DId I miss any models in my search?

-- Last Updated: May-23-10 10:57 PM EST --

Looking to buy my first kayak, however I am far from a beginner. Having some issues finding what I want though. I want more advanced than a recreational rig, but need to handle tighter turns than what a touring rig allows. I want fast smooth tracking above all but still need some handling. Im willing to give up stability, weight, comfort, storage space for these attributes. I like the Dagger Catalyst 128, and absolutely went nuts for the new Hurricane Expedition 128, but for $1100 I want to make sure I didnt miss anything. I live at Lake Hopatcong NJ so most of the time I will be in choppy waters (Lots of power boats) but also like sliding through twisty tight river systems. Planning on some one night camping trips. For white water and ocean tours, I'll just rent something else. Any models $500 to $1100 Im missing?

Have you tried the hybrids?
Or something like the Dagger Alchemy? The latter is a longer boat than you mention but quite maneuverable - and it’ll spin if you take it fully over on edge.

It’s a little hard to make a recommendation. You indicate that turning is a place where touring boats don’t satisfy, but without knowing what you’ve tried paddling that was a problem it’s hard to suggest something.

XP 10…
…would a liquidLogic XP 10 fill the bill ? I have test paddled the boat and i can vouch for the fact that it’ll “spin” easily. Due to my inexperience with such boats …I was spinning that thing around like a top. with the skeg down it tracked very well,very, very little of that “wagging” typical of short boats.


Dagger Alchemy
at $1349 MSRP is over the OP’s stated range.

Pyranha Fusion

– Last Updated: May-24-10 2:59 PM EST –

this is a very cool hybrid design. I only tried the S version on flat water but it did everything I wanted and was a lotta fun in doing it. It's not at all wiggly doing flatwater, and I didn't even use the skeg. You need to like to paddle w. a very high angle stroke tho to keep it tracking & get it going quickly, so make sure you're good w. that.

It has a big stern sealed hatch (completely dry, unlike the EXP's) for overnighting. I happen to like the cockpit outfitting in the Pyranhas much more than the XPs. I don't like seatbacks and seat arms (?) that come over the cockpit coaming. Personal choice, YMMV.

If you want to roll the Fusion rolls easily (I did a wet roll w/out a skirt) and I read that some places are using it as a beginner boat in ww roll classes, FWIW.

S version is 9'6" & 25" wide Large (original) version is 10'2" and 26" wide. With the River Tour Outfitting (the usual foot pegs and rails, slightly higher seat back & IIRC touring type thigh braces which adjust) you are good to go on rivers, inland lakes etc.

With the Connect 30 outfitting (footplates, low curved adj. backband, stiffer seatpan, adj. thigh braces which fit closer and cover more thigh, you can do touring plus white water Class I, II, III+ if your skills are up to it.

I liked the Connect 30 outfitting much better fit wise & it just seemed more sturdy. Acc to the Pyranha rep the Connect 30 outfitting adds $130 to the total cost.

Depending on whether you choose the River tour outfitting or the beefier upgraded Connect 30 for ww you're in the mid $700 to mid $800 range or thereabouts.

Shipping is pretty reasonable via Forward Air at a couple of places and by buying out of state the shipping cost is actually less than the state sales tax, for, say, New York State!

May be available at demo prices
They’ve been out for a year - we have at least one demo locally.

darn few of them
out our way (MI). There is exactly one dealer on the whole eastern side of the state. So I know of two whole floor models - a regular and an S - that are in mint condition. They cannot be demo’d - I asked.

If I didn’t know a guy who put his up for sale (a 140S) I’d never have gotten the chance to try it. But the annoying workmanship details put me off from considering that one.

There’s also exactly two places that carry the EXP 9 and 10 and they are available at either place by special order only.

The Pyranha Fusion is not in a single shop I know of and are available only from one paddleshop on - you guessed it - special order only.

Maybe the OP will be luckier in their home state.

Alchemy on sale at EMS
at $1100 with free shipping to their stores - nice if you are near one of their stores.


Tight turns
How comfortable are you edging and leaning your boat?

Aggressive edging can make a huge difference in turn performance. I can spin my 16’ Avocet in not much more then its length if I put it up on its side.

I was thinking about the Jackson All Water. I am going to paddle one this weekend.

Try a Prijon Yukon Expidition. It is 14.5 feet but with good rocker. It turns better than many shorter boats. It is also rated for up to class III water.