Help choosing the next boat

I’m a large paddler running mostly class I and II. I want to upgrade from a Perception America to something I can roll with and yet is still good on a rocky river. I’m confused about the difference between a rec kayak and a touring kayak. Are all touring yaks also sea yaks?

Are all rec boats built for stability and not able to roll? For example, the Old Town Loon is listed as a touring yak and yet it looks to me that it would be easy to roll. As I understand it, Whitewater yaks don’t even come into the picture until you’re paddling class III.

Which kayak would you recommend for a large paddler who’s not very interested in speed for a rocky class II river that wanted to learn to roll, upgrading from a trihedral rec yak? I’m looking at the OT Loon 120 and the Perception Approach.

I appriciate your reply a great deal.

WW boat?
A whitewater river-running or creek boat would be far more manuverable and easy to roll than a rec boat, at the cost of flatwater speed. You can pick one up used fairly cheaply.

Rec boats are hard to roll for several reasons. Width and hull shape are part of the problem, as is cockpit fit. You need to be snug enough to hang upside-down comfortably, and to be able to easily control the edges with your hips. The large cockpits on rec boats are also hard to seal.


– Last Updated: Jan-09-07 3:26 PM EST –

Above adice from ericnye and angstrom advice is best - go to a good kayak shop, look at boats and start demoing them as soon as the weather permits, consider a WW boat for the rocky stuff. They are dirt cheap to pick up used compared to sea kayaks too. And a lot of this is easier to feel than research.

One note to add - a true sea kayak will often have features that many consider important to safety in big open water, where the "touring" boats may or may not have it all. At least two sealed bulkheads, full perimeter rigging and low emough rear decks to make it possible for a tired paddler to still do any kind of self-rescue needed. Also hull designs that are really intended to handle big waves etc and usually tighter cockpits than touring 'yaks to improve the paddler's control.
Hence sea kayaks tend to cost more.

Re river running, the more suited for expeditioning in big water a kayak is, the less likely it is to serve well for rocky rivers. But there are lots of boats in that middle range, most of which others know more about than I do.

Definitely get a WW boat
There are lots of used boats out there that will work fine for what you have in mind. If you have the money, a new river running creek boat would be perfect. But otherwise look at boats like the RPM Max or Wavesport Z or Riot Grind just to name some.

a few
riot voyager

prijon yukon expedition

both will handle II easily and be pushed into a little heavier water if needed.

I don’t kayak,
but canoe with a whole slew of yakkers, trippin’ on cl. 1-3 rocky rivers. Angstrom and the guys who are recommending creek boats I think are on the money. Couple of my larger yakkin’ buds are paddling Liquid Logics, Wade paddles a Hoss, Scott paddles a Gus. These have a lot more volume than the squirt boats, move through the flatter sections well, roll okay, and still manage to play in the good stuff.

Doc, say it isn’t so! You didn’t just
suggest an RPM Max?!?

Thanks all, I can see my problem now
I was looking for the one boat that does it all, which we all know does not exist. I’m going to get a little playboat and build me one of those beautiful CLC kits. Who knows, maybe I’ll even with the one here on Pnet. Thanks Again for the great advice.