More Suggestions,Picking up this weekend

I went to my local kayak shop,Just about the only one besides dicks and gander mountain.

I think im pretty much set on the Pungo 140 for myself “im 6’ 250lbs” The guy also recommended me the Current Designs Solara 13.5,He said it was very comparable to the pungo and just about the same price “$25.00 more”

Im reading about the Solara and still like the pungo but I see this has a option to add a rudder later on,Do you think this would be something that I would want as I use it more? Current Designs make a better boat than Wilderness Systems?

Im also picking up my wife a kayak,the guy mentioned that the WS Aspire 10.5 would be a good fit for her,but mentioned she might have to work a bit harder to keep up with me in the 14’ pungo. Think thats true? If we are going out together and want to stick together should I buy something similar if not the same as mine,maybe a pungo 120? She weighs like 130ish. I also seen some perception conduits at dicks for around $500,what do you think of these for her?

Next onto paddles,at the kayak shop their cheapest paddle was $80 on up to $400 “sorry I forget the brands” but he recommended one that cost $150. I seen dicks had a bunch of paddles for $40 Would I be sad with a cheaper paddle?

Next thing I have to worry about is transportation. I have a Nissan Xterra with a oval rack,would I be able to fit 2 kayaks on that roof? The guy told me,he wouldnt buy a rack if I already had the rails on top,that I should just ratchet strap it down,but he dont thinK I can do it to two of them. Any cost saving ideas would be greatly appreciated. If all else fails I have a small enclosed trailer to haul them around until I come up with something.


– Last Updated: Jul-08-15 9:57 PM EST –

First off, you will definitely be sad with $40 paddles. Take the advice to buy the $150 ones. The cheapest decent paddles are in the $120 to $160 range. You want something with at least a fiberglass shaft and a small to mid sized blade. Those aluminum cheap paddles are heavy and awful. You and the paddle are the "engine" of the kayak and it's important to have a good tool for that. Harmony, Werner and Bending Branches are good brands. The Werner Skagit is a nice entry level paddle that runs around $130.

Second, your wife needs a kayak closer to the length of yours to be happy and to be able to comfortably keep up with you. Plus a longer kayak will be narrower which is more appropriate for a shorter person. The Aspire is almost 28" and the Pungo is 29" -- a kayak 25" or less would be better for her. The Conduit 13 would be somewhat better at 27". But a Wilderness Tsunami 135 would be much better at 23" wide and 48 lbs. This boat is designed for the small to medium female kayaker.

Third, don't use ratchet straps to fasten the boats to your rack. It is too easy to overtighten them and warp the boats in hot weather. Cam straps (the 1" wide type with the spring loaded buckles) are preferable. Invest in decent ones, by Thule or NRS, not the flimsy kind that they sell at hardware stores. They will cost about $10 a pair but will last you for many years. Also use guy lines, either nylon rope or straps, to attach the bow and sterns of boats to your front and rear bumpers, particularly when traveling on the highway and over 30 MPH. Looking at photos of the Xterra rack I doubt you could fit two kayaks onto it and might need to get an aftermarket rack that would clamp to the side rails and make a wider cross rack, like this:

You could also make a rack extension out of wood 2 x 4's and u-bolts of some kind to clamp to the side rails, but you would risk scratching up the rails.

Welcome to kayaking
Longer equals faster, your wife in a 10’ will never keep up to you in a 14’. The conduit for her is a much better option.

Paddles, just one thought: DO NOT BUY YOUR PADDLES AT DICKS! NO! NO! NO! I would rather paddle a $200 kayak with a $150 paddle than a $2000 kayak with a $40 paddle. Aquabound stingrays at a minimum, if you have extra budget spend it on your wife’s paddle. General rule of thumb, IMO, paddles get significantly better dollar for dollar up to around $200. They continue to improve beyond that but with diminishing returns on investment.

Hunt craigslist for stackers or J cradles. I caught J cradles on sale for $80 a pair new. Eventually get Malone, Yakima, or Thule crossbars. In the meantime, pool noodles and nylon rope will work if you know how to tie knots. Use bow and stern tiedowns along with tieing your boat down. If you use ratchet straps like I have for 6 years be careful you don’t crush your boat. Good cam straps from Thule or nrs would be better, cam straps from harbor freight or the $4 ones at Walmart will slip.

Paddles,straps and kayaks,Ohh my!
Ok,Thats good enough for me I wont skimp on the Paddles.

Im pretty much set on the pungo 140 for myself,Im uncertain for the wife,Maybe just get two but thats going to be a lot of coin off the bat. Think the Pungo 140/120 hold their value well in case we dont love it?

I want to get something good,but not sure if she is going to use it enough,So I will look around for another option. Can anyone recommend a decent kayak say around $500-$600 that will keep up with the pungo?

I’ll check out the Perception Conduit,but if you have more suggestions please let me know,Thanks!

Ditto on the paddles
Buy the lightest weight paddles you can afford. Especially for your wife.

I used a 33 ounce fiberglass paddle, then switched to 23 ounce carbon paddle. That ten ounces makes a vast difference when you consider you’re doing about 1,000 forward strokes per mile.

Just say no
At least to the cheap dicks can get a good quality bending branches paddle from Gander Mnt.70$ range will get a decent wt paddle plus it is solid around 100-150 a lighter wt with same high quality.

If you want your wife to not go with you
show up with your nice Pungo, and a cheaper slower kayak “for her !”


Don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Oh, my.

The longer the boat, same model type the faster it goes. Putting her into a shorter boat immediately handicaps her speed potential. There is no reason for a woman to use a short kayak, unless they cannot transport a longer one. There may be physical issues with lifting it, but they make such lightweight kayaks these days, and with all sorts of tricks and devices to get them on a vehicle, it’s usually not an issue.

Really, the guy at the kayak shop telling you a 10’ kayak will work in this situation is NOT doing you any favors.

Now, if you have really limited storage space, or are doing surfing or whitewater, you may want a shorter kayak.

Wife’s boat
If your wife weighs 130, most recreational kayaks will be huge for her. She’ll be a lot more comfortable and efficient in a narrower boat. Something like the Perception Tribute 12 or the WS Tsunami 135 would be a much better fit for her than the Pungo 120.

What angstrom said^^^

Would you say paddling the pungo and the Tsunami would be like night and day difference? As far as speed and stability is concerned?

Thule’s wider bars, with footings that
secure to the oval railings, are solid stuff. I took off the stock flat panel above the steering wheel, on the roof = adds a few mph. You can put the Thule bars anywhere you want…hold watercraft just fine.

The Conduit mentioned above is a rebadged Dagger Catalyst 13.0, the version made for average to larger people, and as such your wife may rattle around in it. According to the Perception Sport website, there is also a Conduit 12.0 which may be an option. It’s fairly wide, at 27.5 inches, but the extra width is actually behind the paddler so it shouldn’t be a knuckle-banger. The price is right in your ball park for her.

The Tsunami 13.5 is designed for folks more your wife’s size, but if she’s new to paddling, the 23 inch width may freak her out.

yes, night and day
Wife is my size. Pungo waaay too wide and bargey. Good way to lose her as a paddling companion if that is your goal.

The reality is usually
You will be faster regardless. The quickest way to piss her off will be if you paddle ahead, lounge around waiting for her to catch up, take off when she gets there, and tell her about all the wildlife you saw on the water that took off when it saw you.

Giving her a better boat/ better paddle just helps a little bit to even the field. It’s an investment in harmony. What my wife and I enjoy most, when it’s just us, she kayaks and I canoe. Much easier to keep apace of each other.

Tsunami 135 would probably be a great boat for her. Conduit would probably be big.

Happy wife, happy life…
…spring for the Tsunami 135. These also have excellent resale in the off chance she does not love it. Spending as much (or more) on a boat for her as you will for yourself would be an act of husbandly wisdom.

I was paddling on a local lake some years ago in one of my low volume touring kayaks, 15’ long and 22" wide and designed for small to medium paddlers. There is a kayak rental outfit there and I came upon a couple paddling rented boats, which were standard wide short rec kayaks with cheap metal shaft paddles (also too short). The wife was complaining bitterly about how much she hated kayaking and demanding they go back to the dock (they were halfway around the lake by then) but the husband wanted to stay out longer.

I don’t like to hear anyone say they hate to paddle but I could see why she wasn’t happy – she was about 5’ 3" and probably 120 lbs soaking wet and she was struggling with the bulky boat and banging her knuckles on the sides with most strokes. I stopped to talk to them and offered to let her try my kayak, since I was about to stop for a lunch break. We pulled ashore and I adjusted my footpegs and put her in my boat with my paddle. After some quick suggestions on technique, I launched her and within seconds she caught on and was flying across the lake with her husband struggling to keep up.

Twenty minutes later they circled back to where I was dawdling in her crappy rental tub (I was trying to use the aluminum paddle, a typical $40 Wally World special, but it was like trying to paddle with a barbell.) She was flushed and happy and had made a complete 180 on kayaking, gushing about how much fun it was and telling her husband, once he caught up with her, “we have to buy kayaks like this!”.

need to spend $150-$200 on a paddle. Get a Cannon paddle on eBay or check their dealers for some sweet deals on a high quality touring paddle. I’ve used their paddles for 15 years and they are strong, light, and made of high quality materials and family owned. DO NOT buy the made in China junk as it’s a waste of money.

Pungo’s: pretty popular, a bit slow, but stable and comfortable. My favorite would be the Old Town Dirego in either 12 or 14’ length. I paddled one for a summer on fast moving water and lakes…great all around kayak.

Cannon paddle deal here at $89.:

We got them!
Well we went up to the kayak shop and got set up with some kayaks and all our gear. I ended up getting the Pungo 140,After trying out a few on for size I think I felt the most comfortable with the pungo,I wish it was a tad deeper,but maybe I’ll like it more like that.

The wife also tried a few out and the pungo was too big for her,She didnt like the confinement of the Tsunami “lol I even squeezed in there,it was snug for sure!” And one other one I forget the brand,but out of all of them she liked the Jackson Tupelo 12,So thats what she got. The guy said these boats should work well together and she should have a easy time with it. Hopefully it will turn out to be a good boat.

We got a set of paddles made by aquabend,went middle of the road they cost about $150 each. and some decent kayak life jackets. Just need to get these registered and a few safety items and we will be good to go! Thanks for all your help. Hopefully we made some wise decisions?

Good choice!
Lets see, hatch, deck rigging, bulkhead, over 10 ft long, under 50lbs, great capacity for that size in case you need to switch or another person uses it, good Jackson seat, stability because Jackson, and made in USA. Did good : ) Enjoy !


– Last Updated: Jul-10-15 2:02 AM EST –

Sounds like some good choices.

One little suggestion -- neither of your boats has a front bulkhead. If you are planning trips in deeper water and far from shore, it would be a good idea to get inflatable flotation bags to go in those spaces. If either model capsizes or gets swamped, the nose will sink and it would be very hard to empty it and recover.

Amusing example of what happens when a Pungo without front flotation swamps:

Jackson will work for her

– Last Updated: Jul-10-15 8:52 AM EST –

And get a float bag for the front of her boat. Honestly, the pungos are so unrescuable on water, especially if one of the rescuers is only 130 lbs, it may not much matter. As below the longer one has flotation in the bow, but getting the water out of that huge cockpit is very tough. Two friends of mine have the 120's, both are a very unathletic 250 lbs plus, and when they visit me at the Maine rental l won't take them more than swimming distance from shore. Great boats for their regular use on small ponds though. But you should take those boats out, swamp them near shore, just to see what you are working with if things go south.

Don't be surprised if both of you find those are guest boats and you want something leaner and spiffier by the fall. New paddlers always underestimate how quickly they will acclimate to thongs like small waves and tighter fitting cockpits. A good class in on water rescue usually changes peoples' minds too. But first you have to get on the water in something you enjoy, and you guys have a good start.