Design & Manufacturing

Computer designed

Our boats are all computer designed.  This gives us exact information about where the centre of buoyancy is located, allowing the seats and cockpits to be precisely located. It also enables us to scale a model design up or down to suit different paddler sizes and weight.  Each time we do this, we effectively create a new kayak which preserves all the performance criteria of the original and ensures that the hull feedback to the paddler is kept the same.

Consistent build

Early Tiderace designs were made in wood-strip to create the original master shape. Now, master shapes are cut directly from a computer file by a computer controlled milling machine – the accuracy of this system ensures that boats are totally symmetrical and an exact match to the design created on the computer.

We then evaluate each boat, comparing our library of computer drawn design characteristics with real-world boat performance and paddler feedback. This evaluation process, and the fact that the designers regularly paddle their own designs, inspires us to constantly refine our understanding and develop new concepts.

Boat sizing: what is different about our approach?

In order to best match the performance of a boat to the size of the paddler, a boat design must be scaled to fit. Tiderace kayaks are available in a range of different sizes and it is important that this change in size does not affect the performance of the given model.
This cannot be achieved by simply chopping height out of a large boat to make a new “small person’s boat” and then expect the same handling characteristics. The same is true when adapting a small boat to fit a larger paddler; You cannot just raise the cockpit and add knee space. Crucially, we believe, the hull shape itself must also be scaled.

Cockpit Design

What’s different about Tiderace cockpit design?

Our cockpits make people smile. We’d like to share why rather than just keep it to ourselves.

Tiderace cockpits feature:

  • Optimum leg/knee position for power transfer, comfort and body rotation
  • Thigh braces which promote comfort, precision, and ease of access.
  • Knee pockets which allow adjustment and movement
  • Maximum connectivity for better feedback, grip, and less pressure points
  • Backrests which are simple, adjustable and allow unrestricted body rotation

Key principles of the design:

Optimum leg/knee position

When seated, legs must not outwardly rotate and push the hip joint close to its outward  rotation limit. A splayed “frogs legs” position is uncomfortable for extended periods, it does not give good power transfer out through the feet, and restricts the pelvis from rotating slightly when necessary. Legs provide the best drive when they are not left lying straight on the hull bottom, a raised knee is preferable.

Thigh braces

Our thigh braces are positioned to allow a raised knee, and are comfortably spaced apart to allow easy entry into the cockpit and precise control over the boat. A very close together knee position may be best for flat water racing, some width between the knees gives a better purchase under the thigh grips for rolling and edging. This position allows the thigh and the foot to align, thus reducing the rotational forces acting on the knee and ankle – again, the less twist in the joint, the better the power transfer.

Knee pocket

Our thigh-braces are part of a greater knee pocket design, where contact is made over a triangular area running almost the length of the thigh to around the inside of the lower thigh / knee area. The knee pocket is reasonably wide to allow a degree of adjustment and movement, so not to restrict total lateral movement and allow for a slight change of position to aid comfort over a period of time.

Cockpit connectivity

The greater the contact, the less the pressure on any one point, giving better the grip on the boat, and therefore providing precise feedback to the paddler about how the hull’s interacting with the water.


Our backrests are firmly bolted to the seat sides, and are a simple, wide padded backband design. It is positioned relatively low down as standard allowing for unrestricted body rotation. The backband can be adjusted and raised should the paddler need additional support.