A Small Adults Kayak from Mariner Kayaks:

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The Elan is Mariner Kayaks' 10th sea kayak design. The Elan was designed to provide smaller lighter paddlers a great fitting sea kayak that even the most expert paddlers among them can love. The Elan meets a smaller paddler's needs in many ways beyond a great cockpit fit. The cockpit is lower and recessed more in back to provide better elbow clearance for shorter torsos. No more feeling like you're paddling your bathtub! Because smaller lighter paddlers have a lower center of gravity and less weight to shift around (more body weight makes a kayak less stable) they can take advantage of the efficiency inherent in a narrower hull without feeling any tippier than a larger paddler does in a wider kayak. In fact, most wide kayaks are too stable for smaller paddlers because they are difficult to tilt when it is desirable or necessary.

Unfortunately, most narrow kayaks available now are just too long and/or too stiff tracking for smaller paddlers to handle in strong winds. We’ve discovered that a kayak with a shorter waterline can turn quicker than a longer one even when both have the same tracking stiffness. Surprisingly, some short kayaks both track straighter and turn easier than longer kayaks. Quicker turning can be a big advantage for control in strong winds. The Elan is designed to be sporty and maneuverable at lower speeds but increase in tracking stiffness at higher speeds and when loaded with gear.

Given the same kayak, a smaller lighter paddler is more easily blown about by the wind.   The lighter paddler floats higher and is therefore more exposed to the wind. Also, with less weight the wind can blow it around more easily. Given the same load a shorter and/or narrower kayak will sit deeper in the water. This both cuts the kayaks windage and makes the kayak harder to be blow around because the greater draft resists sideways motion better. The Elan is not only shorter and narrower but its side profile is thinner further cutting its windage.

At 16 feet 1.5 inches long by 21.5 inches wide the Elan is long enough to be fast in a sprint but short and narrow enough that the resulting reductions in wetted surface minimize drag at cruising speed. A kayak that "fits" a smaller paddler in these ways means its paddler doesn’t have to be as strong as a bigger paddler in order to maintain the same speed (or to turn in the same high wind). Your Elan will be easier to handle on land as well because a smaller kayak can be a lighter kayak.

The Elan’s lower cockpit and built in thigh braces provide a smaller paddler with a firmer fit. This results in a level of control never before experienced by someone who rattles around in a normal sized cockpit. Like all Mariner kayaks the Elan has: a comfortable, soft, dry ride and a secure neutrality in rough seas. Weathercocking and broaching are minimal. This along with a nimble responsiveness to the paddle and crisp carved turns that are precisely controlled by leaning, means a rudder is just unnecessary clutter. Like most Mariner’s the Elan easily slides over kelp (or beaches when landing or launching) moving either forward or in reverse. You might say it has that Mariner ELAN.

The Elan has been reviewed in the April 1999 issue of Sea Kayaker magazine. Click on Elan Review here or on ELAN in the "Reviews:" pickbox in the sidebar.

Hull Configuration and Features:

  • Swedeform--widest aft of center the opposite of Fish-form (for less wave-making resistance due to the finer angle of entry)
  • Shallow V-bottom with flared sides (for a narrow waterline and high secondary stability)
  • Rounded V forebody (soft ride) develops into hard chines (resists broaching)
  • Molded skeg runs from center of buoyancy aft (resists broaching)
  • Little rocker at stern, substantial at bow (for tracking and maneuverability)
  • Rake in bow and stern profiles (easily slides over seaweed, obstructions, and steep beaches)
  • Lots of reserve buoyancy at both bow and stern for a drier ride
  • Lower rear deck (easier Eskimo rolls and reduced windage aft cuts weatherhelm)
  • Higher forebody for more foot room (to men's size 9) and a drier cockpit
  • Built in knee braces (for security and control)
  • Balanced wind/water couple at cruising speed (doesn’t weathercock)


Length overall: 16’ 1.25"
Beam: 21.5"
Cockpit opening: 32.25" x 15.25"
Depth at front of cockpit: 10.75"
Depth at rear of cockpit: 8.125"
Center of Buoyancy: 53%
Volume (filled with water): 12 cu.ft. (90 gal.)
Volume (Nautilus program) Sea Kayaker uses Nautilus (all the volume inside the shape) 12.4 cu. ft.  (92.6 gal.)

Hydrostatics with 150 lbs. added:

Waterline length: 13' 10.3"
Waterline beam: 19.8"
Draft: 3.7"
Prismatic Coefficient: 0.55
Midship Coefficient: 0.79
Volumetric Coefficient: 0.00116
Wetted Surface in sq. ft: 17.66
Lbs./inch immersion: 80.3

Hydrostatics with 250 lbs. added:

Waterline length: 14' 5.5"
Waterline beam: 20.6"
Draft: 4.9"
Prismatic Coefficient: 0.56
Midship Coefficient: 0.81
Volumetric Coefficient: 0.00154
Wetted Surface in sq. ft: 20.94
Lbs./inch immersion: 88.7

Mariner Kayaks