I’m in desperate need of some help here. I want to get a boat, and I’m trying to find one that fits different needs. I have some whitewater experience, although it’s been a while. I’m interested in learning to roll. My friends mostly paddle slow moving rivers and lakes, so I also want a boat that handles well in those areas. I should mention I’m 5’4" and about 125 lbs. Anyone have suggestions

Small all-purpose
Almost any kayak can run through Class II whitewater, but if you want to play in eddies and on waves you pretty much need a whitewater boat. Used ones are cheap – the only issue will be finding one that suits your weight. An old-school boat like a Dagger Blast might be fast enough to also serve as an acceptable flatwater boat if your friends aren’t too fast.

As for a rollable lake/river boat for a lightweight? I assume that with your experience that “stable” isn’t your first concern, so you want a low-volume narrow-beam boat with a cockpit secure enough to hold you inverted. If you search the archive here under “small paddler”(your weight qualifies), you’ll see that the subject comes up a lot with no single good answer. Most recreational kayaks are too big and too wide for a small person to roll. There are some nice small sea kayaks, but they’re probably overkill for what you want to do. Maybe a used WS Piccolo?

small, lightweight boat
Hi I’m about your size & have an impex mystic & just love it…you can get in kevlar for an even lighter load…you can check it out at (It’s for touring, not ww)

Happy hunting!


A Blast would be excellent, or
watch for a Dagger Piedra.

"Slow Rivers and Lakes…“
will favor a light touring or rec boat over a white water boat. Since you mentioned “rolling”, that eliminates a rec boat. For your size, trying finding a used Perception Sole, WS Tchaika, Impex Mystic composite (there are a very limited number of plastic ones which are good buys if you find one). Pryanna is making the plastic Pilot which almost identical to the plastic mystic except it uses a rudder rather than a skeg. If you’re adventuresome and don’t mind challenging yourself, you can fit into the Episea – A greenland style plastic boat – that is 14’ long and 20” wide. It’ll definitely hold your weight and size and should roll really well. It may be stiff tracking for narrow rivers though… The Episea is actually the cheapest buy here, even if bought brand new. You might also fit into the Carolina 12 (formerly Umiak), provided they replaced the narrow plastic molded in seat. I found the Umiak comfortable after cutting out the molded seat and replacing with a foam one.


Separate your ideas.
Take a rolling class. Chances are they will provide boats. Our groups does as part of the fee and for you we would haul out a Blast. For paddling, get a decent boat that works for quiet water with your friends but is better than a rec boat. Don’t worry about WW in that boat. Later when you are totally hooked and have a little more discretionary cash go out and buy a used WW boat. You can get ok boats for around $300.

Plastic Elaho
Don’t enter the contest for the glass one for your rivers! Plastic for the rocks and besides, that would dilute my odds of winning!

Seriously, you might like the Elaho if you are leaning more towards a sea-kayak than a ww kayak.

i have a smaller white water boat for sale on this board its an older style haul

Perception method air for sale
I’ve got a perception Method Air. It’s a nice stable WW boat that I have also used on lakes and slow rivers. For a playboat it’s roomy and comfortable and really quite fast on flatwater.

But notwithstanding my hope for a sale, I was at a paddlefest last weekend and noticed that Liquid Logic has a rec boat that’s been bolstered up with foam walls to stand up to whitewater. It was very light, sturdy and somewhat narrower than most rec boats.

A couple
The Impex Mystic or Sea Breeze as mentioned previously.

The Wilderness Systems Cape Horn 140.

Innova Safari
You could start with an Innova Safari. It’s inflatable, (so affordable) and is rated for up to Class IV whitewater, but has a removable skeg and tracks decently on flatwater. It’s what I started with, and was quite satisfied until I tried keeping up with sea kayaks on open water. The boat does great in surf, but is more exposed to the wind, so is slower.


Oops! I meant Class III
I should have said Class III whitewater for the Safari, according to the Innova Website