I am looking for some general advice on the purchase of a first Kayak. I have been renting rec kayaks and am considering an upgrade above the rec boats, and something that will perform better and be safe in a variety of conditions. I am 53 y.o. relatively fit, but heavier than I used to be: 5’9" barefoot, and weigh 217 lbs. My weight is hopefully trending down -= but as they say, ‘winter is coming’.
I am looking to paddle in the southeast Pennsylvania area and am looking at paddling local lakes, rivers and some tidal inlets and estuaries. I do not know that I will ever be brave enough to go out into ocean water, but significant waves and wakes are likely if I am in the Delaware bay & Chesapeake area. I would like to get a boat with fore and aft bulkheads/storage, and the possibility of adding a skirt. Another serious limitation is that I cannot get much more than a 13’ boat in my garage. Perhaps 13’6. The goal is to get a good performing boat that I can learn on, and not outgrow in a season. I would like it to be fast and efficient, but maneuverability is also important…
This has been a bit of a research project, but I have come up with the following frontrunners:
- W.S. Tsunami 125. This seems a good fit and seems to be well reviewed. It also is pretty long without being too long. 12’9 (And there are some end of season sales on these right now).
- Necky Looksha 12. Seems comparable and a bit shorter, with the same basic weight capacity and a smaller cockpit opening. I am going to look at one soon - so I do not know if this is actually a good fit physically.
- Old Towne Castine 135. Again, going to look at one soon, but it seems to fit the bill. It is probably on the outside of what is possible in terms of length for me.
- Perception Conduit 13.0 - I have not seen one in person, but there are a number of sales going on right now - and they seem to be available on the cheap. Reviews seem mixed.
If anyone has any strong opinions, I am all ears. Also, I have been following Craigslist for several weeks now, and surprisingly, these boats do not seem to be popping up used, though they are out there. There seem to be all of the 14’ plus tourning boats you could want-and all of the 10’ rec boats as well. It is a funny trend I am seeing.