Advice on kayak for solo paddling


I’m not sure I made the right choice

For background ,I bough an eddyline Caribbean 12 haven’t picked it up yet

I’m from Quebec and kayak stock are low everywhere even on the used market soo kayak choice outside of 10 foot pelican with no security feature is low or big sea kayak at 2.5k

My experience in kayaking is basic, a few time a year did some kayaking in a rapid river or on big lake with mostly kayak rental, most of the time sit on top

But this was always the highlight of my summer vacation

Soo I choose this year to have one and go kayaking a lot of time including evening paddle in the île de Boucherville which are about 10 min drive from my home

And being Quebec there is plenty of lake around to go

Because I will mostly be alone most of the time I was looking at sit on top kayak hence the carribean

The point of the kayak is to get on the water in national park and just chill take a tour of the lake / island and go back to camp site (I will be car camping)

I’m not planning kayak camping more like 3-6 hour round trip paddle at a leisure pace

I think this kayak will work on most lake but we do have some big lake here in Quebec where the rental are sea kayak

I guess the Caribbean is not a good idea in those case but on smaller lake and river or coast protected by island (st Lawrence river) it should work?

I’m debating if I should get a 14-16 foot touring/sea kayak hybrid instead

Transportation is another concern I will be using my roof rack on my Honda Civic

Also see at those place of rental that rent paddle board

Would my Caribbean be able to get anywhere à paddle board can get?

A Sit on Top sounds like it wold work fine for you. I’d go ahead and pick up the boat and use it.

Sit on Tops are very seaworthy. They can go into almost as extreme conditions as a sea kayak. Should be just fine on larger lakes.


Sorry I can’t give you an absolute answer, not being familiar with the specific lakes you plan to paddle. But I would caution you about attempting to paddle in the Ste. Lawrence. It not only has significant large marine traffic with commercial vessels, but it has strong currents, is often quite windy and has dangerous shoals and sand bars in some areas which can create confused waves and rough conditions. I would treat the Ste. Lawrence as more of a coastal ocean environment and a 12’ sit on top is not a safe boat for those waters, which in the farther reaches of Quebec is really a fjord rather than a river and is affected by tides.

The Caribbean is a quite nice boat and much more competent than the cheapie Pelicans you mention, but anything that length is going to be difficult to get to the speed and tracking that your life could depend upon. Also, being a sit on top you are always going to be getting wet when paddling, so cold water temperature and the chilling effect of wind on a wet body and clothing are something that you need to keep in mind. Particularly if you are paddling alone, if you are not wearing the proper temperature protective clothing, even with a sit on top, you could be weakened enough by cold water to have difficulty getting back in your boat on the water should you capsize.

The boat should be OK in small slow current rivers and lakes that are not too open or windy, also in protected inlets (like some of the side bays in Saguenay Fjord, for instance, though the main channel there would often be too windy and cold for such a boat.)

Just choose smaller waters during warm weather where you are sure that the water is comfortable enough for the protective clothing you have and do your first outings in the boat in areas where there are other people until you get comfortable with your abilities in the kayak and with how it handles. I think your comment about it being able to venture into the same kinds of areas where people use paddleboards is a good guideline.

As for transport, I hauled an 18’ and a 15’ kayak to Quebec from Pennsylvania some years ago atop a small Mazda CX5 and I know a woman who hauls a 20’ racing surf ski on top of a Smart Car. Length of a boat doesn’t require a huge vehicle if you get a proper rack and know how to secure the bow and stern and flag the rear overhang.


Yeah I may have express myself wrong

I would take it in the île de Boucherville which is a nationale parc of island near Montreal on the st Lawrence and they do rent canoe and paddle board there

I’m guessing the island must sheltered the wave

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Yes, that is far enough inland that the Ste. Lawrence is acting more like a regular river than a sea inlet.

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We have a club member that started in the Caribbean 12. He did a lot of fishing. Did club paddles but had to “dig deal” to keep up. He has , three kayaks later, moved up to a Sea kayak. The SOT is a goof place to start. Pick your weather.

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I think the caribbean should be a good choice. It’s pretty light, well made and should be pretty seaworthy. Sit on top kayaks are used in the ocean for fishing so don’t let the sit on top part worry you to much. Also, if you aren’t practiced at rolling or self rescue the sit on top is way way easier to get back on than getting back in a touring boat.


I’m wondering if I should just look at sea kayak 16 foot but they might be hard to manoeuvre in the small river or lake I might go

Also I am on the heavy side at 230 and 6 foot 2

Sit on top make it easier for me to be confortable

Maybe starting with à Caribbean and getting a sea kayak in a few year is the correct plan when I’m more confident on the water

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I think that’s a good plan. The Caribbean is a great kayak to start out in. It may be a kayak that you keep even when/if you move up to a longer kayak, as it is simple and forgiving for guests, or for those small rivers and creeks. That said, I’ll take my 18’ sea kayak almost anywhere; I have yet to find a place where I wish I had brought one of my shorter kayaks - unless the area is “scratchy” in which case I might take a plastic kayak instead.


Concur with most of the other posters…the Caribbean sounds fine for your anticipated paddling. Before buying another kayak, may I suggest you invest in your paddling skills by taking a lesson or some lessons to both improve your paddling skills and learn more about different kayaks. Then you should be able to make a better decision about future kayak purchases. It is the old idea of investing in yourself first.

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Hmm, you are a pretty big guy for that boat. Max capacity is 275 pounds and with your clothing and gear you will be getting awfully close to that which means your waterline will be high. The Caribbean 14 (capacity 350 lbs) probably would be a better choice for you.

I have used my 15’ sea kayak in twisting streams and even in mild whitewater, so 14’ is not too long for such use. And as others have mentioned, if you do paddle with others who are in touring kayaks or even canoes you will have to work pretty hard to keep up. Longer is faster and easier to get to speed.


We rented two SOT kayaks 12+ years ago. Next weekend we bought two SOT an Ocean 15 Trident and Hobie Quest 13. I still have them both. I moved to a Solstice GT in 6 weeks after renting one where I bought the SOT’s. Found one used but hardly used few (3) light scratches on the bottom 2 years old 1800. With all the accessories new it was worth over 4300 at the time. Sit in kayak is much nicer and drier. I’d say 14’ minimum. Look for the sed but you have to be relentless in you search :mag:. Even twice a day. Good deals are gone fast. I bought 4 kayaks after the Solstice never paid more than 900 for any of them. They were listed for 1800 and more. Look in a few places daily and something will pop up for a deal. GF has an Eddyline Journey. Something like that is so much better than a 12’ Caribbean I’m sure. You won’t grow out of it as fast and be able to go many more places safer and faster.

I paid 900 for my last kayak and it was really great shape like my others. I paid 900 for a 22’ Libra XT tandem, and 900 for a Extreme HV all like the one above. I paid 300 for another beat up CD Extreme but put 500 to make it like new again. Deals are there if you look hard.

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didnt see the weight limit on eddyline website, the retailer limit was at 300lb on his website, guess his info is wrong.

I havent picked it up from the retailler and i can still return it,

problem is I dont think i will be able to find kayak for the rest of the season, I can rent and check while supply get better…

guess my enthusiast got the better of me, best way I guess is to cancel, continue checking used market, and get some course on sea kayaking.

I also need to lose 20 pound… covid hasnt been good for any of us…

thanks for the advice

What they said…at 250# +/-. my Ocean Kayak, Etain, 12ft, gets a little out of balance fore and aft. However my wife can take the two big dogs in the same boat with same total weight but different distribution and have a good paddle.

Among other issues on a strong stroke water shoots up and soaks the bottom of the seat.

A 14ft to 16ft would generally be a better fit.

I just cancel my kayak order the weight limit was too short

I also will loook to follow some sea kayaking course

There a place near me that teach those soo I’m gonna follow them this summer and for now rent kayak

And maybe at the end of summer buy a 14 -16 foot kayak that fit my need

not at all. I used to cross the bridge over that island several times a year. The currents are really strong in the main body of the St Lawrence. The rental place for canoes and kayaks sur Ile de Boucherville is on a very small tributary and they may limit the places the rental boats can go While winds can be a factor the tide runs hard. While the Caribbean may be a fine boat the river is not a good starting point unless you can find a calm area before a dam and lock ( and hoping the gates are not open)

Appreciate that information about the Ste. Lawrence upstream. I am only directly familiar with it around Saguenay and Kingston, quite far from Montreal in both directions.

Honestly, I most frequently paddle the nearby large “industrial” (but inland) rivers that are Mississippi feeders, with strong currents, shipping lanes, shoals and locks and dams. I would not take a boat as small as a Caribbean on those myself, though I know people who do. I’ve witnessed rec boats being capsized by barge wakes (and we have had deaths from people being swept over the lowhead dams, though that is a whole other level of neophyte danger.)

The boat you were originally looking at, according to the manufacturer is not suitable for big open water. It is more designed for more protected rivers and lakes. As you have also found out you would be very close to the weight limit.

I would suggest doing some more research on the boat, what you will be doing with it, and where you might want to paddle it.

For a first boat, I always recommend buying used. Very few people stay with their first boat as their skills improve and they get a better idea as to what capabilities they want. You can almost always sell a used boat for about what you paid for it, which will be much less that a new boat.

Although much has been said about the scarcity of canoes and kayaks due to the pandemic, with the growing availability of vaccines, I tend to think that things are going to open up pretty rapidly by late Spring. As with any other sport that people get into without thinking of the effort and occasional discomfort that goes with it, I suspect that a significant number of people are going to drop out. Added to that, people that bought boats last year and decided that they want to move up, and that warmer weather is a good time to sell an unwanted boat, it wouldn’t surprise me if there were a large number of used boats soon to come on the market. Of course at this time not too many people would agree with me.

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Actually, I agree with you. I check the various local listings for canoes and kayaks every few days (not for myself but for friends who are in the market for a used boat) and have noticed an uptick in the past couple of weeks in used boats for sale being posted, many being very competent better brand name touring kayaks and for quite good prices.

yeah I guess i will get my course rent a bit, and keep an eye on used kayak,

and if I dont find what I want in the used kayak, maybe i will look at buying a Delta 15.5 gt, but i will wait for the pandemic to be over and go to a kayak shop to test paddle may have to do a bit of a car trip but this is a better plan that buying without thinking.

its costly but it seems like something that i will keep for a long time if not forever, considering my heavier weight.

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