Your #1 source for kayaking and canoeing information.               FREE Newsletter!
my Profile
Product Reviews > Kayaks > ClearWater Design > St. Lawrence Add Your Review Now!

Reviews for St. Lawrence Kayak by ClearWater Design


Rated: 7.92/10 Based On: 12 Reviews

Kayaks
Research Kayaks in the Buyers' Guide!
Kayaks Image Kayaks Image Kayaks Image Kayaks Image Kayaks Image Kayaks Image Kayaks Image
Select Kayak to View in Buyers' Guide



09-08-2014
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     ClearWater Design is a local manufacturer in Southern Ontario. They do not make composite boats so this review is for the Poly St. Lawrence 15'6" Touring Kayak.

To start, the yak has a very small amount of rocker. This allows for more efficient tracking and speed, at the expense of your maneuverability. Primary stability is fantastic, with a soft chined hull but a more defined side that made it fairly hard to edge. However I was a beginner with this boat so my edging wasn't great anyways! This also had an effect on the maneuverability because it's much harder to decrease the waterline of the boat without efficient edging.

This was a fairly heavy boat. A bit over 55lbs I would guess. At 25 years old and in excellent shape it still provided me a challenge during long portages. Weight also slows down the boat a bit. However, it is tough as nails!

My boat had adjustable foot braces, however, the adjustments had to be made while out of the boat. IF it unlocks and slides down, you have to pull over and get out to adjust it. No thigh braces were present, making it a bit difficult to roll, and ultimately lowering your control of the boat.

The new seating system is extremely comfortable. More so than any other boat I have been in! Pump up lumbar support allows you to relax your lower back a bit. However, the slightly high backing restricts movement and impairs your stroke efficiency.

With only bow and stern hatches, you could not access anything from out on the water without a friend getting it for you. No deck lining was present, but enough bungee for day trips.

Decent boat if you can get it cheap, I'd say spend no more than 600 on a used one. The newer models likely have thigh braces and would be lighter.

Submit your own review!

09-17-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I firmly believe that you should steer clear of reviews that begin with "I'm new to kayaking" or "This is my first kayak", etc. Not being snobbish, but if I want to know how a car performs, I would not ask someone who just got their license or purchased their first car last week. I am slightly younger than some of the rivers I've run, have owned white water kayaks, rented sit on tops and paddled ocean surf, quiet lakes class 3 to 4 white water and consider myself intermediate - not expert. Size makes all the difference when discussing kayaks. I am male, 5'8" and 175lb.
Now on to the kayak.

I bought this kayak at the Toronto sportsman show way back in 1999, so I have a long history with this boat. After 14yrs, the kayak still looks good with only minor surface scratches.

The Good: This kayak is close to bullet proof (as are most rotomolded kayaks). It tracks like it is on rails and has reasonable speed. Primary and secondary stability are quite predictable. There is ample room in the forward and stern compartments to pack for a multi-day trip. It has stood up to the elements quite well. The hatches are reasonably but not completely waterproof.

The Bad: If I were to describe the seat in a single word, that word would be crude. Only slight adjustment for back rest angle and padding is nonexistent. Not a problem if you are going out for a short paddle, but after an hour you have to get out and stretch your legs. I bought my wife a WS Tsunami 135 and the seat in it immediately made me want to upgrade or get another boat. Guests look at the seat in mine, then hers and always choose the Tsunami. I always thought my boat was fast until my wife got the Tsunami. Although her boat is 2ft shorter, she can keep up with me quite easily. This may be partly due to the fact that over the years my boat has developed a warp that runs side to side right under the seat. I suspect at speed, this acts like an air (water?) brake. The same long keel line that makes this kayak track so well (it actually has negative rocker!) works against it when it comes time to turn. It must be aggressively edged or a lot of sweep stroke energy goes into changing direction (I do not have a rudder). Also, when the wind pipes up, it has a strong tendency to weather cock.

One place you do NOT want to take this kayak is surf! Other reviewers have noted its short comings here. If you look at pictures of this boat, you will see the bow is very slender. This translates into little buoyancy. Going out into the surf, the kayak will punch through each wave, rather than riding up over the waves. This will get you very wet. Surfing in, the nose will bury itself in the trough as you ride a wave and immediately broach. In large, regular swells it rides well but in surf this is one scary boat.

So why didn't I rate it lower than a 7? Truth is, 95% of all kayak owners use their kayaks on calm lakes and rivers at their cottages and seldom paddle more than an hour or two. Those that shoot Class 4 white water or go out in 10ft ocean swells are rare individuals. This is a tough, durable kayak that is relatively fast and easy to feel comfortable in at your cottage on the lake and cost $1000 less than many similar kayaks.

If used within its limitations it is a capable enough boat. It is not a top of the line sea kayak, but you are not paying top of the line prices here either.

Submit your own review!

08-17-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     I have to agree 100% with everything Inukie said about this kayak, so I won't repeat everything, especially the control issues.

I am 6'1" and 215 lbs, maybe a bit big for this Yak. I have been paddling for many years and have paddled a number of make and models mostly all Sea Touring but even some recreational when that was the only option. Contrary to other reviews I had no problems getting in the cockpit.

I found the St. Lawrence very uncomfortable to sit in for more than an hour. I couldn't find any comfortable position for my feet, size 12 and that's bare feet. It seemed impossible to adjust the foot rudder controls to a position where my feet could comfortably work the rudder. My butt also objected to any longer period due to lack of a half decent seat and I have kayaked for 6 or 7 hours non-stop before.

I paddled it on the St Lawrence River in the Morrisberg area with a wind of approx. 10 km/h. Waves maybe 1.5 feet high. The hatches leaked liked crazy everytime a wave hit and I really tried to tighten down the belts. The bow plowed through everything that came at me, causing more water to enter the hatches. The skirt the boat came with left a lot to be desired. Rolling usually demanded pumping out a fair bit a water. I also found the deck lines a problem. Water bottles and bailing pump kept sliding out somehow. Never really had that problem with other boats.

I did not appreciate this boat at all and certainly would not recommend it to anyone that wants to actually paddle on anything more than on a quiet pond at the cottage. There are much better boats for not much more money.

Submit your own review!

07-30-2007
Submitted by: BillSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Pro's: Tracks pretty well, not to heavy, decent storage space, takes waves well and of course the fantastic price given it comes with a rudder system.

Cons: Low(er) to water then Kayaks I have borrowed off of friends so plastic bag your gear, Small(er) cockpit entrance and not the greatest fit and seal of the storage spaces (foam taped quickly solved - $2.00 fix). O yeah, I can't wear my Teva's inside it - size 11.5 foot.

I bought this Kayak WITH a Georgian Bay from the same company and 2 decent fiberglass paddles for what my friend paid for his Wilderness Systems 14 with a paddle. I row in the Long Island Sound, Hudson River lower then Albany& random creeks creeks and lakes. I am 5'9", 190 lbs and wear a 34 waist. Slightly less stable as some expensive kayaks (i think it is narrower) but quick on the water, maneuverable and a great value. I would recommend this kayak unless you have to get a brand carried in EMS/ REI. Taller/ longer legged people might have trouble with the cockpit size when getting in and once and a while I get water from waves, but thank the guys with big engines for that. Great boat, I like it, definitely worth my 2 hour drive to get it.

Submit your own review!

07-10-2006
Submitted by: InukieSend Email
Rating: 5 of 10

     The St. Lawrence comes equiped with a small drink holder in the seat, which probably says more about the thinking behind this kayak than anything else.

The St. Lawrence is NOT a kayak for Arctic waters and should not be considered by anyone contemplating kayaking in the Arctic. We have been evaluating it and other kayaks for use by Inuit living here in the North. We have been comparing it to kayaks by Current Design, Boreal, P&H and Seaward. The ClearWater Design company supplied paddles broke off the very first day in light conditions at both ends in 2 degree water as the aluminum tubing contracted around the plastic paddle and seemed to shear them off. New paddles sent out from the factory arrived broken in shipping.

The rudder system simple will not work when the kayak is cold (2-4 degree C)as the foot pedals bind against the inside of the hull. Even attempting to push the pedals by hand on land out of water is nearly imposible when cold. (Arctic waters are always cold.) The company has not provided us without any remedy or suggestions to date.

The hatches (front and rear) seem unable to keep water out and seemed to have been miss-cut at the factory, so that they cannot seal properly. The company has not responded to any emails on how this might be fixed. We find close to a litre of water in each compartment on any day where there normal sea chop.

Contrary to other reviews above, it would be impossible to say that this kayak is safe in surf conditions. The St. Lawrence will either submarine the bow on even small waves (2ft) or is incapable or riding over waves when going to weather. It will broach on anything larger than 2 feet of actual saltwater waves in close sets. Made it can surf swells but who calls that surfing? Normal surfing on 3-6ft waves would seem impossible as the bow goes under immediately and the stern swings around before you have even started to surf. Strong bracing will avoid the broach but the bow will stay submerged even in light stuff.

The spray-skirt supplied by the factory comes undone just in normal paddling. It will not stay attached during any effort to roll or even lean into turn. Don't bother buying it as it will only block access to your drink holder.

The St. Lawrence weathercocks severely in winds over 18km and and in stronger winds and seas you will find you must do far more work trying to just stay upright and you broadside the waves.

Of the kayaks we are evaluating, the St. Lawrence received the lowest score from anyone who has tested it here in the Hudson Bay area. A score of 5 is fair as it seems only half as good as the others we have evaluated here.

In calm water and close to shore it would be adequate or perhaps on freshwater lakes and rivers during calm conditions when you can use that drink holder in the seat.

Submit your own review!

03-07-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Boat paddles great. Tracks well and is fast on the water. Only negative asspect small cockpit. I am 5'11" and it is a tight fit getting in and out, but is still comfortable once I am in the boat.
Submit your own review!

03-12-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have owned my St Lawrence now for 3 years and have been in Lake Ontario in all conditions in it and it really is a very stable boat in waves and adverse conditions. It is a little soft on the bottom but for a polyethlene kayak is very good value for the money. Clearwater now have a slightly larger version for larger paddlers so when mine wears out (as if it will!) I would get one of those. A great boat and very very good value.
Submit your own review!

09-16-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     Polyethelene sea kayak with front and rear storage. Just bought the boat took the boat out for the first time in 10 mph winds and light chop. The boat handled superbly, very efficient to paddle, and operate rudder. Much prefered with the rudder as it was easier to control. successfully performed a wet entry, one dry and one when full of water, no problem. extremly stable for 24" wide. Accidently crushed hull when attaching to roof, however when the straps were released the plastic sprang back to the original shape. Need to test this boat in larger waves before giving the final rating.

This is my first sit below kayak, so my rating does not account for a lot of kayaking experience, however I really had a blast on my first day out.

Submit your own review!

09-07-2001
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     As a first time kayaker, I searched around alot! Test paddled several boats before deciding on the St. Lawrence. I have not been dissapointed. Althought I have the shortest boat of my new found group, I have no trouble keeping up with them and even getting in and out of tight spots which they cannot. I am enjoying this kayak more each day.
Submit your own review!

05-31-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     My St. Lawrence has performed well in every area. Lakes, marshes, rivers(II's)and the ocean as well. Rough Atlantic surf was unnerving until I realized what this boat could do. It can do it all! The St. Lawrence is by far one of the best bargains in the poly class, outfitted with all the extra that come standard at almost half the price. A little challenge with the skirt fit and narrow combing, but not enough to shy away from singing this boats praises. The online support from the good people at clearwaterdesignboats has been super. I gave the St. Lawrence a 9 because of the combing issue and the fact there is always room for improvement.
Submit your own review!

04-02-2001
Submitted by: TJSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Love It! It's fast, stable and tracks great even without a rudder! Great daytripper and has enough room for weekend camping. I looked long and hard before buying a St. Laurence and nothing could compete with this boat!
Submit your own review!

04-20-2000
Submitted by: GASend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Also known as the Explorer, the St. Lawrence is a very stable and forgiving kayak better suited for smaller paddlers. It tracks exceptionally well without the rudder. Surfing is great and side waves simply roll under without affecting the tracking. The adjustable seat is comfortable. The only draw backs, the absence of knee braces and the bottom appears to be a bit soft but it still handles four foot waves without any problems. I compared this kayak against more renowned plastic kayaks and for all around, the St. Lawrence turned out better. The price, lets just say that it's a very good deal.
Submit your own review!

Don't Miss the Paddling.net Weekly Newsletter!
Free Newsletter120,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!














2-6 Day Kayaking Trips
San Juan Islands
Camping & Inns
www.crystalseas.com/KayakCamp

Follow us on:
Free Newsletter | About Us | Site Map | Advertising Info | Contact Us

Sweepstakes

©2014 Paddling.net Inc.