Choosing First Kayak

-- Last Updated: Nov-13-05 9:31 AM EST --

I am a beginner to kayaking but really love it. I could use some advice on choosing my first kayak. After much research I have narrowed it down to either a Necky Manitou or a CD Kestrel(roto). I like the seat and the look of the Manitou better but felt very confined and getting in and out was not that easy. I am 6'2" and have long legs. I guess as a beginner I have thoughts of struggling to exit when it rolls. The Kestrel was nice but the seat seemed like it was almost an afterthought, but the cockpit was less confining. If anyone else could share their experieces with these kayaks it would be greatly appreciated.

up in Poprtland, along side the Chatham 17 I was in the the Chatham 16(?) our guide used. We went out on the Willamette River in Portland (OR) for a 3-1/2 hour day trip, downstream, around an island, beeaching & strtching our legs befor heading back.

Sally said it was a slow boat, didn’t really like it, was too much work to keep up -and we weren’t going ANYWHERE close to ANYTHING that ANYONE with ANY paddling under their belt -or butt -would call a good pace. She felt it was a rather sluggish craft.

She didn’t like it in the least.

Our friend Grayhawk won a Kestral (just what a guy who’s been thru -what? -8 (9?) boats in 4 years, still has 3 -needs, LOL!) at the B&B a few years back. He’s a CD Caribou & Pygmy Arctic Tern afficianado, and he really liked the K a lot. Great small boat for gunkholing, photography, EZ cruising, tight spots in the saltwater creeks that twist &bturn through the mangroves of the Florida Keys, ENP, SW Florida, and Miami & environs. Pretty good visitor boat, too.

So there you have at least one experience of what one paddler thnks about using the Manitou to


-Frank in Miami

I’ve paddled a Kestrel 140 in TCS…
…and it’s a nice paddle. Stable but surprisingly fast for such a short boat. Not sure if the rotomolded model is available yet since it just recently appeared on the cd website. Excellent first boat imho. You probably won’t need a rudder unless you like to fish and need some minimal hands free control.

struggling to wet exit
I am a beginner myself and don’t know anything about the two boats mentioned but…

I’ve found that getting out of a boat, in a wet exit, is much easier than getting in, or out, when you’re right side up. Underwater you are essentially weightless and sliding out of the cockpit only requires a simple motion similar to pushing your pants to your knees.

Wet exits and paddle float rescues are necessary skills but I’ve already come to the conclusion that they are too time consuming and complicated to serve as the primary, or only, capsize recovery. Even if you don’t want to learn to Eskimo roll a snug cockpit enhances boat control which will reduce the probability of capsizes occurring.

Of course my comments assume that you can enter and exit the boat without losing skin in the process and while in the cockpit you are comfortable.


On my Kestrel…
… a 120RM I removed the seatback (very easy to do) and replaced it with a backband and it was a much better ride,

PrijonCapri, Benji.