Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Help me decide on a river kayak!

Hello all, first post here but I've been coming here to read reviews for some time. Bear with me here...

I've had a SOT fishing kayak (Tarpon 14) for a couple years but am looking to expand my fleet. I do a lot of river trips of varying lengths and size, from small brooks to large rivers; day trips to multi week expeditions, but very rarely (if ever) more than moderate class II. I was leaning towards a Fusion M but some of the rivers I travel have extensive flatwater sections (One route in particular contains multiple reservoirs up to 50km long), so i need something more efficient on the flats, leading me to river/day tourers and ocean play boats.

I've done a lot of research and my current thinking is that I would be better served sacrificing some whitewater ability for tracking. That being said, I don't want a complete slouch either.

I'm 6' tall, ~195lbs and size 11/12 shoes. Not particularly experienced with sit ins but I'm eager to learn, VERY comfortable on/in the water and plan on taking level 1-2 sea kayaking courses.

After moving on from the Fusion, my current picks are the Venture Islay 12, Islay 14 and P&H Delphin II. Pretty big spread, but a big price spread as well.

The Islay 12 is on sale at MEC for $999; great price but I'm not sure I'd love it at 26" wide. The Islay 14 looks perfect, but at $1600 I'd likely spend the extra money and get the Delphin. It'll likely also see double duty as a sea kayak until I buy another dedicated to that purpose,

Could I get some thoughts/opinions? Selection locally is pretty limited, and it's extremely unlikely I'll be able to try before I buy (or even sit in one), and the used market here is usually limited to 17" sea kayaks and recreational.

TL;DR: Need a kayak for river trips, flatwater and easy whitewater. Discounted Islay 12, Islay14 or Delphin?

Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • Another note - while cargo space is important for longer trips, I'm also an avid lightweight backpacker so I can squeeze a lot of gear and food in a small space.

  • Delphin 155-Skeg CoreliteX

    Done.

    Fun ride! Go play!

    See you on the water,
    Marshall
    The Connection, Inc.
    9 W. Market St.
    Hyde Park, NY
    845-228-0595 main
    845-242-4731 mobile
    Main: www.the-river-connection.com
    Store: www.the-river-connection.us
    Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection

  • For the money, you'll have a tough time beating a Current Designs Sirocco.

  • I had a look at the Sirocco; looks nice but the MSRP is pretty much on par with the Delphin.

    As much as every review I can find tells me it's the boat for my needs... is it worth 2.2x the price of the Islay 12?

  • Yes.

    The Islay 12 is great for what it is. Using an old LL term TRekreational kayak with all sea kayak features but the performance of a rec kayak. Dead stable 26" wide hard tracking 12'6" kayak with an inboard rudder. I have a 2017 Demo needing a home if you want to make the drive.

    Step it up and never worry about plateauing your skills because of the gear.
    Get the Delphin 155 Corelite X with Skeg.

    See you on the water,
    Marshall
    The Connection, Inc.
    9 W. Market St.
    Hyde Park, NY
    845-228-0595 main
    845-242-4731 mobile
    Main: www.the-river-connection.com
    Store: www.the-river-connection.us
    Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection

  • Ok, you've sold me on the Delphin. That being said, I'm also intrigued by the Hammer... I know it won't be as good on the flats but I'm thinking it would be better in the rapids... In case I work my way towards class III

  • I apologize for dragging this on but I just read up on the description of two of my local rivers (Exploits and Gander) and they're calling them class II-III and III-IV respectively... I'm calling bullshit on that (I've canoed them both with a couple portages), but that being said, would the Hammer be a better choice for me?

    I would still be portaging two of the areas noted above, but I have a skewed idea of what the Delphin is actually capable of now.

    I appreciate the help!

  • edited February 12

    I'm not going to offer an opinion as you wade into high class whitewater. I've not run those specific rivers so I'm abstaining. III-IV Technical or Volume or both. Too many variables of water & paddler to judge through a written forum

    Design-wise; The Hammer = park and play a beach. The Delphin = cruise the coast looking for surf to catch.

    Time to stop typing and go paddle 'em.

    Go Play! Have Fun!

    See you on the water,
    Marshall
    The Connection, Inc.
    9 W. Market St.
    Hyde Park, NY
    845-228-0595 main
    845-242-4731 mobile
    Main: www.the-river-connection.com
    Store: www.the-river-connection.us
    Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection

  • Thanks for your input, you've helped me a bunch. I'll start another thread regarding it's capabilities to keep it simpler.

  • In my limited experience, kayaks are like shoes. You have to try them on to see what fits you. If possible, try the actual boat you are thinking of buying. My one friend and I have the same make, model and year sea kayaks (rotomolded poly), but his has MUCH MORE rocker than mine. I am a lot more comfortable than he is when the wind comes up on big water.

  • I understand the point... I really wish it were an option to sit in a kayak before I buy it, but unfortunately beyond a Wilderness Systems or Pelican it just isn't possible here.

  • Sounds like a test paddle/shopping road trip. I could think of worse things to do.

    See you on the water,
    Marshall
    The Connection, Inc.
    9 W. Market St.
    Hyde Park, NY
    845-228-0595 main
    845-242-4731 mobile
    Main: www.the-river-connection.com
    Store: www.the-river-connection.us
    Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection

  • As could I, but given my geographic location it would cost half the price of a new boat to travel to sit in one. If I don't fit/don't like it I'll sell it; the hit on resale will be significantly less than the cost of travel/ferries

  • You keep mentioning being away from stuff, but never say where you are, besides that you are in Canada. Perhaps if you tell us a bit more specifics of your location, we might know of places you could check out boats? Quite possible not, but worth a try IMHO.

    You also make it sound like you have sea kayaking classes/instructors nearby? Are these places also retailers such that you could try boats? Even if not, if the teacher can also provide boats, that class would be a test session.

    If you do plan to do class II or above whitewater with your boat, I would also take whitewater specific classes.

  • I'm in Newfoundland; the nearest dealer for P&H is in Nova Scotia. There are local dealers for Wilderness Systems, Hobie, and sometimes Necky that I know of but stock is pretty sporadic. There are a couple rental/tour companies around, but they use 17' sea kayaks and tandems. They do sell off used boats every year at a nice discount though.

    There are a few instructors/classes here, but not through retailers. My only real opportunity would be through the local paddling group (of which I am a member) but to my knowledge no one in the group has a Delphin.

    I'm not sure if whitewater courses are offered here, it isn't something that're really caught on yet (99.999% of kayaking here is ocean) but it is something I intend to pursue.

    I went ahead and ordered the boat; I'm really hoping it fits me - and believe it will from everything I've read, but if not I'll sell it and look for something else.

Sign In or Register to comment.
Message Boards Close

Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!