First Kayak Purchase

I have been researching on where/how/etc. my first kayak intensively and saw the Zydeco 11.0. I find it very appealing and has the features that I feel are important however after reading the reviews it seems that the kayak when coasting after paddling does not go straight and veers off to a side. I also saw that the plastic that is used is less than desirable since it is think and gives.

Does anyone have a suggestion that is similar to the look and features (padded seat, watertight compartment, etc.) that the Zydeco has? (link to Zydeco FYI

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


What type of boat?

– Last Updated: Jun-16-14 12:14 AM EST –

Just wondering if you are putting the horse before the cart. Maybe not, but what you specified aren't really deciding factors for most people. Usually people talk about the type of paddling they want to do (white water rivers, cal rivers, small lakes, open ocean/large lake, etc.) and/or the class of boat they want (touring kayak, white water kayak, recreational kayak, etc.).

The Zydeco is kind of crossover kayak (so something made to do everything, yet not really good at anything). In some conditions, it likely would be fine, but if you did get interested in the sport you likely would trade up pretty quick.

There is an article on the basics of the different types of boats that can be read online for free at Issue #10 starting on page 6.

About the veering off to one side thing…

I think that almost any and/or all kayaks will do that to some extent. Even my 17 foot sea kayak will veer to the side if I stop paddling.

I’m not an expert on the matter, but I suppose the easiest way to think about it is if you lean slightly to one side, the kayak turns to the other side due to the change in the hull profile. And it’s really difficult to keep your kayak perfectly level at all times, so you’ll always end up drifting off to a side. Of course the wind, even a very slight wind will also affect the situation.

The effect is probably more pronounced with that kayak because it is shorter and turns easier. Maybe the reviewers were commenting to that effect? Either way, I think the advice given above is correct. Find a kayak that fits what you want to do with it, and if possible, paddle it and maybe a few other options yourself before you buy anything.

More on where paddling
I just checked your profile - it says lakes, flat rivers and ocean/sea for where you want to paddle.

I would not suggest a boat like the Zydeco, with no perimeter lines and only one bulkhead, as a good fit for someone with ocean/sea ambitions. Nor would Dagger. The Zydeco is a rec boat, albeit “Adventure Rec”, in Dagger’s line. For ocean/sea I would suggest looking in the Touring category of their boats.

I would also suggest going with a used boat to start, to get more boat for the dollar, but it seems that everyone wants a shinier new one…

So is your profile correct - that you are looking for a boat that would handle ocean/sea or the inland equivalent, the Great Lakes?

Correct. Mostly I plan on flat water, slow moving rivers, lakes, etc. but chose the ocean/sea option because I didn’t want to be limited and know that I would one day like to take it to the beach.

Great points on the wind, and hull bearing to a side. I think that makes a lot of sense. My only concern about dagger then would be the quality of the plastic and being thin as the reviews were saying.

Not this boat to take to the beach

– Last Updated: Jun-16-14 8:20 AM EST –

Seriously - if that is your ambition you should think about going used to get more boat or stepping up now. A a boat like the Zydeco will need to be replaced by another to get serious about that use.

For the ocean, especially a beach with breaker, you will want a boat with at least two sealed bulkheads and perimeter rigging. A touring boat.

So - do you want to buy the boat for the beach now or later? There is an argument for having a shorter, less rigged out boat around for a hot day when you just want to get onto a local pond or something. We have taken old school whitewater boats out that we got super cheap to do things like creek crawling of an evening quick paddle, because they are easier to move around.

But if you want your first boat to be one in which you can learn ocean level skills, you need to get out of the "rec" category and into the touring group.

try more vertical strokes
closer to the hull to help you go straight- many newbies stroke away from the boat unintentionally, thus causing it to veer. I second the advice having your wait centered in the boat as well. Some seat time will help.

I guess then I am looking more into the rec type boat to begin with.