Chose between Hurricane, and Perception

New to kayaking. have narrowed choice to Hurricane santee 116, and Perception Carolina 12. Reviews say the bulkheads on the Hurricane are better and safer than the foam in the perception. Also Have seen comments about cracking on the Hurricane. Any help

in making a decision would be greatly appreciated.

Have you paddled both?

You Really Should Try Both on the Water
Last May my wife and I were looking for recreational kayaks and tried a Hurricane Santee 116 and a 126. They were both beautiful boats; well constructed, not too heavy and with large open cockpits. Then just for comparison we tried a Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Ultralite. The Pungo seemed faster, more responsive, turned easier, tracked better and fit us better. We couldn’t believe the difference and came away with two Pungos.

A time will come when I want a real touring kayak, but for local lakes, quiet rivers and sheltered bays I think we both have the perfect kayak for us.

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Where would you be paddling
I can name environments and purposes where the answer is neither of these boats. I can name the same where either would be ideal.

You need to include your likely paddling situation to get the best response - calm rivers or quiet lakes, ocean or big lakes etc.

where I will be paddling
Thanks for replying. I will use the kayak mostly on calm rivers and lakes here in SC

Between the two… I’d say Carolina

– Last Updated: Feb-08-14 12:16 PM EST –

If the info on the manufacturers' sites are correct, the Carolina comes with deck lines and the Santee has none (either sport or non-sport version). And the Carolina has two bulkheads while the Santee has only one.

Both are rec boats that lack the fit and dimensions to support learning much in the way of skills - for that you need a tighter fit and a lower deck and a lot small cockpit. Both are going to be boats that you'll want to find a nylon spray skirt or a half-skirt, because the cost of a neoprene deck skirt to fit that size cockpit is absurd.

But IMO, the dual bulkheads and the perimeter line of the Carolina make it a more serviceable and safer boat for puddling around flat water. Just don't trust these hatches to actually stay dry - figure on getting dry bags for anything precious like cameras, electronics or a sandwich that you are really looking forward to eating.

All that said, rec/entry level boats come a whole lot cheaper if you get them used, and usually are not hard to find. You should indicate where you live maybe a bit closer, you may be much nearer to opportunities for used boats than you realize.

If you have larger ambitions, like starting out on quiet water as a path to getting out to the ocean, I'd suggest that you skip over a rec boat like either of these and go straight to something that will support skills development for bigger water. Get a used, beat boat that fits you well and will help you learn, and let it takes the dings of your figuring things out. You don't have to love it, since it is not likely to be your final boat.

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Santee and bulkheads
All of the Santees have front and rear bulkheads, except for the 100 (it used to; don’t know why the change). The 100 doesn’t have front deck bungees, and neither do the Sport versions of the 116 and 126. The non Sport versions have front deck bungees. I wouldn’t get a boat without front and rear bulkheads and bungees.

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wing2, there are several paddling

– Last Updated: Feb-08-14 7:32 PM EST –

groups in SC where you can check out various boats and I'm sure, paddle them if you ask.
I also would go with the Carolina.

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I appreciate all of you who have responded. One thing I am looking at, is a larger cockpit, as I am 74, and want to be able to get out of the kayak easily if there was any problems. I appreciate the advice on the skirt which I will definitely need. I wouldn’t have known the difference between the nylon and the neoprene. Thanks again. I will also need some advice on a paddle. All my plans for paddling will be calm water, so I am not interested in speed, just enjoyment.

About paddles…
For a paddle:

I think the general advice goes something like, “the lightest you can afford”.

When my wife and I bought our first paddles, we followed that advice. I ended up with a full-carbon paddle made by a Japanese company (we live in Japan) and she bought an Aquabound carbon paddle. I think the Aquabound is actually a mix of carbon and fiberglass though.

They are both reasonably light and that makes a big difference over aluminum and plastic paddles when you’re out on the water for a few hours. My full-carbon paddle feels a little brittle and tends to chip easily, so I would recommend something more like the Aquabound.

I ended up giving up on “euro-style” paddles though and switched to a Greenland paddle a while back. I’m not sure if you are interested in such a thing, but a Greenland paddle is another reasonable option. They tend to be easier on your joints than euro-paddles, but can take some getting used to. If you get one made from Red Cedar, it will be plenty light enough to use all day.

Paddle thoughts

– Last Updated: Feb-10-14 3:23 PM EST –

What you can also look for in a Euro paddle, in addition to very light, is one that has a smaller blade. One manufacturer calls them a mid-something, or used to, but if you compare blade sizes you will see what I mean.

If you do want to sprint, a smaller blade makes it easier to ratchet up your cadence. You can get speed with cadence as well as a big blade, and getting it via increased cadence is a lot easier on your joints and muscles.

You well may find that a very light paddle with a comfortable swing costs half as much as the boat, or more so if you get a paddle full price and a boat on a great sale. Trust me - it is worth it. You are moving the paddle thousands of times in a single mile. You are moving the boat over land no more than 4 times (house to car to launch and back) for each paddle, and there are kayak carts to make it easier. If you have just one place to spend money for light weight, spend it on the paddle.

I agree that the Greenland paddle is easier on your joints. However, they are also intended to be used with relatively narrow, low-decked boats and that is not what you are looking at. I have known one person who made himself a GP (greenland paddle) to use with a Swifty, but he was an athletic person with a lifetime of martial arts. The extra contortions to get that paddle into the water for a proper bite were probably easier for him than it would be for you.

The GP stroke is also a bit different and not intuitive, at least to do it right. If you want to just get on the water and confidently control your boat should some wind kick up, a light, smaller bladed Euro double blade may be easier. Should you want to try a GP later on, you will find that can be obtained for a lesser cost than a higher end Euro blade.

One other point - think of two paddles, one for backup should there be an unforeseen break in your primary paddle or you do find a way to capsize and it gets away from you. You can find whitewater paddles that are made to break into up to four pieces that will fit under even pretty short bungies if you need it.

People will talk about paddle leashes to handle the risk of losing the paddle and staying attached to the boat. But my own experience was that the usual ones people start with are noisy and disruptive to good paddling experience. I couldn't stand the whack of the cord on the boat every time I did a stroke. I went to a wrist leash wrapped around my paddle shaft for cases where I might need it.

I personally feel that the risk of losing the boat is overrated in most paddling environments. I have capsized plenty and have never lost contact with the boat except the first couple of times I was in surf. Even in whitewater, granted I have only capsized and exited the boat in class 2, I have never come close to losing the boat. Maybe if I hadn't rolled up in the class 3 - but given what was beyond that point I would not have wanted to lose the boat as a buffer.

I use a 2-piece carbon Aquabound Stingray paddle and like it. My wife uses a Hybrid Stingray with a smaller diameter shaft. Hers is shorter so they weigh about the same at just under 30oz.

They are sturdy and reasonably light, with an easy to use feathering mechanism.

I do find myself frequently looking at the $475 Werner Cyprus model though!!!

Skirts for larger kayak cockpits are available. We have a Harmony full skirt (coated nylon with a neoprene waist) and a nylon “mini” skirt. We don’t do much paddling in rough water but the skirts come in handy in cooler weather.

Lightness makes a difference
I remember going on a camping/kayaking trip in Cape Breton a few years back. I was starting to poop out at one point (don’t remember if I knew about torso rotation back then). Someone gave me his paddle that was a touch lighter. Made all the difference. Definitely get as light as you can afford.

Picked out kayak
Just bought a Hurricane 116 sport. Has 2 bulkheads and

very large cockpit should this 74 year old should have to get out in a hurry. Thanks to all who have helped.

…on your new boat. I hope it works out well for you. Hurricane certainly makes a nice product.

Now consider splurging on the Thule Hullavators. I started out with Thule J-cradles but sold them when I still found that my aging back didn’t like lifting even a 40lb kayak on top of a tall SUV. The Hullavators that you load at waist level and let gas assist struts do most of the work, make loading and unloading extremely easy.