Kayak length question...

-- Last Updated: Mar-08-16 4:48 PM EST --

There are numerous lakes where I live and rivers are a reasonable drive. More of my paddle time will be on lakes, but I am more interested in the rivers. With that being said and considering a SOT, my question is how long of a kayak should I be aiming for? I understand longer is faster but I want to be able to navigate moving water as well. (River camping is on my radar) Is 13 or 14 ft too long?

It depends on the river …
If there are a lot of bends and drops and rocks you want something that can maneuver through them. An experienced paddler in a narrow downriver boat can paddle a fairly long boat through serious rapids. If you are just starting out and doing rapids you would want a shorter boat. If its mostly open water or worse class II a 14 ft sit on top will do fine. Look for a more narrow SOT, with a bottom that will not hang up on rocks.

Need to know more about the moving water
The best boats for maneuvering in strong moving water are on the shorter side. But they don’t work as well for camping.

Is there a class designation on any of the moving water parts that you are contemplating using? Say class I, II or III?

SOT vs sit inside

– Last Updated: Mar-08-16 6:30 PM EST –

For a given length, you get more speed from a sit inside. There are also a bunch of "cross-over" boats that would do really well for rivers of all sorts,lakes and camping. SOT are super stable but very slow not very maneuverable and a wet ride.

I take exception to the previous post
My 17 foot Epic sit on top and my 18 foot Cobra sit on top are just as fast or faster than my 19 foot sit inside. Most sit on tops are wider than most sit insides and thus slower. It is the hull shape that make them slower not the fact that they are SOT vs SINK kayaks.

And to the OP I think 14 feet is a great size for an all around river boat below class 3 rivers with an occasion class 3 rapid thrown in.

Two to try are the Dagger Alchemy 14 foot SINK and the RTP Tempo 14 foot SOT.

what’s the “moving water”? as others
have asked. If you would provide the river names and whether they include whitewater, boulders, above Class II, etc. If you are talking about just fast current with a few standing waves here and there, you could go up a bit in length. It’s a question of the degree of maneuverability that is required.

I just paddled Jupiter Run in Florida
in my Tarpon 160. It is a narrow, shallow,winding stream. I spent a lot of time in the weeds on the turns.

But , I have paddled a lot of rivers with no problems.

I recommend the 14’.

I should have been more specific.
By moving water I meant rivers in general. As far as class I cant imagine I would try anything beyond a II (At least not in the near future) I live in northeast TX so most of the rivers are pretty mild.

Thanks very much for the information, but the question is moot at this point as I just picked up a great deal on a WS Ride 135.

String, you in FL?
We were on Juniper last Sunday. Would like to paddle with you if you’re still around.

OP, long boats are very nice if the moving water you have in mind is an outgoing tide and you’re trying to come in against it. Or going upstream in a river.

Maneuverability can be learned with a long boat. Getting them through small passages such as downed trees can be a pain. It’s all what you want to do. Down river on anything class 2 or less, a long boat should be no problem.


Tom ,it was a fast trip week before
last. Stayed at Silver Springs 2 nights. Talking about coming back in April.