Carolina 14.5 Good yak for newb?

I ordered (but can cancel) a new Carolina 14.5 w/o rudder. I am a new kayaker and after talking to some locals, they said it was a good stable boat. If it matters, I am 6-2, 218, with longer torso. I have an opportunity to buy the same boat with ruder for another $200. Is it a must for class I/II rivers, lakes, and ocean bays? I am getting the boat for approx. $600. Opinions please, especially from any users.

Many thanks!

Carolina 14.5 yak
I am about your size and this kayak should work for you. At your weight you will not be able to add a lot of stuff for extended touring. I know that they claim a 400lb max but realistically you will not be able to use that. The performance will suffer substanially the heavier you go. I would say for your size this kayak will work fine but I sure would not go smaller. I do not think a rudder is needed. This is a short boat and should turn quickly once you get the technique down. Have fun and enjoy.

This is a very good first boat
That you will probably never want to get rid of, even if you end up buying additional boats. It’s a great day tourer, can handle rivers, lakes, calm ocean conditions.

Good boat, but get it with the rudder
You won’t regret it.

Practice and learn without the rudder, but you will be glad you have it in strong quartering winds, and cross currents



Carolina series has been changed
for the coming year. It has been totally redesigned by Perception (Confluence). The Carolina 14.5 has been discontinued. They now make a 12 and a 14 Carolina. The 14 is available with a rudder and has a slight V bottom. My suggestion is to find a dealer that will let you test paddle. This is not a kayak that I would recommend for Grade II rivers unless you have a good whitewater background.

Mary Bayes

Western Canoeing & Kayaking Inc.

word of caution

– Last Updated: Nov-11-06 6:57 PM EST –

if this is a 2006 Carolina 145 and you HAVEN'T had a chance to try one on for size yet, try to find one and get in it before committing to this boat. The adjustable thigh brace design used in '06 was notoriously hard to fit for taller or larger paddlers (unless they had legs like twigs). Several of our customers who tried the boat and bought it despite their misgivings about the thigh braces ended up removing them altogether after they realized they were never going to be correct in fit, ending up with a cockpit that was much more "rec" than "rec touring."

Just got the new Carolina 14s in the othr day. I think it's worth noting that the new Carolina 14s for '07 have dispensed with the adjustable thigh braces altogether, I'd imagine (in part) in response to poor feedback on the '06 design. Unfortunately, they also got rid of whatever vee the old bottom may have possessed in favor of a perfectly flat bottom. Sheesh, talk about tossing the baby with the bathwater....

In any case, if you haven't sat in a particular kayak to check the fit, hold off until you do. Saving a couple hundred on a boat that won't fit you is no deal if the fit is uncomfortably tight or unfortunately sloppy.

Just a word of friendly advice....

In that case, I guess I jumped the gun.
I am thinking of the older Carolina.

A friend of mine, (Red Cross Randy) has one and has had great luck with it and likes it.

I better keep up with changes before I chime in.



carolina 14.5
This is a 2003 model. I sat (not paddled) in a 13.5 Carolina boat and it felt fine, but then I’m a newb and hard to compare with the two I had rented and paddled (both were high end at $2000.). Comments appreciated.

$2000 for a Carolina ??
throw a few hundred bucks more down and get a QCC.

I think you must have made a mistake.



I think
I think he meant the other 2 boats he rented were not Carolinas, but different high end boats @ $2000.

NEW Carolina
There is going to be quite a bit of confussion in the near future re: old/new Carolinas.

The new 12’ and 14’ Carolinas have little in common with the old (lots of ‘em) Carolinas. Basically the name is about the only thing similar. The NEW ones were designed by Bob McDonough and R/D team new from the ground up.

The new ones do come with an optional thigh brace which, IMO, really makes it!

Ol’ style Carolinas should be found with a substantial discount.


So you’re saying…
That the old Carolina’s, up to and including last years, were no good to begin with?

Hmmm…I’ll not argue that!

I Own a 2004 Model…
I’m 220 Lbs, and built like a fireplug, so you have me on height, I can load it for long trips (I’m a backpacker too, so that makes it easy to keep weight down without eliminating what I need)…I’ve done a weeks worth of twenty mile days in it, and it’s a great boat for what I use it for, (the same as you intend).

Get the Rudder, then learn to paddle without it…the skills you will develop paddling without the rudder will serve you well (and they transfer to other yaks), and the RUDDER will serve you well when the wind picks up on open water.

Get a Tarpon 160. It will do anything a
Carolina can do , plus be more comfortable. But I’m prejudiced. And forget the rudder unless you plan on paddling some serious wind and current - which the Tarpon handles beautifully with no rudder.