kayak upgrade: recommendations?

I’ve been using my Perception Acadia (12.5 ft) for about 10 years now, as a general purpose kayak. Mostly lakes, rivers, and bays. It’s not appropriate for sea kayaking.
It’s been great but, I’ve outgrown it. I want something faster, a bit higher performance, and something I can take out for seacoast paddling.
I am 5’11" tall, in decent shape, 185lbs, and 61 yo. I have a bad back so, don’t want a heavy kayak. I am very comfortable in a kayak and have a lot of flatwater experience.
We have recently moved closer to the NH coast so I want to get involved in more bay and seacoast paddling.

I am thinking a touring or transitional kayak, 14’ to 16’ long would be nice.

I’ve been looking at Current Designs Vision 140 or 150 as one candidate There are many options out there.
I hope to demo some kayaks but, would love to hear recommendations !!

Inputs anybody??


Think features first for open water, not length. You want at least 2 sealed bulkheads, though I make use of the day hatch on the water and would not get a boat without it. That makes it three sealed areas.
And perimeter lines, static line so that you can more easily hang onto and get back into the boat if you find yourself swimming a mile offshore. Fore and aft.

I don’t see anything resembling static perimeter line on the rear of either of the Vision boats you mention, or if it is there it is too short to get an easy grip on it. Same issue up front, even if it is there I don’t see a nice run where there would be an easily grabbed length.

The Visions are labeled as Transition boats in CD’s line. For sea kayaking, you should be looking at any of the last four categories which are touring boats. CD labels then as British, North American, Greenland and Danish style. They all have the correct features, just somewhat different emphasis in the hull design from each other.

Thanks for the inputs. That is good stuff.

Also, hoping to stay under $2500

It might be kind of hard to stay light and under $2500 for a new appropriate sea kayak. I would highly recommend checking out the Prana, Gulf Steam and Sirocco as long as you are looking at Current Designs. The Sirocco is a great boat for the money, but probably a little heavier than you’re looking for. I wouldn’t let the weight be a big deterrent, because there are ways to deal with it and any boat that fits your requirements is going to be around 50 lbs., or more, unless you go for light composites and then you’re looking at a lot more money.

Stellar has some very nice boats that are fairly light and not too hard on the wallet. I’ve seen the Intrepid at about $2600 in the glass layup. That is a heck of a great boat at a killer price.

I’m 66, 6’0" and 195lbs and I’ve had a CD Vision 140 as my “day tripping” boat for the past 3 years. My wife paddles a Vision 130. The boat is perfect for all but the roughest water and we’ve taken ours everywhere from calm local lakes to New York harbour and the Atlantic coast of Canada.

As Celia says the perimeter lines don’t go all the way around the boat but they are there and I have no trouble grabbing them or doing reentries. The boat performs well with plenty of primary stability yet it also tracks and edges well. Mine has a skeg which aids in tracking but does add a few lbs of weight to the boat. If your primary goal is sea kayaking, the other boats Celia mentions are probably a better choice but for all-around use I’m very happy with the Visions. If you can handle the weight, the plastic CD Sirroco is a terrific sea kayak at a very good price.

Current Designs keeps the prices down on these transitional boats - compared to their composite sea kayaks - by having the hulls moulded in China but the quality of ours is very good. CD’s customer service has also been excellent.

You could also stay within your budget by looking at some of the Eddyline or Delta thermoformed kayaks.

Clarifying what Magooch said - it wold be hard to stay under $2500 and not get the heavy kayak. Easy to get a new plastic boat for the price range you want, but they are the heaviest boats.

Clarifying what Celia said - The CD Vision doesn’t seem to have deck lines, but looks like it would be very easy to add them. Just run through the eye pads that are holding the bungee lines. That said, I don’t know anything about them and what they mean when they say it is transitional, so don’t know if it would be good for you.

Have you taken an intro to sea kayaking class? If not, sign up for one before you buy. There is a lot you learn from those classes that will help you in your boat search. Plus the class will let you use a touring boat of some sort in the class, so it is also demo time. The more time you spend in different boats, the better feel you will have for what you like or don’t like.

At your size/weight specs, most boats will fit you. So you have lots of options.

I ran into a local couple who were putting in a pair of CD Vision 135s. I chatted with them and they loved them, using them in both the local Bay and some ocean. That got me interested in that model. I am open to other models as well.

I think I will pursue a local seakayaking course. That is a great suggestion.

Stellar kayaks are very light, high performance and beautifully designed, if you can find a local dealer to check them out. Their S16 touring model in the Sport layup weighs 45.6 lbs and is $2,395. Their S14 (14 foot) is 42 lbs and $2,050. The adjustable seat and backband arrangement is very comfortable.

More on the Vision type boats - this is one of those times when you can see why folks suggest that you get into some boats, and try out various things with them. Or take a basic lesson or two, which gets you the same results. From a picture on a web site, I really could not tell if the perimeter lines that were there were robust or easy to grab. But someone who has had these boats out and gotten wet with them (kfbrady) was able to report on that, Of course there has been no discussion about fit yet, yet another thing that is well enabled by a couple of basic classes.

It sounds like you are going to take some class time, that will be very helpful for your search.

I’ve found a Eddyline Journey for sale in exc condition.
At 15.5’ it’s small for a sea kayak but, I am looking more for a transitional kayak anyway.
I’m going to go take a look at it.

You should rethink buying the Journey if you still plan to take a sea kayaking course. You will find that it is not well suited to many of the things that will be presented in the course.
Later update, ignore because l think l had gotten this associated with a small paddler. But thry got a boat which seemed to love at first paddle, which is great.

@Celia, could you be more specific and let us know why you don’t think the Journey is suitable?

According to Eddyline’s specs it’s a 15’5" x 24" with a 35" x 18.5" cockpit, a skeg, a sliding seat with a low back (backband optional), perimeter lines, bow and stern compartments, etc.

Several reviewers have issues with seat comfort (but that’s a very personal thing) and I would agree that with its larger cockpit it’s certainly not a rough water boat, but otherwise?

Went to a local kayak shop and demo’d a few boats. I was looking at the CD Vision 140, Stellar S15, Valley Islay 14, and a few others (Tsunami 146).
Since I do 50% lakes/50% bays etc. something in the 14’ to 15’ length is a good size for me.

My 2 favorites at demo time were the Islay and the Vision140.

After some paddling in the river, I fell in love with the Vision140. It just was so comfortable a fit for me.
Also, it handled very well, was quick and responsive, and was fast for its size.

I ended up putting a deposit on a Vision140 w/skeg. I plan to pick it up next week!!

: )

Apologies all around, l must have had a different boat or a small paddler in mind when l sent in that reply. Will correct. Though it seems the oper found a good boat?

Well … bad news. Have been hit with some big bills … college, car repairs, computer failed, etc … and have had to cancel my kayak purchase. : (
I hope to recover enough in 6 months to maybe try again but, the warm weather will be gone by then.
There’s next year I guess.

@albireo13 said:
Well … bad news. Have been hit with some big bills … college, car repairs, computer failed, etc … and have had to cancel my kayak purchase. : (
I hope to recover enough in 6 months to maybe try again but, the warm weather will be gone by then.
There’s next year I guess.

So sorry to hear that, Rob. Always seems that expensive things break when other bills are due. The warm weather will return and in the interim, start looking at used kayaks - maybe a Vision 140 will turn up.