A Piccolo for grownups?

A friend of mine is looking for kayak suggestions for her almost grownup kid. Said kid being around 5’8", 130lbs and athletic. Said kid really enjoyed my WS Piccolo but sadly has outgrown it. Doesn’t like my PH Cappella cause it’s “Too big and hard to turn”

So if you were looking for a “performance rec boat” in plastic and under 15’, what would it be?



Impex Mystic
might be an option or as size increases perhaps the Montauk. The Tchaika might work but Wilderness Systems is not always consistent regarding quality. Nimbus Cygnet is another possible.


14’x20". More challenging, sleeker Greenland style hull than the Piccolo. Just take the plastic seat out and replace with a foam seat. If the kid is really thin, s/he may fit the seat. I know it squeezes my butt cheeks together. Also needs add on thigh braces to the keyhole coaming for better control. But you can find these use for about $350 or so.



Mystic or Force 4
I’ve used the Impex Mystics in my instructional fleet for youth paddling programs with great success. Definite candidate! If the young paddler in question is a speed demon though might want to consider the new Force 4. Fits like a Montauk, harder edges (not as soft chined like the Mystic) giving more foot room and allows the boat to be agressively edged and lastly, Fast!

So as with all boat choices, have to match the body, personality and paddling goals to the boat, or vice-versa.

See you on the water,


Not asking for much, are you?
A “plastic” “performance kayak” AND “under 15 foot” are not naturally occurring together in nature. :wink: I think Wildy’s next size up from the Piccolo was the Alto at something like 15.5’ x 21", but it is also out of production. Personally, I thought the P&H Easky (original, don’t know about the new model)was a gas to play in, but it would definitely need some padding out.


Plastic Mystic
Hey Sing don’t you have one of those?

What do you think of it?


Why keep it under 15’?

– Last Updated: Oct-12-05 11:49 AM EST –

At her size, she is not limited to rec boats. If you put her in one after she has loved paddling the Piccolo, she will be sorely disappointed. No rec boat will come close to the Piccolo's narrow beam or its lightness of effort to propel forward.

I vote for getting her into a sea kayak that she will love for years to come. Not the Capella, though. I am smaller than her and tried a Capella. It is actually easy to turn, BUT the huge cockpit had me swimming in it trying to maintain body contact with the outfitting.

If she can try some smaller adult sea kayaks, she will find that they don't all behave like the Capella.

Yup, I Have It…
it’s a fun boat to play with but I didn’t care for it when I ran into 25 knot headwinds. It was a heck of a slog to get back to the launch… My boat is probably the last with the drop down skeg. The hull is still being made but with a rudder option. I believe it’s called the Pilot by Pyranha. It’s 14’x22.5" as opposed to the composite Mystic of 14’x21" (if I recall right).

I really believe the Episea would be a faster boat at 14’x20.5". Much sleeker as well as a faster (more rounded) hull shape. But it would also making it slightly more challenging to get used to the stability than the Piccolo and way more challenging than the plastic mystic. However, if this person has really developed with the Piccolo, the Episea would be a step up in development. And, like I said, can’t beat the used price of around $350. I’m still considering getting one for myself as a play-in-the-rocks boat.


I have a Calabria
and I would not recommend it. It is a well made boat but it has some severe handling deficiencies in anything other than flat conditions.

Low deck height
Now that I think about it, the Piccolo (I rented one) has a very low foredeck. After that, most commercial kayaks will seem cavernous and, possibly as a result, hard to turn.

Maybe an Elaho in the 15’8" version? Very easy to maneuver. Weathercocks a surprising amount, though.

Perception catalina

– Last Updated: Oct-12-05 3:40 PM EST –

fits your decription. I have one and its a nice boat, might be hard to find as I believe its out of production.

Corona Maybe?

Wilderness Systems Alto
It is a little over 15 foot and is similar to the Piccalo, in my opinion. We have both and our kids made the progression to the Alto from the Piccalo very naturally. They can be found for good prices if you keep an eye on ebay and the adds. I think they are a very underated rec boat that performs as well as many high end boats. We have put many miles on ours and never get tired of them. Good luck

Got a Few Boats
The Pyhranna Pilot which is a plastic Mystic would be an excellent boat, A Chatham 16 should defiantly be looked at as it is a great handling low volume boat. if composite is an option a P&H vela would be another good option.

Carolina 12
Perception renamed this boat because of the sales success of their Carolina series, but it really is a completely different hull design. Its a fun, lively and reasonablly quick hull for kids and some small adults. I had picked up a used one once for my kids when they were young and was quite impressed with its’ on water traits. In fact I always wondered what it would be like if the came out with an adult version. It use to be called the Umiak and was marketed as a real sea kayak for smaller individuals.


second the Pyhrana pilot
My girlfriend just got this boat and loves it. This boat is fast,stable,and comfortable and can be had for about $700 brand new including the sealline rudder. Only problem is someone young and still growing may outgrow it in a couple years.

smaller then piccilo
If someone doesnt fit the piccilo, they most certianly wont fit the Carolina 12. at 5’10" bout 185 pounds I can squeeze into a piccilo and sometimes use my companys pics to fool around in, but I cant even get past my knees in the Carolina 12

Saranac 14 or Tracer 16.5
Swift Saranac 14 in Trylon (also avaialbe in composite layups)is a sweet boat - DY design. Might be a little to cavernous though. Has decent speed fairly easy to keep up with the bigger boats. Turns nicely with a little lean. Comes with skeg, rudder or nothing. Works well with nothing, but a skeg can be handy for those times when it gets narly out.

Another boat I liked which has some zip, but is over your length limit is the Hurricane Tracer (16.5’). My initial impression was that it is a good boat for an advanced beginner to intermediate. Kind of low initial stability, but good secondary. Carves nice turns on edge, but a little hard for me to hold on edge. Also is made of Trylon and can be found for under $1,000 this time of year. Some say it needs the skeg. I haven’t paddled it enough to know and I rerely use a skeg anyway.