I am planning on getting a sit-on top Kayak for use on the North Coast in California. My primary use will be scuba diving which means I’ll need a stable boat since I’ll be getting in and out of it and lugging heavy gear in and out of it in the water. Also, I’ll be carrying 70+lbs of gear on the boat. I have very little kayak experience having used Ocean Kayak’s Scrambler a couple of times. The Scrambler is very popular with divers and is pretty much the only one available in our area to rent or try. I wasn’t completely happy with the Scrambler. The sitting position was not great, the boat did not seem to sustain much forward momentum and rowing felt a bit awkward. Our Kayak shop showed us another Kayak, Native’s Manta Ray 12. It has improvements over the Scrambler that are better for divers. Comfort wise, the seat is more “scooped”, the foot rest is more finely adjusted and the design of the bottom looks more compatible with forward motion. My husband and I put refundable deposits on a couple of them to lock in a Labor Day sale price. When we got home I looked up the Manta Ray and discovered it is 64 lbs, 12’2". long and 30" wide. This is in contrast to the Scrambler at 45 lbs, 11’.2" and 28in wide.
Now my questions:
- I will have help moving the kayak on land so am no overly concerned about the weight on land. What I am wondering is how much does the weight of the boat effect how much power it takes to row it in water? Keep in mind I am a middle-aged female with the typical weak upper body strength of an average female and will have a lot of weight from my dive gear on the boat as well.
- There is a 10’10" version of the same boat but it may be lacking some of the amenities that I like on the 12 ft. boat. It is the same width at 30" but only weighs 56lbs. If I were to choose this shorter version, is the 14" loss of length going to make a big difference in stability or ability to go straight with my lack of kayak paddling experience?
- The seat on this boat is very comfortable sitting in it on the showroom floor. It is scooped such that it slopes slightly upward at the thigh. It results in the paddler sitting deeper in the kayak. Does being deeper in the kayak make rowing any easier or harder?