kayak selection and chine type

I am looking for my first kayak. While I am new to this I am very active and athletic and expect to really jump in with both feet. Most of my paddling will be on large rivers such as the Mississippi which can get choppy as well as some smaller lakes. I would like an efficient kayak that I will not quickly outgrow as my skills advance. I have tried several yaks and sat in many. The leading options right now are a necky zoar sport, a perception eclipse (16 or 17ft) or a Dagger Exodus 16.5. I am not able to try these out but they are all the exact same price. I have read good reviews of the Zoar, mixed on the Eclipse and can find none on the Exodus.

My question for anyone that has input is how much of a step up are the Eclipse and Exodus from the Zoar which is aimed at beginners? The Zoar and Eclipse were equally comfortable, the Exodus less so but certainly not bad, just more confining. The other issue is the Eclipse has very soft chines versus the Exodus having very defined. Does either hull type lend itself to more advanced paddling? I am excited to learn some edging and leaning techniques so my assumption was that harder chines would be better for this. What would be the advantage of a more rounded hull like the Eclipse other than a little easier turning at the expense of tracking speed?

If these 2 boats are not really a step of from the Zoar please say so as well. The Zoar is in my preferred color…I just would hate to walk away from an appreciably better boat if the Eclipse or Exodus are better when I can get them at the same price.

Don’t worry about chines
The water doesn’t. Most performance variables people claim are dependent on chines are not.

I have a long boring post about chines around here somewhere…

Zoar Sport
If you want performance and a boat to play in, which it sounds like, I would not get the Zoar Sport. I started in one and it is a great, stable boat, but I would call it more of a rec boat and not a kayak to do edging, rolling, etc. I sold mine and went to a Current Designs Sirocco, which is much more nimble (although beamier than most sea kayaks at 23.5"). This is not to say that you couldn’t perform these skills in a Zoar Sport, I just don’t see this boat as one made for it compared to so many others.

I don’t know about the other two,
but I will never get rid of my 17 foot tupperware Eclipse.

I have had it in many washing machine conditions and it acts like a charm.

I have the older model, and if the new ones are anything like it I would highly recommend it.



eclipse tempest etc
gotta plug the tempest.

I paddled Franks eclipse and liked it. But I only paddled it once. I felt that it was a big boat and the deck was high but it certainly was fast.

I ended up buying a Tempest. medium chines so predictable when edging but that is about it in so far as performance and chines…see what Greyak said.

Overall I felt the Tempest to be a better boat for me…and this is key…you need to demo and wherever you are pretty tippy and uncomfortable, assume that within two weeks that will feel stable…well don’t get an 18 inch surfski unless you want to spend just a bit more butt time to get comfortable :slight_smile:

Eclipse is a great boat and I know lots and lots of people who swear by them.

Reading what you wrote, I suspect that unless you go to the Eclipse or Tempest caliber, or the CD scirrocco, or the…so many out there!, you will be real dissapointed real soon.


did I mention that you need to demo?

and also to demo?

and also rent for a couple of days giving a week or so in between?



re: first kayak
Thanks so much for the feedback. I think you are right about outgrowing the Zoar and I think that is what held me back. I want a little more of a challenge. I was within minutes of just getting the Eclipse because I like the idea it might be a challenge and allow me to ramp up my skills without immediately wanting something a little sleeker. I found it so amazingly comfortable for a touring boat. I just couldnt pull the trigger yet.

I agree I need to demo if it has a reputation of being tippy so I am going to make a 3 hour trek to a store that will allow me to demo them on site. They should have both the Eclipse and the Tempest so I will give them both a shot and see what sticks.

Thanks again so much for the feedback!