Narrowed it down -Need help - Looksha 14 / Tsunami 145 / Zephyr 160 / Stratos 14.5L

So I have been look and asking questions and sitting in kayaks for the past few weeks. I have added and removed boats from my list and now I am down to 4 and need some help.

I consider myself a beginner - only been kayaking for a year and that was on a sit on top. I want to get into a sit inside so I can move faster and more efficiently and learn more technique. I think the 14 foot range is the best for me but I can see going up to 16. I am 5’11 and 225 - so my size limits my options to a degree. Plan on using the kayak locally in rivers and lakes and it will probably get a good amount of use on the bays of NJ (intercostal water way)

I have sat in the necky looksha 14 - I had to wiggle a bit to get in but once it it felt pretty comfy - really like that seat. But the cockpit is a bit narrow - could make re-entry a challenge - or could force me to lose some wight… I like it but reviews are a bit in the air - folks complain about the rudder…

I also sat in the Tsunami 145 and that was easy to get in with plenty of room inside. I can get this one at 20% off a a local shop but no rudder (guess I could add it later). I am just not sure if this boat is going to allow me to grow much - it seems like it a tank.

I have not sat in the Stratos but tried an Alchmy and I did not fit in that - there was not enough room for my legs top to bottom. was too tight but the statos I beleive would work as it has more deck height to it.

I also have not sat in the Zephyr but have read that it fits larger sized paddlers and I have seen folks in my weight and height range wrting good reviews on it.

So what do I do. I am really struggling with this decision. Any suggestions appreciated.

The Zephyr is longer and narrower so will be faster and easier to paddle at speed.

There’s a few more boats to consider and some you should rule our. First the tsunami might not be a great boat for you. It is not a very fast or maneuverable boat which can make techniques harder to learn.

Some more information will also help. By technique what do you want to learn. I also find it’s important when deciding on a new boat to wonder what where you might see yourself in the next three years. I went through two boats in my first year of paddling as I either outgrew them oritbwasnt right for what I enjoyed doing.

You mentioned you want to paddle in some of the New Jersey Bays. For that you need a boat that is going to be sea worthy. The zephyr might be a good choice for that. But before buying anything you need to test paddle some boats. For that I would find a shop that focuses on selling kayaks. One place closeish to NJ would be The River Connection in Hyde Park NY owned by Marshall who I’m sure will pop in on this topic soon enough. I personally have bought two boats from him.

Another thing to identify is what is your budget like?

Venture Kayaks Jura HV

Yellow ok?

Update - ok, not driving now returning from a pool session. You mentioned “fast” and not ruling out going up to a 16 foot length. For your weight and potentially adding more intra/coastal kayaking to your options the longer waterline should give you better glide per stroke and for you a more capable craft in rougher conditions.

As to info on Venture,

Venture is a division of P&H sea kayaks.

I’ll PM you with more info.

See you on the water,
The Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY
845-228-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile

Getting a boat like Marshall suggested is something you will not out grow. Better in bays as they can get rough. I am roughly you size 6’ 230 lb. and get in a cockpit 29.5 x 15.5. seat is wide base so wider below combing. Bought SOT but was out of it fast. Wish I didn’t under by first time. Should have at least got sit in poly sea kayak like recommend above. Not sure if coming from SOT you feel some kayaks are tight but you what it to fit and not be loose.

Ok - here is my probem the boat you mention (Venture Kayaks Jura HV) has little to no data out on the internet - at least not any easy to find data or comments so how do I research that boat? All I have been able to find thus far is the boat is about 64 lbs, has big cockpit opening, good for paddlers up to 270 lbs, and it is 16 feet long with a width of 23 inches. I have no idea what the seat is like or how comfortable or uncmfortable it is. IS there any data out there I could review on this boat?

Oh and where can you even buy one and what is the cost?

Outside of that I would still liek to get inputs on the boats I listed. JonathanOltz thank you for the inputs on the Tsunami . It was not on my original list but the fit was nice when I tried it in the store. That said I have many of the same fears that the boat is a tank made for peopler that want to go straight and not tip over.

What about the otehrs on my list?

Why the VENTURE KAYAKS JURA HV over the Zephyr 160? Zephyr seems lighter and is the same lenght… I don’t want to say I am not open to options - I appreciate comments but it has taken me weeks to narrow it down to the list I have and I am not sure I see a big difference between what was mentioned and what is on my list… If I lived close to Hyde Park, NY I would go see Marshall - but then I am not sure how that would help with any kayaks not carried by his shop which it seems most on my list are not…

The Jura is more fit to what you are looking for. The zephyr is a bit more of a ocean play boat and has more rocker then the Jura. Based on your experience level the Jura might be more fitting as it will most likely weather cock less then the Jura.

As far as seats go o find the seats in all boats from the P&H family which includes venture boats to be quite comfortable. But then again wildys are known for their seats which is where they focus most of their energy in designing boats in my option. The zephyr is a great boat though and those who have paddled one or own one will tell you the same thing. But I really do suggest you get some on water time with the bits you are interested in. Which of course might mean you have to wait for the water to warm up a bit.

Additionally lighter weight in plastics does not always make it a better boat. Generally speaking in plastic boats lighter would mean thinner plastic which is what I found out in my dagger Alchemy years ago. I owned a P&H scorpio after that and that proved although heavier it was stronger and stiffer. The stiffer the boat is the better.

My biggest issue - I am not goign to be able to get time out on the water in these boats before I purchase. There are no places anywhere near me where all of or a good majority of these boats are carried such that I can test them out. IT is jsut not in the cards… I need to make a decision with limited touch and feel inputs.

What about the other boats on my list such as the stratos or the Looksha?

When it comes to the ocean there is no substitution for length. Go long!

Have you checked into any local clubs or Meetup groups that you could ask at an outing to try someone’s model X?

Where in NJ are you?

A number of the models you’ve mentioned are common to rental businesses.

See you on the water,
The Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY
845-228-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile

As a long time owner of a Venture kayak (I am smaller than you at 5’ 5" and 150 lbs so I have a 15’ Easky LV) and having paddled with people who also have Ventures, I can tell you that they are excellent boats with extremely comfortable and well designed seats. And they are downright fun to paddle. The build quality is great on them (made in the UK, not in China as many plastic kayaks are these days) and they are quite fast and maneuverable. Their maker, P & H, has long had a high reputation for making quality composite sea kayaks and they bring those design skills to their more modestly priced Venture line. In my Venture I can paddle rings around my friend who has a Tsunami 140 (yes, the Tsunamis are kind of slugs.) The Jura would be a very good boat for somebody your size and with your ambitions both for skill and paddling destination.

You don’t find as many reviews of them because they are not as widely distributed in the US as the more common Tsunamis and Lookshas. The dealer I bought mine from bemoaned the fact that a lot of beginners were put off by their initial feeling in the Ventures out on the water – and it is true that they do not feel as “stable” as the barge-like Tsunamis but they have excellent secondary stability and you quickly get over the sense that they are “wobbly” and appreciate how well they handle and how relaxed you can be in them. The outfitter staff greatly preferred the Venture models to the WIlderness Tsunamis and the various Necky models that they also stocked but they were a harder sell to beginners. The Venture designs are more amenable to developing skills but are still comfortable for leisurely day trips on mild waters. I do that a lot but have also really enjoyed the way my boat performs in waves and rough water. I often paddle on big rivers with large boats and barges that create huge wakes – I love surfing them in the Easky…

If you could arrange to check one out at Marshall’s I think you would be pleasantly surprised. Everybody I have ever let paddle my Venture (which I have often since I have multiple boats), even people who have experience with other similar kayaks, has commented on how “sweet” it is. In fact 3 people that I know of have gone on to buy similar Venture models based on their experience with mine.

willowleaf- thank you well written and good inputs.

Marshall - I live in PA not NJ. Got your messege. I am interested and appreciate the inputs- just a lot of distance between us and I don’t see an opertunity to get to your location in the near future. - I never said I was goign to take this boat in the ocean. Bays yes but not ocean - at least no plan for that. IF I want to hit the surf I will take my SOT and launch from the beach.

I am in small bays many times on south shore of Long Island and it can get choppy fast. 8-10 foot deep water with fast short period waves. Breaking 2’ waves is plenty of work. Ocean can be bigger swells and easier in a way. Don’t take bays that lightly.

I hear you.

I no make a decision - I do like the idea of 16 footers but I still think storage and ease of moving it around is going to be difficult. That is why I was headed more torwards the 14 foot range. I wish I was one of those people that could just make a call and never look back…

ha ha

@jasno999 said:
I wish I was one of those people that could just make a call and never look back…

I gotta say, I’ve made good decisions buying houses in less time than this is taking for you. Paralysis by analysis. Odds are, there are many things you think you know now(and you’re using to base your decision on) that will change once you buy something and use it for a while. If you’re that concerned with the cost, buy something used that’s reasonably good for how you want to use it, learn from that, and go from there.

fishboat1 - Ha ha I agree 100% with you.

Very few avid kayakers get the EXACT boat that is perfect for them on the first round. You don’t have enough experience in any kayak to know exactly what you want from performance so that will come in time. You really could not go entirely “wrong” with any of the ones you are looking at – I have never found it that hard to sell a kayak when I wanted another one. They don’t depreciate as badly as cars, anyway.

I loved my first kayak for the first 5 years I had it but then realized I wanted something that was longer and faster. Since then I have bought 12 other kayaks, sold 5 (including the first, second and third I acquired), given 3 away and currently have 5 of them, all different, and all that I love for different reasons.

If it’s any comfort, my first kayak and the Easky that I love so much now were both bought on impulse at a dealer with nearly no research or pondering the action. Did not regret either purchase. I even drove once 900 miles round trip and took a ferry across Lake Michigan to buy a unique kayak from a guy who met me at the dock, based on a photo in a Craigslist ad. Still have it and love it.

Just saying: Don’t overthink this.

Great input - jsut need to pull the trigger - leanng torwards the Venture Jura that Marshall mentioned.