aquaterra KEOWEE?

As a newbie I’m thinking of buying one of these used. It is a very reasonable price but I wonder if anyone can give me more information on the kayak.


I had one
and it’s a great rec boat.

Sold it only to get a ww boat for my kid.

Liked it better than My OT otter

Step into my office…
We, (the “bride” and I) have two of them, and they were our introduction to kayaking.

Even though we now have some long skinny ones, we still use the Keowees and will never get rid of them.

They are probably the most stable kayak on the water, and would really take some doing to tip one over. They come with a small childs seat which is directly in front of the main seat.

We use them in rivers, ponds and the ocean.

We have skirts for them and I have done the Nantahala River which is class II-III river, although they recommend them not being used above class II.

The drawback with them is the fact that they are so short and fat that you won’t get any speed out of them, and with each stroke the yak will naturally want to turn the opposite direction.

I added drain plugs to ours on the top rear decks since we loved to play in the surf with them, and it is hard to get all the water out once they are filled with it.

The newer ones are called Swiftys or Sparkys and have a few more goodies like deck rigging, but you can add your own which I did.

They were the original 9 foot yak, and since them there are a bunch of copies.

If the price is less than $200 I would get it, but there are many equals on the market now that sell new for about $300.

Make sure the bottom is not worn through, although they are pretty industructable.



I had one
and sometimes wish I still had it… my kids (when they were young) and I had a great time in it. great little dubbing around boat. If the price is right - get it.

The Keowee
was my first kayak, too, and I still have mine. (I call it the blue bathtub.) It’s a great little boat for poking around, but some drawbacks include the lack of a drain plug, the stiffening tube that runs the length of the boat, and rather soft plastic (newer boats seem to be stiffer, in my experience). I agree with previous posts; if it’s in decent shape (not oilcanned) and under $200, go for it.

great info
Thanks for all the input. Since I’m a newbie the info was very valuable and I have decided to buy it as my first kayak.

Thanks again!

Make sure the boat has been properly stored and maintained. It is an older model and the plastic can get brittle as it ages. We had a lot of fun with keowees and then moved on to bigger boats. A good paddle makes a world of difference. Dont waste your money on junk paddles.

Second on the paddle
If you like paddling well enough you’ll soon have a longer boat. (Everyone started in one of these shorter guys.) If you get a decent paddle, it can move with you to the next boat.

One thing though - try to get a paddle that is the minimum length that works for the Keowee. Otherwise you’ll find that it is too long for any subsequent boat that is likely to be a lot less wide. Aquaterra makes a paddle for full price about $140 that is really quite light and decent for its price, really no flutter. It’s a nice starting blade that you’ll always appreciate having around as a spare.

I don’t mean to be a spoil sport on…

– Last Updated: Nov-20-05 9:44 AM EST –

the paddle, but if you are a new paddler I would advise not getting an expensive one.
Most people starting off never stay with the paddle that they start with.
We started with el-cheapo paddles and I don't regret it a bit.
Just get a two piece one that you can have several choices on the feather.
After a season you will start to figure that you might want something else, and you will have a much better idea on what to get.
If you get hooked on paddling you will be getting a longer kayak after a while and then get a better paddle.
You didn't post a profile, but if you are in my neck of the woods, I would be glad to give you one of the many el-cheapos that we have lying around.


Cheap paddles
By cheap or junk paddles I was refering to the typical $30 paddles that come with the boats or are supplied by dealers. There are several decent paddles available that will not break the bank, $80 give or take. Check out the sales. The better paddles will make a huge difference in your paddling. When we had our Keowees for a while with the cheap paddles that were part of the package, we had a lot of fun. I picked up a 1 piece 230cm Lightning Skimmer for $100 on a close out and it made a huge difference. I converted that paddle to 2 piece and used it for many years on a couple of different SOTs which were about the same width as the Keowee.

Paddle - Depends
My sister and her husband have Otters, and were paddling with super cheapo paddles that were dtracting from my sister’s experience because they were way too heavy and long. It was killing her wrists and arms. I got them the lighter Aquabond ones from EMS and they both are really appreciative, even though it is unlikely they’ll ever get more boat.

If the heavy paddles don’t bother you, then I suppose cheaper is fine. But the diff between a $50 paddle and a $120 paddle in weight and handling is quite large, depending on the paddler easily enough to make a diff in the experience.

I paddled my first 8 years with cheap,
heavy and very durable Carlisle paddles - I think they may have been the guide model. I got them when I bught a used Keowee 1 and Keowee 2 from a couple that was upgrading to Poke Boats. I thought that they were great paddles for learning how to paddle on the rocky bottomed, shallow and log jammed streams here in central IL. No, I didn’t like the weight of the paddles, but I was able to push off of rocks, the river bottom and anything else that got too close for comfort and had absolutely no concern whatsoever of damaging the paddle. That’s one less thing to worry about when learning to paddle in that type of condition.

This year my wife bought me a Bending Branches Infusion crankshaft that cost $125 and weighs 41 oz. It’s nicer to paddle with than the old Carlisle, but it won’t take near the abuse and I am much more delicate with it when using it for a paddle brace for getting in and out of the boat.

The new Carlisle Daytripper paddles retail for $40 and feel as light as my Infusion, but blade design isn’t as nice as the Infusion. The Daytripper is, however, nearly as durable as my old Carlisle and weighs a couple pounds less. Low price doesn’t always mean bad. The Daytripper weighs less than many of the paddles costing over $80, but the design isn’t as nice.

Having cheap paddles didn’t keep me off the water, but better paddles has increased my pleasure while paddling both my kayaks & canoes, especially when paddling with groups that move at a pretty good pace.

I think that paddling a boat that you are going to bang around on rocks etc is with a cheap and durable paddle makes a lot of sense, especially when you don’t know how to avoid rocks yet. My first Carlisle paddles were used as levers many times. I had never bought a paddle until this year. Until now, I had only used the paddles that came with the used boats that I purchased.

Now, having said all that, I do look forward to eventually getting a shorter and lighter paddle for paddling my Phoenix Isere and any other skinny kayak that I may acquire in coming years.

My theory is to paddle whatever you can get your hands on with whatever you can get your hands on.