This will be two part question of sorts. My Wife and I have the pleasure and privilege of having Lake Tahoe (and surrounding lakes) practically in our back yard. We can be in the water in under and hour. Talked about getting kayaks for years before we moved to Reno. Now that we are here, it's a must. We are both in our late 40s and very active. Runners, biking, hiking, etc. we are both 5'8". I'm 165 and she is about 135. We will probably stick with the lakes. No rivers or streams. There may be a very slight off chance of taking them to Monterrey Bay someday. However, we would like to cover distance for a nice work out, 10+ miles. Maybe leisurely shore hug for some bird watching or whatever we want to do. On the fence for overnight excursions. But it could happen. We were able to test drive some WS Tsunami 125s this past weekend for 3 hrs and 7+ miles.. Nice boat but a bit too roomy. It was ok. Although a friend of ours who went went with us who has been out WAY more than us admitted he had a hard time keeping up with us in his 8' Perception. Day after, we went to the local shop who rented to us and sells (we are all for supporting the local businesses). He sized us up and mentioned the Eddyline Rio 11'9". Smaller cockpit and more agile and reasonably fast. He said we would be even fine in a Tsunami 120 but have more fun in the Rio. We are setting up a Demo this weekend with this boat as he definitely said, try it out. So we are. With all that said. I, personally have been eyeing up the Eddyline Samba. Their entry touring kayak at 13'9". So far from what I can see, it's 2' longer. The cockpit is around the same size. Give or take an inch. Of course it has the added skeg. So, if I get a Samba and she gets a Rio, would she have any difficulty? She IS a strong paddler. Or given the nature of Tahoe and her ever changing conditions of wind and the constant buzzing of motorboats, would we both be better off with Sambas? Does the 2' make a difference? Sorry for the newb question. Second part is added equipment. We already purchased Stohlquist vests with nice, high backs (rental vests are nasty). A pair of 220 carbon fiber Werner Skagits as we didn't want to skimp too much on the paddles. Nice stand so the boats will be garage kept and Yakima Jay Lows to transport on the Subie Crosstrek. What are some other "must haves" and some "nice to have" equipment to look at as we will be getting something!
Thanks a bunch!