Composite Sea Lion vs Shadow?

-- Last Updated: Jun-10-08 1:31 AM EST --

I have a fiberglass Aquaterra Sea Lion and like most things about it. At 17'10" long from the tip of the bow to the rear most portion of the rudder and 55 lbs, it's longer and heavier than I need or prefer. I like the fit of the cockpit and the handling on the water. I don't like carrying it and loading it on the car or maneuvering it into the garage.

I'm 5'6" and 155 lbs. I've read that the Perception Shadow is a better fit for smaller paddlers than the Sea Lion, but the specs on the shadow 16.5 suggest that it's only about 1' shorter and the cockpit is supposed to be identical to the Sea Lion, so in what ways is the shadow a better fit or choice than the Sea Lion for people my size?

I occasionally see composite Shadows for sale and wonder if the difference between the fiberglass Shadow and fiberglass Sea Lion is significant enough to warrant a serious look at a shadow as a replacement for the Sea Lion or if that difference isn't enough to bother.

I don't want to have less foot room than I have with the Sea Lion. I want my size 9 Chota mukluks to fit easily enough to work the rudder controls without the toes rubbing on the underside of the deck.

I do only day trips with light load and don't have any plans for kayak camping.


I don’t personally have any time in either of these boats, but I know I’ve seen more older Shadows paddle by with average sized women in them than Sea Lions.

Kayaks are set up for paddler size in a number of ways - cockpit dimension is only one of them. Deck height matters for fit as well, and in terms of boat handling characteristics the most important may be the assumptions built into in the hull design about what weight of paddler will sink the boat to an effective waterline.

Thanks, Celia.

– Last Updated: Jun-10-08 12:26 PM EST –

Anyone paddled both boats in composite construction?

Any direct comparisons?

You need to try one

– Last Updated: Jun-11-08 1:00 PM EST –

You really need to try a Shadow for yourself.

Whatever people tell you might not apply to your weight and height. You also just might not like how the Shadow feels.

Note that your skill level and paddling "style" will have a big impact on the kind of boat you prefer.

If you see one for sale, see if you can arrange to demo one.

As Celia said, a bigger boat will be able to carry a larger load.

I =think= one "issue" with a large boat for a smaller person is "weathercocking". An "appropriately" sized boat will tend to be more neutral in wind.


Most experts would say that the Sea Lion is too big for you and the Shadow is much more appropriate. It used to be that boats the size of the Sea Lion were "normal". Now, it's concidered on the large side.


I would hazard to guess that the you'd find the Shadow easier to control using skills like edged turns. There's a very good chance that you'd like the Shadow much better but only trying one will determine that.