Kayak recommendations?

I only chose…
…the Otter as a starting-off point because I know Old Town is a good brand, it wasn’t expensive, and it was very beginner. And it had decent reviews. However, I can see the problem with a wide boat hindering development of a good stroke. Most of the use I’d be getting out of any starter boat I get will be on a flat slow river or lakes, I’m not concerned with using it on the harbor as much. I will look into some of those models everyone suggested, and I’ll see about finding a demo day at an actual boat place.

Check out this group
North Shore Paddler’s Network. http://www.nspn.org. They do skills sessions and might be a font of info about used boats, and are obviously in your territory.

Two Cents, Similar in Size
Here’s my two cents from a 5’3" female, closer to 140 pounds (all muscle, I tell myself). My first boat was a Perception Swifty, very similar to Otter. I still have fun with it on rivers and have paddled it on lakes/reservoirs, with winds no more than 15 mph. I would be a little leery of using it in a harbor. Figure out when you will use it most … river or harbor. If on the harbor or something similar, are you paddling alone? If you are with others, what kind of boats are they using? It’s not a contest or a race, but if you have trouble keeping up in a small, wide boat or they have to slow down considerably, it can hinder fun for all sides. I eventually bought a sea kayak after paddling at least six or eight different boats in demo/rental/trip situations over the course of a few years. By the time I bought one, it was much different than what I would have bought initially when I thought stability was the most important thing. So rent, demo, try friends’ boats. Bottom line: The best boat is one that’s safe for your intended use and gets you out on the water.

Any input on this one?
What do y’all think of this for a beginner: http://www.sahalie.com/jump.jsp?itemType=PRODUCT&itemID=12254

One big reason I ask is because I get a discount from this catalog through one of my jobs. Would something like this be good for lakes and slow calm rivers? How are inflatable kayaks overall?

On a different note, I am going to a paddling demo day in about a month, it’s through REI, not a kayak/canoe place specifically, but I figure I can try a bunch of different kinds of boats out. Yay!

I am prejudiced , but the Dragonfly
looks like a pool toy.Go to your demo day and get a used boat for not much more.

demo days

– Last Updated: May-10-08 3:40 PM EST –






Your size puts you in the "small(er) paddler" category. You'll be way more stable in a kayak than the average person, so don't be afraid to try skinnier boats that'll let you paddle comfortably. Something that's too wide or too deep will be frustrating.

Here's another one for the list:

I agree with JackL!
Sorry JackL…but I do.

Dealers in your area

– Last Updated: May-11-08 12:30 AM EST –

There are two dealers you might want to talk to. They are also more than happy to do demos, and demoing the boat is the way to go.

For Wilderness Systems/Eddyline:

www.erba.com in Essex,MA. They carry a very full line of WS and Eddyline boats and are very knowledgable, especially for fitting the beginner paddler.

For anything else, including Valley (although I think a Nordkapp is way out of line for any beginner): www.nesmallcraft.com Right now they have a nice little Prijon, the Motion,(14'+; 23" wide) that might fill the bill for you.

If you don’t want to wait for a demo …
day locally, take a road trip to Paddlefest this coming weekend.


They carry the full line of Johnson Outdoors (Old Town, Necky, Ocean Kayak)and Confluence Watersports (Wilderness Systems, Mad River Canoe, Dagger, Perception, Wavesport) plus their associated gear companies. They also carry many other brands including Eddyline, Current Designs, Boreal Designs, Swift Canoe and Kayak, Heritage, Liquid Logic, Impex, Native Watercraft) Plan on a day and a half or longer, there are too many boats and too little time!

small person kayak
i have heard that the wilderness tsunamis are pretty good(anyone else who has experience with them feel free to support or deny my claim as i have not paddled one) and i found one that is made for people of your size.


maybe it is what you are looking for?

just remember when you use the
otter don’t paddle further from shore than you would care to swim. They do make a fairly good fishing platform due to their primary stability


– Last Updated: May-12-08 7:53 PM EST –

I'm stuck with a boat that I know I will most likely be selling a year from now or sooner, but which is still a very good learning tool for me... The Tsunami 145. It was my decision to buy that boat and I did realize even before that that I will outgrow it and that it will be a "transitional" boat for me.

If the REI or HTO sales folks knew anything about kayaking, they could have sold me a Tempest. But they did not. On the other hand, potomacpaddlesports asked me the right questions and were steering me in the right direction. But what they had was about 2x the cost of what I had in mind....

Actually it depends on the store
…as to whether they know much about paddling. The EMS in Middletown, RI, just outside of Newport, has always had very knowledgeable salespeople, all of whom kayak. The same goes for the relatively new Portsmouth, NH store whose sales staff actually takes BCU and ACA courses sponsored through the company. In fact, EMS’s Program Director is a high level BCU/ACA coach.

I’m no fan of big box stores and would tell any to stay away from Dicks et al, but some of the EMS staff, at least in the NE area know what they’re talking about.

Tsunami SP
I second that.