I have been renting kayaks on and off for years, and kayaked often during the summer as a kid. I recently moved 5 blocks from a launch site in Belmont Shore, Ca and began renting 3-4 times a week. With Sports Authority going out of business I found myself snagging a Lifetime - Lotus 8 foot SOT super cheap.
Having never had a choice of kayak before, as a renter, I am now wishing I had not been so quick to buy. This kayak is great for me living in an apartment, and it easily fits inside of my Honda fit when I’m too lazy to use the foam racking system I have, and turns very easily. (I’m planning to upgrade to a real rack in time)
I have found this kayak to be so slow. I’m kayaking mainly to exercise and enjoy the many canals in my backyard. So part of me keeps saying, it doesn’t matter how slow I go, but if I’m out in a group I cannot keep up. In the afternoon/evening when the wind picks up I have to put in serious work to get to my launch site. the hard plastic seat isn’t the best, but i think I could find a way to make it work if that was the only issue.
I would love some suggestions…
could my paddle length/shape be wrong?
Is this boat shape in particular slow?
If i were to sell this boat and start over what would be better?
I am 5’11" 175
thank you for any help in advance
You bought it for exercise and small siz
It is still good for those things.
Would you transport a longer boat? Where would you store it?
An 8ft boat will be slower than a longer boat, all else being equal. But your technique and paddle certainly make a difference, too.
Since you bought it cheap, you can switch back and forth between renting a longer kayak and paddling the short one. That should help answer your question about what is the main reason for slowness.
However it turns out, a small boat bought cheaply should be very easy to sell if that is what you decide to do.
short fat boats are great
for building strength. The best shape I was ever in was after a year paddling a rec boat 14 miles a trip three times a week.
Solo of course cause it was slow.
Keep your paddling gym machine and use it and look into longer kayak… Perhaps some in your group would let you try.
You have found a group?
If so, find out where they got their boats. Go there and demo some.
If you want to go faster with less effort, anything longer and skinnier will be better than what you have. No need to make up a real specific list to hit those goals.
In general short wide kayak is slower than a longer more narrow craft. Sell your bargain boat. Lesson learned.
I am assuming you have a quality PFD?????
Years ago I started with a SOT Ocean kayak. It got old real fast. If you can afford it look for something at least 14-16 feet to have any true speed feeling. Just my opinion based on your stats.
Cost is a factor in the end.
I now paddle either fiberglass or other composite craft. Both kayak and surf ski. Skis are 19 feet and my kayaks are 16 ft 8 in and 18 feet.
You may want to consider a surf ski. Like a topless kayak. Lots of fun, easy remount and no concern of getting trapped in an overturned craft.
Look at Stellar and Epic for surf ski and kayak as well.
The Epic V8 is a nice starter craft for surf ski but IMO after just a few weeks you will want to get a V10
i have a Stellar SR ski and an Epic V10 Sport ski.
My kayaks are both Current Designs , an Isle and a Gulfstream.
I know nothing about your budget . A dollar figure would be helpful!!
Best rack i ever bought was a Goodboy rack.
At $200 a great deal. So easy to transport. Bomb proof and easy to use. Cannot say enough good things about this rack.
After going with noodles, foam, bed extenders etc i found Good Boy and am very happy.
What type of vehicle??
Back to kayak. Eddyline is made of a material called Thermolite, i believe. Very durable and way lighter than rotomolded plastic. Never owned an Eddyline but good reputation.
Any questions let me know.
would I/ could I store a larger boat? sigh. I’m not sure. I will need to find a good solution.
Your idea about renting when I want to go with a group is a good solution right now!
paddling gym machine
you’re right. I think I need to just think of it as my gym and be less focused on the tour.
I have a few friends in this area since I moved and I am slowly getting them to join me on my Sunday trips. They all rent, but 1 is now looking to buy! She has a large garage and will have less issues storing than I currently have.
After reading everyone’s thoughts I think I will hold on to this kayak until winter and see what I can upgrade to.
My kayak came with a PDF that looks like an old PDF from a 70’s boating trip. I just purchased a kayak specific vest to avoid the back being pushed up into my head and chaffing from the exposed straps on the sides. I am a strong swimmer but don’t intend to kayak without wearing my vest. I recently had a very experienced friend die kayaking the cherry bomb gorge in ca. I’m not getting after it like that but plan on being safe.
I have never tried a surf ski but will check out your suggestions. They look very fun, could probably make it to Catalina and back! Maybe that is something I will upgrade to when the canals become boring! Id love to not spend more than $500, at the moment. Seems doable. I will check out Eddyline, Current Designs and V8. I think I will try to find a demo before I buy, I didn’t even realize that was a thing.
The rack sounds great! I had not even started to tackle that yet. I drive a Honda Fit. The vehicle on the site looks about the same size.
Thank you for all the suggestions!
Get the boat first, rack later
The linked racks are, per the website: “…custom Vbars to transport race kayaks, OC1s, and shells.”
Specialized rack for specialized kayaks.
options when storage is an issue
There are inflatable, modular and collapsible folding kayaks that enable you to have longer and faster boats when you have limited storage and transport options. Depending on your perfomance expectations and budget these range from around $800 to several thousand dollars, though used boats will cost considerably less if you can find them. Some examples are:
- Point 65 modular kayaks which break down in 3 or 4 sections to load in the car or store in your apartment
- folding kayaks like Pakboat, Klepper and Feathercraft that have collapsible metal frames (like backpacking tents) with rubber and nylon skins. I’ve owned 6 of these and some models perform just as well as a hardshell of equal length. When packed down they can even be checked as luggage when you fly somewhere on vacation or carried in the trunk of your car or stored in a closet.
- inflatables from companies like Aquaglide, Sea Eagle (particularly the Razorlite model) and Advanced Elements
- the Oru kayaks, made of foldable hard panels
It’s not surprising that such a short and wide kayak is slow, especially for somebody your size. There is a limit to what changes in technique or a different paddle could accomplish in improving speed. You can’t take a golf cart on the interstate, no matter how hard you press the accelerator. As others have suggested, either keep it for conditioning or sell it, but find another option to use when you are on group paddles and want to keep pace.
As to “buyer’s remorse”, most of us who are into kayaking have had it at some point. But the good thing is, kayaks tend to keep a decent resale value and trading up is usually not too difficult. I tend to think of any kayak purchase as more of a “rental” since I am apt to eventually sell it (in some cases, when I got a good deal, I have sold boats for the same or even more than I paid for them.)
Mt first kayak…
Was an 11’ SOT that was wonderful for poking around. Then the first time I tried to paddle with a group I knew I needed a touring boat, then a racing boat, then a camping boat It just never ends.
I tell people it’s like golf, it hard to play a round with just one club.
Regardless of what website states i use the V racks for kayak (18 foot sea kayak) and surf skis. Actually good boy now offers a V bar for wide kayaks as the angle of the bars is larger.
If you like I will take some pics with boats loaded up this weekend. Not sure why Cliff says specialized Maybe to get more of the surf ski crowd or maybe to let surf ski and K1 people know they have a great option.
I am sure you can call him with any questions.
i spent quite bit of time on the phone with him prior to purchase.
U didn’t ask the most important ?
“How is my form and specifically my forward stroke?”
Before you get another boat, get your stroke down and use it to max out your current boat. If your form isn’t efficient, a new boat will just be a band-aid.
What were you spending on rentals?
I bet you already saved more than you will lose when you sell that small boat.
I wouldn’t sell it though. Keep it for when you want a work out, just want to float, or to loan.
A boat that is easy to transport can be so useful at times. Nothing like having just enough time to get to the water and paddle, but not enough time to load, unload, re-load, unload. All of which are going to take you at least ten minutes.
are $10 per hour. min charge of 1 hour. after the first hour you only pay for the time you use, 1.5 hours=$15. The down side is that boat up keep is nonexistent so sometimes you get a boat with broken peddles, or paddles or back rest.
Reasonable pricing I think. I try to make friends with the kids who run it so i can be picky when they get me a boat. I bring my 7lb Adventure Dog, Ida, with her own life vest. We are easy to remember.
I was not planning on buying but the deal got me.
room for improvment
I am by no means approaching an expert level! I’ll take your advise and look up some videos to help me perfect my strokes.
All you need is a longer boat
and you’ll go faster.
a 12 footer will be faster than your 8 footer, and a 14 footer will be faster than a 12.
It is as simple as that!
You can take all the lessons in the world and the eight footer will be still the slowest in the fleet.
Length equals Speed
Potential forward speed for a displacement paddlecraft is calculated by multiplying the square root of the inwater length by 1.55 to get mph.
Your 8 footer doesn’t have plum stems; lets just assume it’s 7 ft long in the water. Sq Rt of 7 = 2.65 X 1,55 = 4.1 mph.
For comparison, a 16 ft Wenonah with plumb stems is 4 X 1.55 = 6.2 mph.
So it goes, and shorter hulls usually yaw more, deflecting more effort into course correction which further extends the forward speed gap.
my opinion only
I paddled with a guy in a rec boat on a coastal tour. His form was good enough to allow him to keep up with people in sea kayaks.
It's my opinion that if you have good form you'll really appreciate a faster, longer boat, AND you'll be in control of that boat and able to use it to its fullest potential.