Help deciding on Kayak

-- Last Updated: Feb-02-12 8:59 PM EST --

Ok I'm hoping people here will be able to help me out. Sorry for the long ramblings....

I've paddled a canoe for around 23 years. It was a Mohawk White Water 16'.
My wife very rarely would go with me paddling. She has said for a little while she thinks she would like a kayak so she could paddle more with me. So I started to do research on rec kayaks to get one for her. I did not want to spend a lot of money since I can see her using it very little, but who know she might surprise me.
I made a list of about 5 or 6 boats that seemed nice in the price range I wanted to spend, they were only 10' boats. I ran across a used 2011 Ellie Sound 120 xe for $350.00. We both took it out for a paddle and both agreed that we liked it so I got it for her in the fall.
I paddled the Ellie a few more times before the weather got cold and decided I liked the kayak better then my canoe and sold the canoe.

Now I'm looking for a more of a touring kayak.
What I'd be doing mainly is paddling around enjoying nature and taking nature pictures. I also do a few weekend trips a year. I may make so trips to the Chesapeake bay to paddle around marsh areas bird watching.

I've looked at 3 used boats from a dealer:
1. 2007 Dagger Specter 15' with rudder $800.00
2. 2008 Perception Carolina 14' with rudder $800.00
* 2007 Wilderness System Tsunami 160 16' (I thought seemed to have a very low deck, and a little longer then I was looking for.)

I'm thinking I want to stay around the 14'-15' length.

I have not paddled any of the used boats yet.
The bottoms and bow of all the kayaks I was interested in were in excellent condition.
One last thing about all the used boats, they are stored on a trailer with boats tied tightly together. The boats all had some degree of, I think it's called, oil canning at the pressure points. He said that letting them out in the sun they would reshape to correct form. I also think I read where people had the same thing happen when their boats are in the sun too long on roof racks. Is this something to be concerned about?
Out of the 2 used boats the Perception Carolina 14' gets the better reviews from people.
Is a 4 year old used boat a good deal at $800.00 when a new boat with rudder is only $369.00 more?

The only new boat I've really looked at and paddled and liked a lot in my price range was a 2011Current Design Breeze 13'6" with rudder $839.00. While this boat lacks a bow hatch and bulkhead, I'm not sure that matters to me. When I would use this boat for weekend trips, I would just use a dry bag with my Hennessy Hammock, or tent, and all my other sleeping gear in the bow. I'm a minimalist backpacker and sure the boat has plenty of room for long trips.
From the reviews I've found of the Breeze, people like the boat a lot.

Just looking for input from other paddlers if any of the used boats are a good deal or worth getting.

One other new boat I ran across was a Venture Kayak Easky 13 - $700. Never heard of this company before. Has a few reviews that look good.

Any other boats anyone can suggest in the 14'-15' length in the $850.00 range?

Thanks and sorry for all the rambling.

Tell the dealer to put them out in the
sun, to see if the “pressure points” really return to normal. They may, or they may not.

I would want a really, really good price for a touring kayak with dents.

Second point. Unless you’re really average-sized, and lucky, you should try on any touring kayak you’re considering. I bought a Necky Looksha Sport at an excellent price at a benefit auction, but because of my large size, I’ve had to modify the seat, the thigh braces, and the foot braces to use it. I’m good at such modifications, but others may not be.

I appreciate your taking to kayaking. I kayak at times, though I’m a 35+ year whitewater canoeist. If you want to get out in the Bay, the only “canoe” alternatives would be decked canoes similar to the Verlen Kruger designs. Fine boats, kind of expensive.

Venture Easky info
The Venture boats are the less costly rotomold plastic line manufactured in the UK by top end British kayak maker P & H. They are very well designed and nicely finished. I have an Easky 15LV (low volume for smaller paddlers) and consider it the most versatile kayak in my fleet of boats for light touring. It is quick, comfortable and handles beautifully, even in rough water. Also quite a bit lighter than similar sized boats (weight is one objection I have to the Wilderness System Tsunami kayaks – they are all beastly heavy).

For what you are describing, the regular Easky 15 would be better. The Easky 13 is too close to the design and performance of the Elie Sound you already have.

A 15 foot kayak is a very useful size for most average height/weight paddlers. I realize that the Easky 15 is a little pricier than others you are looking at (around $1100 last I looked) but I have seen them on sale – got mine new 18 months ago for $730 (no rudder, but I don’t use them anyway.)

Hatches are great accessories
Putting stuff on the bow messes with center of gravity.

Then you have that wave,surf,wake issue to deal with too.

Hatches are easily maintained and last for years.

My Dagger Crossover hatch closure is over 10 years old.

You might want to consider a
somewhat different kayak. If, as I suspect, you are used to paddling an open boat in moving water with a fair amount of rocker and manuverability you might consider a similar kayak. I made the same move this past year that you are making and I bought a Tsunami and quickly realized I had made a mistake because I enjoy a move lively and manuverable craft. The Tsunami is a nice boat, great for many new paddlers and can satisfy experienced paddlers as well. But - I found pure joy in the Zephyr which differs from the Tsunami and many other touring kayaks in that it has a great deal of rocker which makes it very lively and fun to paddle. I love my Zephyr and like you I am experience in open boats in lively water but brand new to kayaks. Just a thought.

Easky 15
can be found in the $800 range, saw two of them on CL recently… so shop around. I think that would be a more fun boat than the Carolina IMO

Seems like a lot
I might get a new one if the prices are that high for four year old bent plastic. Usually I buy 6 -7 year old straight plastic for about half of the new price.

New Kayak
Thanks everyone for the replies.

I did more research on the Venture and it sounded like very nice built boats.

I called the store that had the Venture Easky 13’ for sale. Found out he had Venture Easky 15’. He told me he had a 15’ with rudder for $800.00. This got my attention. A new kayak for the price I was getting for used with rudder.

Got to the shop. He pulled the pretty new boat wrapped in foam and plastic out of the trailer. He cut it open and looked puzzled. It was rudder ready, not with rudder. Anyway I looked it over, liked the lines, looked like more then enough space for my gear for extended trips on the water. Sat in it liked the feel.

So I tossed it on top the car and took it down to the river to paddle. After freezing my hands off for 10 to 20 minutes, tossed the kayak back on top the car and drove back to the shop. I sould have tried to get $50.00 taken off since it did not have the rudder, but was really happy with the way the boat paddled I did not even bother.

Anyway a nice new kayak now in the garage.

I need to get back to the Okefenokee and Everglades now. LOL

congrats! great price, a rudder would have added a couple hundred more but I don’t think you’ll need it on this boat

Height and Weight?
Hard to recommend boats without this info?

You might want to look at the Frontenac web site - they have a useful and informative tool that suggests fit limitations - I found it helpful and fairly accurate.

Thanks for the help got a boat
Thanks for trying to help. I guess I should have put my 5’8 / 165 lbs into the mix.

I ended up bringing home a kayak last night after freezing my hand off paddling it.

(Replay further above about boat)