16 foot kayak recommendations

Just started kayaking this year. Have a Necky Manitou 14’ 4". For next year Iam thinking of getting a faster kayak.

Iam 5’8" 170lbs strong upper body. Why I want something faster so i can paddle farther with same amount of effort i do now. Storage ability isn’t really a factor as I don’t do camping so day use only.

I would assume to get a faster kayak I need a 16 footer or longer. Don’t really want anything longer than 16.5 as iam in Buffalo NY and want to use it on creeks/canals and also lake Erie and Ontario. not sure if I should consider anything shorter than at least 16 feet. Had a Prijon Seayak pass me and he was paddling not as hard as me and he easily went by me.

I don’t want to spend a fortune so $1700 or less so I think that rules out any composite boats.

There seems to be so many choices, example Wilderness Tsunami 160/rudder, Hurricane Tracer 16"5’, Current Designs Squall GTS/rudder 16’ 6" , Prijon Seayak 16’ 1". Theses all are around 22 to 23 inch wide which seems right for more cruising speed over my Necky at 24 inch wide.

So any others in my price range at around 16 foot I should consider. I will of course test paddle all before deciding. so far all of these are at stores within reasonable driving distance.

buy used
Your budget can afford a decent used composite boat.

Test paddle them to see if you like them.

Normally don’t answer these but
you’ve been pretty clear about what you want. I’d suggest you explore kayaks designed to be paddled fast and support such efforts. More specifically, don’t look to a Brit or Greenland styled hull, rather look toward an Epic or QCC, or similar boat with a longer LWL / steep stem angle / swede form etc.

These hulls are designed with fast paddling in mind and will reward your efforts more. Hull design is important here and there are very different objectives among various designs. Contrary to what some believe these boats I described are also quite playful on edge and do very, very well in big seas.

Look to a wing paddle as well and theres a fellow here who makes great high value wings. ONNO

Go for it…

local go fast boats

– Last Updated: Sep-29-11 3:49 AM EST –

West Side Boat Shop makes very good fast kayaks. They are local to you - Lockport, NY. I've seen Thunderbolts sell used very reasonably. http://www.westsideboatshop.com/

Salty's suggestions of Epic and QCC are excellent. Many folk I know whose primary interest is going fast in a boat that is not narrowly focused have one of these.

I also find that people first moving into more dedicated paddling often want a reassuring go fast boat. Often their boat of choice is the Swift Bering Sea. http://www.swiftcanoe.com/kayak/touring/BeringSeaClassic.htm The hull is designed by John Winters - the same designer as for the QCC hulls. The Bering Sea has been around for a long time and is often available used at very reasonable prices.

Hurricane Cat 5
It is a fast boat even though it is tippy and shorter than 16 feet. I would not recomend it fur camping or rough water, but it think it would be great for river racing.

Not the Squall
That was my first sea kayak. While it floated me high unloaded, when I put about 80 lbs of gear in it for a long trip, it felt as though I went past its sweet point, loadwise. Combined weight of me at that time plus gear was about 190 to 195 lbs.

Figure you need at least 10 lbs of margin for your day-use gear, and you’re up to 180 lbs already. Might be better to get a slightly bigger boat unless you happen to like not much freeboard.

Prijon Barracuda
16’8" long and 21" beam, IIRC. But it has a tall deck so can accommodate your size, and it is a FAST boat, even compared with composites of similar length.

Yes, it is plastic! Try one out. Be prepared for low stability, but you can get used to that. I rented one and liked it, though it’s too big for me and doesn’t fit my wants. Might be just the ticket for you, though.

P&H Scorpio
also look at an Aquanaut, and North Shore Atlantic if anyone carries them near you.

not to plant a seed but
…what if you buy what you think is a faster kayak, and the guy in the prijon still passes you?

I hate it when that happens!
I had a 70 year old woman pass me by one day. Sure she was in a QCC and I was in my Tarpon using a single blade, but she still was faster than me. I am glad I was not paddling the Solstice GTS that day!

Thanks for the replies
Buy used:

yes if I could find something decent i might go that way

Epic or QCC syled hull:

no idea what to look for as far as hull design goes.I know QCC kayaks are way way out of my price range.

Local Go fast boats:

way out of price range, they start at $2800.

Hurricane Cat 5:

Looks interesting not sure anyone around me carries one to try

Not the Squall:

ok no sqaukk i guees storm version is bigger.

Prijon Barracuda:

Yes they have a used one just down the street from me at Peaks and Paddles. But reviews on this boat make it sound way to much work to keep it upright and one guy said very hard to get back into it if you do tip it over. I will try it but I kinda doubt that would work for me. I do want stability on lakes.

P&H Scorpio:

A little high in price placed near me sells it for 2 grand. North shore Atlantic not much info on the plastic versions of this boat.No idea what it sells for as i couldnt find a price online except UK priceing.

Seed planting.

Its not that he could pass me its he passed me paddling with so much LESS effort.

Thanks for the advice from all. I have also found the Perception Essence 16.5 airlite looks interesting.Or maybe a Valley Avocet but its at $1849 near me so a little pricey.

A few thoughts for you:

  • Paddling technique makes a huge difference in effort and speed. If you are a new paddler, invest in some good instruction and practice, practice, practice. You will get faster and use less effort - the boat will not do it all for you.

  • Sharpen your shopping skills. It’s the time of year when used boats are getting cheaper, and new ones might be had $2-300 below list if you make an offer.

  • Shop for used boats on p.net classifieds and on Craigslist (I use Searchtempest to look at Craigslists in a wide area).

  • Try out a Swift Bering Sea, a fast boat and quite common here in the Albany area. An Avocet in plastic is a great boat, though not as fast. Used ones go in the $900-1100 range, when you can find one.

  • Also look for a Tempest 165 - a great boat and pretty fast. Both the Tempest and Avocet will be good for learning skills like rolling. The Bering and QCC’s are not as easy to learn on.

  • When I started kayaking, I was amazed and chagrined to paddle with a guy who went the same speed as me, using half the strokes. 10 years later, I’m doing the same thing to others :slight_smile:


I don’t know…
…where you are in western NY but I’ve bought two kayaks from Evergreen Outfitters. Nice shop and they sometimes have very nice used boats. Consider going there for a test drive.

I’m short at 5’6" but ended up in a boat slightly over 17 feet. Like you I have good upper body strength and even though the boat seems long for me, I can turn that sucker easily, even in gale force winds. So don’t get too fixated on length.

What helps make it work for me is the low rear deck so even though I’m short, I can get flat on the back deck, which makes for rolls that feel smooth and natural.

Unless my math has gone south
(PA) QCC 700 XL. (I think it is a 2002)Kevlar, Smart track Rudder, immaculate shape. $1200 – Submitted by: cak015

I second the…
North Shore Atlantic, but now North Shore has the Atlantic LV in plastic and that would be a great boat for you. If you are close to Hyde Park, NY, you should get in touch with Marshall at The River Connection. They are very knowledgeable and carry North Shore, P&H and others. You can get over there and try some boats for sure.


Yep, that one and this one too:
(NY) Thunderbolt by Westside Boat Shop, racing layup, good shape - $1100 – Submitted by: thomastarbell

would serve you well, you can find good prices on them used; or better yet, the Capella RM160 can be found at clearance prices now that it won’t be made under the P&H brand anymore. Recently saw some for $1250 new.

Composite Sea Lion / Eclipse 17
I’m 5’6" and 160 lbs and like the maneuverability of the kevlar Perception Eclilpse 17 Sea Lion that I have now, as I did the fiberglass Aquaterra Sea Lion that I previously had. I can cruise faster and easier in it than in either my QCC 400 or my Eddyline Merlin LT. I don’t know how fast, since I haven’t used a GPS in it.

It’s good for following shorelines or tighter spaces, but is also good in open water.

Used is the only way to get these boats now, but they can often be had for about the same or less than a new plastic boat.

More maneuverable than the Tempest 165, which I also like.

Thanks all

Yes iam sure he was a beter paddler than me plus in a faster boat. I never heard of Searchtempest thanks. The wilderness Tempest 165 is available near me i have to try it out.

Unless my math has gone south:

PA is a big state it doesnt sayw were in PA.Could be 6 hours away.

Yep, that one and this one too:

Iam new too kayaking so i have no idea what racing layup means? Is that just the body and it needs all the rest of the hardware(seat,peddles,deck rigging)

I don’t know…

Yes Evergreen is about a hour or so away. I need to take the ride there too.

I second the…

Hyde park is about 5.5 hours away, long drive.Iam way west in NY Buffalo.


Yepp i have that on my list to check out.Capella RM160 no idea were to find one did a search got more UK sites for that one.

Composite Sea Lion / Eclipse 17:

Now did Perception make that Eclipse as there web site doesnt show it even under discontinued models.Cant find Sea Lion either.Looksm like Perception at one time made them? I also assume there fiberglass.

The tempest is easyer to find and lower priced even new.

Again thanks everyone for the suggestions.

Not sure how important the paddle is. Iam now useing a discontinued model from Adventure Tech called the Ergo Tour T4C Carbon Shaft bent shaft with fiberglass blades, 225 to 230 length. I looked at some Werner 500 buck paddles, wow were they light as a feather. To much $$ for one of those. I got my Ergo for $160.

From your comments, racing kayaks might be a little in the future.

So, instead of focusing on getting a new boat, you might want to spend some time on developing your technique. Good idea would be to get, at least, a couple forward stroke videos, coaching would be way better. If really pressed for the money, try YouTube, unfortunately information there might be more miss than hit.

I can’t really comment on your paddle choice, but at 5.9 I consider 210cm high angle paddle more appropriate than 225-230cm anything. Oh, I did paddle Manitou for 10-15minu, that 210cm works quite well with it.

Good luck