Kayak for a small paddler

Hi all,

I’m a 5’6", 140 pound male, and I typically have to do all of the loading for myself and the wife. She has a Pelican Summit 100x which works great for her, but I’m slogging around in a Perception Sport Sunrise which is 10’ long and 30" wide. I can’t keep up. The Pelican is way faster and tracks much better. I’m looking for a used boat in the 12’ range that’s fairly narrow (I’d like to be able to keep up somewhat with my buddy’s Tsunami 120) but I don’t want to spend $1000. Anything that I find that remotely suits my needs is labelled a “woman’s” boat, which is driving me nuts.

I found a used L.L. Bean Calypso on Craigslist with a lovely flower logo on it (LOL) which actually seems like it would be ideal for my size. I’m just curious to see what other small male paddlers are using. I like to do day trips on lakes and slow rivers, so I’m thinking something like a crossover or day touring kayak?



– Last Updated: Apr-07-15 11:48 PM EST –

For around $600 new (and at times on sale for closer to $500) you can get a Perception Sport Conduit 13 at Dick's Sports stores. It 's a decent well equipped day touring boat for small to medium sized folk.

I checked the RI Craigslist and there are a couple of Carolina 14 used kayaks for sale for $600.

Also, probably more than you want to spend but with that Islay 14 for sale in Westport you could smoke your buddy in his Tsunami.

Crossovers are kind of the worst of both worlds, at least IMHO. Unless you are planning to also do mild whitewater, they are kind of pointless. You want narrower and lower volume if speed is your goal.

Islay 12 LV skeg

– Last Updated: Apr-08-15 9:27 AM EST –

I've got an orange Venture Islay 12 LV with Skeg thats a leftover from last year that could use a good home. it can ride with me at the end of the month when I head to RI on biz.

See you on the water,
The River Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY

consider it
If your budget can cover it, you should consider that Ihat low volume Islay Marshall has (LV = low volume). I’m close to your size and have the LV version of the Venture kayak model that the Islay replaced last year. Very fun boats, kind of sports cars compared to the “sedan” like Tsunamis so many people paddle. Lighter, sleeker and better handling.

That’s a possibility
I’d have to sell mine first but will hopefully be able to do so by that time. I’ll definitely keep that in mind. Thanks!

Conduit 13
That’s actually one of the boats I was considering if I couldn’t find a used one. That at least gives me some confidence that I’m searching for the right things.

one caution

– Last Updated: Apr-08-15 9:54 AM EST –

The one problem the Islay might create is that if you let your wife try it she might not give it back. Every time I have loaned my LV Venture kayak to anybody they love it, compared to any other kayaks they've used -- a couple of friends bought Ventures after using mine and when i outfit groups of friends who don't have their own boats yet (I usually own 4 to 7 kayaks at any given time) we have to flip a coin to see who gets the Venture.

Good looking boats, too, made in England and with many features like a super comfortable convertible seat, security bar (for lashing the kayak to your rack with a cable lock) and a neat paddle park hook and bungie arrangement.

The Islay 14 LV is actually similar to the company's higher end and wildly popular P & H Delphin.




Found more options
I’ve located a few used boats locally that may be what I’m looking for:

Liquid Logic Inuit 12.5:

Looks like it’s in the sweet spot, but heavy at 55lbs. $600

Venture Flex 11:

Looks to be right in my wheelhouse, though slightly shorter than what I was looking for (may or may not be a bad thing). $500

Venture Easky 13:

This one has my eyes popping out! It’s quite a bit longer than what I was looking for, but the price is right at $600. It might give me some storage issues, though.

What do you think? My gut is telling me to grab the Easky and never look back. Practicality is telling me to go for the Flex. If the Inuit wasn’t so heavy that would probably be my first choice

“Grab the Easky…
and never look back.” Except to look for your buddy in the Tsunami, because that’s what you’ll be doing.

love my Easky

– Last Updated: Apr-08-15 2:50 PM EST –

you won't regret the Easky purchase, especially the 13, which runs about $1300 new now.

Most cars are longer than 13' -- storage and handling should not be an issue. I'm a "little old lady" and my 15LV is the same weight as the Easky 13 (and two feet longer). I store it in my walkout basement and have hauled on everything from a Honda Civic to an old Volvo wagon.

Though I do recall one kayak shopper (5' 3" and 160 lbs) who said they thought the Easky 13 cockpit did not feel snug enough:


The LV version boats are narrower and a snugger fit for smaller paddlers. That does help in controlling the boat.

Willow’s Bias
Willowleaf has a kayak with good performance characteristics (so her bias is well founded) but although it shares the name with the Easky you’re looking at it is very different dimensionally. As you’re 50lbs lighter than me I’m not sure how it’s 26.5" beam is going to behave on speed. You might actually plane it a bit but at my weight I could feel the width trying to part the waters and tracking quite hard.

I’ll plug in the Islay 12LV again at its 24.5" beam and appropriateness in sizing to your dimensions.

Here’s a quick overview I did of the 12LV when it arrived last year.


See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



I think Marshall is right to keep pushing the Islay 12LV. A low volume kayak makes a big difference in performance and enjoyment for a lighter weight person.

C’mon, don’t you really deserve a shiny sleek new kayak?? :slight_smile:

Careful Willow
I was keeping suggestions in the specified price range. The “sleek, shiny kayak” part might prompt me to mention the carbon/kevlar Avocet LVs that I’m overstocked on. :wink:

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



Great advice!
Thanks for all of the advice everyone!

Marshall, The Islay 12LV definitely looks like the right boat for me. If you can let it go at the price you previously mentioned and I’m able to sell my other kayak first I’d love to grab it from you. (Assuming I get Wifey’s approval first :slight_smile: That’s on the high end of my budget.) I do hope the timing works out there. I’m still looking around in case it doesn’t though.

The Easky looks like a great boat. I’m used to paddling a 30" tub, so I think I’ll be OK at 26". Any of these will definitely be an improvement. The storage issues I mentioned still apply. I only have a small garage, which will need some serious rearranging to accommodate it. I figured I’d be OK at 12’, but 13’7" is pushing it. It’s time for spring cleaning anyway right?

I’ve also located a Necky Looksha 12Si for $625. This one is a serious contender as well.

Storage space
J cradles bolted high on the hallway wall or living room wall Storage no problem.

That Islay is last o’Mohichans. If it helps, relay that tidbit to the comptroller.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



J hangers in the living room
Never mind the cash, That one is never making it by the comptroller! HAHAHA!

Unless… I can convince her to go with a nautical theme…

Could the OP fit in an Avocet LV?
I’m 5’6" and 160 lbs and tried to fit into a glass Avocet LV two years ago with it floating in the water and boat wakes rocking it and couldn’t even get my second foot into the boat in those conditions due to the short cockpit and low deck height.

Maybe the newer LVs are configured a bit different.

Depends on how the OPs 140lbs is distributed. 10" high front deck and 9" to the thigh braces. It’d be quite the transition from the 30" wide boat he’s used to.

I don’t think the comptroller would let him consider it as it was outside the stated $ parameters.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



Yeah, my LV Easky is only 22" wide. My kayak prior to it was 25" and felt like a barge, even more so once I got used to the narrower boat. Skinny boats rock! The Islay 12 is not exactly skinny but you’ll notice the 4" difference.

Right again Marshall
That’s definitely not a boat I’m ready for. It’s also WWWWAAAAAAYYYYY out of my price range! :slight_smile: Thanks though!

Willow, you’ve got me seriously thinking about that Easky though. I probably wouldn’t want to move on from that boat for a long time. It definitely looks like a keeper.