I sold off my 12’ Perception Acadia last fall. It was very stable and somewhat of a tub, IMO. I’ve used it for > 8rs doing lakes and small rivers.
I want to move up to closer to touring style kayak, which I can try on salt water. Local salt water classes and trips require at least a 14’ kayak. My goal is to move up in experience and down the road get another longer kayak, better for salt water.
I am very experienced at basic kayaking, wet and dry entry and exits. Not so much on rolling. That’s something I want to learn.
I am 5’11", 175lbs and in good general shape.
Anyway, any good suggestions? I would like to keep the weight down as much as I can if possible.
I am tconsidering a Tsunami , Perception Carolina, etc.
Dagger Stratos 14.5 - it comes in a S or L. You need to try them as you are right at the size break between the two. The L has a bit more deck space for long legs to flex. Since you mentioned lakes and salt water, you will want a skeg and the Stratos has one.
You might also find a used (discontinued) Dagger Alchemy (has a skeg) but definitely go for the 14L as the fore deck is a bit lower than the Stratos. It may be enough leg flex room. I’m a little taller and heavier is why I sold my Alchemy and bought the Stratos.
Consider some of the P&H boats. Delphin is playful you might want a 155. My local water sports dealer/coach is liking their new Virgo.
If you want to keep the weight down you should probably forgo poly boats and look at fiberglass or thermoformed boats.
I should say that I’m a keen, but not hard-core kayaker. I don’t look for surf or rough water, I don’t do super long trips and I don’t do over-nighters. My wife and I just like to paddle the local salt marshes and river estuaries here on the South Carolina coast although we take the boats up to St. Margaret’s Bay in Nova Scotia every summer where the conditions are often much rougher. Having said all that we’re not lily dippers and we like conditions to be at least “interesting”. We’ve also done a bunch of classes although my roll is still not 100%.
For the last 5 years or so I’ve been paddling a 14’ Current Designs Vision; my wife paddles the 13’ version. We bought the boats with a deep discount as prior year models. Mine developed a small issue with a bracket that holds the seat and, to my surprise, Current Designs just replaced the boat with a brand new one. These are fiberglass/aramid boats and mine has a skeg, which is handy when the wind gets up. I keep thinking I should go out and buy myself an 18’ fiberglass sea kayak but the Vision really suits my paddling, is easy to handle and doesn’t take up too much room in my garage.
Another boat you should check out is an 14.5’ Eddyline Sitka, another lighter weight boat that gets good reviews.
Here’s my CD Vision…
You’re pretty average size and fortunate in that you will fit into many kayaks. I’d just look on Craigslist and see what pops up at your price point, then ask for advice here on specific boats. And if you can store longer boats no reason to confine yourself to 14.5 feet. The extra length won’t necessarily make the boat heavier.
Thanks all. That CD Vision 140 looks sweet. I bumped into two older paddlers last summer, in Great Bay, NH. They were paddling CD Vision 130s. They loved them!
I have a cedar strip kayak build in progress in my basement. I plan for the to be my long boat( 17’6" Spring Run). In the meantime I want this purchase to be my general purpose boat.
I’ve also heard good things about Venture Islay 14’. There is a shop not too far that carries these new.
However, they are closed due to the lockdown.
I keep looking at Craigslist but, nothing good so far.
All of the CD Vision boats are advertised with a “generously sized” cockpit. Which may be an issue when you try to learn to roll initially if you go too large. I would suggest that you make sure that people are similar sized to you in comments on these boats.
The reality is that on a given day, if you have to choose between loading a lighter weight or a much longer boat and/or heavier boat on the car, you may find yourself opting for the lighter one even if it is not prime for the use. Best if this shorter boat be something that can do you full service.
I’m confused. Aren’t you the one who posted the “Show off your kayak” thread and started it off with an Eddyline Fathom LV?
Dagger Stratos 14.5L cockpit - 19" x 35"
CD Vision 140 cockpit - 17.2" x 35.2"
Eddyline Sitka cockpit - 17.5 x 33.2"
Yes, I had the Fathom and liked it at first as a replacement for my Acadia. However, I didn’t like the cockpit dimension. It was a nice yak but, the cockpit just wasn’t shaped right for me and I was always fighting getting in and out.
I sold it.
Interesting, thanks for clarifying that. This is good info for people to know when giving recommendations. Maybe someone who is familiar with the Fathom LV and its cockpit could tell more about what might suit you from knowing you didn’t find it comfortable. But, it also supports the idea that it’s always best to sit in the boat, and preferably to paddle it, to get the best sense of what you like.
31.5” x 16.5” Fathom LV cockpit.
Man… we could be kayaking twins.
Other than the fact I’m a little bigger, I’m a new-er kayaker (2yrs), and have gone up from a 10, to 12, to just now purchased my 14.5’ kayak.
Just like you, been a rec kayaker in lakes and slow rivers and looking to get better, faster, go farther and start learning To roll etc. Going to take a couple courses this summer including my L1 and I’ve signed up for a weekend symposium that’s Put on by pros coming in from across Canada.
I had a 12’ Current Designs Kestrel 120, liked it, but I’m 6’1”, 225 and it was great, but my size 12 feet were a tight fit.
All fall and Winter I read reviews, watched videos etc. Narrowed it down to 4, was able to sit in two at a dealer (Jackson Journey and Perception Carolina 14), didn’t like either… the last two in the list were the Dagger Stratos 14.5L and the Wilderness Tsunami 145.
One is a more playful boat that will continue to grow with me, or something with more volume, better for packing gear etc.
It came down to sitting in them which I was able to do at another store. Dagger, hands down won.
The Stratos has a back band instead of a seat, easier for re-entry. I thought the seat was better too. I like the idea of the skeg more than a rudder.
Reviews are glowing on both, but a couple do mention that they moved from the Tsunami to the Stratos and loved the difference.
Bought one 3 weeks ago on a wicked sale from 2019 stock and I’m itching to get her out.
Good luck, but do some digging on the Stratos. I think you’re a good candidate on the 14.5S (smaller volume version).
Both my Fathom LV and CD Prana LV have a standard keyhole cockpit. Prana’s is 32 x 16.5 but that half-inch makes no difference to me personally. I’m 5’4" and have no issues entering or exiting a keyhole cockpit. OP is taller and probably has longer legs. Not sure if an ocean cockpit would work for him.
Yeah, I have long legs and my knees were always fighting the keyhole.
Sliding out in a wet exit also wasn’t as event-free as I liked. Not good.
If you liked the Eddyline other than the snug cockpit, you might consider the Sitka LT (14.5’) or XT (15.25’). They both have larger cockpits.
I am 5’7" & 160. I found the Sitka ST cockpit too snug and it is the same dimensions as the Fathom LV. However, the Stika LT fits me very comfortably and I have no problem entering or exiting (including a highly unplanned wet exit ;-). Based on the Sitka LT fit, the XT would have been too roomy for me, but it may be more comfortable for you. Also, since the XT is just a renamed Denali, you might be able to find some good used deals.
There is a Perception Tribute 14’ and a Dagger Edisto 14’ for sale within an hours drive. Don’t know anything about these models though. Will look them up. I definitely want bulkheads and a keg or rudder.
What I did: Some years back I bought a used Dagger Alchemy for about half the price of new. It’s 14 feet. I prefer lower volume so I bought the smaller of the two models. I’m around 170 pounds. For comfort, and because the price was so good, I pulled out the annoying stiffening hardware in the cockpit. I wanted a sea kayak and not a whitewater boat! I haven’t regretted it. I have really enjoyed that boat.
I want to check out a Tsunami 140 as well. It seems to get good reviews from folks.
Just looked at the Tsunami on the Wilderness Systems site. I noticed it has a high seatback. That is NOT a good thing if you want to learn to roll. Personally I’m a skeg person and the Tsunami isn’t equipped. Just my 2 cents.
Rereading your initial comments, suggest avoiding the Tsunami. It is great for a rental fleet or as a extra boat for that non-paddler relative/friend that visits. You will outgrow it on your first paddle. Also, Rex pointed out the high seatback which impedes rolling and rescue reentry. Plus, the Tsunami feels heavier than other comparable sized kayaks I have carried. Lots of other great options out there.