Hypr Vantage Review

A buddy of mine just bought the new Hypr Vantage last week (I can't remember whether it’s called a Hyper or Hypr Vantage so I'll just call it the "HV"). We took it for a Hawaii Kai run yesterday. Even though it was my friend's first long run with the HV, he was gracious enough to let me paddle it for the last half of the run. The winds were up on the South side of the Island but the water was a little sloppy, resulting in so-so conditions.

The HV is made is China just like the Hypr Pahoa and now shares some of the same feature as the Hurricane.

The changes that I've noticed and my comments are as follows:

Hull Design: The hull footprint appears to remain unchanged. Overall craftsmanship and quality was good. The hull on my friend's boat was rock solid which is a plus.

Deck Design. The edges on the tail have been softened to round out some of the sharp angles found on the older version. The change is aesthetic, only. The rudder appears to be the same type use in the previous version and appears to be in the same location. The deck in front of the front iako is taller, giving the paddler a feeling of looking out of a cockpit of an F16 fighter jet. The change appears to have been made to accomodate the new iako system. The foot wells and the seat cavity have been redesigned. The foot wells and peddle system are almost identical in design to the Hurricane's. The peddles are half the size of the old aluminum peddles and are made of some black plasticky type material or carbon fiber. I found that the new peddle design made the HV feel less maneuverable than the old design because of the way the peddles are hinged. The hinges on the old version are at the bottom of the heel. The new ones are hinged where the soles of your are. Stainless cables are still being used instead of the cord material used in the Hurricane. The vent plug is now located behind the seat for easy access instead of the tail.

Seat: The seat now operates on a plastic track system just like the Hurricane, giving the owner a variety of positions to choose from. The seat also feels a bit deeper than the older version which is a plus. The deeper seat provides more support for the paddler than the old design. However, like the Hypr Pahoa's seat, the seat on the HV would not lock into position and slid back whenever I pushed firmly against the foot wells for leverage. I don't know whether the seat was specifically designed to do this but I found it rather annoying. I would replace the track with a Velcro system unless this problem is fixed. The seat wells are now connected to the foot wells so water from the seat cavity drains into the foot well. That's a plus.

Foot Drain: The drains have been repositioned and are lower in the foot well than on the old model. The holes on the underside of the canoe are covered. This disrupts the laminar(sp?) flow of water over the hull with unknown results. The drains, however, are the most effective ones I've found on any boat. When the boat is up so speed, you can actually hear the drains sucking water. Again, whether this creates drag on the hull is anybody's guess. The drain system leaves virtually no water in the foot well while paddling.

Rudder Cable: The rudder cable connections at the tail are now covered with a black plastic cover piece. Although the cable system is partially exposed and not completely covered like the Hurricane’s, it is just the same because the cover makes the cable connection points inaccessible in a pinch. Forget about rigging any makeshift cables out in the open ocean/lake when the cable breaks.

Iako: The iakos are now made of black carbon fibrous material. They are lighter than the aluminum ones and are supposed to be stronger. The iakos attach to the canoe using a plastic sleeve system that is virtually identical to the Hurricane’s. The iako’s attachment to the ama has also changed. The front attachment slides into a hole on the side of the ama. The rear attachment slides into the top of the ama just like the Viper/Stingray setup. Both the front and rear iako attachments use snap buttons to lock the ama and iako into position. The new setup is supposed to make the rigging “tighter” than the old. However, the snap buttons are set so deep into the ama that you need the steel fingers of a kung fu master with the length of ET’s index finger to get into the hole to unsnap the button. I have neither so I used a car key.

Ama: The ama design has radically changed from the old wave blade ama. I know Steve Blythe tried to use other designs but am unfamiliar with the various designs and am unable to tell you if its one these design. Suffice it to say that the ama looks like the Hurricane ama with the front end bent upward so that only the back half touches the water. The ama is light and rigid. The design looks weird but I liked the way it felt in the water. The ama was responsive, light and quiet (no drumming). Lifting the ama out of the water was as easy, if not easier, than the old model. I can’t comment on how the ama performs in the larger swells because there weren’t a whole lot of swells when I paddled the canoe.

My overall impression of the new design is that positioning feels as good, if not better, than the old design. The HV doesn’t feel as maneuverable in the water because the new peddles feel like they require more effort to move. This is probably a matter of getting used to the new peddles rather than the canoes inability to maneuver. The cable rudder attachments look cleaner but its design prohibits the owner from "tinkering" around with the setup beyond its preset positions. The new design also prohibits quick access to the rudder in case of an emergency. The new foot well and seat cavity are a plus but the sliding track system for the seat is flawed and needs to be fixed. The ama system is tight and works well, but leaves no room for shortening or lengthening the iakos beyond the preset levels. The snap button system definitely needs to be reworked. Given the performance enhancements and the they the old design moves through the water, I would still consider the HV as a buy.


Submitted by Snarfblat on Sun, 01/08/2006 - 9:34am

Nice review and the Pahoa one too. Thanks.

Any sites to see the new boats at ?

Seems a shame the new seat sounds like a step backwards ..... hope its not due to some bean counter imposing his way on everyone and maybe things will improve.

Snarfblat, did you notice if the new pedals were a little shorter / flexier than regular Vantage? Do you think the extra effort you mentioned could be from having less 'leverage' with the shorter pedals or from cables run a little askew ? Maybe they are drilling the hole spacing @ the rudder yoke closer too .... this would feel 'harder' as rudder is moving a little more. Did fin have more rake ? Just wondering. Thanks.

#1 Mon, 01/09/2006 - 10:01am

The seat was comfortable and its placement and design is superior to the older version IMO. With a little massaging, the seat can be made better. For one thing, the seat had a bit of overhang (i.e., foam extened past the width of the canoe). This is easily remedied with a butter knief.

The track mechanism simply needs to be reworked. I think once the mechanism is fixed, the track mechanism will be ok.

The peddles are made of different material than the old version. The old version used aluminum peddles. The HV uses carbon or plastic material.

The aluminum peddles are as long as your foot but the carbon peddles are one-half the length of your foot. That means the pivot points are different. On the old version, the pivot point is at the base of the peddle where your heel is. On the new version. the pivot point is where the sole of your feet is. Thus, to push the peddle, you point your toe against the peddle. Turning the rudder becomes more of an art of pushing with your toes rather than your feet. The newer peddles not only feel mushier but are harder to move. Its a lot easier to mash the peddle with your feet rather than by curling your toes.

The photos in this site have pictures of both the older version and the newer version. Manny is shown paddling the newer version. However, it does appear that Manny's canoe still doesn't have some of the changes I noted (e.g., carbon iakos, sliding seat, etc.).


#2 Mon, 01/09/2006 - 2:02pm

This is the first I've heard of a Hypr Pahoa and Vantage. What are the differences between these canoes and their "regular" counterparts?

Where is the review on the Hypr Pahoa?

#3 Fri, 01/13/2006 - 8:03am

Hey Snarfblatt,

I really commend you on the thorough review you've done on the Vantage. Feel free to email me directly if you have questions. I really appreciate constructive comments, as it really helps us confirm our own opinions or improve on stuff that needs fixing. Call me on 808-960-4667 if you can. Thanks again


#4 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 1:54pm

I strongly disagree with snarfblat with the opinion on the footdrains. I have done many runs on the boat and there is no way the water drains on this boat. As soon as water gets init does not drain out i have to kick it out with my feet. Another problem is the annoying squeeking coming from the iakos and the amount of flex it gives. Paddling on the left side even sitting straight up I cannot get the boat to stop leaning on every stroke. I know boats may tend to lean sometimes but there is no getting away from this.

#5 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 7:40pm

Paddleguy, if your Hypr version does not drain, the drain in your footwells must be different in some form or fashion than the one I paddled. I paddle the original version and there is always water in the footwells. The Hypr version that I've been paddling, however, runs virtually dry once the boat is moving. The drain holes in the original design are in a different place than the Hypr version. The original version also does not have these small coverings over the holes that helps to creates a stronger vacuum signal than ones without it.

On another note, I was wrong about the peddle design on the original boat versus the HV. The peddle length appears to be about the same for both boats as well as where the hinges are. The aluminum peddles are stiffer and appear to have greater torsional rigidity than the carbon counterparts. In regard to my comment about the responsiveness of the HV (or lack thereof), a friend of mine said he experienced the same problem with his Kayak until some person with experience showed him how to shorten the rudder cables on each side to raise the neutral peddle position closer to verticle. This fix may work on the HV.

I rode the canoe a second time last week and did notice a little bit of creaking. I did not bother to trace the source, however. If I were to guess, my guess is that it was coming from the slip where the iakos fit into the canoe.

#6 Mon, 01/30/2006 - 10:58pm

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