A Manitou instead? Or a Carolina?

Ok, so after reading all the responses to my pungo thread, I realized that the Pungo just won’t fit my needs. Thanx to all who steered me away from a 700 dollar mistake.

I was considering purchasing either a Necky Manitou or a Perception Carolina.

Again, I am going to be paddling mostly on flat water and rivers, but I really want to have a kayak which can handle surf. I’m a fairly small person, at 5’10 160 lbs. Gear storage is a low priority, as is a large cockpit. Dryness/cold weather capability is important.

Would a Manitou fit my needs? Or would a Carolina be a better boat for the price increase? Or maybe theres another design I’m missing…

Just To Confuse You More…

– Last Updated: Dec-03-05 8:26 AM EST –

since you insist that you want to surf, I'll dump in my suggestion for the plastic Mystic which was originally made for Impex by Pyrahna. But after a year, Impex decided they did want a plastic Mystic. It's not longer in production as the Mystic. The plastic mystic was actually 14'x22.5" vs the glass version's 14'x21.5". The plastic Mystic has a wired drop down skeg. If you can find a used one get it.

If you buy new, the Mystic is now the Pyranhna Pilot. Drop down skeg is no longer available. It comes with a rudder option. However, I would not want a rudder in the surf (you can get sliced and diced) if you come out of the boat and that rudder hits you. The fortunate thing is that you don't need the rudder (or skeg) in this boat. The plastic seat actually has four slots which allow you to adjust the trim for your body weight/size. Once you get the trim right, weathercocking (tendency for boat to turn into the wind) will be minimized. You will, however, need to learn edging/leaning and refine your strokes to have effective directional control.

The reason the boat is good for surf is that it has a bit of rocker. This gives it more maneuverability than say the more level keels of the Manitou or Carolina. The latter two will of course track better. Tracking and maneuverability are opposing characteristics in a hull design. Generally, the hull is a compromise favoring one or another. Since you not placed a premium on going fast from point A to B, tracking may not be as much as issue for you.

Here is a pic of TsumaniChuck surfing my Mystic last weekend. Chuck is heavier than you:


Here is link for the Pyranhna Pilot:


Good luck. All boats are compromises of different attributes. Pick one that fits your priority needs.


take a look at the Tsunami 120
Just saw the new WS Tsunami 120 yesterday, and would recommend that anyone shopping Manitous take a look at the 120 as well. I like the Manitou a lot (have one I bought for my kids), so this isn’t a slam on the Necky at all. The design and fit of the Tsunami 120 is a step toward a touring boat up from the Manitou, the same way the Manitou is a step up from a typical 12 foot rec boat. At your height and weight, you should be a good fit (I’m 5’ 10, 185, and thought the cockpit was a great fit for me). The WS is more expensive by about $150, but you get a forward storage compartment in the deal, which makes it more seaworthy.

The fit on the new Carolinas is nothing short of bizarre, imho. I haven’t found anyone who can adjust the thighbraces comfortably (they’re entirely too low and too far aft in the cockpit). Iif you buy one, look around for an older one piece plastic thighbrace insert that will fit and remove their standard thigh pads.

Just a friendly suggestion…

I think just the fact that the Carolina
has both stern and bow bulkheads would make it the better choice.

better choice?
Depends on how much storage is needed. The Manitou does have one of those foam (?) pillar-like things for floatation in the bow, so the extra bulkhead isn’t a big plus unless the storage space is needed.

Personally, I’m not a big Perception fan. Just think their boats are very run-of-the-mill… noting special. The Manitou is a fine boat.

I also believe the Manitou will hold re-sale value better - it’s very well thought of and relatively new, whereas everybody and their brother has a Carolina.

"handle surf"
I didn’t follow your other thread but it’ll be your skills that will enable you to handle surf.

Yes and No
Individual paddler skills make a difference. That being equal, the paddler with a boat that has more rocker and shorter length will probably be more in controll than someone in a longer, level keel boat made for tracking. The latter will pitchpole and broach more.


Almost done deciding…
Ok, so I think I’m going to decide on the Manitou. Any last minute advice? Am I wasting 700 dollars? Is there a better design for the same price? Thanx guys for any help Im completely new to the sport

It"s Never A "Waste…"
more important to get on the water – paddle, take lessons, practice… Depending on what you find yourselve liking to do most, whichever boat you buy will likely not be your last.



Old Town Castine?
I haven’t done any surfing, so I don’t know how it would perform there. I’ve paddled the Carolina 145 and didn’t like the feel and fit of the cockpit & seat. It didn’t seem particularly nimble or fast. It did seem very stable. I’m 5’6" and 150 lbs.

I bought a couple used Castines this summer and like the combination of tracking and very easy turning with a lean. I go straight when I want to and turn when I want to. It seems to be slower than my Friend’s Prijon Calabrias on flat water, but I seemed to have an easier time than them on chop and small waves with a strong wind. The two negatives I find with the Castine are the 56 lbs weight and the foot pegs are only about 3.5" wide, so the peg ends under the ball of my foot and that results in pain if I’m pushing off the foot braces to get more power and get my whole body involved in the paddling experience. The short foot pegs are the major problem I find with this kayak. I rarely see used Castine’s for sale, but you might get lucky.

I haven’t paddled the Manitou.

no mistake
Sit in both and get the one with the most comfortable seat. You wont be doing side by side trials and you wont ever notice the difference between the kayak you got and the one you don’t paddle on a regular basis. I have a Carolina and love it. Mine is the previous version… I can’t comment on the current ones. OR… realize that in two years you will decide that you want one faster to keep up with other paddlers you meet and just sink a couple grand on a fiberglass touring model. Just kidding. Get the one with the better seat… and who cares that everyone and their mother owns a Carolina :stuck_out_tongue: (kidding on that too).


must be a reason
everyone and their mother owns a carolina.

Which kayak is faster? And which one would be best suited to having a good time on rivers and lakes?

apples and apples
I paddled along side a couple with two necky manitous and all three of us paddled about the same speed. Keep in mind that the newer version looks leaner and meaner with a deeper V on the bottom. I would have to imagine that my carolina is slower than the newer ones. Regarless, the speed difference is minimal. The neckys are shorter and therefore in theory better at turning. However, they are still long enough to make it a better boat to go strait with. Yet again… I paddled my carolina in streams about 10ft wide and had no issues, exept for turning around was a pain and required a widening.

Although my last post was somewhat lighthearted with bad jokes… Get the one with the most comfortable seat… Unless you need more dry storage, then the Carolina has more room.

just my opinion,


but a manitou or Carolina aren’t the boats someone would be doing surf launches in either.

It could be that it’s a great boat, or it could be that Perception is owned by one of the larger companies and has a great marketing presence. You decide.

For the record, I don’t think there’s anything terribly wrong with Perceptions - it wouldn’t be a poor choice. I’m just saying there are a lot better choices for a comparable cost, in my humble opinion.


perception wasnt owned by a company with a huge marketing presence at the time carolina became a favorite. I think its just a nice boat. it may not be better than another in the same price range i really have no idea…its just a nice boat. I have had 5 different perceptions and have good things to say and bad things to say. It almost seems like the carolina was made by someone else because I like it so much better than the rest

Manitou is good
this is one of Neckys better decisions.

final consideration
Which kayak, the Carolina or Manitou, offers a drier ride?

Yes, Too
that’s why I couldn’t recommend either the Manitou or Carolina…

I thought the “surfing” part was serious… Just postulation probably for something way off in the future.