This question has been getting a lot of attention on whitewater forums. The answer is driven by how much playfulness you want when kayaking.
TL;DR: Half-Slice Kayaks are more versatile, more comfortable, and can be paddled by all experience levels.
The term "Slice" directly refers to the shape of the stern. Any boat described as a "slicey," "half-slice" or "full-slice" will feature a low volume stern.
Both half-slice boats and full-slice boats:
- Have a low-volume stern
- Facilitate down river play
- Are longer in length (7'-9') than a nubby playboat
They have several key differences:
PRO TIP: Stern volume is really what matters when crossing eddy lines; a creek boat is the best boat for staying upright in these scenarios.
Half Slice Boats
Full Slice Boats
Half-slice boats offer a more confidence-inspiring bow for river running. These will take you everywhere and anywhere you want to go, all while playing along the way. You can sit comfortably with more volume in the bow and feel good about crushing creeks and running rivers, too.
While a half-slices are great for spicing up a downriver lap, they are more difficult to do freestyle tricks in than full-slices. Regardless, they are super versatile boats. There is a reason every major boat company has a half-slice in their lineup!
Full-slice boats are fully fun! Instead of playing in features while running the river, a full-slice runs the river to play on every feature. Full-slice kayaks allow for freestyle boating while going downriver.
The CKS Online Take:
Our customer service associate Julia Pershken is an intermediate paddler who is in love with padding half-slices. Here's why:
- Wow! Half-slices are fun, even if I am not really doing many playful things in them yet
- They are more maneuverable than my creek boat, which can often feel sluggish
- Still as comfortable to sit in as a creek boat for longer paddles
- High-volume bow is super easy and fun to boof; keeps you up and over big waves instead of pearling like in a playboat or full-slice
- The stern really wants to put you vertical, which I love
- Confidence-inspiring, stable, tracks surprisingly well for what it is
- Really perfect for me, anything I am paddling this season (class 3+ and under) definitely does not justify a full creek boat now that I am comfortable with edging and can handle less-stable boats