clarification needed

Hi new to kayaking attended a “Demo day” in Chester Ct last week tried lots of boats narrowed my choice to a couple 14ft with rudders. then I got totaly confused- while out testing one of the ‘experts’ on the water told me not to get a ruddered kayak! instead he suggested a 17ft fiberglass kayak with a skeg for over $3000 buck! hole smokes I can’t spend that kind of money!

the guy said that the 14ft rudderd kayak was not adequate for where i was going to kayak- when everything else i read and heard was that 14ft 2 bulkhead kayak was OK for my conditions. ct river and costal LI sound not intending on going in real rough water just looking to get out for some excerise and fun.

wondering what advise I can get here- I’ll have to wait for another sale to buy as the prices were so good at the demo- but have now ended- i wish I just got the darn kayak i liked last week cause some friends went and I had to borrow a kayak.

is a 14 ft kayak with a rudder ok for LI sound and CT river?


Make them an offer…
Offer them the demo price… betting they will take it…

A 14’ what kind of kayak?
Until you decide you are really hooked , a 14’ boat should be a fine place to start if it fits you properly. Unless you will be in strong winds and currents , forget the rudder. You will be better off if you learn to paddle without it.

If you are going into a sound, can we assume you are talking about a boat you can put a skirt on, not one with a huge cockpit?

yes small cockpit
yes small cockpit and 2 hatches and bulkheads- i was not going to buy the skirt right away as i only have so much money to spend- but i would get a skirt eventually

on what 14’ boat we’re talking about here. You say 2 b/h which is a good thing, IMO. safety first if you plan on getting out in Long Islanmd sound where the waether and waves CAN and will come up pretty fast.

better to spend some of your $$ on some lessons and other gear than to drop all that cash on a f/g boat. sounds like the shop’s ‘expert’ on the water might have steered you wrong. Prolly another good deal out there!

good luck


Clarification Needed Indeed…

– Last Updated: May-10-08 5:57 PM EST –

...'cause if you really need a 17' $3,000 skegged fiberglass sea kayak to safely paddle reasonably protected waters, my wife and I should be dead long ago.

We started kayaking in 2001, when I built myself a 17' stitch-and-glue sea kayak made of 4mm marine ply and epoxy. The VOLKSKAYAK design has no skeg or rudder, and the materials to do one cost me about the sales tax on the $3,000 FG jobbie you mentioned. I have no idea just how rough it would have to get before the VK couldn't handle it, because I've never been out in anything approaching that level of wind and sea, and don't intend to be!

My wife paddles a poly Cape Horn 15, with a rudder that's never been deployed except for testing. She paid just over $1,000 for it, less than one year old and lightly used. Apart from being a tad slow, the Cape Horn is a perfectly capable seaboat for any conditions a reasonably sensible and cautious paddler is going to encounter.

We paddle coastal Newfoundland waters, and our forte is alongshore day-touring. We have no interest in deep waters, long crossings, and expedition paddling, and avoid bad weather on the water like the plague. Our kayaks and equipment are geared for what we intend to do out there, not what some 'expert' thinks we should have and do.

A few caveats - for salt water work, I want bulkheads fore and aft, a cockpit that takes a skirt properly, proper safety gear, rescue skills and a good appreciation of likely weather conditions.

That 'expert' is urging you to get a Ferrari for picking up the groceries; sure, it'll do the job, and in fine style, but so will any number of far less expensive machines. If there's a decent paddle shop near you, where the staff have more knowledge and integrity than bluster and ego, go have a long chat with them. Bet they can help you find what you need...

ignore the "expert"
Sounds like you should ignore the expert.

Skeggs and rudders are meant to help you track straight in conditions where the boat may turn (often in breezes). Rudders really are not meant to be what turns your boat when you want to make a course correction, though often they are used that way.

That all said, some boats really do require rudders, as they are more prone to turning on their own. And many people use their rudders as their means of turning all their lives without any problems.

Now whether the 14 footer would do fine, I agree with the others that it depends on the 14 footer. The 2 bulkheads does make it safer (if you should take an unexpected swim, these will keep the boat afloat). But I am sure there are some 14 footers with bulkheads that may not be appropriate for decent sized waves. But many do fine.


– Last Updated: May-10-08 5:26 PM EST –

You don't need a $3,000 boat to paddle safely in the Atlantic. There are capable boats for far less money. You need a decent boat, and the skills and judgement to paddle it safely.

For generations professional fishermen used to row themselves miles offshore in the Atlantic in open wooden dories. They didn't have expensive gear. What they had -- unlike most kayakers -- was the judgement gained from a lifetime of living on and near the water.

well said Angstrom
All the high tech gear in the world and steering mechanisms won’t do squat without training and good judgment.

You ask the same exact question / questions that You asked the “expert” of most people on this forum…while out paddling…You very well might have gotten the exact or close to exact answer.

Think carefully what exactly You asked to get that answer…Think again how You have interpet what was said.

Many misunderstanding have happend before by the mis-interpetations brought on by someone either asking something that they didn’t really mean or someone answering a poorly constructed question.

I don’t believe that the answer that You got was necessarially that far off

Remember You are talking about paddling out into the sound…You are talking about paddling tidal water with very little understanding, that just because You don’t plan on paddling any serious water…that could be exactly what you could end up in…the weather and the tides and the winds don’t always ask first.

You still haven’t really mentioned exactly what boat it was that You are trying to get everyone here to defend as a perfectly good ocean going vessel.

Everyone here seems to be siding with You even though … we are not privy to our own interpetation of EXACTLY what was asked and EXACTLY what was answered to the Querries.

If You asked the questions like what do You think about paddling out into a sound in a boat that You already stated that You weren’t planning on getting a sprayskirt for …I don’t care what kayak it is…A spray skirt is a safety item on ocean waters. and in many large rivers too.

I would put my money that the expert probably answered the question/question that He or she felt You had actually asked and the problem of the answer has more to do with mis-interpetation…maybe on both sides

Never just look to throw out advice of someone who is there at the time for the feel good answers that You can and have extracted here on the net…

Best wishes


When you do buy, make it another dealer.

– Last Updated: May-10-08 10:57 PM EST –

It sounds like the salesman decided to
exploit your newness to the sport and
thought he had a live one. Don't patronize
this type of huckster used car salesman mentality.
--Shop somewhere else when you're ready,
get what you like and can reasonably afford.

By all means, as others have suggested here,
take lessons and learn proper safety and self-rescue, etc.
But you don't need to cough up $3000 to start paddling in Long Island Sound.
My brother has a house with the Sound sloshing in his backyard. When I visit, we regularly paddle and daytrip in 13 and 14' boats, respectively (both without rudders or even skirts in summer when things are reasonably calm). And a 14 footer will more than easily handle the CT river for you.

Do more research and Caveat Emptor(Buyer Beware.)

In fairness to all…

– Last Updated: May-10-08 11:47 PM EST –

Ruminations on things that might have come up in that conversation and didn't make it into this post... No fault intended anywhere, it's just that demo day conversations are often not the most thoughtful ones ever recorded on the water because usually a lot is going on.

You at some point expressed a desire to be able to go to certain destination points in LI Sound that involve the risk of significant conditions of which you are unaware - for example a route that would take you out towards Fisher's Island.
The person advising you got the impression that you thought you needed a ruddered boat to be able to turn it, so initiated a conversation about skegs and rudders as tracking devices.
You expressed a desire to learn more advanced skills, and the time line for such was heard to be on the short side.

And here's the part that would have caught my ear if I were that person - "costal LI sound not intending on going in real rough water "

Sorry, but at a certain point away from shore you can't help but be risking getting caught in what you would probably term rough water. The weather will come up on you faster than you can make it to shelter.

I agree with others above that there are boats in the 14' category in which a reasonably competent paddler can handle surprises in LI Sound. But the boat isn't the manager of the situation - the paddler is. Looking for a boat that can handle conditions can put too little emphasis on the paddler's contribution.

with the so called expert were initiated by him and I asked for no advice from him, all that said his demeanor was sorta pompous and condescending which gave me concern- I remember what I heard and how I heard it- im one that is mindful to intentions-

I have every intention to take adequate instruction have spent entire life on water (row power sail) do know how conditions can change rapidly - always check tide and weather conditions before any trip is planned i would take these life skills to my kayaking.

seems to me there are opinions that vary here as well some of you folks are like the guy from demo day and others seem to think judgment and skill are paramount- i coming away with the 14ft kayak would be fine as long as I keep it sensible- someone please agree with me.


I’ll bite
if you tell me what freakin’ 14’ boat it IS that you’re thinking of taking out in LI sound!

you’re asking us to make a call on just any 14’er? i don’t think so!

Soundz like you got your head on right in re: seamanship and lessons! IMO rule #1!


i liked
Tsunami 140 best it was between Looksha and Tsunami ---- tsunami was mre comfortable and seemed to go striaght with out the rudder

I must of tried 50 kayaks that day I did like some small boats 12ft but thought they were to small for LI sound. where should i take lessons? think the dude from water is in a group that gave lessons but not sure I’m up for that kind of attitude though.

Paddle group in your area

– Last Updated: May-11-08 10:19 PM EST –

Worth checking in with these folks, advice on local outfitters as well as potential company for paddling.

As to the choice of boat, others can comment better on the Tsunami 140. How big are you though - height, weight? That's important info. Also, what do you mean by comfortable?

Looked at the specs on Tsunami 140 and there isn't a lot of detail on the WS site, but it has two bulkheads and perimeter rigging etc. That said, it's still a boat that you may find yourself wanting to turn around in a pretty short time for something a little jazzier. So purchasing new may be worth thinking twice about.

Just reread your posts and you seem to be pretty fixed on a rudder. Not that it's surprising given your background, but I'd suggest that you not make it a required criteria for a boat. Or a skeg for that matter. It's the hull that matters most.

Also, I think you misunderstand the primary value of a skirt. A cockpit full of water causes a boat to be more unstable, and in bigger water that can happen quickly if the boat doesn't have a skirt. Staying truly dry in a kayak is at best a marginal possibility, skirt or no.

It’s a shame that we have so many…
“experts” giving so much BS advice.

Just about any fourteeen foot kayak on the market is Ok for the conditions that you wanted to paddle in, providing that you had a spray skirt and water tight compartments.

And even though I am no expert, I would have highly recommended that you got the boat with a rudder.

You could paddle it all day long with out the rudder, but there are times when it is quite handy.



Again Hear hear Jack
Best advice given on the subject.

The Tsunami was probably designed
by Flatpick, so we know it’s a good boat.


The Tsunami series are quite capable and should provide you a pretty fair bang for the buck. 2 bulkheads/perimeter decklines and a seaworthy hull. I havce had the 140 out in some ‘conditions’ and it does quite well.

Given your background and desires a ruddered Ts could be just the ticket. It’s nice when you need it! I was just out in a pretty fair blow (10-15 knots)from the stern quarter and the Mad River Synergy I was in was easily controlled with a rudder.

Sorry you missed your chance but many ops should present themselves to buy a boat!

good luck