My wife wants a kayak!!!!

I’m being serious…for our anniversary of all things.

Anyways I need some advise on what to buy her. I own a Dagger Blackwater 10.5 and love it.

She will be going with me on calm slow moving rivers or flat lakes and camping for a night or two. She is 5’3" and average build (do I really dare to guess at her weight?)Here is the important thing, the kayak that I purchase for her must be VERY STABLE. She isn’t nearly as excited about falling head first into the water as I was when I was a beginner.

I know this type of question has been asked hundreds of times on this board, afterall it was this board that helped me with my purchase 4 years ago. I tried to pour over the buyers guide info and product reviews and became swamped with info.

If anyone has any advise especially any ladies I would appreciate it. I need to make this purchase soon (before she changes her mind).

Threshold question:
Do you WANT your wife to enjoy kayaking?

Trouble with getting

– Last Updated: Jun-20-05 3:12 PM EST –

her someting real stable, you'll spend half your time waiting for her to catch up. If you want to really enjoy paddling together, I would try to find something that fits the bill and is comparable to your boat. I know speed ultimately depends upon the paddler, (as was demonstrated to me this weekend,) but its worth considering.

My wife and I have cycled together for 8 years now, her old Symetry was a dog compared with my old Mistral; last year she got a brand new shiny Cannondale that blows my bike away and it's much more fun to ride together now. Course all this depends upon your personalities too.

why not another blackwater?
The blackwater is probably fairly stable and you guys wouldn’t have to worry about the varying characteristics of two different kayaks.

Buy a kayak that you may want to paddle. If she decides she doesn’t want to paddle, or she paddles much less, then you have an additional craft. DON’T buy another of the same.


My wife is 5’3" also and will only

– Last Updated: Jun-20-05 3:32 PM EST –

paddle calm water. She is currently looking at the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 140 and the Perception Sonoma 13.5.

She's in no hurry to purchase though because she can paddle when she chooses and relax when she chooses; while I paddle her in our tandem. I feel so violated.

My fiance’
can handle tippier boats than I can. She’s got an incredible sense of balance and flexibility. So, demo, demo, demo. Take her to some kayak shops and try them out, she’ll find the one she likes.

fair enough sing…

– Last Updated: Jun-20-05 3:40 PM EST –

In that case, get her a faster (yet still stable) boat than the Blackwater. As the original poster probably will be a stronger paddler than his wife (as he probably will have better technique due to experience), it would probably be a good idea to limit her frustration of "keeping up" at least initially.

Bruce, has your wife tried the Sonoma? She may be comfortable due to a lower center of gravity, but a fair warning is that boat can feel quite "tippy" at first. It tends to rest slightly on edge which may be unnerving to some folks. Franky I loved that kayak in the short period that I had it.


– Last Updated: Jun-20-05 3:42 PM EST –

my wife bought a much tippier boat than I could stand due to her build and size. I find her boat extremely sketchy. She thinks mine is a barge. We tried dozens of boats and nearly everytime the boat she liked was too wiggly for me. She didn't like any of the ones I told her she would.

Sooo, unless this is a surprise, let her try it out first. You'll be the one who is surprised.

Her Size
At 5’3", if she is at a middling BMI and has reasonably good balance she’d probably have to intend to swim to take something like the Blackwater over. I’m 5’4". That said, is the stability issue that she doesn’t want to go swimming too easily, or she has a real fear?

Maybe a pungo?
If she’d like a rec yak, maybe a Pungo would work for her? I am 5’4" and just got a Pungo 100 as my first kayak. It seems very stable and I haven’t taken a swim yet except when I really tried to tip it.

My wife is a beginner
I bought my wife last summer a Hurricane Aqua Sports, “Tampico”. This was her first kayak, and she loves it. She test paddled several kayaks, and liked this one the best. It is 13’6" long, by 24" wide, and she thinks it is very stable. It tracks very well too, as it has a keel along the bottom to help it.

It is made from their “Trylon”, which is a Thermo Formed plastic. It only weighs 38 Lb., and this light weight makes it nice for her to handle.

Great to hear your wife is interested too. it makes life easier when “wife” likes our hobbies too! :slight_smile:

Happy Paddling!

Kayaks for women
I would second cyberiankhatru’s comments. I am female, 5’4" and chose a different kayak for my first boat than what my husband recommended. But bless his cotton socks he urged me to try them out, and choose the one I was most comfortable with. He finds it tippy, and I find his like a barge. But as he is a much stronger paddler than I, it helps me keep up with him. I chose a CD Kestrel 120, and am loving it. Yes it’s a bit tippier than others, but it’s very easy to handle, and balance for me is not a big problem. It’s also light enough that I can heave it around by myself. Let her try a variety of hull shapes and lengths - she’ll probably feel very proud of her ultimate choice! Happy paddling in two singles - by the way, we started with a tandem, too and now that I’m more confident we’re much happier in two!

Impex Mystic
She’ll love it!

a BETTER gift
might be a high quality LESSON. the day spent with a good instructor will be very beneficial in getting her ‘on board’ with kayaking. it will also take you off the hook in ‘teaching’ her how to do it.

The lesson will get her over the tippy/ unnstable issues and she will learn, as most women do, that they have a un-canny (sp?) ability to balance and maneuver a kayak. lower center of gravity is a good thing in kayaking, and most women know how to move their hips.

then buy her a kevlar, super duty sportster that loooooks ohhhh soooo sweeeeet.



Flatpick has a good point
Consider this to be along the lines of teaching a family member to drive a car - so you really want to paddle with her afterwards? (especially if she didn’t quite understand what you said about leaning into a turn or bracing and ends up in the water)

Also, it’ll give her a way to gauge “tippiness” for herself. Like the above posts, I can feel pretty comfy in a boat that has my taller (so heavier) husband holding his breath.

Thanks Schizo
She’ll try to demo the Sonoma in the next few weeks. If it’s too tippy, I’m sure she won’t purchase it. It fit her better than any other yak she sat in at Canoecopia.

For my wife’s 40th birthday . . .
I arranged for a private lesson for the two of us on the water and it has to be one of the better birthdays we have celebrated together. We had a great time and got a good beginning education. We are now almost equally obsessed!

I get clients who ‘treat’ themselves to a lesson or tour regularly. B-day, anniversary, good health, whatever!

We spend thousands of $$$ on our gear. How much do we spend on learning to properly use it???


Seconding that vote
for the Impex Mystic! Perfect kayak. Fast, stable, looks great on the water, and extremely well-made. I’m 5’2 and also average build and it fits like a glove. I can’t imagine paddling anything else!