help me choose a kayak

I’m looking for a Kayak for rivers/backwaters in and around the everglades. Not fishing, just exploring and photographing.

Is there any certain design which is best for getting through shallows and sawgrass?

I’m 5’11, 155. Which length would be best for me in these conditions?


Check out this link
You should be able to get some local input as well as hook up with demo days pretty soon now. Here’s is one source for finding outfitters around you -

You can do what you are talking about in a 12 foot or a 17 foot boat or anywhere in the middle. It comes down to how much time you want to spend getting used to a kayak’s stability and how likely you are to want to put it up on your car and go out offshore. I’d suggest you assume that’ll happen with the Gulf on one side and the ocean on the other… very tempting.

Need to demo boats

– Last Updated: Feb-26-11 1:12 PM EST –

Yeah you will probably need to visit a paddle shop and demo different types of boats. It sounds like you might be looking at recreational class of boats because stability might be a need for photography. There are several types of kayaks so narrowing it down to 1 type will help to filter out the rest that don't apply to your needs.

Thanks for the replies and links. Any suggestion of sit on top vs sink?

Any length above 14 feet is good
I paddle the Everglades in a 18 foot long light weight

carbon kevlar yak, and I have no problem getting over a few inches of water.

I also paddle the tightest mangrove tunnels that you can fit a yak through.

use a little caution if you paddle over oyster bars, and don’t be afraid to get out of the boat and pull over them

Jack L

If you will be just paddling in the warm
months, I would lean towards a sit on top, but if you will be paddling during December and January a sit in gives you a lot of good warmth.

Jack L

Where are you located right now?
we were paddling in the southern everglades today.

Jack L

"Recreation " kayaks and stability

– Last Updated: Feb-26-11 5:48 PM EST –

Granted, I'm no kayaker, but now and then I see comments here about using recreation kayaks if you want stability. If one goes by the usual definition of recreation kayaks - those with no bulkheads and an enormous cockpit - then I'd disagree about seeking such a boat in order to get enough stability for photography. I have some friends who paddle "touring" kayaks with medium-sized to semi-small cockpits and one or two dry hatches, and I've briefly paddled a Tsunami 140 (maybe it was a 145 - I can't remember), and though these boats are somewhat more sleek and fast than "recreation" kayaks, I can't imagine how they can be called anything other than extremely stable. They certainly have a more solid "feel" and rock less due to the paddler's movements than most solo canoes, which of course work just fine for photography. "Try before you buy" is good advice here, and renting from an outfitter might be a good start. Simply watching friends and other paddlers with mediocre skill levels in "recreation" kayaks and "touring" kayaks makes me think there's no reason to buy the former in preference to the later unless price is one's main criterium. Paying a little more for a "touring" kayak will still provide plenty of stability, but also would provide more paddling efficiency, better storage of whatever stuff you bring along, and easier recovery in the event of a capsize. Labels can be used in different ways of course, and there may be a lot of boats that someone would classify as "touring" kayaks which would be too skinny for a beginner with a camera, and maybe that's more reason to try before you buy.

If you can, check out Florida Bay Outfitters in Key Largo. A fine shop on the water to test paddle a wide variety of boats. Frank and Monica are great folks, too. Their knowledge of the waters you will be paddling would be useful.


in western Broward county
but we’ll hopefully be paddling all around at least a few times a year, from lake O to everglades city area and in the Keys too.

thanks, good advice

haul camera gear and always go with my sit on top…15’ Preception Search…love it for speed, stability, and build quality…but it’s heavy. Also have a Easky 15’ and while I love it, the cockpit room is not as easy to manage a long zoom camera. As noted above, try both types of kayaks and you will have your answer.

My QCC 700 kev/carbon has gone everywhere in florida without a problem, the shorter 600 or 10X may fit you better.