Corona, Carolina, or neither?

-- Last Updated: Jul-05-12 5:54 PM EST --

New to paddling and shopping for my first yak. I'm looking for a boat I can use for both day trips and multiple day outings. I am a long time backpacker so my gear is all light and small so I'm not in need of a huge boat for storage purposes. It seems as if 14-15' might best satisfy my needs. I'm looking for something i can get in and paddle with little trouble right out of the gate, but also something I can grow with. I am 5'8" ~170#s. i like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Anyhow, I've found a 14' Carolina w/rudder and a 14.5' Corona With rudder on nearby craigslists both in good condition for under $500. Which, if either, of these boats would best suit my needs?

or, I found a Prijon Motion for ~$800 which really intrigues me. Seems like that might suit me well, but i really don't know.


I have a 14.5ft. Carolina
been paddling it for 7 years. Not my only kayak as I own 8 right now. But every time I leave the others home and paddle the Carolina I am surprised by how nice it is. Doesn’t do anything outstanding, but has no major flaws either.

Corona might not suit

– Last Updated: Jul-06-12 12:50 AM EST –

You say you are a beginner -- from what I understand the Carolina has higher primary stability than the Corona and might feel squirrely to you. The Corona should be faster though. If you are willing and able to adapt to the sense of unsteadiness at the outset you might grow into enjoying the Corona more. I started out with a a kayak similar to the Carolina but after a few years I wanted to go faster with less effort and now prefer boats more like the Corona.

If you have a chance to test paddle the two boats (I realize that can be tough with CL sales) that would give you a better idea of which to choose.

But since they are reasonably priced (and most of us move on to another kayak model after we get enough padding time to develop a more acute sense of the performance characteristics we want) I imagine either one would suit your purposes as a starter. The Prijon is nice and similar to the Corona but may be a tight fit depending on your build.

Bottom line -- you are not going to know exactly what "suits" you until you use it for a while. I doubt you would go terribly wrong with any of those 3 boats so I would go with whichever one feels best when sitting in it, even if you can just do so on dry land, AND whichever looks to be in the nicest shape.

I started with the Carolina…
.it will hold ALL your gear, and you are right it is a good all round boat, I used mine on small moving water rivers, and on wide rivers and lakes like the Tennessee River…

The Rudder is a valuable asset when using a 14.5 inch boat in narrow confines…but don’t get so reliant on it that you fail to learn how to edge a boat…

if you have ever paddled a canoe, many canoe strokes and sterring techniques will work with the yak…

I type too fast some times – in my previous comment I meant to say the CORONA might feel squirrely. The Carolina is a good solid feeling boat and doesn’t have that initial “tippiness” at all. Sorry for the badly written sentence there.