Talk to Terry - +64 21 074 8485

About Nelo Kayaks

Lisa Carrington Races Nelo Kayaks

Made by racers, for racers

Nelo celebrates 40 years of innovation in 2018. Check out the Nelo International Facebook Page for some great flashbacks and classic images of early model boats.

Founder Manuel Alberto Ramos (known as Nelo) was the first Portuguese Canoeing National Champion. In 1978 he opened a factory in Portugal to build top-level boats that would meet his own racing requirements. As the popularity of paddle racing increased, the company responded with by extending the factory and the range of boats it manufactures.

Nelo is now the largest canoe manufacturer in the world, and if the results are anything to go by, the best. They have produced over 30,000 boats and the range now includes fitness kayaks, sea racing kayaks, paracanoe, surfski and slalom models.

“Innovation and change inspires me, which is why I am excited to try the new Cinco. Nelo always produce top quality products so I know this boat will stimulate a lot of conversation around the new look of the nose, it’s acceleration and speed. I really look forward to getting to know the Cinco.”
Lisa Carrington

Nelo boats are completely original, featuring technology and materials developed with industry leading engineers (including a Naval engineer) and hi-tech prototyping equipment. Central to the Nelo design philosophy are three factors: performance, stability and comfort.

Nelo attributes it’s success to the 100 dedicated employees, most of whom are avid kayakers themselves.


See Nelo talk about how Nelo Kayaks have evolved (culminating in the latest model, the K1 Cinco).


Revolutionary materials developed specifically for the racing environment

Constant testing and development of new materials and techniques has resulted in a customised solution for every paddling situation. Find out more about available construction materials. Plus you can individualise your kayak's exterior with a custom paint design.

Nelo design and build Kayaks for flat water racing, touring, fitness, sea racing, surf ski and slalom event. Most come in one and two person models. There is also a full range of customisable Paracanoe boats.



Nelo consistently leads the world at competitive Kayaking. Lisa blew the competition out of the water at the 2015 World’s, in her first outing in the Nelo K1 Cinco. She was somewhat nervous beforehand, given the completely new feel of the Cinco.

"The Cinco responds differently – it wants to go forward instead of going sideways. It rocks less and propels forwards. At a good speed it sits on top of the water. I need to be aware and have confidence in where the boat moves." Lisa Carrington

Well Lisa, it certainly moved – and fast. A real inspiration to watch. See Lisa’s amazing performance in the K1 Senior Women’s 500m A Final at Copenhagen (from about 1:30) Lisa is currently the Women’s K1 200m and 500m World Champion.

What's more, she won Gold in the 200m and Bronze in the 500m at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Cinco builds on the success of its pervious top level racing model, the Nelo K1 Quattro. Released in 2011, the Nelo Quattro saw several gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, including Lisa Carrington in the Women’s K1 500m Race. Max Hoff raced the Quattro at the 2011 European Championships and set a new 1000m World record of 3:22.485. We look forward to seeing many new records set at the Rio Olympics in August this year.


Nelo has an extensive range of racing kayaks to cater for every paddler's skill level.
Nelo design and build Kayaks for flat water racing, touring, fitness, sea racing, surf ski and slalom kayak events. Most come in one person (K1) and two person (K2) models.
There is also a full range of customisable Paracanoe boats and Waka Ama. Nelo kayaks are made to order, to your specifications, at their factory in Portugal. Even the paint job can be designed by you, and hand-sprayed by the artists at Nelo.


Terry can help select the right Nelo for your paddling needs.

Choosing the right boat is essentially about minimising the amount of energy a paddler uses to balance their boat, so that the maximum energy is powered into their stroke. A narrow boat causes the least resistance in the water, and is therefore potentially faster. Click here for a chart that shows the relative stability levels of the models.

Experienced competitors prefer the Nelo Cinco, as it is the narrowest and fastest model. It is designed to transfer a paddler’s power forward from the first stroke, and minimises side-to-side movement. Some paddlers can find it a little intimidating – it takes a bit of practice to really take advantage of its full potential.



See Nelo CEO André Santos, discuss the design development of the Cinco.

The Nelo Quattro, although a slightly older design, is nonetheless exceptional quality, with a wider base and more traditional feel that suits those who are just getting into competitive paddling.


Nelo Owners Club exclusive benefits

  • Access to Nelo training centres worldwide: these are something else. There are special packages for big events such as the World Champs, including on-site swanky hotels, paddling facilities...
  • Premium Nelo service at International Events: such as help with spare parts, boat transport and boat loans, where Nelo attends races

Give Terry a call on +64 21 074 8485 to discuss your paddling style and which Nelo model best suits your needs. He will be glad to arrange a test paddle for you as well.  


To find out more about Nelo