I bought a Pelican Trailblazer last year and have been surprisingly impressed (considering the cost) with how it's held up with some rock hits, rapids and long paddles. But the cockpit lip isn't deep enough for a spray skirt so I often have to empty if I paddle rapids, and I've been using it more than I thought I would and I'm not sure how long it'll hold up.
My typical WW paddle is down a river with a few class 2&3 rapids, but also a lot of flat paddling, especially at the the end on the lake. I'd also like the kayak to do well for longer distances - 10-15 miles with some chop and have water tight storage. And I'd like it to be 11 feet or shorter so it can fit in my car. I realize it's the right tool for the job sort of thing and I'll need to make compromises but any recommendations for kayaks that may best fit what I'm looking for?
Longer touring boat
for 10 to 15 miles of flatwater with the occasional rapid thrown in, I’d be looking for a longer boat - 14 foot is probably a good size. It would do fine for a straight shot through the rapids, and handle the chop and flatwater a lot better. I’m an open boater, so I can’t recommend a model, but I know I wouldn’t take my WW boat on a 10 mile flatwater trip. In terms of transport, buy a rack and put it on the roof. I guess I am not a big believer in crossover boats.
crossover was made for what
you're doing- dagger, pyranha, liquid logic, jackson, and other ww manufacturers have what you are looking for- some reviews here on pnet, be sure to check out manufacturer websites-boats probably won't be much faster than your trailblazer but then again I don't really know because I've never paddled that boat so am just guessing.
Right now the Dagger Katana is popular in my area. I know a new "hot" design just came out in the crossover market but can't remember the manufacturer.
In the meantime put something like float bags in your pelican trailblazer in case you swamp it out or flip it because you don't want it to sink. Also realize that boats become dangerous when filled with water so if you swim stay on the upstream side of the boat. Stay safe and have fun. Sounds like you have contracted a bit of the ww bug. If you give more specific info on where you want to paddle we can give better advice.
This is the WW that I paddle - http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/2706
I usually put in before that point and put out on the lake that it feeds into. Conditions have to be good – it’s usually too low, so I don’t go that often (a few times a year).
That Katana looks really nice. I probably don’t want to spend a whole lot since I won’t be using it that often and am looking to pick up other gear (windsurfing, ski boat). My buddy that I typically go with has an extra Perception Swifty 9.5 so I could probably borrow that, I would just want to pick up a spray skirt for it.
I also enjoy kayaking (and SUPing if not too windy) through inlets in the NC coast and the end of the Cape Fear river. I get to do about 2 of those trips a year.
looks like plenty of rapids to keep
you entertained within a one mile stretch on the Haw. I poked around in that neck of the woods once looking at access points and have scouted the yadkin river near pilot mountain on a hike this past winter so that’s one of the places I hope to visit again with a boat.
I’m sure you already know that some boats are faster and more efficient than others but I think if you’re looking for versatility a crossover will be less prone to swamping out, have some extra structural support, and will be easier to drain (although still more difficult than regular ww boats).
My problem with folks taking rec boats on ww is the difficulty they present when they flip. They’re a real bear to get to shore and empty- I’ve helped some folks with that and not a lot of fun. It can become a safety issue.
I use my Liquid Logic xp10 for overnights, swamp and creek paddling, and generally when I just want a big forgiving boat- like in the winter. It’s often not the “right tool for the job”, for instance on flat water, but it often works if you’re willing to exert extra effort.
I use it like a crescent wrench in my toolbox. It may not be the best fit but it can work when you don’t have something better to use.
boater talk gear swap forum and carolina canoe club are resources near you that might have used boats.
A few other pointers, if you paddle ww a helmet is a necessity and remember to wear a good pfd.
Stay safe, have fun, and if you feel like venturing north into west virginia look me up on the west virginia wildwater association’s message board. Tony Daniel
I used to have a Pyranha Fusion M cross over kayak. BUT it was slow on the flats just like my friends Katana (the bigger one). The Jackson being longer 11’ 10" and sleeker is much faster on the flats BY far. At least 1 mph faster, that’s significant. Yet quite maneuverable for lower class white water.