Help Smaller Paddler Choose 3rd Kayak


I would like suggestions from those who would like to help. I am in the process of sorting through many kayaks, hoping to make a better choice for my third sea kayak. My first purchase was the WS Tempest 165 and I will keep that one. Good boat. My second purchase was the Falcon S18, which I have now realized is too big for me and will become my son’s boat. I am 5’9" and 145 lbs and want my next boat to be a better fit for when I start venturing into the ocean surf and taking multi-day excursions. I can roll my Tempest readily, - but cannot roll the Falcon.

I want a boat that will not fight me in the surf zone and will also have reasonably good speed once I’m past the surf zone.

I can pack efficiently so maneuverability is more important than cargo room at this stage of my paddling game.

Currently my list of considered boats is P&H Vela and new upcoming Capella 161 and perhaps the Sirius, NDK Explorer (LV) and Nigel Foster Silhouette. Other boats that have recently become less considered runner-ups are the Current Designs

Slipstream and Rumour. I will start my paddling try-outs with the Silhouette next week.

I would like your opinions and advice. Any other kayaks out there that I should try before I buy?

Thanks to all, Mike

Nice list
Very nice list of boats. I have a Vela (as well as an Explorer LV). You may find capacity for trips compromised in the Vela - she’s a leetle thing. But a very neat little boat. The Explorer LV is just about an ideal do it all boat - very kind of skills work like sculls and rolling, surfs OK, just not as fast as the Silhouette. Given your height, I susupect that you’ll find the Foster boats to be a nice fit. And you get nice speed.

Check out the details in the CD boat - it’s extra to get glassed in bulkheads so a lot of them out there have a hard plastic one.

I suspect you’ll find one you love in the list you gave. But if you want to add any, there is also the appropriately sized Betsy Bay boat if available near you.

Force 3
From your description of paddling venues and abilities you should put the Impex Force 3 on your hit parade.

See you on the water,


Falcon 16
If you like the F-18, try to find a 16. They are no longer in production. There are a lot of boats in your size range and the Vela, Slipstream and Sparrow Hawk are possibilities. My wife is 120x5’2" and we have a harder time. She fits the above boats but is not happy yet. We are waiting for the new Tideline Mermaid to be finished. You might also check out a Carribou S. My wife can handle mine but it is still too big for her.

is your Tempest plastic or composite? What you are describing is what the Tempest does pretty well. What do you mean “not fight you in the surf”?

Totally different but might fun in the surf is a Mariner Elan if you can find one.

similar size…
I’m 5’8", 145 lbs. Aside from the boats you mentioned, I’d try out the Valley boats (Anas Acuta, Pintail, and Avocet) as well as the Betsie Bay Valkyrie. I like the Impex Outer Island as well. The Romany or Romany LV might be fun as well.

You mentioned manueverability and speed being two criterias you want. Typically it is a tradeoff as the more manueverable a boat is, the less speed it has. Which feature is more important to you?