Normally I paddle a CD kestrel which I love, but at a recent vacation rental I paddled a Necky Dolphin SOT a bunch of times and fell in love with it…the design, the handling, the speed, the comfort. Very bummed to,find Necky is gone. Would really like recommendations on what the closest replacement might be. Speed and agility with good wave cutting. Anyone think Necky might be back?
Will Necky be back? Mike Neckar, who founded Necky, has started a small Canadian kayak company named Delsyk.
The Dolphin was made a long time ago. It was supposed to basically be a Looksha Sport hull, but as a sit on top. I think they stopped producing it in the 90s.
They do sometimes show up on the used market. If you like the hull and would be ok with a sit inside version,you can also look for Looksha Sports on used market.
I think Mike Neckar moved on to make updated versions of the Looksha Sports as his products, but only in sea kayak (not SOT) format. I don’t think he is still in business.
I would take a look at Swell Watercraft as a new boat that may be somewhat similar. This is an offshoot from the guy who originally founded Ocean Kayak, the first major sit on top kayak. https://swellwatercraft.com/
This is impressive! Thanks! Now to see what the price tag is.
Thanks. I checked this out…no SOTs yet. Great looking boats though.
I’m prejudiced but WS Tarpons are great SOT.
I think the W.S. Tarpon 140 is close. Old Town took over some of Necky’s products, but hasn’t gone to the sport type SOT, only fishing type models.
Something else to try are the entry level surfskis. The Fenn XT and a bunch of the new Epic rotomolded models might fit that sweet spot for you.
If it’s a relatively lightweight 14 foot SOT you’re after, and it’s purely about paddling performance (and not loading up lots and lots of multi-day camping stuff) then you might want to take a look at an RTM Disco. I had one, sold it, and have regreted it since.
Having once also owned a Scupper Pro and used the larger WS Tarpon, the Disco handled surf like a dream. And was not nearly the schlep of the bigger poly SOTs. Caveat: Your personal weight should be under 200 lbs. You might find a good new/used one on the Florida market(which is where I sold mine;-)
How’d you like the Scupper? I’m looking at the Swell Scupper 14 and it looks pretty impressive.
My old Scupper Pro (which I acquired “pre-owned” almost 20 years ago)still lives in my brother’s backyard in Florida(I’m in New York, mostly a small whitewater kayak and canoe guy these days, don’t know where you are/what kind of waters you have in mind/near you, --But I’ll try to elaborate.) It still gets used from time to time by him/his house guests/me,on my now rare visits to the Sunshine State. Salt water and sun have taken their toll over time, but it is still one tough cookie. It is the original venerable SOT design–Not the Swell design(as I see you have another post on this topic)
I’m using my new tablet right now, but somewhere in my old computer’s memory banks, I do have pics of the old Scupper in action. I’ll try to find them and post if it’s not too complicated or time consuming… That said, the OLD design seemed great to me for both touring and ocean surf–But admittedly, when I first got it, I did’nt have much to compare it to being a newbie way back then. (I’ve since owned and tried several other kayaks, both SOTs and sit-inside–I don’t like the term “sinks”;- )My early experiences with the Scupper were somewhat nervous ones. Even though I came out of a surfing background, I found the huge plastic craft both tippy and cubersome at first–Until I used it almost daily, then it REALLY grew on me(to the extent that I plunged further into kayaking and advancing to other boats.) It was a great boat in providing just enough of a paddling learning curve to step-up my skills on all sorts of water, as opposed to many a rank beginner rec kayak. It could be wet with the scuppers open while afloat stationary, but the Venturi Effect would kick-in and self-bail when on the move. I note that the new Swell design seems to have solved this (nonproblem for me)with an adjustable valve. In my day, I used sponge-ping pong balls. Anyway, long story short: I’ d take the new Swell Scupper in a heartbeat over many another SOT kayak out there, especially over most barge- sized fishing yaks that are heavy off the water and heavily promote “stability” at the expense of being a good paddle craft. Too much stability is not a good thing–It gets old rather quickly.
Great write up - thanks! I used to do quite a bit of whitewater paddling with my first kayak, a Spirit (Perception I think). I actually paddled that boat on some big lakes too - Lake Superior in sheltered water and Baker Lake in WA state. Loved it, but it killed my back. Then hubby and I went to Current Designs sea kayaks, big fiberglass boats that were a dream to paddle, but a bear to move around…I still miss that lovely boat. Now I love paddling my CD Kestrel on cooler days or when I don’t want to get wet. Also bought one of those big barges, a Native Watercraft Ultimate 12 that I call my “BarcaLounger” boat for lazy paddles and wildlife watching. Now being 68 and definitely heavier than I’d like, I want a SOT that’s comfortable yet fast and maneuverable…and fairly lightweight so I can move it myself. I was pretty excited about the Scupper 14, but the 68 lbs. is off putting. Now I’m looking at a Caribbean 14 at only 47 lbs. and so far seems to get good reviews. At least it’s certainly fun to be doing the research!
With each passing year, each pound weighs twice as much. Now 60 myself, I’ve sworn off any boat over 50 lbs. Sold off two 16’ poly tourers in past couple years. Kept the Royalex canoe. My Thrillseeker IK (27 pounds)sees lots and lots of ww and quick water “pocket yacht” use. …Might be headed for a Kokopeli pack raft purchase soon to go even lighter.
The Caribbean 14 thermoform looks nice and might be your ticket.
Also SOT hard boat wise, although smaller, you may want to check out the
Liquid Logic Coupe. Cheers!
The Dolphins are still around and I see one on Craig’s List now and then. The early ones that were made in Canada had very good plastic. They were early SOTs and narrower than what the modern “fishing kayaks” have become.
I had a Necky Dorado “made in Canada” and older than most Dolphins. It is still in my neighborhood and in great shape
Check out the Hurricane Skimmer. I owned a Carribean before the Skimmer and didn’t like the way it felt. That flat hull also made it slow. Neither is what I’d call quick.
And another vote for the RTM Disco. I have a friend who has gone through many sea kayaks but always has kept and uses the Disco more than the others. I would be have one if I’d fit.