I’m in the market for a new kayak. I’m happy with my Necky 13, it was my first kayak. I have been told that Current Designs makes a better boat. I’m looking to go a little bigger (15’) Any opinions from someone familiar with both brands. I’m looking to use it not that far (1/4 mile) from the shore around Cape Cod, which is usually on the calm side (Mid Cape. I’m 6’, 200lbs)
I used several Necky poly boats last summer while at Wooden Boat in Maine, and was not impressed with them, neither the build nor fittings. Later that summer I bought a used fiberglass CD Pachena, which is well made and nicely equipped although heavier than I’d like. This boat may or may not be appropriate for the use you describe (I like it well enough), but I will say that the CD boats I have seen are well made. I have no direct experience with Necky fiberglass boats, however. Try the p-net boat reviews and go to some demo days if possible.
CD vs Necky
Thanks, I think my budget is poly, but I heard CD has a new plastic that’s lighter and stiffer.
Necky Chatham 16
I’m very happy with my Chatham 16. A little longer than you specify, but much better able to handle a bit of texture in your water. And I have found the customer service to be excellent, above and beyond what should be expected. And the ability to adjust the outfitting (specifically the thigh braces) was actually a big reason I went with Necky over CD at the time. Now I’m very glad I did.
a link you can use
these folks are in Minnesota, carry CD. E-mail or call them, they are very customer friendly. At the bottom of the link is an 800 number for kayak consultation:
If you are not absolutely confined to 15 ft boats, consider the Storm or the Squall in poly. They are sibling designs, both proven and worthy seakayaks with all the outfitting typical of a 16-17 ft kayak. Pikabike here has a Squall and I believe at one time so did sing, another regular.
The Storm is the higher volume version. At your h&w you might be Stormsize, but if you like a cozy fit for control, at least sit in a Squall. Men and women do paddle both - depends on weight distribution, torso length and other body dimensions. Nothing like sitting in one or better yet taking it out on the water.
Both can be found used pretty easily (both have been out for awhile)at good prices. A couple appealing (from pix and description anyway) Squalls have shown up in the last few weeks on eBay, for example, and they do show up in the pnet classifieds from time to time as well.
I sold the Squall almost 2 yrs ago
It did the job, was very forgiving while I learned.
But it felt like sitting in a barrel; the fit was obviously meant for someone with a much bigger butt, in addition to being bigger in general. I had an unbelievable amount of padding under the thigh braces and still had to jam my knees up to make contact. They weren’t thigh braces on me–closer to knee braces.
I also didn’t care for some things about its handling, though since it was my first sea kayak I didn’t realize what was going on at first.
Demo it on a windy day. Turn it (without using the rudder). Don’t be seduced by its calm-water glide, which is excellent–unless that’s what you want most.
My Squall had a bad leak in the rear hatch compartment that did not manifest itself till I took it in the ocean. At first, I thought it was small leaks getting in through the bolt holes, but after sealing them mid-trip it still gained lots of water every day. (I’m not talking the few drops that people here seem to get all worked up about; it was more like a pint.) I finally figured out it only took on water if I either had the stern end sitting deep in water while “parked” at shore OR if waves washed to the top of the stern tip. I noticed a blobby area near where the rudder pin went into the plastic. Looked like it might have been repaired at some time. I did not make the repair, and I bought it as a new kayak (wrapped in the cheesecloth).
I think the full camping load + waves put the boat deep enough in the water that the blobby area became an entry point. Never was an issue with day trips, but I remember that rolling practice would always result in water in the rear hatch, just not as much.
Soooooo, I became very suspicious of CD products after that. If you want to buy one, check it out first carefully–a good idea for buying any kayak, period.
Own several Necky’s
And happy with all of them. Only 14’4", but you might take a long look at a Necky Looksha Sport. Quality is there, along with outstanding maneuverability and decent stability for your skill set. Tracks very well with (high quality) rudder deployed, when needed (though this is not necessary for most conditions). You’re about my size, and you’ll fit nicely in the boat.
is in the eyes of the beholder when it comes judging one manufacturer or boat from another. When you dig below the surface, you generally will find more subjectivity than objectivity in most peoples opinions, mine included. What you need is what’s going to be “better” for you and the best way to find out is to demo as many boats as you can and buy what YOU like and works the best for you and your budget.
Yes, and they both have MANY models
Too hard to say one brand is “better” than the other, unless there is an across-the-board problem.
Have had one of each
Our first sea kayaks were plastic, me a Squall and Jim’s a second-year Necky Elaho. That was a while ago so things could have changed, but between the two at that time the Necky probably started out with a slightly more visible quality question. But it wasn’t anything that affected the boat’s performance/ His Elaho was from the first full year of operation after they had moved their rotomolded production to the US from Canada and the seam work was obviously cruder than the seams had been on the loaner we had that had been made in Canada.
The Squall developed a small leak over time in the minicell bulkheads, normal in plastic boats and perfectly manageable with Lexel or similar, and the Elaho always had a slightly wet rear hatch. But then so does my Vela in surf. Big oval hatches seem more prone to the issue unless it’s a Valley hatch on a glass boat.
I’ve seen a more recent poly Elaho up close, from the last year, and a friend got a first year glass Chatham 18 a couple of years ago. Both seem quite well made, in fact there were a couple of very nice ideas in the Chatham that I haven’t seen anywhere else in a stock boat. The cockpit size was definately not one of them, but other than that…
The Squall mold was redone a few years ago, and as said above it is a tremendously capable boat. Fast for plastic, desires to stay upright in the snottiest stuff out there and at 6 foot and change the barrel feeling would be reduced. My concern would be the footpegs - at 6’1" my husband found that they didn’t go far enough forward for his feet. She’s a decent roller - among that era of higher decked North American boats one of the kinder boats out there. Just not as forgiving as something like a Romany (but nothing else is).
As to current diff’s between the two - I think they are both within respectable quality ranges, but check the bulkheads. The base CD bulkhead in their glass boats is a plastic thing rather than fiberglass, or carbon/kevlar glassed in. I think it’s glass in the Necky glass boats. If I were ordering from CD I’d go for the bulkhead upgrade.
In plastic, I think they are the same or equivalent.
pick the boat
not the manufacturer. There’s enough variation in fit that one persons acceptable fit is unacceptable for another person. At some point in the stability curve and conditions it becomes necessary to learn how to roll.
Check out the classifieds on this site. You could probably find a good used composite in your area for the price of a new poly. Both make some good boats but dont lock yourself into 2 brands until you paddle some boats.
CD vs Necky
I have had both and find each to have their own plus and minus. You really have to demo them in the conditions you plan to use them in. I always try them in a good beam wind - no rudder. Both good boats. Necky does like to put the bow into the wind without the rudder.
excellent summary pikabike
the kind of honest and critical info someone can really use.
I have nothing for or against Necky or CD,having never owned one and just demo’d a couple of CDs (which btw helped me decide not to buy them.) Does that mean these kayaks were “bad”? No, not at all, just that something else was better for me.
I would readily demo different kayaks by just about any maker just for the experience. Other people may feel it’s a waste of time.
It interests me that a post or two appears saying “Necky or Chatham” or “Manitou or Whistler” , etc… I wonder how the poster narrowed it down to those two. Did a lot of prior research eliminate other makes and by what criteris? Familiarity? Cost? Local availability? Perception that a boat was too “advanced” or potentially “boring” after a short learning curve?
I wonder if that initial cut left out many promising contenders.
Overall, from reading recent posts, it seems like people funnel down to this or that early in the game (at least from what we have to go on).
People do process info differently. Some people enjoy the process of info-gathering, and some people just like to make a decision to get it over with, or to get immediate gratification. Others are just very confident out of the box that it will be “this one” or “that one”. Sometimes this confidence is justified, sometimes not. Sometimes I think a recent owner wants to justify their decision and any little doubts about it by proclaiming their kayak “the best choice for them” It’s subjective so who knows?
None of this is intended as a criticism,people almost inevitably do what they wanna and that includes choosing a kayak.
Just Friday musings over a process.
Good weekend to ya. Ciao.
Celia, you might
like the new composite Eliza. My wife has one and loves the thing. Very nice to paddle, nimble, turns very well, surfs following seas extremely well. Surf boat cockpit with molded in thigh hooks, skeg, valley ovals fore and aft, about 40 lbs. complete, super stiff. Quite different than the poly version.
my poly Necky and bought a poly CD. Both have advantages and disadvantes. A good kayak depends on the particilar boat itself. Both Necky and CD generally put out good products, but there's a few of their boats that aren't the greatest. Test paddle, that's the key.
Craig's List has good deals on used boats. Do some research on it before buying, though. I've seen people sell a few boats on there that have to be on crack for the price they're asking for. Some local paddle shops have consignment boats for sale, some good deals to be had.
I have a Squall. I've only had it for a short time, so far, so good. The cockpit is pretty roomy and is enough to fit my big ass, but with the footwear (Mukluuks) I use, it's fiasco to get out of the boat. And I only have size 8 1/2 feet, in womens! The Storm (it's slightly larger sister) would probably be a better boat for you.
So many boats, so little time....
And then there’s Just Do It
Good breakdown of people’s attitudes towards making choices.
It’s good to demo lots of kayaks, pore over reviews, gather feedback from users, and so on, but at some point you just have to buy something and USE IT. If it’s a first kayak, odds are it won’t be “best” anyway–do you really know at that point what you ultimately want to do, paddling-wise?
For example, I never thought I’d enjoy long self-supported camping trips. If there had been ultra-low-volume daytrippers available in plastic in my area when I bought my first sea kayak, I might never have discovered the joys (and low points) of such trips. I don’t regret having bought a general-purpose sea kayak.
Even later on, people change their preferences. That’s partly why so many own several different kayaks.
It’s the same for bicycles.
yup, there’s def “just do it” folks
that’s one big reason why there are so many nice and barely used kayaks for sale!
anyways, it doesn’t take a long time to do homework if a person is reasonably savvy about locating info online & can read quickly. That part can take less time than a drive to and from Dick’s or Cabela’s.
Demos where a half dozen or more kayaks can be tried are easy and a lot of bang for the time buck, esp. if you bring your own paddle & pfd.
It’s because I do my research that I don’t waste time ditzing around when the right boat comes along.