Manitou vs Santa Cruz

I am a novice Kayaker, and long time canoist. I am switching from sail to paddling, and would like to paddle on the nearby river ( slow flat water) and the bay and flats of Tampa Bay. I am looking at both a manitou and a santa cruz for about the same money ( used $400)What would you recomend??


or a Squamish??
for 450

Manitou peforms better
I faced the same choice one year ago. I finally chose the Manitou because it performed more like a touring boat while offering the stability of a recreational boat. The Manitou 13 is fast for it’s size and weight.


I’ve had the Manitou for over a year and love it. In fact, while visiting the Tampa area, I had it out in Tampa Bay and in the Gulf back in April (2-3 ft seas that day). Stability and tracking was great.

At the company I teach for we used to have a couple Santa Cruz’s for out bigger kids and adult lessons, we now have eight Manitous. Nuff said

I have never paddled any of these boats, but, from more of a touring bent than recreational, I would choose the squamish, hands down. It is longer and narrower and will have more speed, but may be a little harder to turn. It also has two theoretically watertight hatches, so you would not need to add a floation bag to the front. It will likely feel less stable at first, but something you will get used to in a few hours of paddling. These boats are really from different classes however, recreational vs. touring. If you are planning to tour, or plan to paddle with others who use touring boats, get a touring boat, otherwise have fun in a recreational boat. You can cover a lot more miles in a day in a touring boat.