Swell Scupper 12 Review

Bottom Line:

The Swell Scupper 12 is a responsive, hard-working sit on top kayak that gets up to impressive speeds on flat water, and keeps the paddler in close contact with the vessel. Experts agree that it’s impressively powerful and that it tracks well for its size.

The Scupper 12 doesn’t seem ideal for gentle trips as it’s built for power and secondary stability. However, this makes it all the more appealing to paddlers looking for a smaller alternative to the Scupper 14 that gets up to speed impressively fast.

Price Comparison:



based on 2 reviews

Performance Ratings:

  • Handling
  • Stability
  • Comfort
  • Onboard Storage


BrandSwell Watercraft
Size (length x width)12' x 28"
Weight62 lbs
Capacity335 lbs
MaterialPlastic (unclear on type)

Comparison to Similar Kayaks:

Swell Scupper 12 Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5 Eddyline Caribbean 14FS Perception Hi-Life Feelfree Nomad
Expert Rating
Size12' x 28"9'5" x 33"14' x 29"11' x 34"9'6 x 29.25"
Weight62 lbs54 lbs50 lbs55 lbs46.2 lbs
Onboard Storage7.

Swell Scupper 12 Review

Reasons to Buy:
  • Tracks reasonably well for its size
  • Good amount of space available
  • Easy to turn and pivot
  • Fantastic speed potential
  • Secondary stability is great
Reasons Not to Buy:
  • Primary stability is low - it's built for performance
  • The seat setup may feel tight for some paddlers

Performance of the Swell Scupper 12

Overall, the Scupper 12’s power potential is noteworthy, especially as it tracks well and gets up to over six miles per hour when pushed.

The boat’s seating position gets praise from reviewers and it has the same comfy seat as the Swell Scupper 14–same cockpit size too. It reportedly takes the midground between being too loose and too tight. You can snugly sit in this boat without things getting too uncomfortable. The lowered footwells ensure you keep your knees safely below the deck so you don’t constantly hit them with the paddle. This also gives you superior leverage with bent knees.

Reviewers also agree that this boat is unlikely to capsize unless you force it, but the secondary stability focus means it won’t hold level if you just want to float it. It seems easy for non-technical paddlers to use and get up to speed with fairly quickly, thanks to its performance-oriented hull just like the Scupper 14.

There’s not much in the way of comments on storage, but impressions show it’s long and wide enough to hold a few crucial pieces of kit. It has a bow hatch that can fit camping gear and other larger accessories–even flexible fishing rods–and a center hatch with an insert bag, providing precious hull access.

Expert Reviews of the Swell Scupper 12

7.3Headwaters KayakThis feels like a nice little beginner's kayak - I wouldn't take it out on the ocean or in any choppy waters, but it's surprising how different the Scupper 12 is compared with the Scupper 14. It tracks reasonably for its size and I always connect really well with this boat on the move.Read more
7.5Aliex FolgueiraThis is a great kayak for paddlers - I'm by no means a professional paddler and I found the Scupper 12 really easy to maneuver and get up to speed. It's got excellent secondary stability, but it's not a boat I'd recommend for taking on gentle trips. It demands power!Read more

Handling of the Swell Scupper 12

Expert Rating: 7.8

7.5Headwaters KayakThis kayak feels like a recreation-friendly boat - it's not a very intense paddle. For a kayak of its size, it tracks really well. It's not the best for heading straight, but it's impressive for the build. The Scupper 12 also accelerates nicely, too - which was somewhat unexpected!Read more
8.0Aliex FolgueiraIt's a joy to paddle - there's almost zero drag on the water, and I feel like I can keep going. It performs surprisingly well. It reaches excellent speeds without needing to force it too hard.Read more

Stability of the Swell Scupper 12

Expert Rating: 7.5

7.5Headwaters KayakRight away, this feels like a nice, stable kayak to get into. It barely wobbles unless you force it.Read more
7.5Aliex FolgueiraThe primary stability of this boat isn't great, but its secondary stability is ideal for paddlers. This isn't a kayak for recreational paddlers or people looking for quiet fishing trips!Read more

Comfort of the Swell Scupper 12

Expert Rating: 7.0

7.0Headwaters KayakIt's a nice little boat for flat water, and it's comfortable to adjust course really quickly. I'm positioned deep into the boat, which gives a nice sense of security without it feeling cramped or trapped.Read more

Onboard Storage of the Swell Scupper 12

Expert Rating: 7.0

7.0Aliex FolgueiraI haven't tried this boat with all my gear, but it seems like there's plenty of space to bring all kinds of kit with you - a cooler or a fishing kit, for example. The length of this boat gives me a lot of confidence.Read more