Hi all! This is my first post but I have been lurking in the background for awhile…
I’m currently starting to look at a day touring kayak that works well in lakes, rivers (nothing over class I) and Chesapeake Bay. Two that have caught my eye that I can demo out of Annapolis are the WS Tsunami 145 and Dagger Stratos 14.5 L. I currently have an Old Town Sorrento 126 which is fine for calm water but I’d like something that is a little faster and can handle more chop (bay or inshore).
I’m 6’4" and 195 pounds, 32" inseam (mostly torso) with size 14 shoes so I need a higher deck. I’d like to stay under $2,000. I’m not sure I have a preference for a rudder vs. skeg although I do like the simplicity of the skeg on my Sorrento.
Any other kayaks that I should consider?
The Stratos will be a bigger step up from your Sorrento - the Tsunami will be a bit faster than the Sorrento but similar in terms of stability. I would vote for the Stratos. There are a few other kayaks that are similar that I would suggest trying if you can easily, but they are a bit more expensive since they are triple layer poly layups - P&H Virgo and Valley Gemini SP.
I’ll second the advice from Brodie, but I’ll add that you can save a lot of money by checking out the used market, and they sometimes can be bought with paddles and other gear included. Tsunamis can often be found for under $1000 in really good shape. My girlfriend and I both have the 165 and neither one cost us more than $600. Not sure what the Stratos is fetching, I haven’t seen a used one for sale in my area. If you can swing the extra for the Virgo, lots of people love those as well.
On Saturday I took my 1st of 3 sea kayaking classes. We used Liquid Logic Inuit’s for training. I had a 14.5 which was a little tight at the foot pegs even with wet shoes on.
My instructor gave me a few contacts to talk to about Kayaks. One was Brad at Starrk Moon. I spoke to him yesterday and he gave me a lot of good advice. Basically, buy your second kayak first. This morning I am talking to another local instructor and dealer.
Feedback so far… The Tsunami 145 is probably not a good boat to grow into. The Stratos 145L may be a bit uncomfortable on longer paddles. I’ve read that is some reviews as well. I should also consider the P&H Virgo HV & Leo HV and Venture Islay 14.
I think the water that I am likely to paddle over the next couple of years as I learn will mostly be calm rivers and estuaries with an occasional trip on small bays on calmer days. At 61 I’m not looking to do anything in big water any time soon! (Although my wife keeps asking me if I paid my life insurance ) I might be wrong but I think 14’ - 16’ is probably the best range for me (and it doesn’t present a huge storage issue).
I’m hoping to take a trip up to Starrk Moon over the next couple of weeks to try out the P&H kayaks.
P&H Virgo HV at 15’ would be spot on. The Islay series is no longer produced. The Leo Hv is likely a little tight on you at the thighbraces. If Brad doesn’t have any Virgo’s let me know. I still have a good supply.
You’re going to have soooo much fun. Yeah, biased, I know.
I have a couple of friends who think the Perception Carolina is the best boat ever built.
If you can locate a used Venture Easky 15, made by P & H, it is their moderate priced rotomold line but has the P & H design aesthetic, nicely outfitted and well made in the UK. It was replaced about 10 years ago by the Islay models but is longer, sleeker and lighter. I have had one for 12 years (the lower volume LV since I am smaller than you) and have found it very versatile in everything from class 1 and 2 open whitewater to coastal conditions. Fun to surf and solid feeling in rough water, good speed too. Mine doesn’t even have a skeg and it tracks very well. Hard chines, great secondary stability, decent to roll and more nimble than the similar sized Tsunamis and Carolinas. You’d have to check for foot clearance but the model has an overall pretty spacious cockpit
Thanks all for the replies. Over the past week or so I have been researching and harassing Marshall through PMs to narrow down my options. I was able to meet with a local instructor who is also a rep for NDK (Randi Kruger). She was very helpful and we spent over an hour trying on various kayaks - Virgo MV, Scorpio MV, NDK (I think Romany), Dagger Stratos 14.5L. Unfortunately each had issues with my size 14 feet! I was pleasantly surprised that the P&Hs and NDK cockpits were pretty easy for me to get into so the high volume kayaks were going to be a distinct possibility to fit me.
I also tried out the Tsunami 145. There was more than enough room for my feet. Almost too much. But the odd thing was getting into/out of the cockpit was a struggle.
By accident, I found a Delta 15.5 GT at an REI over the weekend. They let me sit in that and it was definitely a possibility. I think it was an older model and it had a rudder. I prefer a skeg. I did put my name on a waiting list with Shank Mare in PA for their spring delivery for a 15.5 skeg just in case.
I found that one of the local kayak schools in Maryland has Virgos in their fleet. They are checking to see if they have any HVs that I can sit in.
Finally, Marshall may be able to meet me in a few weeks while he is making some deliveries to Baltimore. I’m sure he will have a nice and shiny new Virgo HV on the trailer!
Lesson learned… big feet suck!
If the Virgo HV doesn’t work, I have size 16 feet and can fit in the large Delphin.
Sorry Mike, no trailer. Just 4 kayaks on the roof of the buggy, including one Virgo HV that could be traveling on to VA.
I’m partial to surfskis, even for touring.
If you haven’t considered it before I highly recommend having a look.
Ben - I’m hopeful the Virgo HV will be big enough. I do feel your pain but not at the same level with size 16s!