A beginner's cry for help

Here is my situation.

My husband and I want to begin kayaking. We live on Lake Sinclair(flat water when speed boats are gone, a lot of coves to explore) and near the Oconee River ( flat and brown, a few maybe class I spots, but lots of shoals, undeveloped along it where we are). We want to enjoy these resources and maybe use them for beach trips. We have no plans for camping trips with the kayaks and the most gear we would have would be a fishing pole and some tackle. Maybe a cooler.

We need small boats to be transported easily by putting them in the back of my truck for short trips or strapped to the top of a 2001 Honda Civic for long ones.

We tried a 13 foot tandem and we do not like tandem kayaking. Plus it is a long boat. I know longer boats track better on open, flat water but speed and distance aren’t our goal.

Budget is also an issue. So we are considering a small range of sit-on-top boats. We tried sit-ins and just don’t like the feel when paddling.

Renting around here cost about $30 at the cheapest so if I can narrow down our ones to try out, that would be great.

Essentially, what sit-on-top kayaks on the market would be best for a 160 pound 5’4 woman and a 155 pound 5’9 man, under $500, under 11 feet, tracks decently on lakes and slow rivers, can be used in small Atlantic surf just for fun, and is pretty easy to paddle right off?

We have dealers around here that sell just about every brand. Just wanted to see what experienced kayakers would recommend to this beginner.

Ocean Kayak Scrambler
Old reliable model.

Check reviews on several sites.

Hurricane Aqua Sports boats
Give them a look. They have some stable, shorter, light weight boats which alot of people use for fishing.

The boats are very light weight, the fit and finish is great. It is also a smaller company where the owner accually care about quality and customer service.

good luck and have a great time

some suggestions:

– Last Updated: Jul-24-07 11:39 PM EST –

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100
Bic Bilbao
Ocean Kayak Frenzy
Riot Tracker

dagger ripper?
What does everyone think bout the Dagger Ripper? I can get a pretty good deal on two of them brand new

I could be wrong but
I think the Ripper is made by Wilderness Systems, not Dagger (unless Dagger makes one too).

Haven’t tried the Ripper, but it’s basically a smaller Tarpon and should be fine for you, although check the specs for max weight to be sure. It’s very short so it’ll be slow as molasses but that’s okay if it’s okay with you. Looks like it might be fun on easy whitewater or small waves.

Scrambler a good choice or even better
would be if you could find a used Hurricane Phoenix 120. they are light! paddled one at a recent symposium and loved it but I think you have to accept you will be wet on your legs constantly which is not appealing to me in Michigan waters. I’ve rented Scramblers while on vacation in warm climates and they paddle pretty nice-more like a sit in to me.

She said under 11 feet
A Scrambler is close enough, but I don’t think Hurricane makes a SOT less than 12’ in length, do they?

However, if the 11’ max length weren’t a criteria, I’d second the Hurricane choice. Nice boats, and reasonably priced compared to the competition.

Re consider

– Last Updated: Jul-26-07 12:51 AM EST –

Nice Lake you have down there.
Before you buy a SOT sit-on-top why don't you look at the Wilderness Systems Pamlico and Pungo.
I took two women down the Chattahoochee River yesterday and one was in a 12' Pamlico and the other was in a 12' Pungo. Both have good size dry storage compartments and plenty of room in the cockpit and bow for more storage. The cockpit opening is very large (huge).
The car is no problem. I have a paddling friend who has a Honda Civic with a roof rack and stacker poles and can carry 2-12' boats.
BTW "Tandems" are called DIVORCE boats. If you are ever around when a man & woman turn over...you will understand why.
SOTs should be renamed to HOTBs (hard on the butt)
and some of the cheaper SOTs do not have drain holes in the seat so you sit in water the whole time.

Hard on the butt?
Respectfully disagree. I like mine just fine. My Tarpon 100 has some dry hatch storage, too.

But the Pamlicos and Pungos are good - anything that gets you out on the water is good.

Ripper is too small
Go for a kayak above 10 feet and you wont regret it.

oh yeah
Yes, the Ripper is Wilderness Systems, though Dagger is a brand under the same overall company. Just got them switched.

I really need a light boat too since I’ll be carrying it on my own. I mean I am only 5’4 so there is such a thing as too much boat for me. Anything under 50 pounds is fine.I guess I should have said that. I have been in sit ins and i still get wet but then there is nowhere for the water to drain. That was why I thought about sit on tops. And i was thinking of taking it on the Atlantic surf a few times. So that is why I am considering the Ripper if I can find a place to try one.

I am pretty busy most of the time(newspaper reporter) so I need a cheap boat that gets me on the lake or river so I can have fun.

We do have a outfitter that rents and sells Emotion kayaks. Has anyone tried them?

divorce boats…hehe
Oh yeah, tandem boats seem to bring out the worse in a couple. My husband and I have never been so irritated with each other before or since. Funny though, the person we borrowed the boat from got hers in the divorce :wink:

I am looking hard now at the Emotion Charger, because the outfitter is across the street from where I work(a bad thing I am sure) and I know I can easily try it out. It looks like it might track better than the Ripper.

It is a bit longer, 9’3 feet exactly, only 39 pounds and a decent price. if i can just wait the outfitters out for the summer, he’ll probably drop his prices and sell the ones he rented even cheaper. It will be still be quite warm in Georgia well after the traditional summer season is over.

Do yourself a favor
Paddle a Scrambler before buying the Emotion boat. The Emotion kayak looks like they were trying to rip off the design of the OK Frenzy and put in features that just make it different not better. I own a Frenzy and it is OK for putzing around but I would not want it for my only kayak. You probably want a couple more feet of length for glide and tracking, as in a Scrambler, both the Scrambler or the Frenzy will do much better than the other boats you have mentioned in the surf and ocean waves.

If you look in the reviews here. Every person who bought the Emotion Charger boat was a rank beginner — not knowing what they are getting into. The keel and hull look like a very poor design … check out the only comment from someone who owned other boats …

Submitted by: donna


It floats but that’s the only good thing about it. I’ve been ocean kayaking all my life and never have found worse a boat. The keel is way too deep and you can’t surf in it for a million dollars. This boats horrible period!

Rating: 3 of 10

Divorce Boats
at least he was smart enough to get rid of the boat. hehe