test paddling the SILV in his Advantage layup coming in at 43 pounds and $3,280. For a couple hundred bucks more, you can upgrade to his Multi-Sport layup which has the Advantage deck but is carbon and Kevlar below the seam.
What do the Porsche Cayenne and the Stellar SILV have in common? More than you may think. Feature Photo: Scott MacGregor