Submitted: 09-21-2012 by arrudad
Deets: 15ft 9in long, 22.5 inches wide, 58.4lbs. Polyethylene
About me: Male, 125lbs, 5'6", 10+ years kayak instruction and sales experience
P&H Delphin is a chimera of sorts which fits into the new and exciting "play-the-sea" class of sea kayaks. The vision for this class was to fill the gap between sea kayaks and surf kayaks by producing hybrid craft capable of handling rough, ocean and surf conditions.
My first impressions in one word: WOW! Paddling the Delphin on flat water was surprisingly enjoyable. Itís definitely much faster and tracks a whole lot better than any whitewater play boat or traditional surf kayak that I've ever paddled. Surfing the Delphin on some light beach-break really brought out the best of this kayak. It excelled in catching the 2-3ft waves and resisted broaching but I was most blown away by its unbelievable secondary stability and "righting moment." Superb, Pyranha Whitewater-inspired cockpit outfitting really connects you to the Delphin for maximum performance during surf sessions!
There's no getting around that this is a niche kayak that's best suited for "play the sea." The Delphin does not perform as well as a sea kayak on flat water or surf quite as well as a true surf kayak. The short relative length (15ft), aggressive rocker, and spin disk add up to a general decrease in tracking performance when compared to a traditional sea kayak. The $1900 MSRP is a relatively high price point for a polyethylene sea kayak but the uniqueness of the Delphin may be worth it!
The P&H Delphin is a very special sea kayak that hangs out in a class of its own. One must appreciate that hybrids are never the best at both worlds. However, the Delphin performs exceptionally well in its "play at sea" niche.