Crossover boat for my wife

My wife and I have been canoers who kayaked occasionally, and now we’re shifting fully to kayaks. I bought a Burn for myself a couple weeks ago (love it already) and now I need to get hers. I think a crossover is a better direction for her. She’s not interested in playing in rapids or going through anything more than Class II. She’ll use it mostly for day trips with me on rivers like the Potomac and Shenandoah and local creeks that have a mix of winding flatwater with Class I and II and rocks to maneuver between. Occasionally we might take them on an overnight camp or on a lake or swamp.

I’m thinking crossover because I want something that will track well enough that it’s not always spinning out on her but still easy to maneuver when we have to steer through rocks. I’ve researched quite a bit and like the sound of these rock garden sea kayaks like the Karma RG, probably in the 11-12 foot range. I’ve seen reviews recommending the Dagger Katana, but I’m leery about it because I tried one out and it was spinning out on me all over the place. (It was the first whitewater kayak I tried, so maybe that had something to do with it.)

Recommendations are much appreciated, but I also have some specific questions. How durable are dropdown skegs? Sounds like that could help a lot, but I saw a few reviews about ones that broke early. Is the Fusion too much of a play-in-the-rapids boat? I believe the boats I’m looking at are mostly high end – seems like those are what you find reviews on; are they worth the money? She tried a Perception Expression 11.5 and liked it a lot, but we were only on flat water. Any thoughts on those?


Fusion = yes.

Non cable deployed skeg. Quite obstacle forgiving.

Crossovers will be weighted towards one realm of specialization. That said I don’t find the Fuaion too playboaty. Drop the skeg and it’ll track like a day tourer.

Which size?

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What is a crossover kayak?

@Overstreet said:
What is a crossover kayak?

jackson kayaks are known for their light but efficient outfitting but I found their skeg cable problematic, I think the skegs are pretty durable. You just have to remember to put them up before loading. For what you wanting to do, I think a crossover will work fine for your wife. Crossovers can do a lot, not the best at anything but versatile.

Thanks for the feedback. I’ve talked to a couple Jackson dealers since I posted, and they said the Traverse is a better choice than the Karma RG, which they described as too weighty and too much boat for our rivers. The K RG is 13 feet, I think, while the Traverse comes in 9 and 10 feet. I’m going to try to have her try one out this week.

I’d have to drive a couple hours further to get a Fusion, but could probably get it for at least $200 less. Any thoughts on how they compare? I assume the Fusion would be plenty good enough.

@kfbrady said:

It says, “…allows the paddler to enjoy two great areas of paddle sport, white water and touring…”

What do you define as touring distance? …without current?..with camping gear?

Fusion is probably a good choice. I had one but found it just to slow on flat water for me. I then got a Jackson Karma RG. Faster for sure and I find it quite maneuverable too. But since your in a burn the Fusion will be plenty fast enough for that.

I had a Liquid Logic XP10 crossover boat. Despite the companies claims it can " keep up" with the cruisers, it could not …it tended to plow a bit when it was paddled hard and fast but it was very stable and within it’s limits… a nice comfy boat. Better suited to moving waters than trying to paddle across a lake. Had a slight leakage with the skeg but it got fixed and no problem after that …boat tracked very well with skeg down and turned on a dime with it up. I traded it away and now i’m sorry i did , looking for another one.