Sea Kayaks

SALAMANDER - the following testimonial has been provided by Mark Walsh who, in 2012, paddled the length of the Murray River to Goolwa at the mouth of Lake Alexandrina.

"One man, one kayak, 2,400 kms along Australia's longest river....raising funds for The Cancer Council"

Following weeks of intensive research into the many different types of touring kayaks on the market, I decided that the ‘Salamander sea kayak’ from Australis Canoes & Kayaks would be capable of withstanding the toughest of situations while I was on the river for 3.5 months. I knew that I would be encountering shallow & fast flowing narrow rapids from the start of my trip at Biggara in the high country of Victoria & that I would also be facing long, wide, open stretches of deeper water towards the end of my trip heading into South Australia. There would also be strong cold winter headwinds & choppy river swells to deal with. 

My Salamander was intended to get a real ‘work over’ of its full capabilities throughout the trip, in all weather conditions. This included heavy rains, sub zero temperatures, muddy & rocky riverbanks, fast flowing shallow pebble races, & also being dragged fully loaded up some very steep riverbanks & over all sorts of difficult terrain along the river.

The Salamander cockpit had plenty of room & was easy to get in & out of at all times, even on the steepest parts of the rocky or muddy river banks. The moulded seat & adjustable backrest were comfortable for long days of paddling in the kayak – up to 9hrs a day in all weather conditions. This included choppy river swells up to 1 metre & in strong headwinds up to 60km/hr.

The Salamander’s steering system which compromised of a foot pedal/rudder system was ideal for turning quickly in some of the tight & fast flowing river bends in the high country. The firm foot rests & thigh braces were of great assistance in stabilising the kayak through some of the tougher sections of the river & through the choppy large lakes. The rear rudder system on the kayak was easy to operate with the pull of a cord on the side of the kayak, making it very easy to engage/disengage the rudder when launching or exiting the kayak. 

Overall I was extremely pleased with the way the Salamander Kayak handled the challenging solo journey. I honestly cannot fault any part of this tough & durable plastic kayak, especially as I gave this kayak a work over of its full capabilities.

The kayak was easy to manoeuvre around countless obstacles on the river & it was comfortable to sit in & paddle for long periods of time.

With a weight of around 30kgs (with sail system fitted) it was easy to transport & easy to remove from the roof of the vehicle singled-handedly while training prior to the journey & also while on the Murray River. 

I would highly recommend this kayak for ‘any type’ of an extended trip through even the harshest & toughest conditions, which is exactly what I encountered on an daily basis over 3.5 months along the magnificent Murray River.

A massive thank you to the entire team at ‘Australis Canoes & Kayaks’ for supplying me with a reliable, extremely tough & high quality Australian made product to successfully complete the journey.

Thank you!
Mark Walsh


GECKO - The following testimonial has been supplied by Terry Bolland of Canoeing Downunder. 

"The Gecko is one of the best estuary, small sea kayaks around. 

It is at home in all different types of water, flatwater rivers, lakes, small rapids and the ocean. It's the perfect all-rounder. 

I recently paddled the entire length (500kms) of the Blackwood River, through shallows, tight turns, thick trees, grade 2 rapids, flat pools and wide estuary waters, taking 8 days."

The following is an extract taken from Terry Bolland's "Blackwood River" trip. 

"At this point there seemed to be only one thing in my favour apart from my determination and that was the boat.

So soon into my trip it was proving to be the best kayak for these conditions. It was manoeuvrable so I could easily skirt around the snags and trees, the sloping bow allowed me to run up the logs and jump them. The stability was an asset as I slid and bumped from one hidden snag to another but I was still able to feel confident and in control. 

The rudder helped me steer the kayak in and out of places you would not normally go and when my head was down trying to squeeze under the bushes the rudder control was a real bonus.

The Gecko has a relatively large cockpit which allowed me, after each portage to sit my bum in the seat and bring my legs in later, emptying my booties of water at the same time. This method of boat entry was quick and stable. 

The Gecko also had good knee bracing which allowed me to lean the boat right on its edge to achieve amazing turning ability. 

I was just wrapped in the boat and it was these reasons why I chose it to do this trip. "

Terry Bolland
Canoeing Downunder

Terry is an experienced kayaker who has been paddling for 31 years and has been an instructor for 26 of those years.
Canoeing Downunder is located at Bayswater (Perth, WA) and is a stockist of Australis watercraft and associated accessories.


SALAMANDER - The following testimonial has been supplied by Terry Bolland of Canoeing Downunder. 

"I recently had an opportunity to test the Salamander Sea Kayak on a two week expedition to the Kimberley. Conditions varied from flat, calm, bouncy seas, swirley currents, 12-20 kms currents and huge overfalls and rapids.

On entering the Salamander I immediately found it very comfortable. The thigh braces, that fitted me perfectly, allowed me to be part of the boat, in turn giving me excellent control and edging ability. When paddling in rough conditions the boat was very stable, responsive and manoeuvrable. It performed exceptionally well with a heavy load and maintained its speed, (keeping up with longer, lighter, more expensive sea kayaks on the trip).

An expedition boat must have three hatches, which the Salamander does. Taking into account the features, the performance and the price, for me this sea kayak is the best value expedition boat on the market, and certainly one that I would recommend. 

It is a great boat for instructors and leaders who need a responsive, reliable boat. "

Terry Bolland
Canoeing Downunder

Terry is an experienced kayaker who has been paddling for 31 years and has been an instructor for 26 of those years.
Canoeing Downunder is located at Bayswater (Perth, WA) and is a stockist of Australis watercraft and associated accessories.


KOMODO - Greg Matheson (with Cameron Bolding) completed a crossing of Bass Strait in a double Komodo modular sea kayak in April 2010 

"We obtained a Komodo double sea-kayak so we could train in the craft we were intending on paddling and with the versatility of converting into a single it would allow either of us to train if the other person wasn't available. We also liked the ability of the craft to divide into two for transporting on roof racks and carrying when loaded. 

Like everyone else though, we weren’t convinced about the strength of the boat in big seas. So we tried it and tried it and tried it some more. Every time we went out, we liked and trusted it more. 

The boat was stable, durable, fast and solid. Reassuringly, the divides between pods didn’t move unless intentionally unscrewed at the end of the paddle. After we had added a couple of small sails, we were happy with our craft."

Greg Matheson


KOMODO - The following testimonial has been supplied by David Slattery of Australis from his maiden expedition in the Komodo modular sea kayak. 

"At sea, we found that the Komodo more than fulfilled our expectations. 

It was very stable, tracked well and had excellent boat speed, even in the rough, choppy conditions that we experienced. 

The storage capacity was phenomenal, effectively having 300 litres (or 4 backpacks) in the front and rear pods. This would allow you to do multi-week trips without having to skimp on essentials – or you could choose to take luxury items, like chairs and a table, on shorter trips. 

It is worth noting that there is a restriction of 5 metres length on vehicles that travel on the Spirit of Tasmania and that, during December and January you may be charged an extra $500 if you exceed this length. 

As many single sea kayaks are over 5 metres, we were fortunate to be able to transport the double Komodo sea kayaks in two halves, without the risk of attracting any excess charges."

David Slattery
Australis Canoes and Kayaks

David has been paddling for over 50 years. 
Much of his previous paddling involved marathon racing, although he will now usually be found paddling (and sailing) his Salamander sea kayak. 
David is one of the owners of Australis, and together with his brother John, design all the craft in the Australis range.