I’ve finally decided to pull the trigger and buy a kayak. I live on the south shore of Lake Tahoe and feel a kayak will be a perfect way for me to enjoy the lake and get a great workout.
I’ve pretty much narrowed my choices down to a WS Tsunami 14 or 14.5 (why should I chose the 14.5 over the 14?) or a Perception Carolina 14. While I am a beginner, I also want a boat that I can grow into, not outgrow too quickly. FYI, I’m 6’ and weigh 165.
Rudder or no rudder? I’m leaning towards a rudder, but welcome any thoughts on this topic.
I will mostly paddle Lake Tahoe. Who knows, maybe I’ll really get into the sport and start taking my boat places, but I definitely want to buy the best boat for Tahoe conditions as that will be my primary spot.
Any thoughts on the Tsunami vs. Carolina? Rudder vs. no rudder? Other options I should consider?
or no rudder is obviously a personal choice. I am also a newbie to this. What I have learned so far is that a rudder is not a primary steering device on a kayak as it is on boats/ships. A kayak rudder is more for dealing with tracking issues caused by wind from what I understand.
The rudder can be used to help with steering but you still steer primarily with paddle strokes/techniques.
Given your weight, I'd go with the 140 over the 145. You might even prefer the 135. I'm 5'9", 160, and prefer the 135 because it's not as wide as the 140.
If there's a WS dealer nearby, try to demo the Tempest 165 and 170 as well as the Tsunamis.
I'm not as familiar with the current Perception boats.
Demo or at least "test-sit" as many boats as you can. If you want to develop boat handling skills, you don't want to be sliding around in the cockpit.
There are a *lot* of new & used boats that might work for you. Despite your height, I'd stay away from "larger paddler" boats -- they'll have too much volume for your weight unless you're planning on carrying a lot of gear.
try both Tsunami
When i was shopping/demoing for my first kayak, I tried a 145 and thought it was too big – I’m 6’2" and was 175. I ended up with a Necky Manitou 14. These boats you are considering are not rare and tahoe is a paddling area, so i would guess you could demo both Tsunamis (and Carolina). (I’d guess that if something seems “sort of” big now it will seem really big soon.) Regarding rudder or not – I expect Tahoe gets windy enough that you would appreciate the help – My Necky (and more recent boat) has a skeg which works just fine for me – to me, rudder seems like “unnecessary extra” compared to a skeg. Good luck! Enjoy!
Wind is an issue on Tahoe
Wind and wind waves can often be an issue on Tahoe. I’m not a Tahoe expert or an expert in the wind but I think you’d want a rudder or a skeg.
You live in a beautiful location.
Big Boy Boats
Those are probably a little on the large side for you. All nice boats, but for day trips and such, they will be bigger and more stable than you probably need. If you can demo, pick the boat that feels just a little more tippy than you think you want. Unless you’re planning to do multi-day trips and need to pack lots of gear, go a little smaller (less volume).
Free advice that worth every penny…
I just got a Perception Spot Conduit 13 kayak (Only sold at Dicks) which is a 13 foot touring kayak. It handles wonderfully, and is only $550 without any sales or promotions. Also, it comes rudder-ready, so you can try it without a rudder, and if you feel that you need it, buy the whole kit on Amazon for $180.