Looking for first kayak

got the Vision 150
I picked up the Vision 150 today. Got it for $750 with a pfd and paddle.

My wife decided she really wanted a rec boat so she got an WS Aspire 105. I’m thinking I might have her return it though and get the Perception Sport Conduit 13 instead or keep looking on CL for another used one that has two bulkheads instead of just the one.

She is going to love what she bought
The Aspire is fairly feature packed, it cuts two worlds in two and a compromise in both. But it will get her on the water. One thing I have learned about a woman/wife, let them have what they want. She will figure out if she wants something different along the way. Go to Wilderness Systems web site and watch the video on the Aspire meanwhile.

Does this sound like I have the right in
Thanks, I actually watched the video already, but I don’t believe she did. LOL funny how things like that work…

Anyway, I just heard back from someone on CL that I had emailed several days ago and they have a WS Pungo 120 that would actually be less than the Aspire 105 since it’s used. I’ve done some reading and I think I have a rough idea of how they stack up, but can someone tell me if I’m on the right page?

Aspire 105 - great rec boat for flat/slow moving water. With the skeg it should be better than the Pungo 120 in windy conditions or on a river.

Pungo 120 - great rec boat for flat water. Will be better than the Aspire 105 on flat water, but may not be as good on moving water or windy at the lake.

Conduit 13 - Good crossover boat. It will be good on flat and slow moving water, and better than either the rec boats on a medium sized lake where we will have to deal with wind/waves or boat wakes. It also has the added benefit of two bulkheads w/ storage instead of just one. The downside is that it’s not as comfortable since it doesn’t have as nice of a seat and the cockpit is a bit smaller.

Pungo is pretty good in cross winds

– Last Updated: Jul-17-14 8:17 PM EST –

No rudder no skeg really needed, the wife gets along fine with hers on lakes, though the 140 is even more on course in the wind and faster. She loves her Pungo 120. Pungos track quite well. You could do slow deep water rivers with it too if they aren't too boney. Not a fan of a hard keel lined boat for rivers personally though. The Aspire is faster maneuvering with the Skeg up.. I think the Aspire will draw less water for rivers without the semi V bottom of the Pungo. But it will lose out on a lake skeg or no skeg against the longer Pungo. Not that the Pungo 120 is fast mind you but faster than the Aspire, yes. Pungos groove once under way, you can maneuver them if going slow but as you gain speed they just lock into the line you set for yourself, you can feel it happen in your paddle strokes ( less small corrections to stay on course, more larger ones to change course as speed is maintained) and the 140 more so than the 120.

Look at Cabela’s Emotion Kayaks
Hello. My bride and I have similar experience to yourselves. We recently ordered two Emotion kayaks on sale at Cabela’s. A “Stealth Angler 11” for my bride, ($400 + $50 shipping) and I sprung for the 12-1/2 foot “Mojo Angler” for myself ($675 + the $50). These are well reviewed and we look forward to letting the community here our experiences after they arrive and we’ve been out on them.

Half skirt
I paddle a Necky Rip 10. It’s the same length as the Aspire but the cockpit size is 46.5 x 19.5 inches versus the Aspire’s 51.5 x 23.5 inches. I get lots of splash inside my kayak because of the cockpit size - and my high angle paddle stroke. Bought a Seals half skirt which eliminated that problem. If your wife keeps the Aspire but finds herself getting wet, she’ll like the half skirt.

Half Skirt
Good idea. Our older Pungos have no Dash board like the newer ones and that can serve as a kind of 1/4 or maybe 1/3 skirt I would think. But yes, in a Pungo you get a few drops on you from the paddle now and then. it’s a large cockpit, if someone wanted to full skirt it you would need a single support brace or it would cave in if you took a good wave. But average lake waves are not so much an issue in a Pungo. Boat wakes you just quarter them. They will cut 1 ft chop head on though and the big thing, stay on course in any of this… For rec boats they are quite good on ponds and lakes and salt Estuaries and back bays.

Paddle Length
thanks for all the replies. I’m not sure what my wife wants to do/keep just yet but She said she wants to go look at the Conduit 13 this weekend. I have a feeling she might go for the used Pungo 120.

Oh, and I wanted to ask about paddle length. Both my wife and I are about 5’6". I was looking at a 230cm paddle since my vision is 24" wide. I used a couple of the online ‘calculators’ and they estimated 220-230 but mostly 230.

My kayak came with a 240cm paddle. It’s actually pretty nice. I believe it’s the Osprey paddle from Oak Orchard, but I’d have to measure the blade to confirm that.


Will this paddle be too long, or are paddles enough of a personal preference that I’ll be fine?

I was originally looking at the Werner Skagit, Camino (probably too expensive unless I find it used) or Aqua-Bond Sting Ray or Manta Ray.

My guess is
The 240 is too long for you and the boat. Generally, your paddle should be somewhere around the length where you can stand flat footed with the paddle vertical and your fingers should be able to wrap over the end of the blade. The width of the boat is a factor, but not so much with 24 inch width.

My standard recommendation if you start looking for a new paddle and don’t want to spend too much is to look at the Carlisle Expedition.

my suggestion ?
Just get out on a lake someplace with what you guys already have bought. Try the paddles, the boats etc. Assess your situation as you go. It seems lake is the primary goal. Nothing wrong with looking more, just get a handle on where you already are at. How long is the return policy on the Aspire good for ?

Yes I agree Carlisle is a good starting point. We have two models of them. My wives slimmer, mine a broader blade. 230 is more rated for my size at 6’2" but in other styles 203 comes up. You got to paddle them to really know. Your build matters as much as anything and the type of paddling. But some folks are all legs or other all body with short legs. That matters as to how much body is above the cockpit rim. So try what you have,probably to long but you will really know after paddle the boat. Same for the wife in the aspire, the whole Aspire thing to begin with and her paddle.

240 probably OK for now
You are probably longer-waisted than your wife despite being the same height, so you would sit higher above the water and likely have longer arms. I’m 5’ 5" and short-waisted/hort-armed and paddled a 24" beam kayak for several years with a 230 cm Skagit, which was quite comfortable. So I doubt you would find the 240 troubling for mild flatwater day trips.

You could also buy another Osprey (Oak Orchard has them on sale), a 220 cm, and recombine the halves (one from each) to make two 230 cm paddles. For $200 you’d have two nice carbon paddles.

Which brings up a question – I’ve often mixed halves of paddles with matching shaft connectors to get different lengths (mostly Skagits, since I’ve owned as many as 4 at once – they seem to be a model frequently sold with newbie packages so I get often get them when I buy used boats). Like swapping the ends of a 240 and a 210 to get two 225’s when I had a group of paddlers all around the same size. Has never seemed to cause any problems for the users. Does anybody see a potential problem with doing this? I can’t see it as any different functionally from the adjustable ferrule paddles.

Regarding the switching of halves on
paddles. It doesn’t always work as some paddles have “matched” halves. We have a few different ‘known’ name paddles and so far none of them will accept the half of another paddle and I’m not one to force the issue as I hate when sand gets in the shaft and it’s a PITA to separate them. I hate when that happens. One thing we do with out paddles is to separate them as soon as we get off the water. It can save a lot of frustration later.

I also don’t lend my carbon fiber paddles out to others. At $400+ a paddle? Nah! Don’t do it, as no one takes care of your stuff like you do.

Got out on the lake
I guess my last response didn’t go through…

We got out on the lake for a bit last night. Overall things went well. My wife likes the Aspire, but we found that it is more difficult to load on my car than anticipated due to the width.

I also found that my paddle is way too long! I tried my wife’s 230cm Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Hybrid and it was much better, but I wonder if I could still use a 220cm.

I also looked into the Carlisle Expedition, but on’t see anywhere local to look at or purchase one. It seems the best stores to shop for paddles near me are Oak Orchard which has their house brand, EMS or llbean. It seems Aqua-bond or Werner are probably my best options.

Got out on a lake

– Last Updated: Jul-19-14 5:32 PM EST –

So overall good news just a few hitches ! How did you like your own kayak, you didn't say ? My wife uses the older 2000 series Carlisle Expeditions, which is kind of a rectangular/trapezoidal shaped blade vs beaver tail or Ray shaped. Actually Carlisle has a new paddle out now that is similar. It's great in a lake under way, makes good speed ( she is 5'2" and likes a 230 in that blade, being that it's a narrow blade).

Yesterday I was paddling and using an old SeaQuel blade ( 230cm and at 6'2" I use that at a fairly high angle of attack), it's a general purpose blade with a lot of push and control but not as fast as the Carlisle Expedition. Since I wanted to lean the Pungo 140 and see how much edge I could get comfortably, I wanted the control and that angle. Which incidentally I can get the 140 up in the W insignia on it's side very well which helps steer it a lot. We also were able to hit this off low water area of that pond, got in over the Lilly pads, saw turtles and a blue heron in there. Just sat quite and listened to nature call, watched the birds. It was great. Haven't been back in there in years or even on that pond actually.

Anyway, different paddles for different purposes but it's not etched in stone either. Aqua Bound should be good, I'd look at the Ray series personally. Of those the Eagle is most like a Carlisle Expedition 2000 ( not exact, Carlisle blades are a different shape slightly and the shafts are nicer oval shafts but similar in use) and used with low attack angle. Watch this you tube video if you haven't already: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxni-bJ1bY4#t=266

Good info on paddle, and found possible
Thanks for posting that video! I actually hadn’t seen it yet but I do think it was helpful. My wife got a Sting Ray Hybrid and I used it a bit yesterday (maybe 5 minutes was all she let me use it for) and it was very nice. I was considering a Manta Ray since it was a little closer to what I have, but might opt for the Manta Ray or Werner Skagit. I’d probably opt for the hybrid or carbon.

I do like my boat. It’s going to take a little getting used to the rudder and I need to adjust the foot pedals some. I also want to clean it up and get some 303 on it to shine it up a bit. I was surprised to see how much better it tracked with the rudder down as opposed to up. I did expect better tracking for a 15’ boat without using the rudder. Overall I think it will be a good purchase and the only weak point I really found was the seat. It’s not horrible so I’ll hopefully be able to tweak it a bit more too.

It rained today so we couldn’t go out again, but we did stop at Dicks to look at the Conduit 13, which my wife thought was OK. We then went to l.l. bean where she found the Calypso 12 and 14 which she loves. She wants to return the Aspire and get one of those so she can actually keep up with me. The price of the 12 is better, but the 14 has some nice features such as rudder, two bulkheads and full rigging. The 12 doesn’t have a bow bulkhead, but does have foam for flotation so I don’t feel that it’s absolutely necessary. She really liked how light the 12’ one was and how both are low and ‘fit’ her better.

I did some reading and they appear to be nearly identical to the Perception Tribute which get pretty good reviews and I think either would be better than what she has now. Obviously the 14’ would be the most comparable to what I have and we would be pretty equally matched for exploring lakes. I’m thinking if she gets that one we could probably even paddle on Lake Erie if we wanted. Not sure which way we’ll go yet though.

Ya but wait a minute, random thoughts

– Last Updated: Jul-20-14 8:47 AM EST –

Your Vision 150 is a kevlar/glass composite boat that new cost about $2500, You guys are trying to get the wife to catch up in boats of lesser quality, class and size. If to do that in a plastic boat or at least be somewhere near by I would think you would be looking at something in at least the Perception Expression 15 class ? I don't know, I haven't paddled either boat But the Expression is at least rigged somewhat similar and sized similar in width and length. Forget the 12 ft plastic boats, not enough jump in size or quality. Go at a minimum 14 ft.x 23 or 24 wide. I'd even forget the Pungon120 you thought of. That puts her in at least the Calypso 14. 14'x23-1/2", of the ones you are considering.

Paddles are up to you, if you stick with this you will end up with at least three anyway !!! Satisfy your initial need first. Lake touring apparently. You are more and more talking lake touring, already on lakes want to go to Erie etc....

Rats, now today I guess we are getting rain, probably what you had yesterday.

I have the roto version
I actually have the vision 150 roto. It’s heavier and slower than the regular version, but I still think it’s good for a beginner. I believe new it’s around 1400,and I paid almost half plus I got a pfd that fits me well enough and a full carbon paddle that is too long, but will give me something to use as a backup or sell to offset some of the cost.

It seems that the tribute/calypso 12 is more popular than the 14, and my wife really likes how she would be able to load it herself so I think she will probably go that route. I’m going to call oak orchard because they have a demo aielight that is only slightly more expensive than the calypso and 4 pounds lighter. She would still be slower, but much more evenly equipped.

Oh yes roto but not thats fine
Changes things a bit for the match up. Got ahead of myself ! Keep at it, you guys will get a combo going.

Got a Calypso 14
We went back to ll bean today and my wife looked at both the 12’ and 14’ Calypso kayaks once again, sat in them and decided to get the 14’. We actually got a really good deal on it. It was normally $1180 with rudder, on sale for $1003 and we got an extra 20% off bringing it down to our (higher end) budget. Unfortunately, we won’t get to use it tonight but I’ll report once we do.

I looked at paddles for myself and really liked the Werner Camano! Unfortunately, it’s about $100 more than I really should spend now.

I primarily looked at:

Werner Skagit: overall this is a very nice paddle. I like the blade shape and the shaft felt good. I especially liked the adjustable ferrel. I think it’s superior to Aqua-bounds. The downside is the weight. I thought it was noticeably heavier than the Aqua-bound paddles

Aqua-bound Manta-Ray: I like the paddle shape and weight but am not sure how it will be compared to the Sting Ray, which I tried and liked.

Aqua-bound Sting-Ray: This paddle is almost as light as the Camano for a lot less money. The blade isn’t quite as big though so I’m not sure if I’d like it as much as the Manta Ray or Skagit

I’m going to read some paddle reviews and go from there.