Canoeist with bad knee needs help picking sea kayak

FYI. Two kevlar/carbon Hop On Top Nomad kayaks here:



Thanks Sing - you’re amazing. I sent him an email about the 16’ Nomad.

We’ll see.

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I think you had paddled the RM version before (saw in your pics), but you may want to consider the 18’ version if you have any plans around touring/camping.

Thought the 16’ version was interesting with the surf fin/skeg. Seems to be a rocker to that hull that makes it more playful. With that skeg, I think the boat becomes more a tracker. But, you would have to decide, at the beginning of the trip what you are going for…

PS. If you want to go without the skeg, you can affect the trim (to minimize weathercocking) by finding where best to locate gear storage (ballast) in the front or the back bulkheads. Can only do this by trial and error test paddling in windy conditions. I had to do this with SOFs which obviously had not skeg.


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I paddled this one from Tony (who you know). Plastic, I thought it was 17’. It was fine - we did 14-miles that day in some rolling waves. No surf. That boat was tough to turn, but it moved well.

Me in a kayak

I’ll try both of these if I can.

Yes, so you have a sense of the boat from that RM version. You got to figure that the lighter carbon/kevlar will have a little more zing in getting to speed because it’s stiffer and lighter.


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Another to try is a Stellar S16S. I have the S14S and it is a tight fit.

I would think a SOT would be a good choice. I have a bad knee but do well in my sit in sea kayaks. However, in a sit on top you can even hang your legs over the sides when stopped.

Edging and a bow static draw might make your turning while moving easier.

Not sure who is teaching now at the Kayak Centre but I used to work there - if it’s Ken tell him I said hi! (Brooke - he’ll know me). They’ll put you in an appropriately sized boat, and you might be able to try a couple if there’s time.

The Valley Skerray is an ocean cockpit boat - definitely something to stay away from if you’ve got cranky knees.

Agreed that the Delphin, Stratos/Alchemy, P&H Virgo or Valley Gemini are all great plastic all around sea kayaks.


Yes, used is the best bang for your buck.

Do not limit yourself to rotomoulded, definitely consider composite kayaks as well, they are much tougher than people give them credit. This very topic about how rugged a composite kayak is came up in the recent topic about gel coat repair.

Hey Eck, it is all good- meaning canoes, c1s, kayaks (sit ins and sit on tops), rafts, ducks. There are a lot of things I still miss about canoeing and c1ing. I don’t miss the pain. It is great to still get out even if it means I do it a different way now. Good luck finding the right ride.

I actually find narrower boats put less stress on my joints (better boat/body connection) but they are harder to get out of. I got no pride and ain’t afraid to ask for help (having someone hold the boat, or pulling it up partway on shore) or I just get wet when exiting the boat… the trick is not to submerge the cockpit because then the boat is harder to drain. As far as me staying dry, that’s not a priority. Paddling is good, regardless of the type of craft. Just find out what works for you.


You guys must not do as much rock gardening as we do out west. On our club trips, no one bats an eye at a 14’ foot boat, like a Dagger Alchemy or Stratos, on all except the longest paddles. I don’t currently own a boat longer than 14.5’, so guess I wouldn’t be allowed on your club paddles.

On sit ins and being in one position for a long time, and you hearing about white water people complaining about this. All sit ins you are wearing, much more so than a canoe or sit on top. But the fit is much tighter in white water boats than touring boats. We generally have some room to move our legs around in touring boats, where white water boats usually don’t.

If you do end up with a sit on top, you can often get thigh straps which will hep you get more performance (edging and the like) out of the boat.


The sea kayak characteristics of your local club is pretty standard. 14 ft kayaks (i.e. Stratos, Alchemy, and a few others) that have all the other characteristics are usually not a problem.

Regarding cockpit size and kayak fit, make sure you can easily get in & out of the kayak - this can be tested on dry land. As another said, no ocean cockpits for those with limited leg mobility. As you are used to a canoe, a sit in sea kayak may seem very enclosed to begin with.

WW paddlers seem to wear their kayaks. Sea kayakers (at least me) like to be able to engage all 5 contact points, however not to the point of wearing a tight fitting kayak. What this means is that some of us like being able to adjust our legs a little on long paddles. Moving some does not mean we slide around inside the kayak. I owned & liked the CD Sirocco and rolled it, however even though I am 6’1" and (was) 205, there seemed to be enough room to play a game of handball in the cockpit - you probably do not want a kayak that loose.

Should you decide to learn to roll, you will gravitate to a sea kayak which allows you to engage the points of contact more easily. This can be done by buying a tight fitting kayak or installing pads for greater contact.


Like anything - it depends on the paddler. Experienced paddler like you shows with a 14’ boat and no one blinks an eye, newbie like me shows up and that would be another thing. More than anything, I think the requirement keeps inexperienced flatwater paddlers from showing up on sea kayak trips that they don’t belong on. The guy who owns the sit on top that I borrowed regularly paddles a 14" Tsunami Ranger sit-on-top. Rules are made to be broken - by the right paddler.

I feel pretty confident saying if you are ever in RI you can paddle your 14’ boat with RICKA. :wink:

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There is a P&H Aries 150 for sale near me - $2,000. Not plastic, but the price seems right for a composite boat, and I can do a demo. Assume it is similar to the Aries 155 - just half a foot shorter.

You won’t fit the Aries 150. It’s intended for small to medium size paddlers.

Half the RICKA contingent I was out with recently for the rock and surf play trip were in Aries 155s.



Thanks - I’ll keep looking.

The Aries is a better boat in every way than the Delphin except for two: price and durability. The flat bottom of the Aries is slightly prone to cracking under real duress, such as dropping off the back of a big wave when busting out through surf. A friend had this happen to him and he adjusted for it by landing at a slight angle rather than flat.

That said, I would happily exchange my Delphin 155 for an Aries as the paddling experience is just slightly better in every way.

Oh and this: carrying a Delphin is unpleasant. Between the weight of the plastic, the aftward positioning of the cockpit, and the positioning of the thigh braces, it is no fun lugging this boat any distance.

That’s why I traded my Delphin 150 (as much as I liked how it surfs) for a Sterling Progression… What a difference on those long (100 yard plus) carries to the beach break. I think I probably added a couple more years of long boat surfing with this switch. :slight_smile: