Sleek, fast and extremely stable, the Kasai is a playful and versatile single-seater, sit-on-top kayak. Paddle this kayak daily for sport and fitness or take it out on weekends or on vacation to paddle on dams, rivers and on the sea.

Although the Kasai is forgiving and is suited to the casual, recreational paddler, those with more experience will appreciate its responsiveness. Its hull is designed to glide, track and to change direction with only a few paddle strokes.

Paddlers will welcome the Paddle Cutaways that make this kayak feel narrower than it is. These cutaways allow for a full, natural paddle stroke without bashing the paddle blade against the side of the deck. Put your back into paddling with your feet positioned together in the footwell and place your feet on the Footrests to leverage each stroke.

Another treasured feature is the flat Stand-up Platform in front of the seat. Where one can often get onto the water by sliding in on your kayak, getting out can be an inelegant challenge. Now, there is no need to wait for someone to help you out. Place your feet squarely on the platform and stand-up to step off.

The Paddle Rest on the one side and Bottle Holder on the other side of the seat makes it easy to stay hydrated and keep your hands free when you’re not paddling.

Be a vagabond and embark on adventures with your gear stowed in the 8″ Screw Hatches and Tankwell of your Kasai.

Length: 400 cm / 13’1″
Width: 75 cm / 29.5″
Height: 40 cm / 15.75″
Weight: 30 kg / 66 lb
Ideal paddler weight: 65-110 kg / 140-240 lb
Max. carrying capacity: 150 kg / 330 lb


Although children will love playing on the Kasai and paddling it around, the Kasai is a substantial kayak that they will find to be heavy to move and manoeuvre. They will not experience the performance or responsiveness of this kayak purely because it will be too big for them. Children are best suited to paddling our Kwando or Tarka kayaks.


The Kasai’s large rear Tankwell is perfect for your dog. Take more than one small dog out for a paddle or a medium-to-large sized dog. There is enough space for your dog to lie down. Line the tankwell with a foam mat to prevent their paws sliding so that they can sit upright to enjoy the scenery.


The Kasai is a dream on flatwater. Its four-metre length gives it superb speed.


The Kasai is great kayak for touring with decent speed, and lots of stability, comfort and storage space for multi-day trips.


Solid and stable, and with plenty of space, Kasai is a great fishing kayak. If angling is your sport, we recommend our Kasai Angler version, which comes with two flush-mounted Rod Holders, Deck Rails and an Anchor Trolley.


On the ocean, the Kasai performs superbly. Thigh Straps attached to the Clip Rings will keep you on the deck should a wave catch you by surprise and they allow for greater control. Use the Tankwell, 8″ Screw Hatches and 8″ Day Hatch to securely stow gear. From short to long-distance expeditions, the Kasai is an excellent seaworthy kayak.


The Kasai enjoys surfing smaller waves, but for real wave surfing, get our Dumbi kayak instead.


While river tripping is a pleasure on the Kasai, keep to sections of river with smaller rapids. Use Thigh Straps attached to the Clip Rings for better control.


We don’t recommend paddling the Kasai from a standing position but we do recommend standing up on the Stand-Up Platform to stretch your legs while you’re out on the water.

The Kasai is the first Vagabond boat that I designed, so I put in a lot of thought and design time to make sure that it accomplishes our design goals. When we started Vagabond, my vision was to create a range of kayaks that bridge the gap between conventional recreational kayaks and high-performance kayaks that can only be paddled by highly-skilled paddlers. I wanted to create kayaks that have the stability of conventional recreational boats but that are fun to paddle by anyone, including highly skilled paddlers. When I pitched this vision to my partners, who are all highly experienced paddlers too with backgrounds and experiences different to my own, they were in full agreement.

The biggest challenge with any kayak design is to get the hull right. I wanted to develop a hull that is very stable but also very efficient in its forward motion. My aim was to achieve a hull that offered minimal drag, proper glide, good tracking but at the same time also easy turning. Just as important, I wanted an elegant hull design that wouldn’t look like a bunch of different ideas pieced together. Instead of being influenced by what other recreational boat designers are doing, or even by my own recreational designs of the past, I went back to the core principles of hydrodynamics. I realised that the vast majority of recreational kayaks on the market suffer from the same drawbacks, which create unnecessary drag as a result of trying to gain maximum stability. Some of these design flaws are the result of ‘doing what everybody does’, some result from manufacturing constraints (it is easier to rotomould hulls with lots of grooves and edges), and some probably result from a lack of understanding of fluid dynamics.

With a fresh start at Vagabond, I have benefited from the opportunity to look at this problem with fresh eyes. With the Kasai, I ended up with a hull design that I believe has elegance in its simplicity. All of my design goals have been met and, if I may say so, even surpassed. The hull has the same stability as other much wider recreational boats; but it glides, it tracks really well and when you want to turn, it only takes a sweep stroke or two to go in a completely different direction.

Once the hull design was done, I began working on the cockpit. I wanted to create a cockpit that is comfortable and that allows for efficient paddling strokes. I shaped a seat that actually holds you in place, and that is comfortable to sit in for hours without the help of foam pads. I drew on my racing experience to create a footwell that keeps your feet together, instead of placing them wide apart – as is the case in most recreational sit-on-tops. It is impossible to have an efficient paddling style with your feet wide apart, so having your feet together was an important aspect of the cockpit. Having the feet together created space for another feature that was really important to me: scoops on the sides of the deck that allow for a much more natural and efficient paddling stroke. These Paddle Cutaways are normally only found on high-performance racing and touring kayaks. Why? Should recreational paddlers not paddle efficiently too? This feature alone makes the Kasai a real pleasure to paddle, compared to just about any other recreational boat of similar size on the market.

To complete the cockpit, I added one more feature that is sorely lacking in all sit-on-tops: a Stand-up Platform. In a sit-inside kayak (whitewater, racing, etc), you can pull your feet up, right against the seat, to stand up (while holding onto something) to get out of the boat. But, for most sit-on-tops, this is simply not possible. There are always features in front of the seat that makes it impossible to pull the feet closer, which makes getting up and getting out very challenging. I created a flat platform right in front of the seat, between the seat and the footwell, that allows you to place your feet flat, next to each other, to be able to stand up. This platform lies a bit lower than the footwell, which, combined with the natural stability of the hull, makes it possible for just about anyone to stand upright in the Kasai without holding onto anything.

With the cockpit done, I used the rest of the deck to incorporate the most efficient combination of hatch pockets, a tankwell area and positioning of a bunch of our Multifits. The Kasai is a recreational boat, yes, but it has more than sufficient packing space to do multiday trips. I also added a proper groove with a bungee/hook setup to create a Paddle Rest, as well as a handy pocket on the side of the cockpit for a water bottle. With all of these features, together with the Scupper Venturis and properly positioned Drain Plug, I’m confident that I have created a recreational kayak with the stability to please the most inexperienced paddler, while also having the performance characteristics that will make experienced paddlers fall in love with it.

Celliers Kruger, designer of Vagabond Kayaks

Mpho Mapatsi, a complete novice who had never been on a kayak before, had the unique experience of sequentially paddling Vagabond’s Tsomo, Tarka, Kasai, Marimba and the double-seater Mazowe kayaks in a 90-minute session on the water. Follow Mpho’s first experience of kayaking in this video.

We had fun racing our four Vagabond Kayaks sit-on-tops against each other. This video gives an indication of the speed difference between them – of course, paddler experience and ability also makes a difference. Our participants here are all capable paddlers.

The Marimba (green) is on the far left. This is our longest and narrowest and, as a result, our fastest kayak. Perfect for fitness paddling, river tripping and expeditions.

The Kasai (green) is on the inside of the Marimba. It is 50cm shorter than the Marimba, it has a bit more width and, as a result, more stability and weight carrying. An awesome all-purpose kayak for dams, rivers and sea.

The Tarka (pink) is second from the right. Somewhat shorter than the Kasai, the Tarka is 60cm shorter and the same width, it is a bit slower. When you’re paddling normally and not at a flat-out sprint, there is little speed difference between the Kasai and Tarka. Like the Kasai, this is an awesome all-purpose kayak suited to smaller (less than 90kg) paddlers.

The Tsomo (khaki) on the right is our shortest and widest kayak for adults. It has very good weight carrying capacity but not as much speed as its siblings. It is a playful and awesome kayak to paddle for recreation, fishing and bird watching but is not the one for long-distance paddling.

A battery-powered motor on a kayak? For many, being on a kayak is as much about the physical activity of paddling as enjoying the scenery and exploring waterways. Kayaks offer access to different environments and they are a mode of transport to get from A to B. After transforming his Mokolo into the ideal bass-fishing platform, Grant Morshead turned his attention to installing a battery-powered trolling motor on his Kasai kayak. Grant is a paddler and coach with decades of experience across paddling disciplines. We think this new rig suits him. Bravo!