Must make decision

Before today I had not ever been in a kayak. That being said, I have been researching the purchase of same for about six months. I have narrowed down my search to two models. A Perception 145 in airilite with a rudder and an Eddyline Equinox. I have demo’d the Carolina but do not have a dealer in the area that will demo an Equniox. I plan on doing flat water and large rivers (no whitewater) then eventually (as skills increase) do light ocean type things. I liked the Carolina but thought I fit better in the Equinox. People say good things about the Equinox but they haven’t really sold that many to enable me to get any feedback from current customers. My gut tells me that this boat would probably be right for me but I would like to hear an unbiased opinion or two before I spend the better part of two grand.

Thank you in advance.


Not sure about unbiased (see profile)
but I like the Eddyline. Only wish they made the same thing in a longer boat. But who knows: first there was the skylark, then this … they seem to be creating a family of hard-chined, greenland-style boats (if only in looks). Love the Carbonlite, love the weight, and that barcalounger seat is

c o m f y!

Where are you? Can’t believe there isn’t a dealer who will let you demo it. Not even the one who’s selling?!

Take your time
paddle some more boats

buy a used boat

paddle it for a year or two

I’ll second Gary’s advice, and…
…add the following…

Forget about your current “short list”, and think instead in terms of trying to find many different boats to try; rent, demo, and if any of your friends paddle, ask to try their boats as well. Sure, try those boats you’re currently considering as well, but you really need to try many more boats before you can even begin to narrow down the list.

Trying many different boats over a period of time - and developing some basic skills along the way - will really give you the best chance at making a well informed first boat decision that you’ll be happy with.

It took me three months to go from “first time in a kayak” to purchasing my first boat, a Current Designs Caribou. Of course, during that three months, I paddled seven days a week, several hours each day, and paddled as many different boats as I could find to rent, demo, and borrow. Looking back, had I purchased the first boat that caught my fancy within the first few weeks, I know I would have been very disapointed with it in a very short time. Instead, I ended up buying a first boat that nine years later, I still love to paddle…in everything from quiet, protected waters to very lively coastal/open water conditions. My fleet is growing now, but I still have my first boat, and I have no intention of letting it go.

I can’t guarantee that after nine years, you’ll be as happy with your first boat as I still am with mine, but I’d still be willing to bet that a bit of patience now will reward you with a first boat that will make you quite happy. Enjoy the “shopping around” process! :slight_smile:


I’m going to dissent
from the prevailing opinion: Buy a boat and paddle away! Then sell it if it’s not what you need. I started in August and am already on number three! :slight_smile:

Good advice or ADULT ADD?

If you will be made unhappy by having to fairly quickly sell a boat you buy now because you don’t make thru the summer before deciding that you want a longer, faster, more responsive, etc boat than the two you mentioned, no harm in having one to start. But odds are that will happen and you’ll wish you’d expended less precious funds on that first choice, especially if you are thinking bigger water.

Five boats later, I’d agree with the advice to spend more time demoing, get some lessons, and if you need to buy to get on the water start out with something used. It’s already depreciated, and it’ll be a good way to get a better sense of what you ultimately wnat.

Of course, “ultimately” in kayaking is never really ultimate, just the last boat you got before you are out of space in the garage or on the storage rack.

My take.
Paying that much for a kayak, I wouldn’t buy it unless I could try it or the dealer would take it back if I didn’t like it.

If it was only a few hundred dollars that is a different story.



Demo Demo
Paddle as many kayak as you can. Go to all the demo shows you can. A pic won’t tell you anything but what it looks like. Each kayak will handle different. Spend a day in kayak to see if you like the sport. There is a lot more to kayaking than just sitting and floating. You need to try on all the different PFDs for fit. You need paddle, safty stuff… More to it than just a kayak. Wait spend the summer demo kayaks, then if you find the one you like. Buy at the end of the season. When the shops are dumping their stock and save a few $.

I spent a year and half demo kayaks.

just do it
Here in Michigan it’s not simple and easy to demo a lot of kayaks and the whole summer could pass while you travel all over trying to test paddle your “short list”. Many dealers have dropped demo days and others only have one a year. Not ideal. Go to the best kayak dealer in your area and listen to what they have to say. Life is too damn short to get grid locked worrying about every little detail and boat spec. The two choices you listed have pleased tons of paddlers! A good dealer will know what suits/fits you best AND hopefully will allow you a trade policy if you simply hate the boat. Lessons would be the absolute smartest thing you could do before buying a kayak. Without knowing a few key things about correct paddle strokes I don’t think anyone is able to zero in on a boat’s true ability in tracking-turning and edging. I’m one of those guys who started with a high end composite many years ago and still have that original boat. Have I moved on? Hell yes! Now I have a fleet but the dealer made my first decision for me and it was better than I would have made. I realize that many areas of the USA don’t have a good paddlesport shop but I drove over two hours to get to one years back and it was worth every mile and every dollar.

general reply
to all respondents. I originally considered cheaper boats but due to weight and size limitations (mine) I rapidly changed my mind about what might appeal to me. So far In my area I have found only one dealer that was willing to demo boats. (i like in Western Ma.) That dealer has a wide variety and will work with you to make sure you are happy. The other “dealers” are pretty much small time and kayaks are a sideline. They don’t really seem to care if you buy one or not. So far I have driven up to 300 miles just to look at different models. The first demo days in this area are coming up in mid-June. I work on weekends during that time frame and therefore not able to attend. I don’t mind spending the money but I am just trying not to make a “bad” purchase. There are a couple of show in the next two weeks but I am unaware of any demos at those shows. If I have missed something in my area for demoing opportunity please point me in the right direction.


I feel your pain
The opinions vary so greatly it sometimes seems more confusing aroung here than helpful. I can only add paddle before you buy. I started out in a plastic bath tub once I swithed from a canoe. I moved onto a 14 foot Necky and then last summer I bought an Eddyline NH 17.5. I like the boat but paddled it first. If you are ever in Stowe VT try Umiak they have a large pond and they will let you try any boat in stock. Hope you find a boat you love and have a great paddling season full of discovery and fulfillment. I can’t wait for the ice to go out.


I have bought 3 boats , all highly

– Last Updated: Mar-31-06 4:08 PM EST –

recommended , before I paddled them.I have been very pleased each time. I don't think a beginner has the skill to determine which boat performs best anyway , other than the fit, and you can do that on land.
BTW, "highly recommended" means mostly people from who are experienced paddlers who have owned the boats, NOT "I just bought this boat and I love it!"
High end boats can be hard to resell, so make sure it fits.

I found a dealer that would let me demo the Equinox. Drove four hours to do it. It fits well and accelerates quickly handling is a little more spirited than the Carolina. Now my only quandry is he has a used (demo) Carolina that he will let me have for $1000. Looks like new and comes with full warranty. I have to make up my mind between the boat I really enjoyed and the Carolina which was a close second but a lbunch cheaper. I also paddled a Tsunami 145 and a Swift. The dealer was great and more than willing to let me paddle everything in stock if I thought it was necessary. They also offer a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee. Great people.


Lots of good suggestions. I have a Carolina & for the most part have been pleased these last 6 years. I’m also from Michigan & paddled many varied waters from Detroit River, Pine river in Spring runoff, Lakes Huron,Michigan & Superior. I’ve paddled more higher end boats & they are more responsive.You didn’t say what size you are. You do want to look for a good fit. I’m 215 lb & still have plenty of room. If you’re smaller it might not be right. Call around the state to outfitters. You might find a great used boat(scratched up a bit) at a Carolina price.