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Reviews for Orca 16 Kayak by P&H Sea Kayaks


Rated: 8.25/10 Based On: 4 Reviews

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01-02-2013
Submitted by: AardvarkSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     So the Orca has been out of print for quite a while, and these boats have been polarly loved and hated over time. As I see it, the issue that P&H had was to try to sell this boat as a simple, comfy, paddler for everyman. It isn't. Take a look at the hard chines and the higher rocker of the hull. Note the high sides and big volume bow. This thing likes waves and surf and splashing around. It also likes a bit of weight. Hard chined plastic hulls aren't that common, and P&H's triple ply hulls are bomber. The tradeoff ( by design) is that the boat is a bit twirly without the rudder which is great for play. Not great for speed. Also, hard chined boats can surprise those coming from soft edged or round hull boats (see previous reviews).

Bottom line - super fun and reliable in the rough, indestructible and lively but not for everyone. These almost never come up for sale used, but I would grab up a second if I could find one. If you want a simple flatwater daytripper look elsewhere.

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01-04-2005
Submitted by: SWSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Have used Orca 16 on the sea many times since buying it. Good for larger paddlers as plenty of room. I am very pleased with it and it seems to cope with fairly steep waves. Surprised at other comments on rudder foot pedal locks and adjusters as it gives two options - normal pedal operated system for rudder or locked for more use of paddle strokes for boat control - very maneuverable for this size of kayak. Also with a bit of practice in the locked position you can also use the rudder as a pseudo skeg. Yes it is a bit tippy at first but handles better with weight in it (i.e. large person and fully loaded).
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10-11-2004
Submitted by: BMCSend Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     I have to say this, its light and easy to handle. Its well made. The Orca is billed as a very stable platform for calm water paddling. In my opinion, and that's all it is, its the worst boat I've ever paddled. Initial stability is okay, but it feels very "rolly" and "tippy". There is little or no secondary stability. In fact before I took mine back I managed to take a swim 3 times. The only 3 times I've ever accidently tipped over in 4 years of extensive paddling in many different boats. The rudder is not good. It's under tension with a bungie cord and bangs when it goes down and bangs when it comes up. My wife couldn't pull it up out of the water because of the tension on the bungie. The blade hit the back of the boat so you couldn't turn the rudder when in the down position. There is no tie down for the rudder when in transit. The foot pegs have a lever which must be in the horizontal position to allow movement to turn the rudder and moved to the downward position to lock them when not using the rudder. So when bracing your leg hits the lever locking the rudder and you have to lean forward in the middle of a maneuver and try to find the lever to unlock yourself from the turn and over you go. Not to mention trying to use a spray skirt and pulling it off and on all the time to get at the levers.

I was not at all impressed with this boat. I did keep it for 3 weeks, a dozen outings, and paddled in a variety of conditions and never did I feel real stable or relaxed. It gave me a very uncomfortable feeling.

Having said all this I own a RM Capella from the same company. This is the best most stable and enjoyable boat I've ever paddled.

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06-07-2004
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Orca 16 is a new boat from P&H. With a length of 15'3" and 23" wide, it's made of triple-layer polyethylene, which makes it fairly light at 52 pounds, and stiff as well. The Orca has the same rubber Kajaksport hatch covers as its bigger brother, the Capella, and so far, I've had no water in the bulkheads.

Compared to the Capella, this boat has more initial stability and is designed more for flat water and daytrips, although the bow and stern compartments have room for plenty of storage. Boat tracks very straight, even for a new kayaker like me, and takes edged turns well. Gas-pedal type foot braces are sturdy; in fact, a major reason I picked this boat over the Perception Sonoma 13.5 and CD Squamish is the overall great quality P&H shows in this kayak.

Also, I have lower-back pain, and this was the most comfortable seat I found. The large cockpit allows for cowboy-style re-entry. All in all, a great kayak from a high-quality manufacturer for just under $1,000.

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