Entry/exit from a dock

I am looking for a fast kayak that I can easily get in and out of from a dock. I also want the option of paddling with my knees up or down. I consider my self an intermediate paddler. My current kayak is a Kestrel 140 and my previous boat was a Futura II surfski. I definitely prefer the sit insides and want to keep my feet dry. I am considering the following boats, Westside EFT, QCC Q700, Epic 18X Sport, Kayakpro Jet and the CD Freedom. Any suggestions? The cockpit for the Q700 looks to be a little tight to me. Are these boats going to be too tippy to get in and out of? I am not as agile as I used to be.

you know what you want…
You definitely know what attributes you want to see, but these attributes are very personal (how one boat feels to me would be different than to you). So the best bet is to get seat time in each of the oats and see what seems right to you. Demo boats from dealers, try a boat that someone local owns, etc.

I would love to try any of these boats, but none of these are offered by my local dealers.

Newberg, OR

low dock?
seems to me that if you can paddle the kayak then you can get into it. If it’s too tippy to paddle it’s not worth getting in. Get the EFT.

Getting out of a kayak at a low dock only requires rolling out on your belly.

Get the boat you prefer to paddle
Then learn to get in and out from a dock. The boat makes very little difference. Check out:


re: Low Dock?
About 20".

I can only comment on the QCC-700
and the EFT.

If you are talking about paddling with your “knees up” in the cockpit, I am 5’-8" and it would be way to uncomfortable in both boats for me.

The EFT, ( in my case the Bullitt which has the same cockpit) is larger than the 700, but still would be way too uncomfortable to paddle with the knees up.



Knees up
"If you are talking about paddling with your “knees up” in the cockpit"

Yes, this is what I am talking about. I like having the option of shifting up or down. My Kestrel 140 has room for this. It looks like the CD Freedeom will also accomodate this.

maybe it is just me
…but I wouldn’t buy a boat I haven’t spent time paddling in. Too much at risk. I would rather make an effort to find one somewhere (make a vacation out of a trip to a dealer in another city, take a day tour using an outfitter that uses a boat of interest, borrow from someone close enough to get together with, go to one of these paddlefest/kayak symposium deals where the manufacturers lay out their boats, etc.) than risk getting a boat I wouldn’t be happy with.

I had a QCC 700
without the thigh braces and thought it had enough leg room, then I got a Thunderbolt X (same cockpit as the EFT) and love the freedom of the real open cockpit. I’m 6’2" and I have plenty of room to lift my legs and do what I need while paddling.

Dock Entry/Exit and Knees
First, I just looked at the procedure for getting in and out from the dock and I disagree with one minor part. Other than that it’s good - I just think that the guy talking about this is a bit taller than myself and hasn’t hit a dock the relative height of some I’ve handled.

His instructions indicate that you should drop your butt right into the seat when getting in, and pretty much go from the seat fully up to the dock on getting out. I always add one extra stop inbetween on a tall dock - this has worked for three ft docks that I couldn’t see over the top of sitting next to them. I slide up onto the back deck of the boat behind the seat, get my legs set up along the centerline and balanced there for a mo, THEN complete the trip up or down. Especially if you don’t have youthful limberness, it gives you a less huge effort to control dropping down or going up to the dock. Less effort means less boat wiggle hence less chance of entertaining your friends.

As to how easy it makes it - this varies. I can do just about anything I want in my Explorer LV because these boats have impressive initial stability. But my Vela throws me once a year getting in or out whether I need it or not - it takes only slight inattention on my part to get my comeuppance. I don’t know how the boats you mention would work out, but if it is like in out little fleet it’ll probably vary a lot.

As to the knees, are you talking sticking up like over the top of the cockpit or just having enough deck height to vary the position inside the boat a lot? And for extended time periods of paddling or just to catch a break? If it is the first and for a while, there are boats where that’ll hand you a stability issue that you may have to consider.

I have padding on the coaming of my Kestrel 140 that allows me to press my knees on the coaming. So the tops of my knees are sticking slightly above the deck of the boat. I would like to have this same option on my next kayak. I am leaning towards the EFT, but the CD Freedom might be a better fit.

Of course, do what you like and are comfortable with. But paddling with your knees up like that reduces your control over the boat and encourages bad paddling posture.

I had that feeling…
The boats that are all about speed may not tolerate that position as well as your existing boat without giving you a swim. It’s something to think about and maybe make sure you demo before purchase, especially if you paddle in an areas with boat wakes.

As Disco says, the position is also going to rob you of speed potential. It’ll inhibit your ability to pump your legs and get torso rotation started good and low down. If speed per se is your goal, you may want to throw in a good class in the forward stroke and see if you can get the comfort you want in a more aggressive paddling position.

that’s not low

agree with Celia
With long legs or an ocean cockpit, have go to to back deck and then slide in. IME, the key is not rushing it. It is a little like a climibing problem–get the sequence of movements set, then execute them as efficiently as possible always tilting toward balance and away from muscle if you can. OTOH, when the dock is higher or when there is a lot of chop, launching from a dock can be a real PITA. In this circumstance, I generally do a rentry and roll in preference to strugging with the dock.

Loading from a Dock

I have a Kayakpro Jet and have recently owned a Thunderbolt and the QCC 700. I can get in and out of all of them from a dock. I did fall in once with the Jet, but tipping over is simply part of kayaking. All of the boats you stated are stable enough. It is more a matter of what you want the boat to do once your paddling it.


Your comment about the knees up and not being as spry makes me wonder if you want the knees up to avoid discomfort in the knees when paddling for long periods…

I use a nalgene bottle as a drybox (what keeps water IN keeps water OUT)…it also serves double duty as a knee roll (a roll placed beneath the knees to reduce stress on them when paddling). if a bottle isn’t large enough use a towel wrapped around it to enlarge the diameter of the roll…

Two paddlers
The one thing left out is if several people are launching, the most skilled gets in first and unlike some of the morons I paddle with who paddle off, rafts up and holds the boat for the next paddler.

Same with getting out at a dock. (same protocol as a surf entree)

I’ve tried the…
EFT, 18X and the Jet. If you are use to the tippiness of a surf ski, then any of these boats would be okay.

It depends on what you are looking for. If you would like a boat to do other than fitness paddling, then the 18X would be good. In fact, I’m thinking about buying an 18X so that I can race it and do overnight and day paddling trips. I can also take it out in all sorts of weather conditions and choppy water without worrying about swimming.

I would rate the 18X the most stable, followed by the EFT and than the Jet. I liked all three boats. Although, I prefer the tillar bar rudder system of the EFT and Jet to the pedal type rudder system of the 18X.

I agree with the other posters. You really should demo before you buy especially these tippy boats.

I have friends that own an EFT and Jet and I tried them both out. I found an Epic dealer here in Atlanta and he let me demo the 18x and V10 sport surf ski.

You might call some of these kayak companies. They might have a local person who will let you demo their boats. I was surprised to find out that there is an Epic and SRS rep in Atlanta.

Also, check with some of your local adventure racing clubs and competitive paddling clubs. Some of the adventure racers might have some of these boats and might let you try it out. Competitive paddling clubs are always trying to get new members and folks into the sport so they would probably be more than happy to let you try out some of their boats.

Anyway, good luck with your boat purchase and have fun!