Looking for a performance kayak

New or used and your budget is? 700 or 7000?

So, yes, a Zegul Greenland T would make sense. So, I suspect, would the Sterlings. You might also consider either building or having built something like a Shrike (The Shrike Kayak - CNC Kayaks) @nickcrowhurst might know if there is a builder (or a Shrike) near Calgary. From what you say in another comment you might also want to think about skin-on-frame kayaks.

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Have to admit, I’ve been eyeing the Progression quite abit in various Youtube surf kayaking clips. It’s is pricey and there is little discussion of Sterling doing shipping.

Saw an Ice Kap on sale at Alder Creek. I would be interested in that but the site stated “pick up only.”

With respect to the original poster, there are currently way more kayaks that fit the smaller paddler (I am 5’3" and now @150 lbs) than say 10-15 years ago. Plenty of choices . But, saying “maximum control and rolling” really doesn’t say anything. Talking more speciffically about the venues/types of paddling, e.g. surfing, rock play, weekend camping, multi week expedition, would lead to more fruitful discussion.

The type of “control” in a surfing sea kayak will result in “less tracking” (without skeg down) that one would want in touring/camping kayak.

Rolling is should be more about technique and good body mechanics than about getting a kayak optimized for that, i.e. extra low volume Greenland kayak, unless you are a serious rollaholic that want to collect a vast array of rolls or is interested in Greenland rolling competition. For example, I like to do ocean fishing and find a SOTs much better for that. Yet, I can consistently roll my Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro outfitted with thigh straps. the Scupper Pro is not optimized for rolling – but it can be done. But, more important, it is a way better and more enjoyable ocean fishing platform than my Greenland SOF.

Pick a course than figure out the vehicle best suited.



agree. I’ve edited the original question accordingly. Let me know if you need more details :slight_smile:
Thanks sing!

Out of curiosity, would that be Iceland rather than Greenland?

Ok, day touring on a lake, which means you may get windy chops but not necessarily big enough waves for surfing. So, you won’t need or benefit from the type of kayaks that have recently been developed for that. This may exclude most of the Sterling kayaks which have rising interests among the rough water day play set of kayaks, BUT at a premium price!

For your size, kayaks that would fit you and within that 50 lb limit, would be in the sub 15-16’ composite boats. (or maybe 14’ RM boats). Here are some of the top of my head that I’ve paddled and liked (I leaned towards playful daytripping):

Impex Mystic (14’x21.5")
CD Rumour (16x19.5")
Necky Eliza (15’x21")

Ones that I would be interested in trying (based on playful daytrips):

Sterling Progression, 16’x22" (playboat)
Sterling Ice Kap, 16’10"x19.75" (light touring/playboat)
Valley Gemini SP, 14’10"x22" (first because it surfing oriented)
Valley Gemini ST , 14’10"x22" (second, because it’s more tour oriented)
P&H Virgo LV corelite RM, 14’x22" (51 lbs)


PS. I currently paddle surf a P&H Delphin 150. It’s heavy at 55 lbs but surfs REALLY well (and rolls easily but not a necessary attribute for me since I roll waveskis that are much more difficult because of the “flat” shape). I also have a Impex Mystic RM that that is 14’x23" (about 45 lbs) that I think is a good daytripper and playboat (but not to the caliber of the Delphin). I have kept this boat because it was a limited pilot run and never became an ongoing part of the Impex line. So, it’s a rare RM boat that I am reluctant to get rid of since it fits me well.

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Both have been done, I was thinking of the trips using early Nordkapps. May have gotten locations mixed up.

But here re a more recent trip around Greenland. You’d be doing darned well to keep up with them in their ruddered kayaks.
“In 2007 Freya and Greg Stamer completed the fastest-ever sea kayak circumnavigation of Iceland in 33 days .”


Could throw a CD Karla LV into the mix. 52 lb is fiberglass & 48 in Kevlar (at a $400 US premium).

I started paddling a Delphin 150 last spring and really enjoy it. The price is very reasonable as well. The Aries is the composite version.

@Ilan thank you for filling in the gaps a bit. I understand the sentiment of ‘wearing your kayak’ but have you actually experienced that? I ask because some newer paddlers struggle with a snug fit until they have gained some confidence and learned some technique. There are some great, reasonably inexpensive kayaks that offer a lot of adjustability in fit. The Dagger Stratos 14.5 S would be one. A boat like that would allow you to really play with the individual fit so you can learn what you like and don’t like. It would grow with your skills and let you ‘tighten her up’ when you want. It would be an easy sell when you’re done and ready to move on. At that point, you’ll have a much better idea of what you want before dropping major coin.

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Make sense. But I do own a similar boat. Old Town Castine 140. On sale now :slight_smile:
Thanks for your feedback High_Desert!

Actually had a lead on a used Aries 150. But, when I read the Diolen “expedition” composite lay up put the boat at almost 60 lbs… I told the seller that I was passing. I am sure the stiffness would improve the performance but I doubt significantly enough to offset the weight disadvantage.

I am spoiled by waveskis. Don’t want to wrestle with heavier kayaks that need to be cartopped. My aging body still enjoys adrenaline fun… Not so much weightlifting workouts (outside of the gym). :slightly_frowning_face:

Now that you mentioned the Karla, I have been looking at videos of that in the surf. A LV version is definitely on my look-out-for list.


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Sure most boats can be paddled without a skeg or rudder. I very rarely use the rudder on my boat. But would you seriously want to cover 20+ miles in a strong stern quartering wind by paddling on one side with the occasional stern rudder corrective stroke?

I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.


I’ve not paddled this boat, but it looks very interesting. Maybe not a beginner boat, but if you get hooked you will advance quick enough so that’s not really an issue.

Have to say that I am not sure why one would want a 17’ plus long kayak to paddle an inland lake…

If Greenland style is desired (including the “wear the kayak” approach), I think the the CD Rumour would be a better choice @ 16’ x 19.75" and 46 lbs. This is a boat to grow into for ambitious, smaller novice with a roll. I have heard even smaller paddlers say this is a “tippy” kayak. I didn’t find it so, but I had a time in my Greenland SOF that was 17’x18".


PS. I also assume it’s also easier to find a CD kayak than one that is imported from overseas…

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Thanks sing. checking…

What about the Delta 15s?

Sing, I’m curious about your response. I can’t think of many reasons why a person would not choose a 17’+ kayak for inland lakes. It’s simply a matter of preferring the performance for your paddling, finding what you enjoy the most. It’s hard to find an inland lake with a concrete ramp that doesn’t have powerboats with 100, 200, and even more horse power. It’s hard for me to imagine any paddlecraft somehow being too much for even small lakes. I’m almost always going to prefer a 17’+ kayak if I’m going to paddle on an inland lake. A faster glide, a gentler displacement of water, it’s very rewarding to me. There is an art to gracefully maneuvering a kayak that provides these characteristics, and I enjoy this piece of it too.
Exploring what it is that you don’t find agreeable about it could prove useful discussion for Ilan’s decision.


My shortest kayak is 16’ 10” (see if anyone knows why :wink:) I use my kayaks on inland lakes, rivers and coastal areas. None of my kayaks have rudders, in 40 years I’ve never had one so I guess I don’t know what I’m missing. I paddle primarily with an Aleutian style paddle because I like it. Try as many different boats as possible, get comfortable and have fun. There is no “right” answer, what ever feels best to you is what’s right for you.


You are right. It is/was my personal preference.

I enjoyed my Greenland SOF, Ronin. But, I started to paddle alone more and more. I started avoiding flatwater more (it’s boring and not an enjoyable workout for me) and favored chops and waves for my paddling conditions. (Ronin’s skeletal and skinless sibling - the more rockered, Kaze, sits on a rack in by back yard now.) I wore that kayak with its 17’x18"(x7" back deck). To this day, I don’t go on flat water except when I am fishing. Anyway, I tested my SOF on a wet exit (I hear the Greenland purist say “roll or die”) but I surfed enough to have experienced being blasted out of my kayak by big curling waves. Even with float bags, once the SOF fills up, it’s impossible to get enough water out for a stablized paddle. Guess I could try to roll, brace and paddle the waterlogged SOF to shore in conditions. Anyway, not a fun prospect for someone playing alone in winter conditions.

So, picked up a 17.5’x20" (10" backdeck) Greenland style S&G with bulkheads. Frankly, it was not a good surfer but a better point A to B kayak (not my thing). But, in bigger conditions, its higher and longer profile led to more weathercocking and more need to deploy the skeg. (Something not needed nor available with my SOF). Since I only do day trips and play, I had more volume than I needed. And this volume just impacted more and more the handling in conditions. I also had an Impex Montauk, 16’x22", which I found actually a sort of playful hull in conditions. But, this too had more volume than I needed since I don’t do overnighters. I had gotten rid of the Montauk as well. When I paddled the shorter and lower volume Mystic and Eliza, It was a relevation that these felt more like my SOF in feel. For me, it took less energy and offer more control in the conditions that I prefer to paddle in. Similar to my SOF but with bulkheads.

As you know, I am primary a paddle surfer, so my Delphin, Mystic RM and RTM Disco (SOT) are my surfing “longboats.” (The Delphin wins as the best surfer of the three.) I have a Scupper Pro (SOT), Hobie Revolution and Hornbeck solo canoe purely for fishing, alone or with friends. Funny thing… while I never did overnighters with my SINK, I do use my Scupper Pro SOT for weeklong fishing/camping trips in the Boston Harbor Islands. While not a SINK? Because they just aren’t a good open platform for fishing equipment and hauling in big stripers. Horse for the course.

My other crafts are two WW boats and 5 well used waveskis. I went through 4 surf specific Kayaks and then to waveskis. Waveskis are simply more safe for winter surfing because I can remount. Nothing worse than coming out and getting blasted out of surf kayak and having to swim to shore in solo dawn patrol session in winter surf. (Done it several times. It is always scary and takes mind control and adrenline based training to remain calm to take that long swim back to shore.) The waveskis get the most usage and provide the best stoke/enjoyment for me when clean swells are rolling in. I admit that waveskiing is my paddling addiction.

Ultimately, I am more about “playing” in the ocean and less interested in “paddling” it. The lighter and less equipment I have to get together and lug to go play, the better. The easier I can control my craft in waves and textured conditions, also the better.

Back to Ilan, I understand his desire to progress from the Castine. My first SINK was the ruddered CapeLookout (14.5’x24"). I taught myself to roll and brace with that boat in nearby ponds and lakes. But that boat was heavy and the rudder (more weight) seemed overkilled on flat water. Early on, I was subtly given the message that the CapeLookout was not really a “seakayak” by some of the ocean paddlers that I went with to learn the ocean environment. That led me to getting a CD Squall, then the Impex Montauk, then building SOFs, so on, and so on.

Ilan will have his/her own route through the paddling journey.


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So, here is the story of how I ended up with a 17.5’x20" Greenland S&G that I wounded up not really enjoying. After paddling my SOF for awhile (and my attendant safety concern), I saw a post and pictures by a hobbyist S&G builder in Portland, ME for a bulkhead Greenland style boat. I went up to meet him and to test paddle. Only things I bought with me was my ocean cockpit skirt, GP and PFD. I met him at East Beach on the Eastern Promenade of Portland. We got on the water, I put the S&G though the rolling, sculling and static brace manuevers. One, for me to get a sense of the fit of the kayak and, two, to reassure the seller that I had the necessary skills to deal with a possible capsize. After that, he and I paddled east across Casco Bay in relatively calm conditions. After spending some time paddling around Hog Island/Fort Gorges and taking a bio break, we paddled a bit north and then turned west back towards the Eastern Promenade. By this time, the westerly winds have picked up to 15 knots plus sustained. We were paddling into 2’ chops. What a thrill!!! It was a fun, straight paddle back. I think I was high on endorphins. I paid and took the S&G home.

After paddling that S&G for awhile, I came to realize that the S&G was more of a touring rather than a surfing boat. The lower volume bow tended to bury into a wave trough and lead to broach and bongo ride. Not my kind of surfing style. Then in textured water and windy conditions, I came to know that the boat had a weathercocking (turning into the wind) tendency. This required using the skeg and/or bringing ballast for the rear bulkhead to mitigate the weathercocking. For me, the S&G was too much rigermarole for a boat that I want/expect for a fun daytripping playboat.


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