I have a Dagger Ocean Kayak, but have decided that I want a touring kayak. The problem is that touring kayaks are not popular in Texas. I’ve been looking at Eddyline because they have a dealer in Houston that has a Sandpiper. I’m thinking about the Sitka or Equinox, but I want to at least try a touring kayak before buying as my only experience is with the Dagger. Is there a big difference between the Sandpiper and the other two kayaks? Also is there anyone who knows where I could demo an equinox or Sitka? I love to drive, and would go anywhere between Denver and Florida if there was a place I could try one.
There are several used “touring” kayaks available in the Houston area CL and FB Marketplace if you are meaning sea kayaks. You should probably contact someone from HASK (Houston Area Sea Kayakers) to see what their members may be selling - it’s a fairly active group & I’ve known several of their leaders over the years. They provide some training.
The Eddyline website lists the Sitka as a touring kayak. The Sandpiper and Equinox are both recreation kayaks.
The most reputable kayak shops for “touring” kayaks that I know of in the geographic range you listed is Sweetwater Kayaks in Tampa or Savannah Canoe & Kayak just outside your area.
The first drive I would do would be to some place where you can take an Introduction to Sea Kayaking class, if you haven’t yet. Along with teaching how to deal with a deep water capsize, they should also be talking about different types f sit in boats to give you a feel for what you might want to look for.
This is common advice; take it. Although there is an initial extra expense, it will almost guarantee that you save even more money very quickly.
Taking a course is excellent advice. Before actually taking the course decide what you want to do with the boat and where you want to paddle it. Then travel to the place where the course is offered and talk to the people there. If it is a dealer, they will often let you take the course in a boat that may be along the lines of what you want. Ask the instructors a million questions.
Sunjammers in Panama City FL sells Eddylines. Not quite as far as Sweetwater or Savannah. There is a boat ramp behind the store. If you buy a boat ,St Joe Bay is just East of town. Go around to the State Park and paddle. You won’t regret it.
Thanks everyone for your help. I went to the dealer who had a sandpiper. They also had a skylark which I enjoyed. The dealer said they may have a Sitka I could try soon. I plan on trying it too. They also said they were going to teach a class as well. I plan on taking the class, joining HASK to take sea kayak classes or both.
I have a Skylark, and my husband has a Sandpiper 130. They are great for rivers and smaller lakes! Keep in mind that these are rec kayaks, and not touring kayaks. I’m waiting for my Sitka LT to come in, to use on Lake Superior. And still, not too far off shore. Make sure to take into account what kind of water you plan to go out on.
We love our Eddylines!
I always recommend kayak clubs and demo events. Gives you a chance to get many opinions and hopefully try many boats. Then you can be really confused like we all were.
Seriously, try all you can get in.
Try a few rental companies. There is no replacement for getting your butt in the boat. Sit in boats are like a pair of pants. I have 36 inch legs. What works for me may not for you. If you have a REI store near you they offer classes frequently