Buying a Kayak

-- Last Updated: Aug-13-16 1:30 PM EST --

I am looking at a used Perception Carolina 14.5. I am new to kayaking and have read that this should fit me well at 6'2" 205lbs. How much should this be selling for. It says mint condition and garaged during winters.

Edited to add that I am on the South Shore of Long Island. Hoping to do some rivers (if 14.5' isn't too long) as well as the Great South Bay on the South Shore of LI.

Depends on Age and Condition…
…and what other accessories are included: paddle, PFD, etc.

New they’re about $950, and by the end of next month you could probably get an end of season closeout 2016 for 30% off that.

Before they discontinued that model of the Carolina the RM polyurethane version was selling for around $950. Sierra Trading Post had them for $500 for a while. If it’s the Airilte version (a lighter type of plastic) those were close to $2000 new and $1500 when they were discounted at phase out. You can get a new RM Carolina 14 for $979.

Still a good day touring boat and if it really is in excellent shape $400 or $500 would be a decent deal for the RM version and maybe $500 to $600 for an Airilite version. Make sure you are comfortable in the cockpit when you go look at it and that your legs and feet fit. Their Carolina 160 (also discontinued) was really the model they made for larger guys.

Check the bottom of the hull for flat or caved in spots (oilcanning) from improper storage and inspect the plastic – it should not look dry or crackled. Stretched out bungie cord or sticky rudder apparatus (if it has a rudder) can be fixed.

Whatever boat you get, take some lessons with an outfitter before venturing out into the coastal waters. Like most sports, kayaking isn’t intuitive and you will be ahead of the game in getting instruction in paddling technique and safety – pretty important in ocean paddling.

For the replies.

I offered $400 each for two of the same. $850 was the reply. I stuck with my offer. It’s a 2 1/2 hour ride one way plus tolls (and tolls could be $30 round trip).

I’ve read several guys my size saying it was a good fit.

What’s the difference between the 14.0 and the 14.5? I don’t want to spend more than $400 for my first Kayak. And this seems like a good one for the money for me.

good target
I think $400 is a good target for a first kayak. I’ve bought several older plastic touring kayaks in decent shape over the past 10 years for between $325 and $600.

The main difference between the 14.5 and the 14 models is that the 14 is 7" shorter and a little higher in the foredeck (not much, less than an inch). I do find it a little difficult to believe that the maximum capacity on the 14.5 is 400 lbs. That is awfully high for a 14" x 24" kayak.

It’s kind of hard to compare Perception’s models because they change them so frequently from year to year. If you can locate the serial number on the kayaks for sale you can find the year of production.

Serial number
Where would the serial number be located? The person I am in contact with is the brother of the deceased owner. He probably wouldn’t know where to look.


serial number
The S/N will be sort of molded into the plastic on the outside of the kayak near the stern (back end).

Not biting
Was hoping to hear back after I sent a text that I would not go for the $850 and was holding at 1 for $400 or both if I had to for $800. The drive and gas and tolls is keeping me from going for it. Hoping to find a good deal closer. Thanks for the help.

Would I get enough paddling tips from joining a club of sorts or is it worth paying for some lessons?

Carolina 16.0
I see a Perception Carolina 16.0 on ebay local to me. Can’t find much info on this. Must be old and not too popular. Any ideas?

Considering taking the 2 1/2 hr drive to get one of the two for $425 newly agreed upon price for one. I would still consider them both for $800 if they agree but won’t pay $850 forthe two.

To get a faster start…
Get the lessons, unless you have a club nearby that is loaded with people who have some coaching certifications and give free sessions. I don’t think that is the case in your area.

The reason I say this is that there is much advice to be had out there which is necessarily the best for you. What has worked for someone else may not ultimately be the best start for what you find yourself wanting to do in a kayak. Getting to someone with a solid coaching background levels that field.

My personal choice for any new paddlers considering a place like the Great South Bay would be to have them capsize the boat and learn how to get back in and at least be introduced to basic forward and turning stroke mechanics in the first few lessons. Those three things are probably the most helpful in paddling in wind and handling the surprises that open water can hand you. It is also good to do the capsizing part while the water is still warm.

Carolina 160

– Last Updated: Aug-16-16 6:05 PM EST –

The Carolina is just a larger version of the Carolina 14 that was made briefly starting around 2003 -- here's a the link to that year's catalog (a year when Perception was apparently experimenting with expanding their model lines).. Scroll down about halfway to see the specs on it:

They phased it out a few years later (I think they just had too much overlap and too many models) which is why you don't see many of them, but there are 10 user reviews of them in the review archives.

I bought a used Perception Monterey 14 last year which is another extinct model from that era (it came out the same year as the Carolina 160) and it's a very well made boat. They used some really durable plastic in those years and the fittings are nice too. I have no personal experience with the 160 but it sounds like it was a pretty good "big guy" boat with more volume and a slightly larger cockpit than the Carolina 14.

Thanks !
Picked up the Carolina 14.5 today. Looks to be 2005 but very clean. Looks hardly used or very well taken care of. It has a Yakima rudder and a Werner 2 piece paddle that looks like it might be fiberglass. $425 plus $25 in gas. Don’t know the tolls. $400 would have been a better deal but he wouldn’t go down more. There were 2 identical (well, different colors) advertised for $975. I offered $800. Counter offer was $850. I just went for one.

Nice seat and back. Nice hip pads. What to do with these size 12’s?

Carolina 14.5
I think for your height and weight the Carolina 14.5 is a good kayak, to not just start off but to keep and grow with over time. I have one of them.

Check out the Blueway Trail is southern Nassau County. Hook up with a group like Long Island Paddlers. You get to paddle with a great bunch of folks all over Long Island and elsewhere. You can also learn from others who have been around and been kayaking for a long time.

for the heads up. Went to a LI Paddlers meeting this past Tuesday. Will likely join.

Will check your Nassau reference.

The only drawback to the Carolina is not being able to straighten out my size 12’s.

different footwear?
What kind of footwear are you using? You might have to try wearing neoprene wetsuit socks instead of water sandals or other bulkier shoes.

No shoes
I was barefoot!

LI Paddlers
LI Paddlers is a good group to be involved with. Members are nice and friendly, are of all skill levels and paddle all over Long Island. That gives you knowledge of waterways you might have not been familiar with.

Some members are ACA certified and share their know how in scheduled training sessions or through a mentoring program.

A mentoring program
would be a great way to learn some technical skills and about the many opportunities around this Island.