14 ft playful kayak recommendations

Thinking about getting a new kayak (don’t tell my wife). I want a plastic HV boat that is rockered and about 14 ft. Need an XL cockpit, has to accommodate size 15 feet, and have some glide. So far I’m thinking Jackson Journey 14 or Dagger Stratos 14L. Some feedback pro and con would be helpful, as would suggestions for other boats’ Thanks.

What are you going to do with it? Besides get in trouble with your wife.

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For what it’s worth… Some years back I bought the 14ft Dagger Alchemy. It was used, not new. I didn’t care for the stiffening hardware between the hull and the deck (that keeps your legs apart… like they do in whitewater boats). I got such a good deal on the boat that I felt comfortable just ripping out the stiffening structure. Ahhh… very roomy. I’ve been very happy with the boat. If the Stratos is similar to the Alchemy I think you’d like it.

Hmm, don’t really know what I want to use boat for. Mostly just throw boat on car and have fun for a couple of hours after work or on Saturdays. Enough speed so I get some sense of glide, but I won’t use it for club trips. Easy enough to carry or cart for the 'Dacks. Down the road, the Tennessee River.

Consider a SOT like the Hurricane Skimmer. Reasonably light and playful.

I’m a sit in type of guy. And I like to roll, and play.

The 14 foot Perception Carolina has been around for a long time. I know several people who swear by it.

The Carolina has a huge cockpit .

Carolina is 25" wide, not very fast or playful.

I would think a wider boat is probably needed, assuming that size 15 shoes imply a generously-proportioned paddler. A used CD Pachena (composite) or Breeze (plastic) might fit the bill, the Pachena is a bit of fun. A Delta 12.10 or 14 might be worth a look if you don’t mind thermoform. All of these are pretty deep and have roomy cockpits.

Cardelo has a good suggestion in the wide roomy cockpit department. The Breeze would fit that description. As to Playful, in the OP’s parameters, I guess that would subjective.

I do know a Used CD Breeze

Without knowing location, I can’t tell if that’s a helpful suggestion.

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Pygmy Arctic Tern 14. Use the bulkhead as a foot rest

I have an Alchemy L and Stratos 145L, and use a Journey 14 reasonably often at a shop I work for. I am about 220 pounds, 6’ tall, 32" inseam, and size 11 feet

Both of your suggestions should work fine (though do see if you can sit in the Journey before buying to make sure your feet fit). In both cases, I do have the foot pegs about 2 or 3 stops short of maximum, so if your inseam is much longer than 32, check before you buy. Might come down to whether you prefer rudder (Journey) or skeg (Stratos).

The Stratos L is larger than the Alchemy L. Likely an Alchemy L would also fit, but the Stratos definitely has a higher deck and more volume. If you like to lock tight in to a boat for eskimo rolls, the Stratos is harder to do that with (requires more padding) than Alchemy or Journey.

Note - the Journey 13.5 is much smaller volume than 14. I fit, but my legs fall asleep in it. Probably not for you.

I have both models of the Jackson Journey, 13.5 and 14. I am a 220-240, 5’11" and have paddled both a lot. The Journey 13.5 is tight on me even at my lighter summer weight, my legs go numb and I have the foot pegs fully extended. When I paddle the 13.5 the boat sits lower in the water line an it is fun and super maneuverable but a little squirrelly, it actually seems faster than the 14 too. I enjoy the way the 13.5 paddles and how easy I can whip it around in the water but it is small for me and if I was 1" inch bigger I doubt I would fit. The 14 is a good solid boat, I can maneuver it but not like the 13.5 and it definitely has some room for me to grow. There is no issue with fit for me even when I am heavy in full winter gear. I can roll both boats but have more trouble with the 14. The bottom of the Journeys are almost flat like a White water boat and the sides very rounded, so you won’t track well and in my opinion secondary stability is on a fine line with both. I am in Chattanooga and Paddle both around the area all the time, if this is your area you can try both of mine out. I am selling them this Winter to make room for an Eddyline.

Still love my old Dancer XL — fits me well still after approx 20 years. Been all over the Buffalo in AR and the Jacks Fork in Missouri. (Even the Elevenpoint at high stage when I was, arguably, not yet ready for that.). May be old, but it’s a solid kayak. Probably too long?

Keeping things nice with the wife is what whitewater canoes are for!

Stellar Dragonfly. I know, it’s only 11 1/2 ft long but I am 6’5" and with 13.5 feet so I have similar problems. As a packboat/open canoe it’s only 24 pounds, easy to carry and does amazing in flatwater where you want to paddle.It is INCREDIBLY fun and playful and easy to get into anywhere given its light weight. It’s so amazingly light and maneuverable that the joy of paddling is hard to beat but the wind and waves know this and remind you when they’re around so it’s more of a “fair weather” paddler and still water only like rivers and lakes on a calm day.

Thank you all for your comments. They have been very helpful. We are in Central NJ now, but will relocate to Huntsville AL in a year or two. I am not sure if I will fit in a Breeze. I think I will go with a Stratos or Journey (depending upon the deal). I know that I fit in the Journey, so I assume the Stratos will also fit. Thanks again.

I was a huge fan of the Alchemy, both the L and S. I paddled a W/S Zephyr 155 and sold my Alchemy L. Faster hull with a better glide, and is more nimble than the Alchemy when on edge. The 155 “fits” much like the Alchemy L. I do not know if the additional length 15’5" is a deal breaker for you.

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I’ve been very satisfied with my Stratos 14.5L as a more playful and durable alternative to my FG 17’ Assateague.

It won’t win any races, though I still paddle ahead of groups when I use this boat to give me a “handicap”. Like most things that try to be everything this one isn’t the best at anything but still a great boat if you accept the built-in limitations.