Cheap, Fast, Light, pick any 2

-- Last Updated: Feb-14-07 8:58 AM EST --

A friend is selling a Phoenix Isere for cheap. This is a boat that is 14'9" x 24.5", so it is not going to be "fast". But it is pretty light, weighs in at 30 lbs. I have a heavier faster fg Point 65 North that is 16'9" x 22.75". I weigh 165 lbs. I can imagine using the Isere for river running or small lakes. So if I bought the Isere would I use it a few times and then go back to the P65 because of the speed difference? Or would the Isere be a good buy because I would use it despite it's relative slowness.

Which boats tend to gather dust in your fleet, the heavy, the slow, or the expensive?

No dust on me!
Everyone’s different in terms of what they look for in a boat and from each paddling experience. Still the boat with the 24.5" beam is beamy enough that it will be significantly slower, unresponsive to edging, and – maybe most importantly – “bulkier” to work with in the water. My take is that once you’ve paddled a narrower boat, paddling a boat that is a few inches beamier is the equivalent of donning a couple of cardboard boxes over your regular clothes. Among other things, you have to lift your paddle higher and plant your paddle further out from the center of the boat. Just doesn’t feel right.

The heavy ones
gather dust more than the others, for me anyway.

I know, I know. You spend so little time loading it as opposed to time on the water. Still it’s a hassle when you’re doing it alone.

i’ll buy it
nevermind, i’m sure your boat must be better in every way…where is the isere and how much does he want for it?

Find a rm tempest 165 to trade me and I will meet you halfway, swap boats, and haggle over cash.

sounds like you should get a tempest
i’d like to have an isere. i have three phoenix boats now. have you ever paddled a 30 lb boat?

No, the only boat
I’ve ever had a chance to paddle is the p65. But, correct me if I am wrong, the 30lb 14’9" boat will have good acceleration but slower top speed? So getting up to speed will be great, but it is a lower speed than a longer, narrower boat. So the Isere is cool for lots of stops and starts, but for a steady pace, not as good?

none of em

– Last Updated: Feb-13-07 9:25 PM EST –

I have an old dagger rec kayak I thought I would sell after having to wash the dust off of it. But I still use it to poke around rivers in. It depends on the variety of water near your location.

If you buy it, be sure to use flotation.
The Isere has no bulkheads and is VERY heavy when half full of water. I swamped mine on a shallow river a couple years ago and it is nearly impossible for one person to get hold of the half full boat to dump the water. I had to have help from my paddling partner. I didn’t have flotation, waterskirt or a bilge pump that day.

I used the Isere a couple times on shallow and bony rivers and grimmaced every time I ground it over the river rocks. I haven’t used it on a river since I swamped it.

My biggest challenge with the Isere is coming up with a good seating solution - I’m not fond of the stock seat. Since I added a Bomber Gear back band last summer, it’s much more fun to paddle.

While the Isere is plenty maneuverable for river use, my favorite way to use it is for just getting out on a lake or pond and just playing around and revelling in it’s accelleration and maneuverability. I also had an opportunity to “surf” some approximatlely two foot waves on Clinton Lake in central IL last winter and that was a blast. It’s a fun boat for that.

The Isere tends to spin when you stop paddling and that characteristic makes it a poor candidate for birdwatching or other situations where you want to continue in the desired direction after you stop paddling.

I would choose my Sea Lion for long trips mainly because it keeps going straight when I stop paddling to use the binoculars or get a drink of water etc… My impression is that the Sea Lion is also more efficient at higher speeds and has a higher top speed, but I haven measured either with a GPS or any other means.

The Isere is a very different boat than your other kayak and would probably compliment it very well. It is a bare bones kayak with no bulkheads, perimeter lines or any other outfitting, but it is fun to mess around in. I still haven’t figured out a good way to cary a spare paddle.

At 30 lbs, you do have to be careful when handling it out of the water in strong winds so that it doesn’t get blown around and banged up or damage you or someone or something else.

Good luck.

What Yanoer said
He gives good advice. I’ve had my Isere for about a decade now, and I don’t paddle it often enough. Ironically, I usually race it, because even though it is not the fastest boat out there, it is usually the fastest boat out there for it’s length due to its round hull and shallow draft. The acceleration is great! Every time I have it out, I tell myself I should use it far more often. So why don’t I? It’s uncomfortable in the stock seat for long periods of time, I think. If I had a backband, I know I’d be in it a lot more.

I’ve added bungy deck rigging on mine for more convenience for holding spare paddles, water bottles, etc. I usually don’t use any flotation, but I agree it is a must if there is any possibility of swamping.

I think you’ll prefer this boat for river touring and small ponds. For sea kayaking and large ponds and lakes, stick with your other boat.


cheap enough to try
Well if it’s really cheap, you can buy it and have it around for a season and see if you like it. I read the remarks above as sufficient interest to be able to sell it later if you don’t fall in love with it. Seems like a minimal risk and who knows? - maybe you’ll really like it - carpe kayak…