Help buying a sea kayak

I live in Western WA. I white water paddled for over 20 years and when I moved to Western WA I started a family. I have been away from Kayaking for almost 10 years but now that my kids are in school I am looking to get back into it.

I am a pretty skilled paddler, I ran pretty advanced runs throughout the Carolina’s. Sea Kayaking is new for me, but I am sure I will bounce back into it.

I have been given advice to buy a 17’ without a rudder. I have been looking at the NC kayak NC17 overnighter. I want something with very good maneuverablity. One that I can get up on edge.

I haven’t paddled here in the south sound yet, but can’t wait to get into the water. The weather can change pretty rapidly up here.

Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. It is easier to have pro like all of you narrow down my search so I don’t spend years looking for the right Kayak. My criteria is based on speed, maneuverablity, stablity and storage space. Price is not an issue, I rather do this right the 1st time.

thanks for all your help.

Go to the Symposium in Port Townsend
and Demo Demo Demo.

I wouldn’t own a kayak…
…without a rudder!

Now lets here it from the “Politically correct paddlers”



With a whitewater history…

– Last Updated: Aug-23-05 1:51 PM EST –

Given your criteria and background, I highly recommend you test paddle a VCP Avocet. At 16-feet long, I believe it's a very playfull kayak that responds well to edging and leaning. If you want a similar kayak, but longer and with more space for multi-day camping, check out the VCP Aquanaut.

I would also recommend you test paddle the VCP Nordkapp Jubilee, the P&H Bahiya, the P&H Quest, the P&H Capella 169. Some of the kayaks I mentioned have higher decks than others I mentioned, so depending upon your physical size and fit preference, one boat may feel better than another. If you want something with a high initial stability, I would steer away from the VCP Nordkapp and perhaps the P&H Bahiya.

What size are you?
And are you going to be primarily daytripping, or carrying camping gear?

Rudder or not
is one of the great kayaking debates. IMHO, it should be pretty far down your decision list. There are good boats in both camps.

And JackL, I’m not opposed to rudders in general, but most of my experience with them to date has been negative – probably because of the boats they were attached to. I haven’t had an opportunity to paddle a QCC, or a surf ski, or other high-performance ruddered boat, and I look forward to doing so.

Fair enough?

and …
don’t tell any of the boat salespeople “price is not an issue.” You can get a decent used boat without spending a lot of money, that way you can get another decent used boat six months later. Got to have a quiver. Once you start paddling flatwater, textured water will start calling again.

necky elaho

– Last Updated: Aug-23-05 6:45 PM EST –

The necky elaho is a very fun boat--quick, responsive, incredibly stable way over on its edge, good in surf. You can get it with a rudder or skeg, in poly, kevlar, carbon, or fiberglass.

I've had one kayak with a rudder, one with a skeg, and one with neither. Sometimes each one is useful--choose the boat you love, then worry about the rudder/skeg/whatever. Some purists say a rudder is a wimpy idea, but there are plenty of times, places, and boats where it's a fine idea. Racers always use them (their boats are different than ours, but the principle still holds--on the right boat, a rudder can help you go faster, more safely. Sure, lots of people rely on the rudder instead of learning how to paddle their boat, but that doesn't mean a rudder is a bad thing. On a long crossing, in chop, with a strong wind from the side--it sure makes life a lot easier.

And if price isn't an issue, I just got a BBK Valkyrie. They're 30 lbs, a dream to paddle, 17 ft and no rudder, handmade by a guy in Michigan, low volume, very fast, veyr easy to roll, hard chines. I love it, although I'll use my Elaho (w/rudder) when I go out on long trips. The BBK boats cost about the same as a kevlar boat, and half as much as some other handmade boats. BBK owners, like QCC owners, tend to be a little cultish!

Pintails and Anas Acutas are great boats too--easy to roll, low volume, tons of fun to play with. These are all 17' boats, no rudders.

forget sea kayaking and join us over here on the river…