So I am in the market for a new touring/ sea kayak… I would love some advice from anyone willing to help. First, a little background on my experience. I have been kayaking for about 6 years now, everything from a couple hours fishing on mid-atlantic lakes to multi-day trips in places such as Voyageurs NP, Adirondacks, lake chains in Maine, and numerous Mid-Atlantic rivers. I have a Wilderness Systems Pamlico 140, but I left that in storage with the parents in Pennsylvania. I in Salt Lake City, UT for the summer and work In Charleston, SC for a few during the winter. I am looking for a boat that can take me on some trips to large reserviors in Utah and the southwest and also keep me in good condition in the winter waters of SC. I am also planning a trip to the Florida Keys in December.
I would like a boat with generally good stability, I am not quite proficient in a roll, but plan on practicing. What is difference between skeg and rudder?? I would like to keep less than $2k, but if the right boat is there, I will spend $$. Any help would be appreciated
just a suggestion
Good description of use you want and your skill level but folks will need to know your size to make recommendations (height, weight and shoe size are pretty much requirements to narrow down models.)
Is weight a concern?
If so, it will have to be Kevlar, so I doubt you’ll get anything new under 2.5K.
Other questions - I’m even afraid to answer, it’s a black can of worms with zillion options.
Good stability in bad weather for non-rollers - for average to tall people it’s something at least 24" wide. So you’re are looking for “high volume touring kayak”.
Rudder or skeg… Never ask this question on kayaking forums … Some hate rudders, some hate even skegs. Skeg is a fin under the hull - sometimes retracting into the hull, like on surfboard only smaller; helps tracking, doesn’t help turning.
First, a boat that gets a lot of stability from width is one that will require more effort and better technique to roll. You have to decide where your interests lie - if it is in advancing skills for bigger water you want a boat that will feel pretty twitchy at first after the pamlico. Think 22 inches.
Look up discussions in past threads about skeg v rudder. Both are devices to help you track straight in cross winds. Depending on the boat,.both can be used to tame a wandering stern in following seas. The rudder can also be used to directly turn a boat. The rudder also has some questions about design, like do you want one that give you a fixed foot peg for when the rudder is not deployed.
There are many boats. Unless you are very big or very small, you will likely be advised to try a bunch before buying.
Recommending a kayak
It's like asking people "what shoes should I buy".
Since you have paddled and you know more than you think, you need to shop around and try boats to see what agrees with you and what's out there. They will all do the job. You can also shop used.
Personally, I usually recommend getting a kayak with bulkheads and one that has thigh braces so you can advance your skills.
in a case like this
All I can do is recommend my boat. Qcc 500. Stable. Fast. Beautiful and a used one can be had for under $2000. Now hopefully your big enough to fill it. Good luck.
Either a QCC-700 or an Epic 18
You should be able to find used ones for around 2K
A skeg is fixed and can only be raised or lowered. a rudder is for steering and can also be raised or lowered.
Many times in high quartering winds a rudder is a great aid. You can paddle all day long without using it, but it is great to have when the need for it arises
I highly recommend getting your yak with a rudder.
If you are a smaller paddler a QCC-600 is a tad shorter
If you think you are going to
stick with it, then get a decent boat. Looking for a good used one is a way to save a lot of $$. Your use, experience and cost considerations are defined, but size and fit considerations are not, so difficult to make any specific recommendations. However, one thing you may want to consider is materials…rotomolded poly, composite, or thermoplastic…which will be related to cost. I recommend looking at Eddyline’s various models for function, design and construction, especially if you are considering sea kayaking. They led the way in thermoplastic boat construction, and make a lot of great designs that will fit everyone’s needs, from rec boat to expedition worthy. A lot of people in my group paddle them; everyone is totally pleased.
Check out the Day Touring and Sea Kayaks from Necky and Wilderness Systems – particularly the Tsunami line.
...and then post more questions.
$2000 is a funny price point as most plastic “sea kayaks” are around $1400-$1700, plastic kayaks from England might be $2000 and composite kayaks from China and Thailand could be around $2k-$3k with north American made kayaks over $3200. There are perfectly acceptable plastic kayaks around $1000.
It would help if you gave your height/weight as “stability” is a function of your physiology as it is the kayaks dimensions.
Manitou 14 is a good choice for 175-225lb person with no rolling skills but is willing to learn, wants a stable boat that is good for a wide range of conditions. It’s $1000. There are faster boats, bigger boats, boats with more bells and whistles but this one is one I’d want if ALL I had was $2k and needed another chunk of money for paddle, pfd, skirt, misc. outfitting and coldwater immersion clothing.
Decent article, but …
it is also a commercial message. There are many more boats that are out there just as good as the ones they sell. So take their advice about particular boat models and makers with a very big salt shaker.
all kinds of
really good boats out there–my advice would be to go to some of the kayak festivals where stores bring their boats for people to paddle—and go to local kayak shops–often times they have days where they will go to the local waterfront with their boats for people to try—once you have it narrowed down, see if you can rent one of the favorites for a day—then make up your mind—what is good for some people isn’t so good for others—every body has their favorite style of kayak which might not be what is good for the next guy.
Yes and no
I"m also a little put off by the constant running down of recreational kayaks. Sure, they aren’t the big thing, but they are still the real thing and very functional for some of us. Not everything that’s 16’ long is great or even safe, when you get right down to it.
I do think there’s some good info in their article and was interested in it. Gotta give them some credit where it’s due. Yes, they are pushing what they sell; we all have our biases…
$2000 is the perfect price point for looking at used fiberglass sea kayaks. Real nice $3500 sea kayaks generally sell on the used market for $2000 when they’re 2 or more years old.
People confound stating limits with denigrating rec boats. These are not the same. New paddlers want to limit their costs to a degree that can be shaky. Heck, so did we all. But at some point you learn that the costs of good stuff go up with your ambitions.
Take a good read of what manufacturers day about where rec boats should be used. Then go out and try to self rescue on one in the middle of a lake, the basic ten footer with no rigging. There is nothing incorrect in the above article. They are just being very straightforward
they have their place
I don’t think anyone is running down Rec kayaks.
The OP of this thread said he is looking for a sea/touring kayak, and that he wants to paddle large lakes and the ocean in cool water.
Rec boats simply aren’t appropriate for that job. No slight to rec kayaks, it’s just not what they’re for.
If someone wanted a whitewater creeking boat, sea kayaks would not be appropriate. That’s not a dig against those boats, but they are designed for a different environment.
I went by the op criteria for “new”
More good reading
Brian Schulz at Cape Falcon has a nice writeup on the tradeoffs when choosing a kayak. He makes some compelling arguments for choosing a somewhat shorter boat than the common wisdom generally suggests:
I know it isn't what you were asking about, but the Cape Falcon F-1 is a really versatile boat (touring, sea, surf) and it is amazingly light. Making the boat in a class is much less that $2K, plus you get a GP into the bargain.
I'll also put in a recommendation for the Q400/Caspian Sea, a 15'3" sea kayak that would be pretty ideal for the uses you describe. I really love mine as a do-anything type boat - you would probably have to buy new, though, as they rarely show up on the used market. That's a good indication that people like the boat and tend to hold on to them.