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?