Clearwater Design?

Hi, kind of a newbie question here, i just started kayaking. Actually, On vacation in Hawaii I got to paddle the pacific ocean and now i’m hooked, only problem is, i’m a broke college student. So, I’ve been searching kayaks for the best deal available. I’ve found that some places try really hard to rip you off (Sports Authority, Dicks Sporting Goods, Bigger places) selling Old Town Otters for 600 bucks or something, so I really want to make sure i make an educated purchase here for my first kayak. Well, Anyways, on Ebay their selling Clearwater Design Nunu’s?, really cheap ($300) and i was wondering if this boat is any good. Because I’d literally have to drive to a different state in order to pick it up i have no hope of actually getting in and testing it out. I read the reviews which are generally good, however their are only three reviews which concerns me. I’ve looked all over the Internet for more info on this kayak and i just can’t find any. Any informaion would be appreciated.

a year and two months ago
when I ws first starting, I drove over to Naples to see one of the Clearwater Design boats…actually two of them, the Gaspe and the St. Lawrence.

Even with knowing nothing I could tell that these boats were very thin plastic and the finish was not the best. the hatches were shoe box tops (or looked like them at least) and in general, looked really cheap.

Now I know that cheap is in yur budget so my suggetion would be to really decide how many times a month you will be padling and consider renting until the funds come available to get a decent first boat. Meanwhile you can concentrate on some of the safety gear, and you will gain loads of experience from the paddleshops that you rent from.

Doing the math, most people that start out wouldn’t be hurt much financially by renting for a few months prior to purchasing as this almost invariably leads to the purchase of a better quality boat which ends up being cheaper in the long run as you don’t replace as often.

Just my 2 cents at 0441 in the morning.


Clearwater Design
Generally wouldn’t be going w. the cheapest model (e.g. the NuNu)from any recreational line (same advice I’d give re the Otter for Old Town).

As to thin plastic hulls: Clearwater Design offers a five year warranty on its hull, two years more than most of the big American mfgrs I checked (Wilderness, Heritage, Riot, Dagger, Perception, etc)

I own a 2005 Iqualuit (in the water 7/20/06)& the first week it was on the car & in the water (about 30 hours total exposure) it was 98, yes 98 degrees on the heat index in Michigan. Never a dent nor hint of oilcanning. No flexing.

As to hatch seal it’s nice, tight and spacious. Have had it in the rain and some chop without any wetness whatsoever. I stored a tent and clothes in there on a wet and humid overnight.

The roughest part of the finish is on the waterline (which could be sanded very gently with an orbital sander). The rest were all smooth to the touch, including the coaming, prow, and hatch.

The standard seat by Paddlestuff is genius and with the inflatable lumber support much more comfortable than many more expensive kayaks. I was very pleased with my $399 investment ($100 more than the NuNu) and it paddles w. some zip and control as well. I did a product review for the Iqaluit.

About what is right for you - the amount of time you will paddle, the upfront costs of all your gear (besides the kayak) and the skill level you want to achieve - only you can determine but I would not dismiss Clearwater Design initially. They also have awesome customer service, shipping to me a day skirt at no charge from Ontario to Michigan because my dealer happened to be out of stock.

I would say if you are going to really fall in love with the sport you will outgrow practically any rec kayak very fast. And that going to kayak demo days is even cheaper than renting :wink:

Have fun and enjoy the process. After Labor Day the prices will drop even more and you might get a much better boat than you thought you could, whether it is by Clearwater or some other maker.

Look for used
You should be able to find used or rental sell offs after Labor Day. I got a Loon 138 for $325 from a rental place. Used 1 season.

Clearwater Inuvik
was my first boat. Clearwater Design has some of the lowest prices in the boating market, but you get what you pay for. The seat is the most uncomfortable of any I’ve ever sat in. It took some serious paddling to make it bearable for more than an hour. The foam bulkhead for the rear hatch came loose, but that may be because I took the boat into ocean surf and got “maytagged.”

The hull thickness is fine on mine, but my boat was made in 2000. I have seen newer models with shortcuts and skimpy rigging etc.

My $500 Inuvik is not the highest quality boat, but she’s my first and I will never part with her.

Unless someone offers me $550.

perhaps I am being unfair
and a total snob. However I do believe that there is a point where you don’t get what you pay for as well as the point where you get wht yo pay for.

the two clearwater boats that I saw, admittedly not their rec boats, I was not impressed with. Perhaps they do much better with them?


Hey Krous. is that $5.50?

that is kind of you
and you don’t seem like a boat snob. Really. Not that I would defer to you if you were :wink:

Since you actually saw the two models of Clearwater touring boats your take on them is valid, just as my take on actually owning and using the rec class Iqaluit is.

As to the post about the uncomfortable seat, I do believe that the Paddlestuff seat with the inflatable lumber support came in the 2004 model.

Different boats for different folks. I wouldn’t take a Loon 138 for $0.55 because it’s a big barge that would be too heavy for me to manage on land. Or maybe I would buy it, then turn around, sell it here, and with the proceeds buy beers for all concerned !

First Boat
You’re probably better off not spending a lot of money on your first boat anyway because you will inevitably want to upgrade. You might also want to check out ebay or the classifieds on and get a good used rec boat for very little money.

I still have my first boat, which was a dagger bayou (rec boat). I love the boat and recently paddled it 120 miles for Paddle GA. It’s a perfect boat for running rivers with occassional rapids.

Good luck and have fun!

To the unfair boat-snob in FL for $5.50!

My first boat
in 1998 was a Clearwater St Lawrence.

Strange hull design where the front of the hull at the entry point was skeglike.It was hard tracking,fairly fast,severe oilcanning,very leaky hatches,cheap seat but nevertheless it took me a lot of places. Not a great boat and I moved on quickly to better models but my brother-in-law still has it… he paddles once a year so it’s probably ok for him.

I owned a Georgian Bay from Clearwater and just loved it. The seat is the most comfortable seat I have ever tried. The finish was good. I just sold it to upgrade to a sea kayak. I am looking very hard at their Gaspe model.