matty's tasmanian adventures - index


Evolution Edge & Sisson Evolution Ski (skevolution)


Sisson Evolution Ski - 'Skevolution'.

Firstly, if you are anywhere other than New Zealand I wouldn't risk buying a kayak/ski from Sisson.  The reason for this is the chance of damage during transport.  The story of my experience is as follows:

I ordered an evolution ski in late 2002.  It arrived in Tasmania a few months later and it mush have been squashed in the shipping container because it had lots of stress cracks and scratches along the boat.  Obviously I wasn't happy when I had paid NZ$3604 (including freight & insurance) for a new kayak.  I obtained some quotes for the repair to get it back to an undamaged state.  The quote from a reputable Tasmanian kayak manufacturer was A$750 for the freight damage.  They also quoted a further A$750 to tidy up other issues where they regarded the ski as poorly finished off.

The other problems were:

- Rudder cables poorly drilled & fractured with kevlar strands protruding
- cockpit section appears to have been poorly repaired with gelcoat heavily brushed on in foot wells & cockpit seat
- the join pinline is poorly finished off
- air bubbles evident near pinline in several areas
- overall poorly gelcoated
- some air in the deck
- 'hot' resin has been used in bow stem (leaving patchy light paint finish)
- end loops poorly done
- cockpit section poorly attached to hull, gelcoat poorly applied to join
- rudder poorly set up & is loose & hits hull when lowered

I passed on these comments to Sisson that the quote was for A$750 for the freight damage and A$750 to tidy up the items that were considered to be poorly finished.  The reply from Sisson was that NZ$2000 (the conversion of A$1500) for this work is a "ripoff". 

My thoughts were, that when I had paid NZ$3605 for the cracked and poorly finished kayak I felt even more 'ripped off!'

My previous experience with a New Zealand kayak was my purchase of a Paddling Perfection Slingshot.  I purchased that kayak through a retailer in Tasmania.  In that case they were the ones that had to provide the undamaged goods and were the ones that took the risk with the freight.  When my Slingshot arrived it had cracks along both sides for the full length of the kayak.  I was obviously unsatisfied and the Tasmanian retailer were the ones who returned the kayak to NZ and a new boat was eventually sent - in perfect condition.  That all took close to a year to sort out.

I told Sisson that with the slingshot kayak that had come from NZ to Tasmania and was similarly damaged in transit - it was replaced.  Sisson's reply was-

"You have had a similar experience with Paddling Perfection of Auckland that resulted in them sending  you (under pressure) a new replacement Slingshot boat when all you were entitled to was a repair on the original freight damaged boat.  You may have been in receipt of 'betterment' from at least one previous insurance claim, when no insurance cover is ever intended to provide for that."

My answer to that is - I had no contact at all with Paddling Perfection as I bought the boat from a retailer in Tasmania.  I have no idea what the retailer said to Paddling Perfection.

How the hell is wanting a new undamaged kayak 'betterment' when you have paid for a new kayak?

If you ordered a new car and it was squashed in a shipping container on the way from Japan to Australia there is no way in a million years that you would be expected to accept that the car would just be repaired, and you should just say "Thank you" and be grateful for getting anything at all.  How is a kayak any different?  I guess the main thing that gives me the shits is that I don't think the freight companies take any care to look after items marked 'top load' or 'fragile'.

Now about the Evolution Ski - they are quite fast, but now that Fenn and Epic are getting so many racing skis into Australia, I would go with one of them.  It is best to let someone else take the freight risks.  I now have an Epic V10L ocean ski and I love it.


If you are going to buy an Evolution Edge kayak (in Australia) it is better to buy a carbon evolution edge from Canoes Plus in Victoria who can also produce the kayak.

Back in 1995 I bought a second hand Evolution Edge.  It was 3 or 4 years old when I got it but it was still a good weight 13 or 14 kilos.  My first impressions were that it was very narrow in the cockpit and sharp like a knife in front of the cockpit.  Even after paddling surf life saving surf skis, I found the Evolution Edge a bit tippy.  I believe that my evolution edge was made from the mould at Canoes Plus in Victoria.

When paddling it I found that it carved through swells, slicing through them instead of riding over them like a surf lifesaving surf ski. The Evolution Edge is definitely a fast kayak ... but only if you have trained enough in all conditions to feel comfortable in it.  You can't buy a fast kayak.  You have to earn a fast kayak (someone very wise said that - I think it was a NZ multisport guru).

When choosing a kayak to use for racing - you need to have a kayak that you can paddle comfortably when you are exhausted, dehydrated and you are out in rough conditions far from the shore.  You should also learn to roll the kayak - and be able to do this when you are tired and in rough water.  This will give you a lot of confidence.

There is no such thing as a 'fast kayak' if you cant stay in it.  The biggest mistake new paddlers make is seeing that the best paddlers are all using a UFO/Time Bandit/Epic V10 or some other kayak and buying one assuming that you will get used to it.

Obviously if someone trains 3 or 4 times a week all year and persists with their training and builds up to rougher water - they could do their kayak justice.  But mostly people become disheartened with their tippy new kayak and don't persist.  If you are a new paddler and you buy a 'fast kayak', you should expect to be pretty ordinary for quite a while.

It is better to build up to a faster kayak in stages like ... sea kayak, wide racing kayak (like Grafton Paddle Sports - 'GT', then something sleeker.  There are so many options and it isn't the kayak that makes the difference, it is the paddler and the training.  There is a pretty good market for second hand kayaks, so you shouldn't have too much trouble upgrading.

I wasn't a big fan of the rudder on the Evolution Edge.  It was attached to the kayak by a thick bolt that went down into the kayak but the more the rudder is hit, the hole widens and the rudder wobbles around, whereas the Time Bandit rudder is attached with 2 screws into the stern of the boat.  The rudder can pivot up easily and there is a fitting on top to attach a cord to so you can pull up the rudder.

Even though the evo edge has been around a while now they are still a very competitive race boat - if you put in the training.

My new Evolution Edge - by Canoes Plus


My first Evolution Edge