Has anybody paddled one of these? Are they really 28 inches wide? There’s one for sale near me which I thought would be perfect but then looked up the specs and was surprised at the width. I have a WS Freedom which is 15 feet long and also 28 inches wide, how would they compare as far as ease of paddling?
Do you want thigh contact?
I don’t know if you have it in your present boat, but if it matters the Kestrel is likely not your boat. Huge cockpit and no braces.
specs X versions of their rec boats as designed for larger paddlers. All the Kestrels are very nicely made boats and the composite versions are quite light in weight. They also all (except for the poly 120) have double bulkheads and very comfortable seats but they are designed as flat/calm water recreational boats so they have quite large cockpits and tons of initial stability.
If that’s the only sort of water you’ll be paddling in, they make a fine kayak.
I have the Kestrel 120 HV, that comes in at 27" wide. I’m 5’10", 180 and I am swimming in this cockpit. I imagine the 28"s of the X version will be canoe like, depending on your personal specs. But depending on what you’re doing ,this might be fine. Great boat, very well constructed, best ploy material I’ve seen, and can really take a beating. I love mine on the Adirondack and Finger Lakes, 5-10 miles long, a mile or two wide,lots of chop, small medium waves. The Kestrel handles rough conditions well. Not sure about the ocean though. I’ve always felt safe, even when waves and wind become challenging, a very stable rec kayak, yes, definitely a rec kayak. But if that is your intention, then its a fabulous boat, plenty of storage for a night or two of camping, plenty of room for a kid or dog too on short trips. Doesn’t like to edge, never tried to roll, just a nice, sturdy, tough flat water kinda ride. I have heard it does well in rivers. Not the fastest boat either, but I can comfortably keep mine at 3.5 mph, a bit over 4 for short bursts. I’ve have sat in this one for up to four hours and was always fairy comfortable. But my needs are simple, and I’m easy to please as long as I’m cruising around a nice scenic lake. This would probably be a great boat for fishing, for sure a great flat water boat.
It would mostly be rivers, light coastal stuff, I was just not wanting something that I would have trouble keeping up with other people. Thanks for replies!
Honestly, if you want to keep pace with others, I’d strongly suggest holding out for something a little longer and a lot narrower. I started out with a 14’ long 25" wide kayak and quickly realized that I was having to really paddle like a maniac to keep up with other people on trips. I traded up to a 15’ x 21" with a more vee shaped hull and it greatly improved my speed and tracking and overall enjoyment of paddling.
You’ve already got a wide kayak for lily-dipping, photography or fishing. If you are going to add another, go for something more versatile.
28" is purely a recreational width, meaning you don’t care how slow you go or how much effort it takes.
I had the Kestrel 140 (not the X) in TCS, which was 26" wide. It had surprisingly good glide and speed for its width. It was beautiful as well. But in the end I gave it up because it was so wide that it was hard to clear the sides with the paddle, plus I was jostling around inside the humongous cockpit. I am not a small person, but that cockpit is made for a very large person.
There is a pretty big difference in ease of paddling with each inch you subtract from the width. 25" is still pretty wide (=bulky and slow). 24" is a nice compromise for a beginner and should feel stable if the hull is shaped right. At 23" a beginner might feel tippy. So I recommend 24" for you.
Yes, I was wanting it because it looked beautiful but I don’t really like killing myself trying to get somewhere
I bought the Kestrel 140 TCS for its beauty and it was a mistake. It sounds like it’s time for you to move into a transitional kayak (13’ to 15’ x 24" wide) and out of the heavy recreational class. You will have a much more enjoyable experience.