Inspired by Willowleaf’s beautiful skin-on-frame (SOF) kayak photo, I have decided to save up for a solo SOF or folding kayak. Please kindly recommend one. Application is mostly 4-6 hours of paddle, calm water, nature seeing and bird photography.
I want the following features for sure:
As we have 25 mph winds quite often where we live. Not a lot waves in our bayou or small river though.
Very light weight and 24" or narrower.
Less than 50 lbs and about 20"-22" would allow me to easily lift it and keep it on top of our garage shelf. I have a 24" wide kayak and it is more than stable/wide enough for me (but it is too heavy to stay on our garage shelves). I am 135 lbs, 5’9", 38 yo male with size 9 shoes.
13-17 foot long
Nice feature to have but likely not necessary for now: folding
Considering what I already have now (see below), folding feature will be a nice addition. But as I am only 39yo (at least another 20 years till retirement) and have very young kids, we don’t have time to travel with kayaks. At many places where we really want to paddle, there are rentals or boat tours available already. Folding feature will become useful, only when I retire from work.
I do NOT need:
Surf ski or racing speed
Surf ski probably won’t be stable enough for photography and its cargo volume is not enough to carry camera+water+lunch.
Surfing, whitewater, fishing or family use
I have a modular kayak (Point 65 Apollo), a Grumman 17’ aluminum canoe and 10’ drop stitch sit-down paddle board for those applications already.
I have looked at Pakboats XT-17 and Oru Kayaks Coast XT. Their specifications look good on paper, but I don’t know if they would work well in 25 mph winds. Don’t know if Pakboats Quest 150 would work, as it is 13" deep when decked or 10" when not decked.
Budget is up to $2500, I guess, since I am saving up for it.
Pakayak Bluefin is heavy at 59 lbs and seem too deep at 16". But otherwise looking good on paper. 14’, 24" and modular. https://pakayak.com/shop/bluefin-14/?attribute_pa_color=surf
I am not sure about drop stitch inflatables. The Sea Eagle models seem too wide and too flat-bottomed. Advanced Elements AIRFUSION EVO at 13’, 24" and 32 lbs seems slightly short. Probably not very good against 25 mph wind either.
I have no clue about other options. Please kindly help. Thank you!