Perception Expression 11 Kayak Review

With the 2012 European Trade show under our belts, it looks like I have “won a review” because I liked what I saw – fool that I am.

I have combined this review to cover the brand new Perception Expression 11 and the revamped YAK clothing that I usually wear. I have worn YAK kit for many years and for my recreational paddling it has been perfect. Colour choices were usually red and blue or blue and red so it’s been a red cag plus a red BA forever. Now it’s all change and YAK have worked out girls and ladies do actually paddle.

The Fridge Fairy in Yak Female Paddle Clothing

Give me strength, writing this is not easy!
Duffer is listening to Cream White Room 2005 Live at the Albert Hall over and over again and it’s very loud. Shut the door and maybe he will go away.

You may recall how I found the Elie Straight 120 at the Nuremberg show in 2009. I still have the light blue boat and it is/was the perfect kayak for the paddling I do these days.
Having a choice of one boat is not much of a choice. The problem solved itself this year (2012) because Perception launched (metaphorically speaking) their Expression 11 at Nuremberg.  

Walking around the show and taking notes is quite tiring so I sat myself in the Expression 11 for a while. A 30 second sit is no way near enough time to see if a boat goes on your short list. I sat there for quite a while (not sure everyone was pleased with the time I was taking). When I completed my “sit in” I got out and ordered myself one there and then.

Perception Expression 11 at Nuremborg Paddle Show

My sit in kayak shortlist of one is now a shortlist of two.

To be honest I hope I like paddling the Expression 11 as much as I like the Elie 120.
For two reasons - firstly to offer our customers more choice and secondly to support the British economy. The Elie is made in Canada and the Canadian’s like the British a lot – so that’s OK.
The Expression's are made in Sussex close to Brighton Canoes. We have tried to site our stores near all the principal UK manufacturers/suppliers so that we can access product economically and transport everything ourselves. We handle kayaks and canoes with greater care than the general transport industry (words by Duffer).

Paddling the Expression 11

According to Duffer there is a choice of backrest in all the Expressions.
I am paddling the boat with the “ergonomically engineered Zone outfitting” – whatever, haha. The seat is really comfortable and I like the padded backrest. The leg lifters really help keep your legs up and in contact with the padded thigh braces. The thigh braces are adjustable so can be positioned to fit most people. Whilst I never paddled white water, I did kayak surf badly and for quite a few years paddled a Perception Sparc along the coast on family paddles. I am quite used to paddling a sit in kayak with a smaller cockpit configuration. If the boat is too big then you slop about in the cockpit and work harder than everyone else – paddling should never be hard work.    

Expression 11 is very easy to paddle and I felt as comfortable and as in control as my Elie 120.
Duffer has said for years that I paddle as if my arms are made of pasta. Well sunbeam, it works for me - the kayak goes where I want it too and I am not about to change anything (by the way Duffer as you got older you paddle like Tin Man).

This is the point in the Review where the images and video of me paddling Expression 11 should be. Ask Duffer if you get the chance “where he lost the camera and how deep the water was”!
Will revisit again after Christmas and take some more images, as a short term fix or until Duffer recovers his camera you can watch this video on You Tube

These photos were taken during a staff training day in Cornwall at Siblyback Lake.

Perception Expression 11 on Siblyback Lake in Cornwall

Paddling the Expression 11 from Perception Kayaks

All the usual bits and pieces are where they should be. The grab handles are nice and make it easy for my slaves to carry my boat to the water. The footpegs are comfortable and very easy to adjust. The drop down skeg in the stern works very well. Paddling where and when I do I rarely need to use the skeg, but it certainly helps if I get caught in a cross wind. Whoever designed the front deck on all the Expressions and Prodigy has a very good eye. The design is quite simple yet really attractive. Duffer may be right - the contours add mechanical strength to the deck - I like the way it looks.


My Aquabound paddle is best part of 20 years old now. What a servant it has been - far more useful than Duffer. The smaller blade shape works so well with the Expression 11 as the kayak glides through the water. Pasta arms or not I am not racing and the Olympics are over. His nibs was and is correct (booo) when he says “a good paddle and an average kayak is a far better combination than a good kayak and an average paddle”. I am told we now stock new super light Aquabound paddles and that my paddle is old school. I am always open to new sponsorship offers so maybe the next time I paddle the blades may be different.


I am happy with a nylon deck that is easy to get on and as long as it keeps the drips off me I’m happy. If my kayak is about to capsize I can still get out without getting my hair wet – the “lady’s not for Eskimo Rolling any more”. So a bomb proof hard to get on and hard to get off neoprene spraydeck is not what I need.

Expression 11 Stats are almost identical to my Elie 120!

Length 11’ 7” or 353cm
Width 25.75” or 65cm
Weight 44lbs or 20kg
Max Capacity Paddler and kit 250lb or 114kg
Material  Perception Super Linear Polyethethelene

Rear hatch and bulkhead – decklines – adjustable footpegs – adjustable padded thigh braces – comfortable seat with high backrest or comfortable seat and perfect backrest.

Footnote – FYI Boats I know and have owned:
North Shore Fuego – brilliant sea kayak but I was younger then.
North Shore Atlantic 2 – Mixed feeling about this boat – often frightened and sea sick – I blame Duffer for both.
Blackwater 10.5 – brilliant but the cockpit is too big for me to be efficient.
Perception Sparc – A long time good friend.
Dagger Blast – a great little kayak but a very wet ride.
Perception Sundance -I keep a Perception Sundance in Ireland to paddle with the Dolphins and seals.
Point 65 Nemo – I liked it but Point 65 must have made my boat on a Friday Afternoon!
Elie Straight 120 – brilliant and brilliant in blue (Elie are dropping the blue in 2013 – muppets).
Expression 11 – my new GB PLC made toy is brilliant. Perception and Canoe Shops pay their taxes in the UK!

There, that’s my bit done for ladies and smaller paddlers.
Elie Straight 120 – Expression 11 – Tetra 10

The Fridge Fairy
CEO The Canoe Shops Group Ltd.