Since it was launched in March 2017, the Audax has proven to be a popular, versatile and successful design in the Fast Touring Sea Kayak genre.
Among paddler's achievements in the boat include a blistering 10 1/2 hour time for the 111km Hawkesbury Classic by Nick Blacklock, Shaan Gresser's astonishing solo and direct crossing of Bass Strait, done in good style and in a very fast time, numerous big water expeditions including Eastern Bass Strait and the Nadgee Wilderness, and some very respectable times in the Australian Ocean racing series.
For all of it's instant success across a broad range of abilities and ambitions however, the Audax does have a lower weight threshold of around 65-70kg, which makes it unsuitable as a day boat for some lighter paddlers.
So, as soon as the Audax was launched and won instant approval from our kayaking peers, we began work on a lower volume version to cater to paddlers in the lighter weight ranges, to provide a well trimmed kayak more suited to their weight.
We had to try to maintain the Audax' mix of speed and stability, whilst designing hull features that provide a more satisfying ride for paddlers who often find themselves more exposed to the wind.
We introduced slightly more 'V' into the stern to help the boat track, preventing problems with windage that can challenge lighter paddlers in kayaks that are too buoyant. We also made the ergonomics more compact to improve contact for smaller bodies.
The boat is shorter, 540cm compared to 560cm for the full sized Audax, and also a fraction narrower at 52cm, acknowledging the fact that smaller, lighter paddlers definitely don't need or even want the same amount of stability that bigger, more top-heavy people require.
The width of the Audax Azure foredeck is deliberately narrower and steeper-sided to allow a narrower paddle strike zone. The boat has a more progressive rocker profile than the full sized Audax to enhance rough water performance. We
We‘ve retained the standard sized cockpit coaming, as many smaller paddlers testing the prototype remarked upon the versatility of the shape in allowing both knees-together, and a more traditional splayed leg position.
These design points weren't reached through theorising alone; since the first prototype was built more than 18 months ago we've handed it over to a big range of paddlers, both confident and not-so-confident, in a wide variety of sea and bay conditions. We sought feedback each time, and honed the shape as we saw gaps between our theory and the reality on the water, and feel as though we now have a boat with the same broad appeal and performance scope as the Audax.
The result is a sea kayak with potential for racing and fitness paddling, with a carrying capacity up to 120kg for extended multi day or multi week expeditions. It's made in Australia, designed and fitted out by Rob Mercer, and completely customisable to your colours and preferences.
It's available in the 23kg Elite layup, a bombproof build designed to be put through the wringer by expeditions who are hard on their boats and gear, and the 21kg elite layup for premium strength to weight performance. It's best suited to paddlers in the 58-88kg weight range.
Get in touch to arrange a test paddle.