Carolina 14.5 Airalite


I want your opinion on the Perception Carolina 14.5 airalite. I’m a beginner that is 5’9, 150lbs. i will be using this boat mostly for Adventure racing. i have never owned a boat before and i saw one for a cheap price at what do you think about this boat? i’m also looking at the Sonoma 13.5.

thanks in advance.

I’m impressed.
You’ve never owned a boat and you’re willing to plop down $1500 for your first.

I’ve only test paddled a Carolina 14.5 and can’t really offer you advice on it’s suitability for adventure racing.

Good luck.

more $

when you say cheap price, keep in mind as well that the required paddle, PFD, spray skirt, safety gear, and clothing may represent an additional 100% of the price of the boat. Just mentioned as you plan out your purchase. Most important . . many of us have learned the hard way. Do not spend so much on the boat that you force yourself to buy the least expensive heavy paddle and poor fitting PFD. These accessories will either benefit or hinder your first paddling experiences. My first cheap paddle was so heavy that I got tired paddling after 20 minutes.

Sonoma 13

thanks for the input. i haven’t really thought about all the extras.

what would you guys suggest? I want something that will last me awhile and not having to upgrade a year or two from now.

Carolina 14.5
I paddle the Carolina 14.5, and it’s fine as a Flatwater Touring Boat, but the beam is a little large for a racing boat, at 24.5" give or take…It IS however, a really stable boat and since this is your first, perhaps secondary stability is an appropriate trade off for the enhanced speed of a narrower boat.

Ditto on the safety gear…

one more thing…
transportation will likely add another 200-400 bucks.

one more thing…
Education will likely add another 200-400 bucks.

or more.


did you check the classifieds here?
I know some lucky buyer just nabbed a like new Hurricane Tampico for $500. This model is very similar to a Sonoma 13.5 so I’d look at both. I have a Sonoma but never raced it so can’t comment on that, but it has a narrower beam than the Carolina. No problems to report with Airalite.

great all round boat
I have the 14.5 plastic version and can say its a great all rounder, but I’m not sure about racing. There are specific boats made for speed. The carolina is made for the all rounder. Its incredibly stable. It will definately take you to the finish line, but I bet people will be passing you. I’m sure those people will not be on their first boat either.