Calypso 12' or Dirgio 106 XT

I am a beginner kayaker and was considering purchasing either the Calypso 12’ or the Dirgio 106XT. I did not see too many reviews on the Calypso. I will be kayaking at the lake always. Boats travel the lake a lot on weekends but weekdays it is really calm.

I am 5’6" and weigh 120 lbs. I was not sure which boat would be better for my body build. I also want to have some speed but have the stability of the boat. I think I will be board quickly if the boat has no speed. I saw LL Bean was doing a package deal with Carlisle and or Calypso paddles, PFD and cockpit cover for $799.00 total with no shipping.

Cabela’s has the Drigio 106 XT for $699. I would then have to get a life jacket and paddles also.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Calypso, hands down.
The Calypso was designed for petite women - you seem to be about perfectly ideal for it.

Yes, it’s more narrow than the Dirigo, but you’ll find within 10 minutes that you’re just as stable in both boats.

Do you live near a LL Bean? If so, you can try the Calypso out on one of the “Walk On Adventures”.

Random Comments
I don’t know the Dirigo, but the Calypso has been a decent first boat for a couple of women in our local group.

As to speed, why are you concerned about that - are you going to be paddling with a group of others and want to keep up with them? If it is something like that, you need to allocate some money for a couple of early lessons on a good forward stroke and make sure you get a paddle with a pretty light swing weight. The latter costs money in an adverse fashion - lighter paddles cost more.

People tend to look too much at the boat and too little to the paddler/paddle package in assessing speed.

As I said, a couple of women have found the Calypso to be a good first boat. One in particular who really likes speed spent just a season before moving up to a longer boat though.

Calypso 12’ or Dirgio 106 XT
I do not have an LL Bean anywhere near me. I live in Central Louisiana. The only place we have remotely close is an Academy with a limited selection and they do not let you test the boats. I sat in a couple of Old Town kayaks that were comfortable that and the size is why I had considered the Dirgio.

Thanks for your suggestion. I read on this site that the Dirgio had more speed than the Calypso. So I thought that the Dirgio could be the best of both worlds.

Random Comments

Thanks for your comments and expert advice. I was looking into getting the Aquabound 230 Stingray paddle. Is that a good paddle? I know it sounds crazy considering speed but I am the type to challenge myself. I guess I read so much about people purchasing their first kayak and outgrowing it in a year or regretting not stepping up on the gear.

I read on this site under reviews from one reviewer that the Dirgio actually went faster than the Calypso but that probably has to do with the paddler’s size and experience.

All in all, it seems that many say to go with the Calypso for lakes and my size.

Thanks for your advice.

Can’t imagine Dirigo being faster.
It’s shorter and wider - this combination are going to make it a slower boat – ESPECIALLY for a petite woman.

As for paddle - in the Dirigo, you might want the 230cm because of the extra width. But, for the Calypso - being a more narrow boat, I’d doubt you’d need a paddle that long. I’d say go for a 220cm paddle.

230 cm paddle oo long

– Last Updated: Aug-21-10 12:15 AM EST –

The Aquabond sizing chart, as well as Werner's, put you at a 220 cm paddle. A paddle that is too long is a slow and unwieldy paddle. Personally I think that 210-215 would do since your height and the Calypso's width lie very close to the break points in the Werner fit guide, but no way the 230. There is a reason for all the 230 cm paddles being offered on EBay cheap - they are too darned long for most people on current standards. But in any case, you need to look a bit shorter especially for the Calypso.

For the Calypso, I caught that there are two lengths. I believe the one that the couple of women locally have gone with is the 14 footer - probably a bit faster than the shorter one but I have no hard evidence of that.

Also, I am not an expert. I am someone who made a few mistakes along the way, including taking a while to find out for myself that a too-long paddle was literally a drag.

I believe the longer one has thigh

– Last Updated: Aug-20-10 11:26 PM EST –

braces and the shorter one doesn't which to me is a negative - i wouldn't want one without especially once you get used to them. (Calypso)

Couple of differenes.
Between the Calypso 12 and 14 are:

  • 14 has thigh braces
  • 14 has better/proper deck rigging (bungees AND perimeter lines) [12 has
  • 14 has fore/bow bulkhead (both have stern bulkhead) [12 has a foam pillar]

    Alas - both have ridiculously high seat backs.

    Both strike a very nice balance of maneuverable and good tracking.

widen your choices
Dirigos are heavy for weight (they are sturdily built of traditional rotomould and take a lot of abuse, but more weight is the tradeoff). Heavy to load on and off your vehicle and heavy in the water to accelerate and maintain speed esp. since you are on the small side. And I respectively suggest that nothing at 10 feet 6 inches will be anywhere near fast, since you mentioned being bored.

That little Calypso is light. Basically a Perception boat built for LL Bean. It will need float bags in the front as it has no bulkhead there, but that’s alright - learn your rescues and know you’ll be dumping out more water than if you had a front bulkhead. Since you are going out on lakes you’ll likely be in water over your head so these things matter.

Package deals sound good, but it’s usually the cheaper stuff. You don’t need top of the line but you don’t want the cheap gear either. You want a PFD that really fits you. Something curved, shaped to the torso, not a “boardy” vest. Women sometimes have a tougher time w. that as we have breasts and shorter torsos…

And the low end Carlisle paddles are heavy and really take away from the pleasure of paddling, esp. for a smaller person. Depending on the width of your boat, your torso length and your paddling angle, 230 cm is almost certainly too long and I’d be skeptical about a 220 cm as well, but thru this keyboard I can’t see you or how you paddle ')

why not a used boat?

-they are out there in 12-14 foot lengths in models that fit you. Suggestions avail. if you are open to going used.

  • it’s a private party sale so it’s very likely you’ll be able to try out the boat. Esp for new paddlers, don’t buy a boat you haven’t paddled!

  • with a used boat you might get a decent paddle, pfd, and/or related gear like a skirt, pump, whistle, drybags, etc…if they fit you and are in good condition that’s a good package deal. If not, use the $$ you save on the boat purchase to get good gear.

    -if you get a brand new boat, the first half dozen times you paddle it you lose about 20% of the resale value anyway. Get a used first boat, you can often sell it for close to what you paid. Your first boat is not gonna be your last if you take to kayaking.

  • used boats are also sold by paddle shops, either from their demo fleets or on consignments. Even floor models cost less than new. Plus you have someone who can actually see your build, fit a PFD and paddle to you, seat you in the boat, and watch you paddle. Way better than we folks on the internet.

    They also sell cartopping systems - from modest foam blocks and tiedowns to full on rack systems. You are gonna need something to tote your boat around safely.

    You mentioned there are no paddleshops in your immediate area… road trip! go on a weekend and stay over a night, maybe you have a friend or relative near a good shop… try a buncha boats w. knowledgeable people…see what suits you and look for it used…

    good luck & welcome to kayaking!