16 Foot Recommendations

Tidal Delaware

– Last Updated: Feb-14-16 10:25 AM EST –

I have taken to the tidal Delaware River much more now for the bulk of my paddling needs. Depending on weather, I can find water conditions out there that most certainly challenge the pungo, or at least push the envelope a bit. The rougher water does not bother me, simply because I have dealt with it numerous times in past during long distance open water swims. Once I purchase a longer kayak, I intend to incorporate some travels down to the Jersey shore for much more ocean training as well. I am not looking to break any sort of speed record, but simply feel that I am wasting a lot of physical effort pushing that pungo around. A longer boat will help my paddling efforts greatly when it comes to putting in such long miles & hours.

"I am easily a 45-60 mile type of kayaker, with an eye towards much longer distance & open water conditions."

I too enjoy long distance paddling, and I have an 18 foot kayak. I’ve been paddling a long time and know what is possible and what isn’t. 45-60 miles in a Pungo stretches the limit of credulity.

Current Designs Exteme/Nomad
I see an ad right here in the classifieds for NJ that would probably make a fun kayak for you. It’s certainly a top choice for me for long distance rough water travel. I’m a long-time owner of a Current Designs Extreme, among quite a few other kayaks. It should have room for you and still leave you comfortable. But certainly try it on first.

(Nyc, NJ) Current Designs Extreme/Nomad @ 10 years old , unused for 5, smart track rudder: Lg cockpit, 18’10" fast boat! $1,750.00 – Submitted by: Thight60View Profile

The length and maneuvering goes back to what Celia is mentioning - skills. I enjoy maneuvering this kayak, but it takes more skill and strength than some of my others, but I think it does quite well in capable hands. It takes less skill and strength and attention to maintain a good speed over distances. So it’s one of those deals where you take your advantages to suit your paddles, and you embrace the skill it takes to readily maneuver it. I enjoy maneuvering straighter tracking kayaks, as I appreciate that it does require better skill and technique. And I just spend so much more time using the forward stroke than I do maneuvering, that at the end of the day, I’m in better shape for having traveled forward efficiently. From what you’re describing, this seems like a fair philosophy for you to embrace. You’ve got plenty of strength to easily maneuver straight-tracking kayaks, so it’s just a matter of technique.

Based on your post, I would go fast sea kayak. There’s no small difference in exposure between a sit-on-top and a sit-in, so if cold-weather paddling is part of your routine, I’d go sit-in. I have paddling friends that own QCC 700’s and Epic 18’s as well. Overall, I’d be hard-pressed to ever give up the Extreme/Nomad. (The Nomad and Extreme are the same hull - they changed the name from Extreme to Nomad years ago for marketing reasons according to a Current Designs representative I spoke with over the phone at the time.)

I’d think this would be a nice option for you. It has the hull speed to respond to a strong paddler, rolls really easily (not a low back deck for laybacks - but a really easy roller if you don’t have to use that particular style), travels through conditions really comfortably, which allows you to keep your forward stroke in good form. You sound like something of an extreme nomad. It might be a good fit for you.

So >16’ is the new parameter
Wednesday should be in the 40’s and less chance of rain if you want to put together a test paddle on the Hudson

In the current available price point pool

P&H Scorpio - Poly

P&H Bahiya - Fiberglass

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



Maybe I was not clear

– Last Updated: Feb-14-16 11:34 AM EST –

One thing that newer paddlers seem to think is that paddling is about never capsizing. And while avoiding a capsize is always better than having one, the reality of open water paddling is that at some point it'll likely occur especially if you are pushing your limits. So it becomes about knowing what to do should it happen, so it is a non-event.

Most serious sea kayakers know how to do at least one on-water self-rescue and maybe more, just because it is part of a basic skill set. Honestly, once you know you to recover well you tend ot be at less risk of a capsize because you are more relaxed. And, in your case, can focus on paddling rather than the conditions.

The Pungo is a terribly capable craft at what it is supposed to do. But there are aspects of handling a true sea kayak like setting a deep edge that it simply can't do because it has the wrong shape and too big of a cockpit. It doesn't give you a lot of skills that are fully transferable to a true sea kayak.

I get that challenging conditions don't bother you from your swims. But here is the situation you can be in when in open water alone in a kayak. I would guess it is different from either the Delaware River or the swims you have done.
1) The tide is carrying you away from shore
2) there is not one within hailing sight or sound to help.
3) Even in your case, wind or other conditions could have you far enough out that land is not is a reliably swimmable distance. Or you could, but not towing a kayak as well so you might have to consider abandoning a perfectly nice boat.

With an on-water self rescue and the right clothing, none of this is an emergency. Without it the oceam can get you long before any people do.

Extreme/Nomad neat idea
This ended up being a bit of a niche boat because it did require some skills to maneuver it. But for those who were willing, it is a fast hugely capable boat. I know it was a favorite of a couple of Maine Guides I met over the years for those reasons. They were also very well laid up (the boats I mean).

If it handles a good sized person - and I don’t know that but most of the older CD boats had good head room there - it could be a cool idea. Because it had niche appeal, you can get a used one pretty cheap.

My go-to sea kayak is a totally niche boat, not even made any more. So I like niche boats.

loud & clear

– Last Updated: Feb-14-16 11:51 AM EST –

I knew exactly what you had meant. Regardless of whatever endeavor I choose to take part in, I wouldn't advance forward without "full" preparations having been taken. When doing anything solo, one must be prepared for everything that is worth knowing. If your going to kayak, knowing how to handle ones self in the advent of a capsize, seems like an obvious thing to know and have practiced under ones belt.

I have a close personal friend who sailed solo on a specially built windsurfer, from California to Hawaii. The entire voyage lasted him a total of 47 days at sea. The preparation that he undertook for that event, was massive from top-to-bottom. I wouldn't settle for anything less of the same for myself ;-)

Did you check the map?
Map says about 33 miles for that trip. OP says he wants a better boat because the Pungo is holding him back, and if you look at his longer reply below you will see that he is mostly thinking a new boat is related to the longer trips. There is an inference that he thinks he could have enough steam left in the Pungo, but I don’t see him saying that is his target boat to try it.

It seems to me that he will move on this and get whatever education is needed about skinnier boats and all that stuff. Maybe whether he was looking for it or not. What matters at the moment is for the OPer to find the right resources to get into a new boat. What he does with it only matters after he has it.

I looked at the link
he provided. 33 miles going downstream in 9.5 hours works out to 3.5 mph. that is doable, but 60 miles? I’ve done 24 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes, but in my 18 foot kayak on flat water, no current.

Doubtful impressions

– Last Updated: Feb-14-16 12:43 PM EST –

okay, I can understand your continuing doubts as to what I feel that I can personally do athleticism wise, but you are not me. Anytime that I have done anything athletically grandiose in the past, I don't ever recall you personally being by my side? Remember, I do such things to please me and not satisfy others individual requirements of me. The fact that you stipulate that you've paddled 20+ miles, is admirable, so you'll most certainly understand my own desire to go even longer in the future. Let's be clear though in that I NEVER said I was looking to break any sort of speed record. I don't care if I'm paddling 3mph, or 5mph, as long as I am not dragging along? When I go out and kayak. I make sure to take specific breaks in order to eat, drink, stretch, as well as take photos. These stoppages are all included in my overall time which I keep track off. The most important detail though for me, is that if I say I can kayak 60, or even 65 miles in a day, than I will do it regardless of how much time it takes me. Just because the sun goes down, doesn't mean I have to stop paddling!

Remember, I was seeking positive advice & feedback, not nothing other here.

then to answer your question, the fastest possible boat you can reasonably get is a surf ski. 21’ X 17" wide is normal and range in weight from 25 to 35 lbs. It’s a sit on top, but you easily carry water and snacks as needed. Surf ski needs practice to use effectively and good paddling skills are a must. With strength and good paddling skills, speeds up to 8-9 mph are possible, more if the conditions are good.

entering ‘downriver kayak’ into android brought up the unusual shapes of DR kayaks.

is there a downriver hull for NOT wildwater conditions ? There is a school session for the Chattahoochee.

Or a used QCC?
New is out of your price range. But it might be worth calling them to find out about used options, say if they know of any customers interested in selling. Not my boat, but it might be yours. JackL can be more help here.

find a planet with longer days
The 24 hour speed record is 151 miles. If you like to eat and sleep, you’re going to top out around 75.

One question you might ask yourself is how much emphasis you place on distance or miles covered, versus where you want to paddle and what you want to see. I agree with Andy that if miles under your belt are the objective a surfski is your boat. If you want to tour, paddle the coast and play in conditions, and camp out of your boat a kayak is the better choice.

16’ is at the shorter end of either.

Once you decide you’re going to have to master the skills to keep you safe and upright.

tidal rivers No 9

– Last Updated: Feb-15-16 9:30 AM EST –


next door the Hudson

most are dammed

Nova Scotia ?

beaners ?

used kayaks
With semi-careful shopping you can get a much bigger bang for your buck with a used boat. Further, they sometimes include spray skirts and other useful/necessary goodies - a potentially large cost savings. When you try various boats, wear the sort of water shoes you expect to use. Your size suggests feet to match and not all kayaks have room for such large hooves.

Chances are good that this will be the first of several kayaks you buy as you evolve toward the elusive best boat for you. Right, gang?

My 18 footer

QCC 400X
You can definitely find one used in your price range. Lot’s of room for you too. It’s a fast boat that holds a heading without much effort.

Try a pool session
See if there’s a pool session in your area. If rolling instruction is available jump on that as well. Great place to mess around with different rescues and start working on a roll and bracing.

If you become interested in a surf ski,
check out Epic’s new rotomolded one. A friend has one and speaks highly of it and it is in yout price range.