looking for better kayak

Hi, I’m 6’, 220#, size 11 shoe, and 71 years old. I have had kayaks for about 3 years. I don’t fish,camp, or do ww. My first was a Swifty 9.5 and I like everything about it except it is kinda slow. My 12’6" Cobra Navigator was faster, but was too long for my storage and transportation needs, and took a lot of effort to paddle. My Santee 116 would seem perfect, max length to store, faster, etc., but… although it tracks well , it lacks directional stability ( my term ), as it wanders all over. I have to constantly correct the direction. It does not pull in one way only, but randomly changes direction. This kayak would benefit from a skeg.

I would like a faster kayak than the Swifty, but with better direction control than the Santee. I have been looking at the Riot Edge 11. The Dagger Axis 10.5 seems like it might be slow, and I would like more speed to keep up better. I realize I likely should have a longer one,but just don’t have the room. Any suggestions on a approx. 11’ kayak that would be quite fast for it’s length, with a skeg, maybe or a better tracking hull ? Thanks for your time and effort to answer. Rollie


– Last Updated: Jul-08-12 8:46 PM EST –

Tracking is directional stability -- the ability to go forward in a straight line.

I think the Riot Edge 11 would be a tight fit for you. It is a low volume boat, the deck height is only 12.5 inches.

All boats of this size and width are going to be considered slow compared against what everyone feels is the standard size of 14'. The crossover boats in this size have skegs to help them track but the Axis is probably the only one with a skeg with the best flat water performance out of that group.

If your limit is 11' you might want look at based on your needs and height/weight:
Dagger Axis 10.5 (I have the Axis 12 and have been very happy with it) -- I would reco the 12 foot version if you could handle the extra 1 1/2 feet.

Wilderness Systems Pungo 100 -- everyone fits in these boats and seem happy with them for easy paddling on a calm pond or stream. My friends who have taken out my old Blackwater 10.5 do seem to prefer that boat over the Pungo. The smaller but still large cockpit gives them better control, plus the skeg really seems to help them go straight which is plus for beginners with bad paddling skills.

Perception Sport Swiftwater 10.5 -- This really looks like the same mold for the retired Blackwater 10.5. Looks like they removed the skeg -- given the way the Blackwater tracked with skeg up I am not sure I would want this boat for flat water. The 12 foot version has the skeg cord pictured next to the cockpit but they don't reference it anywhere, which is odd. Never seen one of these in a store -- I think Dick's may be the only seller. If they come with a skeg might be worth a look.

The Dagger Zydeco 11 should fit you but don't have much experience with this kayak.

I am not sure where the rep of the Axis being super slow comes from at least compared to other kayaks of this size. I find it just as fast as others and a great tracker (with the skeg). I like it as it is one of the few smaller rec boats that doesn't have a massive cockpit but can still handle a heavier paddler with big feet.

1 Like

Venture Flex 11

– Last Updated: Jul-08-12 4:21 PM EST –

is available with a skeg. I haven't paddled one so can't comment on its performance, but it is a nicely outfitted boat from a quality brand. it might be on the small side for you though. if you can go up to 12' there are other options.

Riot kayaks are notorious for oilcanning from what I have heard...

looking for a better kayak
Thank you for your comments. I sat in a Axis 10.5 and liked it very much. I will also look at the Zydeco. I sometimes transport them IN my daughter’s small camper, hence the length restrictions. Appreciate , Rollie

Note: Because you currently have a
short river boat, IMO, it’s possible you may be taking too long of a stroke. Try to ensure you are exiting the paddle from the water at approximately your hip. Longer strokes than this, on a short boat, will really tend you to have an affect on tracking.

Enjoy your forays into the world of kayaking. You’ll find the paddling community a great group, that is willing to offer suggestions, show you methods, etc.