16' Valley Avocet sea kayak

Being advertised for $500. I called to inquire about the boat and was told it’s the poly version, purchased around 2002 or 2003.

While it’s two feet longer than I want and the beam is two inches smaller than I’d like, am curious if it’s priced fairly for its age.


Priced like…
…it’s truly beat up. I’d see in person and see if #1…the skeg works or not. #2…whether or not the hatch covers need replacing. If it’s in decent shape at all, that’s a good price.

Hope to drive over tomorrow and check it out.

good price, if boat is decent
A friend of mine is selling one for $750, and I already thought that was a little low. I have been bouncing around the idea of putting my Valley Aquanaut on the market, and if I did it would list for closer to $1000.

Those hatches are expensive and check the skeg, not much else can go wrong. Nice boat.

Pouring rain most of the day. Not good conditions to check out a boat, so I’ll have to wait until next weekend - if it’s still available.


– Last Updated: Jul-27-14 6:39 PM EST –

I wouldn't buy it sight unseen. OTOH it's only 11 years old and poly, as long as it wasn't used to rock garden every day I can't see how bad it could be.
Aside from the skeg I'd check the seat and attachment, foot peg attachment points and bulkheads. Hatches? See if they have hairline cracks when you flex them. Ovals go for about $75 and the round for about $45. At that price if everything else were satisfactory, I wouldn't feel bad about having to buy new hatches.
Versatile boat, good for day paddling/playing in surf/weekend trips.

Thanks, SP

– Last Updated: Jul-27-14 7:28 PM EST –

For letting me know what to look for. Am guessing the kayak has been used primarily on Little Traverse Bay, as when I spoke with the owner, she had just come back from the bay and it was still on top of her car. But, that's just a guess. The 16-foot length is a concern. That's close to six feet longer than what I'm currently paddling, and two feet longer than my Toyota Matrix.

all depends on your goals
It’ll be harder to turn (at first), harder to load and unload. But you can use it where you’re paddling now, and also use it to get out onto the great lakes. Nothing wrong with sticking with your current boat, the Avocet will just let you expand your skill set if you desire to do so. If you’re like most people you won’t find it tippy but you may feel more connected to the kayak and it more responsive to you.


– Last Updated: Jul-28-14 12:40 PM EST –

The Avocet turns easily once you get comfortable putting it up on edge. It's a great boat for working on skills, and getting comfortable in stronger conditions. She's happy with waves under her keel. Easy to roll once you get the outfitting right. Biased more toward maneuverability than tracking.

What's your size/weight?

Great boat

– Last Updated: Jul-28-14 12:52 PM EST –

I have a 2009 poly. Keep in mind the one your looking at is the older version so its not the tri layer plastic that Valley now uses like mine is. So its not quite as stiff as the newer models as the older ones are single layer plastic but I would assume there good too.

As far as turning this boat turns VERY FAST. Lean that boat for a carved turn and she turns really fast, way faster than my old Tsunami 14 foot kayak could. Excellent play boat. Great in rough water. BEST rolling boat I have ever rolled and I have rolled a lot of different model boats. she just comes right up.

Hatches will dry rot at others have said. Also when putting on the oval hatches you first snap them down then go around the rim and push the lip down into place, it takes some pressure with your thumbs to get the lip down in it but the hatches will leak if not done. I ran into several Valley owners who were not aware of this so that's why I mention it. They can be hard to get back off but worth it sine they don't leak even after many rolls and re-enter and rolls.


– Last Updated: Jul-28-14 1:30 PM EST –

Am just shy of 5'5" and weigh 140#

Thinking about it, keeping the Necky on my lake and using the Avocet (presuming it fits and is still available) on bigger lakes makes sense. Yes, the Necky is like a little barge, but it's a great kayak for fitness workouts.

The Avocet should be OK for you. I was 150ish when I did my Great Lakes paddling in my Avocet You may have to add some foam or otherwise adjust the outfitting for a good fit in the cockpit.

I modified the thigh braces to be more aggressive and added heel pads to mine. The backband tended to slip so I used a short tiedown strap behind the pad as a backup I also found that stuffing a mostly-inflated paddle float behind the seat worked well – a bit more lower back support, displaced some water, and was mostly ready to use if desired.

tough for me to be objective
I really like the avocet, I’ve paddled one and it seems like one of the best “jack of all trades” sea kayaks out there. I’m glad someone could answer the “fit” question.

Zoom, zoom

– Last Updated: Aug-05-14 10:50 PM EST –

After thinking about the Avocet Valley, decided against it for a couple of reasons: I don't want to wrestle with a 54-pound, 16-foot kayak, as I don't have a rack on my Toyota Matrix. That would be frustration, not fun, and I'd wind up never getting off my lake.

As the fates would have it, I saw an ad on CL for an Eddyline Skylark about 40 minutes away. Drove over on Saturday, checked it out, sat in it, and bought it on the spot. In excellent condition, bow and stern bulkheads, the foot braces fit, 12 feet and 41 pounds. Two feet longer and two pounds lighter than my Necky Rip. Tracks beautifully and I can paddle it easily through wind and waves.

The seat isn't all that bad. I spent about five hours in it during my ACA Kayak Skills course yesterday (more about that in another post) and nothing went numb (except my brain).

Loving the Eddyline but will probably keep the Necky Rip because paddling that around my lake for the past two months has allowed me to wear some clothes I couldn't fit into at the end of winter. That will be my cardio/fitness kayak and the Eddyline my develop-skills kayak.

Maybe a 14-footer next year, but the Necky will go before the Eddyline.

Thanks for all the good advice given here.

When your skills are developed…
…the Necky Rip is great for ocean surfing.

Ocean, moi?
Hmm. You might have something there. When the crazy water ski/wake boats zoom around the lake on weekends creating turbulent conflicting wakes, I have taken the Necky out to play in the waves and it’s pretty darn stable. Sort of like sitting on an amusement ride.

Alas, I’m far away from the Atlantic and really far away from the Pacific.