I will admit that I am pretty new to kayaking seriously and really just got into it this summer. I had always borrowed kayaks in the past and I will now admit those ones were just cheap junk although I didn’t know any better at the time. I had a trip come up and I wanted to go but only had 4 days to get ready and no kayak to borrow. I ended up deciding to buy one. I considered just buying a cheap Sun Dolphin or Pelican but know you get what you pay for so wanted something better. I bought the best sit in that money could buy without me having to drive 100 miles to buy a better model. That was an Old Town Vapor 10 Angler from the new Academy Sports in town. I will admit that I didn’t do much research but this came from a known name so I went for it because I didn’t have much time to prepare. I also ended up with a 240cm store brand paddle.
This combination seemed to suit me just fine. I have no real problem with it but decided I wanted something longer and with a dry hatch for overnight trips. I ended up with a demo model Pungo 120 that a friend snagged for me from his outdoor retail store. I bought it for a decent discount and thought I was doing well. I also bought a shorter paddle based on suggestions of those here. I thought it was a 230cm but it ended up being a 220cm once I looked at it in detail.
I have taken the Pungo out twice with the 220cm paddle. It still feels awkward even with the shorter paddle. It just feels that my elbows are under stress while paddling with the 240cm paddle in the Vapor feels easy and natural. I tried the 240cm paddle from the Vapor on the Pungo and it was certainly not any better. I am almost wondering if the 220cm is too long for me on this boat. It sits 4-5 inches lower in the water than the Vapor so maybe I need a shorter paddle than 220cm. Does this sound like a possibility? I am a high angle paddler as well.
I am definitely keeping the Vapor as a spare or backup but am wondering if maybe there is something about the WS Pungo that just doesn’t fit me or if there is a way to make this work. I definitely would like to make it work if that is possible but would also consider a different boat if that is what it takes. I just don’t feel natural or at home in this boat the way I do the Vapor 10. I find it funny that a boat that I basically bought on a whim with a random store brand paddle I just grabbed seems to fit me better than something I researched and paid quite a bit more money for.
I love the speed and tracking of the Pungo but my elbows are sore as I type this. I wanted to upgrade to the Pungo to get a longer boat with more storage and a dry hatch as well as the better tracking. If this doesn’t end up working, what are some other options for a good overnight boat? Of course there is an Old Town Vapor 12 XT which is just a longer version of what I have. Then there is the Old Town Loon 106 or 120 which is their more premium recreational boat. Of course I don’t have to be stuck on Old Town but this is what has worked for me.
Any suggestions are welcome and I certainly don’t want to make a rash decision about selling this one and buying another but I will do that if that is what it takes to get one that works for me.