Kayaks that meets these specs

Looking for kayaks 15ft and under, beam under 23", maneuverability more important than tracking. Two bulkheads preferred, thigh braces a must.

Paddler will be 150lb, 5ft 6in. Conditions will be coastal exploring, mostly through mangroves, and narrow winding rivers navigating around tight turns, cypress knees, etc.

Thoughts and suggestions?

I’m 5’9" and about 160 pounds. I recently picked up a used Alchemy by Dagger; the smaller one. I like it. Try one sometime.

Necky Looksha Sport
They don’t make them anymore, so you’d have to find one used.

my guesstimate…
Current Designs(CD)Kestral and Vision line of boats

Dagger Blackwater…Elie Strait120XE/140XE …Liquid logic remix XP’s/Inuit135/145

eddyline possibilities

– Last Updated: Jan-08-12 6:35 PM EST –


Just FYI folks, I just happened into an Eddyline SOT:
edited: happened into it online not in person!

The Looksha Sport is 24" beam. I think the Alchemy is also.

Not many boats meet your specs.

The Alchemy 14S is 23"
The 14l is 24"

Short and sweet rides
To build (or have built):

Cape Falcon F-1 (SOF): 14’2" by 23"

Pygmy Arctic Tern 14 (stitch and glue): 14’0" by 23"

Yostwerks Sea Bee (fuselage SOF): 13’2" by 22"

To buy:

West Side Boat Shop Delta: 13’10" by 23-5/8"

Epic GPX: 12’11" by 25"

(OK, the GPX is wider than you wanted, but it’s a cool boat)

I’m exactly your size

– Last Updated: Jan-09-12 12:07 PM EST –

and I have a boat that meets those specs and is around or under $1000: the Venture Easky 15LV, made by P & H. Look at the specs for it. It's a really nice boat for the money and has all the traits you are looking for in a nicely finished package, made in Great Britain but available through a lot of state-side dealers. I've owned 9 kayaks (and still have 7 of them) , several of them much more costly than this one, but it is the one I've used more often than any of the others for its versatility and just plain enjoyment to paddle.

ADDED: specs are 15' long, 22 1/4" wide and 46 lbs. Here's a cranky Brit's review of the boat (he hates the seat -- I love it, but strictly in the folded down position):


For a beginner boat, it is one you won't quickly outgrow and it's useful in a range of conditions. It performs great in swells and confused chop while still tracking well in flat water, is stable yet allows you to practice braces and rolls, the thigh bracing system is easily adjustable and very well designed. I bought it primarily for open water but have used it on up to class II rivers. It's a reasonably priced first step boat that I feel has better performance parameters than a lot of the others in this class. In fact, I've heard some consider it a kind of a transition boat to the costly P & H Delphin, which it resembles in many respects.

Seven Boats on active duty…
… I think that makes WillowLeaf a one woman navy.

Dagger Alchemy
Extremely rockered and maneuverable for a 14’ yak and the outfitting is more than adequate for control and rolling. Reasonably priced, too.

Impex Mystic or Montock

Perception Sole

P&H Vela

Lots to choose from, not sure if you want plastic or glass.

Two that are close
23.5" beam x 14’9" length, North Shore Aspect RM -Skeg

22.5" beam x 15’5" length, P&H Delphin 155 - Skeg

Other suggestions I’m sure will follow.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


personal navy
Yup, it begins to look like that, doesn’t it?

To be honest, I share them with my beau and half of them are up at his place. My boat collecting and squirreling used to be constrained by the space in my walk-out basement (don’t have a garage or even room to build one on my ski slope of a lot) but now that I can stash kayaks in his two big barns it’s hard to resist the bargains I find.

Trying not to become a hoarder – planning to cull the fleet a bit this Spring and offer some to friends. Will still keep the core favorites and a loaner or two.

Smaller Delphin 150?
For the OP, wouldn’t the Delphin 150 be a better fit than the 155? Having paddled the 155 for some time now myself, I think it’s pretty good for exploring and maneuverability. At 185lb and 6’4" I’m bigger than the OP but feel the D is just about perfect fit for me. Might still work well for the OP as well … except it weights a ton and the smaller D might be a better fir -;( Don’t know if the 150 is available for sale yet though…

I was going to suggest that also. I think the Samba has a much better hull shape than the Merlin.

Curious about your specs
It seems like you’re talking about two different kayaks here: coastal exploring and “narrow winding rivers” are sort of opposites. (I see the part about the mangroves though.)

15’ is too long for a narrow winding river in my experience. 14’ is okay, 13’ and shorter is better.

Also curious about the width. Why under 23"? The reason it’s hard to find a short, narrow kayak is that some designs aren’t stable. The stability has to come from either the length or the width (in addition to other hull design factors). That means either long and narrow or short and wide.

In addition to the Eddyline Samba suggested above, take a look at the Delta 12.10. Lenth 12’ 10", width 24.5" Wider than you asked for but this is a maneuverable boat and quite a bit faster than you would expect for a short kayak. Would work quite well on a narrow winding river, I think.

If you will be on the open coast the Delta 12.10 might be one of the few short kayaks that does well on the ocean. All Deltas have amazing secondary stability. Plus they have a lot of volume in the hatches if camping is ever a goal.

short and sweet

– Last Updated: Jan-11-12 6:03 PM EST –

Venture Easky LV
Venture Islay
Wilderness Tsunami 135
Wilderness Zephyr 155
Dagger Alchemy 14S
North Shore Aspect
Necky Eliza

Arctic Tern
perfect boat for what you are talking about


North Shore Atlantic LV
North Shore Atlantic LV is 15’11’’ long and 22’’ beam. I have a GF version myself and being 5’8’’/138 lbs it is one of the few boats I fit in well. Very maneuverable, a tiny bit too lively in breaking waves/clapotis. But it’s light, small and I’d recommend it since I’m paddling one.