1st kayak purchse

I’m looking to buy a kayak soon. I would consider myself a beginner yet, but plan to get a lot of time in the water this summer. Want to be able to roll, etc. Most of my time will be rivers/lakes (lake Michigan), possibly some 1-2 night trips. From my renting experience my favorite boat has been a fiberglass Impex Force3. Unfortunetly I can’t seem to find any used ones. Most of my time will be on rivers/lakes. Also some on Lake Mi. I want to learn to roll.

I’m 5’9" 135lbs. Some options I’m considering -found used, but havent’ tried yet:

Current Design Kestrel TCS

Hurricane Tampico 140S (hoping to try one next weekend)

P&H Vela, fiberglass. (stretching budget)

Valley Avocet, fiberglass. (stretching budget)

Any suggestions or things to consider I may not have thought of??

demo day
If there’s one being held in your area, I would suggest going to a kayak demo day. You get to try out a lot of boats to decide which ones fit you the best and which ones you can paddle the easiest. I do like the Hurricane kayaks though. I’m going to a demo in June and plan to test paddle their 16’ Tracer. Their Tampico is nice but I perfer a longer boat for ocean paddling.

Demo a Tempest 165


– Last Updated: Apr-06-08 4:45 PM EST –

Great Lakes paddling is essentially ocean paddling, so we're talking about sea kayaks for a 135-pound paddler. For reference, I'm your height but 30 pounds heavier, and lived in Michigan for a few years.

It looks like you're not considering any "plastic"(polyethylene)boats. Why? A used Avocet RM(or something similar) might be a great first boat, and you could resell it after a year at minimal loss.

The Avocet is a fun boat(I've got the RM version), but you'll probably need to pad out the cockpit of the glass version -- it's roomier than the RM. There's a new Avocet LV out this year that might be a better fit. The glass Aquanaut LV is also very nice.

A Romany or Romany LV might be fun for you.

The composite version of the Necky Eliza is a very nice boat for lighter folks.

The Tempest 165 is certainly worth a demo -- it paddles well, and the stock outfitting has a lot of adjustment range.

The CD Slipstream is another nice boat that you might find used.

The P&H Capella comes in small sizes.

The CD Suka or Willow might be a good fit.

Prijon Catalina?

Eddyline Fathom LV or Nighthawk 16?

QCC Q600X?

Kajak Sport Viking?

Thoughts reply
Most of the ‘plastic’ boats I’ve tried tend to be too wide and feel slow. But it sounds like I should search out some of these you’ve mentioned. A big concern I have is where I’ll end up using it…having only rented, my locations have been rather limited. If I’m mainly in rivers would I be risking damage to a fiberglass boat if I run into shallow waters/rocks.

My goal is to be able to go the distance and spend hours on the water. As well as have fun when I want.



– Last Updated: Apr-06-08 7:21 PM EST –

The plastic Avocet and Tempest 165 are well worth trying. The Avocet is more maneuverable, the Tempest tracks better. Both roll easily.

A couple of events to consider:


I'm sure you have demo opportunities near you, but here's another:


And another good store:


Rolling a Kestrel…
I just took a rolling class today. I used to have a kestrel 140 & I can’t imagine rolling it. Way too wide plus the cockpit is pretty big and it takes in a good deal of water, even with a skirt.

Stretch your budget

– Last Updated: Apr-06-08 9:29 PM EST –

You want to do Lake Michigan and learn to roll - stretch your budget to something like the Vela or the Avocet, I'd add the Tempest 165 and the NDK Romany in that bunch. Or contain the damage by going used or plastic (for the Avocet). Plastic is a particularly available option for the Avocet and the Tempest.

The plastic boats you have tried so far are probably rental barges. As you will eventually learn, they are not at all the same animal as a plastic sea kayak like the ones mentioned by angstrom and others.

The first two boats you mention lack many of the features and are not well well suited for your stated goals, the latter two and similar suggestions above would support that well.

Ebay Deals
I bought my Current Designs Sirocco off Ebay for half of what it would have cost new. It weighs about 60 pounds (rotomolded plastic), but it moves pretty fast and it’s narrow enough to roll. Check out ebay for kayaks that are for sale that are local enough to pick up in your area.

Check this out

No takers and it is probably worth $1000 more.

Pick it up when you go the Charleston Festival next week…

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