Dagger axis 12 vs pungo 120

What do you guys think? Will either one be able to fit a somewhat novice paddler, but with room to grow? I am 5’10 170lbs, mostly flat water (lake), maybe slow moving river once in a while.

I sat in both, and felt the pungo like a Cadillac, seated kinda leaned back, lots of room, almost feel like i am spreading my thighs too apart to brace the edge of the cockpit. The Axis felt a bit normal after sitting in the Pungo, and definitely noticed the V-shaped hull design.

I like the Pungo’s cargo config, and not a huge fan of Axis’ rear hatch with the tupperware lid.

All in all, the Axis feels more like a kayak than the Pungo.

I prefer the
Aspire 105 to the Pungo. More versatile, flatter floor, lots of storage & capacity in a smaller overall package.

If growing as a paddler includes…

– Last Updated: Sep-07-16 8:32 AM EST –

any maneuvers that require going on edge or handling waves, not the Pungo. It is not designed to support that, as two friends who tried stretching their Pungoes in a coastal area can attest.

This is not to diss the Pungo for its purpose. In fact I had advised these guys to get a second Pungo when they got together because it was a perfect boat for their use and skill. But coastal waters and small waves are not in either the paddlers' or the boats skill set.

The Aspire has a large cockpit and would still not be an easy boat to try to do something like learn to roll in. But it has two bulkheads and is more of a transition boat, so there are situations that it is better suited to handle than the Pungo. Overall it would be a much better boat if your goal is to gain skills as a paddler. The Pungo is targeted for people who are not going to have that interest, they just want to get on the water with the least possible work and the highest possible stability.

Speaking of, if you are paddling solo and do happen to capsize away from shore the Pungo is nearly impossible to get back into. The Aspire would be doable.

What about the dagger axis?
Anything i should know about it?

More what to know about you
You haven’t indicated what you mean by growing with the kayak. If it is just about going faster and being able to manage more mixed environments like with waves, the right sized Axis for your weight should do the trick. It will take a skirt, unlike the Pungo where the cockpit is too big for such a gigundo skirt in any dumping waves.

If you are talking about things like rolling or handling bigger waves, like if you want to have the Great Lakes or going to the shore in your future, you might eventually crave a boat that is narrower and with smaller cockpit. If in the alternative you want to do class 2 whitewater, honestly just figure on picking up a used WW boat. They are fairly cheap to get and might as well have one that already found a few rocks so you don’t feel guilty about scratching it.

Most new paddlers focus maybe too much on what the boat will do for them and too little on what they need to learn as a paddler if they want particular performance.

What do you mean by growing into the kayak?

Hmm, thanks for the reminder
That was an excellent question. I see myself spending time leisurely on the lake or some slow rivers, finding spot to camp, fish. I don’t see myself doing any class 2 anytime soon. I do want to learn how to do rolls just for safety. I want to use it as a platform to get more cardio exercise. Am i being more clear? Thanks!


– Last Updated: Sep-07-16 1:31 PM EST –

Yo'll get exercise with a Pungo or Axis, but perhaps not the kind of cardio you want. Both are wide and relatively slow -- due to width they tend to plow water so you will put a lot of effort into forward motion without a lot of speed to be gained. A somewhat longer and narrower boat (like 25" or less at the bow and 14' or more) will give you better speed and also the future potential to learn to roll if you are so inclined.

Mid-length "day touring" boats tend to be the most versatile all around if you are not entirely sure where your paddling ventures will be focused. Something in the 12 to 15 foot range and 21" to 25" wide with bow and stern bulkheads and a normal (not oversized) cockpit can navigate anything from the coastal Great Lakes to mild (open class 1 and 2) rapids and is both relatively stable but easy to propel for fitness paddling. This class of boats is delightful for lake and river outings, with a nice combination of reasonable weight, decent cargo storage, stability and speed. Some examples of models of this type are the Wilderness Experience Tsunami, the Perception Carolina, the Necky Looksha and Manitou, the Venture Islay and the Riot Edge.

As to your comment about one model being luxurious because you could lean back in it: that is NOT the position from which you paddle a kayak, so unless you want a floating Barcalounger for fishing, don't have that be a priority in selecting a boat.

Agree with Willowleaf
Narrower, hence likely a bit longer, will give you two things that while the Axis would do you can find a better match for your goals. Narrower will make it easier to get up to speed using correct form and hold a good clip, hull speed of something narrower will likely be faster than the Axis. That will also get you into a boat that might actually be fun to learn to roll in, as opposed to the struggle most people have with wider and larger cockpit boats.

Hi. I know this was over 4 years ago, but I’m wondering if you got the Axis, and how you like it. I’m looking at the Axis 10.5. I currently have a Pelican which is super stable but terrible tracking and slow, so I need an upgrade. Any insights would be helpful. Thanks.

I think I understand why people want a 10’ boat but I rented one and was not happy at all. But, I weigh 230 lbs.
I’m guessing my paddling partner is 130 and she prefers a 14’ Pungo to shorter boats.

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