Gear Review: P&H Delphin 150 Kayak
Value Rating: 8
Durability Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8
Location of Test: Ocean, lakes, Columbia River Gorge in small craft advisory conditions
Duration of Test: 100 hrs so far
Product Name: Delphin 150
Product Brand: P&H
Best Use: Sea Kayaking (coastal play and day trips)
The Full Review:
As a sea kayak instructor for Next Adventure, The P&H Delphin 150 is the boat I paddle the most, by choice, for teaching and also for leading trips. This is basically a plastic version of P&H's Aries, and it retains much of the handling characteristics of the Aries, although in a slightly heavier but more durable package.
The outfitting is excellent! P&H/Pyranha's "Connect" outfitting is my favorite!! Super comfortable and the seat and knee braces are adjustable. The foot braces are easily adjustable while paddling and have a large platform.
This kayak has a very interesting hull profile. It has a single chine profile that is very sharp from the bow to the front of the cockpit, and from behind the cockpit to the stern, but the chine edges round out where most of the paddler's weight is located. This edge makes for a boat that turns extremely well but is forgiving. You can be a little lazy in this boat and not get punished for it. The downside is that the boat tends to slide out during bow rudders more than I would like (I prefer hard chines the full length of the hull) but the upside is that it will change direction during a hard, inside leaning braced turn (also known as a "Crank Turn" or "Haghighi") VERY quickly. These rounded chines in that location also make for very effective hanging draw stokes without having to raise your inside edge.
The boat has progressive rocker (progressively more rocker in the bow, very little in the stern) which makes for good tracking and going over waves in conditions, rather than punching through them. when punching through the surf, if surfaces very quickly, and it also surfs ocean waves (as well as standing waves) extremely well.
The boat rolls easily and has very solid primary and secondary stability, and the transition between them is not abrupt. Because of this, the overall stability profile is very predictable and forgiving, and easy to manage for a beginner, and allows you to lean the boat on edge hard in nasty conditions as an advanced paddler.
The Delphin's primary job is as a "coastal play" kayak, and it does this job better than most. You can take it out rock gardening and run pour overs or through slots, and the boat is forgiving enough that if you are a little lazy or make a slight mistake, you can easily correct it and not get pounded. It is very confidence inspiring to paddle in those conditions.
This boat also has a skeg, but it doesn't really need it. Weathercocking in this boat is slight to nonexistent. The low back deck and swede form make for a wind-friendly kayak. You probably won't need it, but it's nice to know it's there and easy to use if you do.
My only gripe about this boat is the lack of a day hatch. The Delphin 155 has one, but the 155 is bigger than I like. Instead of a day hatch, they move the rear bulkhead back, so you have some room behind the seat. The problem with that is that the boat retains more water while doing reentries, and it's not easy to get a day bag out from behind the seat. If P&H were to put a day hatch in this kayak, and I'd own one for my personal use (Hey, P&H, are you listening???! Get a Day hatch on this boat and I'll be a customer!!)
If the lack of a day hatch isn't a deal breaker for you though, I can highly recommend this boat. If you’re a larger or heavier paddler the Delphin 155 (which has a day hatch) might be your ticket.
While primarily designed as a coastal play/day touring kayak, you could use this boat for overnight or weekend camping, or longer if you are into the "ultralight" kayak camping thing.
At 15 ft, this boat is fairly fast for its waterline length. You won't win any races but won't fall behind your friends in their 16-17 foot boats, plus you won't be dragging around more boat than you need (the longer the boat, the more frictional resistance you have to fight).
Stable and predictable handling
Good primary and secondary stability
Low back deck for ease of rolling and less weather cocking issues
Surfs very well
Little to no weathercocking even with the skeg up.
No Day Hatch
Tends to spin out during turns (bow rudders) and lose speed
The Bottom Line:
Great boat for beginner up to expert for sea kayaking day trips.