Buying a light kayak

Hi all, I am looking to buy a Perception Prodigy 10 or a Delta S 12 Kayak. My main criteria is stability. Any suggestions?
Thanks so much! I am 5’6”

Forget about the Perception Prodigy 10. Lacks bulkheads plus a 10-foot kayak is a PITA to paddle. I know. Been there and made that mistake. Of the two, the Delta is the better kayak.

Where do you plan to paddle? Lakes, rivers, ocean?

@Rookie said:
Forget about the Perception Prodigy 10. Lacks bulkheads plus a 10-foot kayak is a PITA to paddle. I know. Been there and made that mistake. Of the two, the Delta is the better kayak.

Where do you plan to paddle? Lakes, rivers, ocean?

I never paddled either but looked at Delta and it’s not bad. I agree with Rookie. Bulkheads a must. I was looking at one in Rei not sure could have been 14 but looks like decent construction. Paddled with a Delta 17’ it looked nice and handled well.

12.10 delta is an inch wider at 25" tad longer. It should be a bit more stable than 12S but not sure if you need it. Look at capacity of each also,

Thanks for the responses, I am planning on paddling mainly lakes and rivers

Here we go again. While these are good answers in proper context, consider your expected use before considering that advice to be always applicable. If you are paddling primarily on small rivers and creeks, and dare I add, not venturing far from shore on smaller lakes, you don’t actually “need” bulkheads (making watertight compartments) on each end of the boat. If you capsize on a small river or within fairly easy swimming distance from the shore of a small lake, it won’t matter how much or little flotation your boat has, because you will do the same thing in either case. You will simply to drag or swim the boat to shore and empty out the water once you get there. If you had a canoe, this would be your only good option, yet no one on this site tells canoers that they can’t paddle without full flotation, and doing so with a canoe is routine.

That said, the Delta is clearly a much better boat, and it will be faster and require less effort. In fact, any 10-foot boat is going to be slow and ponderous in comparison, but a 10-foot rec boat might be suitable if you plan to do short trips and if you are certain that you won’t move up to doing longer cruises later on. It all comes down to your intended style of use. And by the way, you can do pretty well by putting float bags inside the front end of that 10-footer so it will be much easier to swim it to shore if swamped.

One more thing. You will find that “stability” is no longer your main concern, once you get some experience. You will even learn that too much stability is a bad thing, because it comes at the price of reduced performance. Hopefully you have a good enough level of comfort if forced to swim that the thought of tipping someday isn’t terrifying.

Can you demo the Delta? Or at least sit in the cockpit to check for fit? I’ve not paddled one but have seen a couple on the water. Reviews of the 12S here a Pcom are all positive and Delta offers a three year warranty, which is pretty good.

Do you have other choices or are you pretty much locked down to choosing between the two?

Here’s a good article which talks about bulkheads and other considerations:

I would bet most newbies will not be swimming to shore towing a 10 kayak that is sunk or flooded. Even 50 yards.

Most people would grow out of the 10’ kayak much faster than the Delta.

Every thermoformed Delta I’ve helped carry has been a pleasure due to the lightness. I’ve also paddled a Delta 17 (or maybe it was a 16.) I found the glide was pleasant but stability was excessive for my skill level. It would probably welcomed for the beginner plus, or even feel “tippy” when not weighed down with gear.

@Guideboatguy makes a good argument about the potential for having “too much boat”. If people stayed within the limitations for which these open/rec boats were designed everyone would be fine. But in reality, people’s skills improve along with their confidence. Before they know it they’re headed out toward some distant island on the horizon in a completely inappropriate boat for the conditions. I think full flotation from the start is a better idea, but if the warm waters of small ponds and slow narrow rivers are to be the extent of your paddling landscape then less boat could work well.

What is a small pond or slow narrow river,?

@PaddleDog52 said:
What is a small pond or slow narrow river,?

aka “Puddle”, or effectively where your chances of drowning are significantly decreased.

Some places where we paddle the creek is narrow and calm, but the shore is a long way away through the trees, weeds and muck. You won’t swim or walk to shore. Assisted rescues are the norm.

If you are a “drifter” rec boats might be fine.

@PaddleDog52 said:
What is a small pond or slow narrow river,?

Here in Michigan it’s most (but not all) of our inland lakes and streams (we call them rivers but I grew up in PA & they are more like creeks). Rec kayaks aren’t my thing but we have paddlers in our club that do quite well in Rec kayaks. On the Pere Marquette last weekend we had 2 Cross-Overs & a Rec kayak along with the canoes. A fine time was had by all.

I have started to wonder about bagging at least the Rendezvous though. Friday after Thanksgiving I paddled over the top of a floating canoe to give a hand to it’s paddler who was hanging onto a log. Folks below caught it & towed it to shore. It was full to the gunwales when I drained it.

Really cannot answer this unless you (original poster) supply some info on where you plan to paddle and a bit on how. If you want to try it on something like the Great Lakes or offshore in the ocean, neither of these are a plan. If you want to paddle with a group that are in longer skinnier kayaks, neither of these are a plan. If you want to stay in swimming distance to shore in a quiet creek or small river like the above, either would do.
At 5’6" there is likely to be some knuckle-knocking at first in any 10 ft kayak because they are generally so wide. But with a lighter weight paddle you can learn to avoid that.

Also need to comment on your “main criteria is stability”. Why is this your main criteria? Are you afraid of the water, possibly a non-swimmer? A wide flat boat does not guarantee that you will never get wet. Stability is relative to conditions and skill. A wide and flat bottomed boat feels more stable in flat calm water BUT it has higher resistance and is therefor slower and requires more effort to paddle. And if the water gets choppy or you are hit by a wave or power boat wake, a flat bottomed boat will be lifted by the water at an angle or even capsized, where a narrower, vee shaped hull would stay stable and ride up over the wave. Concern about “stability” often arises from fear due to inexperience, like a beginner bicyclist wanting training wheels. But you can’t learn to properly ride a bike if you start with training wheels – by the same token, a too-wide boat will hamper your ability to get a good feel for paddling as well as limiting the kinds of water in which you can safely and comfortably paddle.

Most of us learned to ride a bike at some point in childhood and that felt unsteady at first. But the body learns quickly to trust and adapt to the way the vehicle responds to gravity – the same happens in paddling. It’s very common for people who buy a “stable” boat to start out with to quickly find that the sluggishness of the craft frustrates them as they become more comfortable on the water.

Wide boats (and short boats have to be wide to provide enough displacement volume to support the paddler) are fine if you mostly like to sit quietly in them, say for photography or fishing, or to poke around calm ponds and slow flowing streams. But if your ambitions for outings eventually go beyond those activities, a short wide rec boat will hamper expanding your options.

Perhaps a short rec style boat would indeed be appropriate for your usage, but we want you to be aware that there can be down sides to using primary stability as your main criteria.

One other factor is glaringly absent, and it affects stability.

I am not going to ask you how much you weigh, but 5’6” 110 lbs is a lot different from 5’6” 160 lbs.

I have paddled the Perception Conduit 13’. It has two compartments and buoyant.

I was impressed with its versatility. The plastic one is tough.