Submitted: 07-31-2007 by ndkpaddler
The Vampire is a very fast but very tippy kayak. Its stability is much more like a K1 sprint boat than a sea kayak, as is its cockpit configuration and construction. If you are coming at it from the sea kayaking side make sure you go for a test paddle before purchasing. You might get a shock. If you already paddle K1 sprint boats or the fastest surf skis then you'll know what to expect.
I'm still learning to paddle mine, and I'm finding it a challenge. I currently spend as much time bracing as forward paddling, even in flat water, so despite the "potential speed" of the Vampire I'm still much faster in a slow 16' sea kayak over any distance. I have yet to succeed in rolling it, despite having a solid combat roll in other kayaks (sea and whitewater). The K1-style seat and open cockpit are great for good forward paddling but there is very little purchase for the legs for rolling, and nothing to keep your hips in the boat. I have seen a friend roll it, so I know its possible, but its far from easy to roll. I have also not succeeded in doing a solo rescue in it yet, despite several attempts in the pool, so I would not contemplate taking it into open water at this stage.
My friend who has done some K1 sprint racing is comfortable in the Vampire and enjoys paddling it a lot. It is certainly a beautiful looking boat with excellent construction and finish.