Kayak for my wife...

Here’s the deal…I’m a solo canoe person. I use my canoes for fishing and floating on Ozark type streams for the most part. Wouldn’t own a kayak for that purpose. My wife also loved solo canoeing, but for a number of years has had serious arthritis in her shoulder and can no longer paddle a canoe for significant distances. So when she goes we use the tandem.

I also live part time on the Yellowstone River in Montana, and have a raft for floating it with her. I also have a little Watermaster solo raft for floating and fishing it by myself (which works absolutely perfectly–I wouldn’t own anything else for that purpose). Mary tried rowing my little raft, but found that it also bothered her shoulders.

The other day we had friends visiting, and the young men in the group wanted to float the Yellowstone, so we rented kayaks for them. The kayaks were the Ocean Kayak Frenzy. They played around in the bigger waves and floated at the speed of the current, which is pretty quick on the Yellowstone. Mary watched them, and wanted to try one of the kayaks. So at the end of the day we went on a short (4 mile) float with me in my Watermaster and Mary in one of the Frenzy’s (we didn’t have to bring the kayaks back to the rental place until the next morning).

She really liked it, and the kayak paddling motion didn’t seem to bother her shoulder for that distance, at least.

We plan to rent one again and go on a longer trip to check to see if with more time paddling it would affect her shoulder, or bother her back (which she also has problems with).

So…she found the Frenzy to be super stable in the Yellowstone current, very maneuverable, and for that distance at least pretty comfortable (with the strap in seat). She had a little trouble getting in and out of it, which I’ve found to be a problem with many people unaccustomed to using kayaks after being in canoes a lot.

My question is, what does everybody think about this particular kayak for the purpose (leisurely paddling on fast moving class 1-2 rivers)? She would also be using it occasionally on small lakes, but never on higher class whitewater, big lakes, or slow rivers. Main criteria are stability and comfort, with enough maneuverability to avoid the bad spots (the Yellowstone is wide enough that you can always go to one side or the other of any higher wave trains or sweepers). I also like the short length of the Frenzy, because it fits easily sitting on top of my little raft in the back of the pickup truck. So are there other kayaks that I should be considering? I don’t mind paying more money that the Frenzy costs if I’m getting a lot more benefit from it, but less expensive is always nice.

A tip for getting in and out of a SOT
A sit on top is the ideal kayak for folks with mobility issues. I suspect your wife was having trouble, because she was doing it wrong.


1)Start in knee deep water. Water shallower than this is to difficult.

2)Turn and face away from the cockpit.

3) Sit Down in the seat.

4) Put your feet in the front of the boat one at a time as you turn to face forward.


  1. If the water is less than knee deep back out to deeper water. Imagine how hard it would be to get out of a kitchen chair with no legs. All the time folks have trouble getting out with their boats ashore or in shallow water.

  2. Slip both legs to the same side.

  3. Stand up.

    Easy as pie!

    If she likes the Frenzy it could be a very good boat for running rivers if you can find one. She may also like the Dagger Torrent or the Jackson riviera.

The Dagger Torrent is a whitewater SOT that might be worth a look:


The OK Yak Board is a bit smaller and more maneuverable than the Frenzy, but she might prefer the Frenzy’s extra stability and flotation.

Torrent or Pegasus
The older Pegasus is also a cool WW SOT that is more appropriate if the wife is under 150 lbs or so, the Torrent handles up to about 250 lbs. Used, they often go for $300 to $400.

There are whitewater optimised SOTS
like the Torrent and Liquid Logic Coupe, it’s true. But if you wife already enjoys the Frenzy, why not stick with that (for the time being)? Certainly something like the Frenzy will be easier to find used or new.

Of similar length, you might also want to look at the Feelfree Nomad (which is to my knowledge fun in surf - I don’t know about light whitewater though).

How about double blade in canoe?