I’m searching for a plastic kayak for exercise paddling in Barneget Bay. I plan to paddle for an hr or two about 3 days a wk. I sat in all three at paddlesport and all seemed to fit. I’ve been paddling rec boats on smaller lakes and am ready to move up. Any thoughts on these would be appreciated. BTW, i’m 55, 5’10" and 185
I’m exactly your height and weight and my first rec boat was a manitou 13. I’ve since moved on to full sized sea kayaks and even recently built one, but I always loved that little manitou! Fairly fast for it’s size, good lean turns, and more comfortable than any of my 7 kayaks. The skeg, extra bulkhead and extra foot of the 14 footer would be perfect for day paddles and weekend trips. I can’t say much about the easky, but the specs look very nice as well. You really need to paddle them back to back…
Features of each…
If I am reading the web sites correctly, it'd be nice if a feature from each of these boats could be added to the other.
The Easky can have a skeg and the Manitou does not show a variable tracking device. It has an extended stern intended to mimic a skeg. For a place like Barnagat Bay, you may want to have a boat with either a skeg or a rudder, something over which you can have a lot of control. It's a windy place when the wind blows right. Maybe I missed it - can a rudder be added to the Manitou?
The Manitou has bungies in the rear, a place that you may want them. My pump travels there for example, since it really won't go well inside my cockpits, and I find that up front it gets in the way of charts etc. That's easily corrected in the Easky if there is a spare hole in the recessed deck fittings to run that line yourself, but it may be worth checking. The boat as pictured may not be exactly correct.
Both boats seemed to have real thigh braces, is one adjustable and one not? Did you find that mattered when you sat in them?
They use different hatch cover systems, but they both work and are probably equally prone to water getting in. I am assuming that there is a neoprene cover under the hard shell on the hatch covers in the Manitou.
I can speack to the Manitou 14 - this is our go-to boat for beginner trips at the shop. It has a skeg for tracking in winds, though seldom needs it. It is a strong-tracking boat to begin with, and needs some edging to turn quickly. We put all sizes of people in these, from petite ladies to big heavy guys - everyone has a good time.
The front bulkhead on the 14 makes me recommend it strongly over the 13. Rescues are much better with that feature - it keeps water from filling the front of the boat and allows easy assisted rescue.
As we always say, it would be good to test paddle before you buy.
While looking at the Necky Manitou
you may also want to consider the Looksha 14. I, my wife and my 16yo daughter all paddle one and we are very happy with them. The rudder is a nice option that is there to use if you want it. My wife and daughter use it always and I use it when the wind picks up.
I’ve got a Manitou 13 and it’s a fun kayak to paddle, very maneuverable yet stable, tracks well, and fast for its size. However, I would recommend spending a little more for the Manitou 14 because of the front bulkhead and skeg. They are well worth the extra cash.
I suspect I may be in the minority as it seems to be a popular boat, but I paddled the Easky 15lv for an afternoon and thought it was slow and klutzy.
i too may be in the manority, as i have the regular 15, with drop down skeg and a 17 with skeg, i have alot of kayaks, and these are the 2 i paddle most, the manitou is a good kayak, but i don’t like those sea sock covers, and the 14 has a skeg cable right in the way of the back hatch, the venture comes with the good hatch covers, i think they are a overlooked kayak, wished they still have the composite, i would have 1 of those in the 17 ft., another thing, i didn’t like the way you adjust the seatback, but i redid it now and its very comfortable, that rope around the seatback was a problem for me, i you buy one send me a email and i’ll show you how to fix that, you won’t be dissapointed in the performance of the venture kayak, much better kayak than the manitou.