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Stellar Kayaks S12 Review

Posted by on November 1, 2012

Image Courtesy of Stellar Kayaks


The Deets

Materials Available: Carbon-Core, Kevlar/fiberglass-core, Epoxy fiberglass-core, Polyester fiberglass-core

Length: 12’

Width: 25.6”

Cockpit size: 35.5” x 19”

Weights: Ultra (30lbs) Excel (32lbs) Advantage (34lbs) Sport (41lbs)

Capacity: 290lbs

Bulkheads: Front and Rear

Rudder/Skeg: No



From Stellar Kayaks:

“The Stellar 12’ (S12) Recreational Kayak is a great transitional boat. Excellent primary stability and tracking with efficient hull lines provide confidence and performance to those who paddle it. The over sized cockpit opening make it easy to enter or exit the boat. Water tight bow and stern storage compartments have ample storage for day tripping or overnight tours.”


The Review

The Stellar S12 provides beginner through intermediate paddlers with a fun, stable platform for endless hours of paddling. Its compact design is lightweight and performed well in our on-water demo. At first glance, the finishing on the S12 is exceptional. Front and rear bulkheads/hatches, spacious open cockpit, molded composite seat with pad, deck bungees, and sturdy strap handles are just a few of the details put forward on the final design of the S12.

Our test featured the S12 in the Advantage layup – a composite layup constructed from an epoxy infused fiberglass and Soric core laminate. Weighing in at just over 34lbs, the S12-Advantage provides a great combination between stiffness, weight, and durability.


Entering the S12 from the dock was a breeze as its wide, spacious cockpit provided an effortless ease of entry. The foot brace adjustments are easily accessible and allow paddlers to independently adjust each pedal while seated on the water. Upon first stroke, I found that the S12 tracked exceptionally well and glided effortlessly through the water. Let me repeat… the S12 glides effortlessly through the water with each paddle stroke. Featuring deck cutaways, the S12 allows paddlers to take high angle strokes without banging their knuckles on the deck. The S12 is designed with a unique “defined keel” line which provides extra purchase for tracking. The defined keel definitely revealed itself on the water as the S12 performed with great speed and efficiency for a twelve foot recreational craft. I found that the S12 had excellent primary stability and a predictable transition into final stability.

Unlike many similar kayaks in its class, the S12 does not maneuver as effortlessly as anticipated. Turning requires some extra strokes or a more aggressive lean to overcome its desire to track straight. While the defined keel line provides exceptional speed and efficiency, it takes away from the S12’s overall maneuverability.

Overall, the Stellar S12 is a great recreational kayak which performs side-by-side with competitors such as the Current Designs Vision 120SP or Lincoln Kayaks Quoddy Light. Ideal for a wide variety of paddler sizes and skills, the Stellar S12 is excellent for those looking for a lightweight recreational craft for exploring in-land lakes, rivers, or ponds.

Featuring unique deck cutaways for high-angle strokes


Pros: lightweight, stable, spacious cockpit, excellent tracking, nicely outfitted, quality finishing

Cons: stiff maneuverability


3 Responses to Stellar Kayaks S12 Review

  1. Doug Johnston

    Was the original stellar 12′ called/manufactured by Chieftain? They look very similar & specs. Thanks Doug

    • Alex Russo

      Hi Doug,

      Very intriguing inquiry. I am not familiar with a relationship between Chieftain and Stellar but I will do a little more in-depth research to see if I can uncover any further information.

      I will let you know what I find!

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