My girlfriend and I have pretty much maxed out our 10’ Necky Skys. Great rec boats that we will keep. But as we edge out into close-in ocean adventures in the SF Bay area, I am looking for something a little longer and which can handle a little chop better. For the moment, we are on a budget. In the used market right now are a Looksha Sport, a Necky Kyook, and a Dagger Alchemy, all comparably priced.
I’m having trouble seeing much of a difference with the Neckys
Similar length (14’ vs 15’).
Looksha has two storage hatches, Kyook has one.
Weight seems similar.
Both have rudders.
But the Looksha Sport seems maybe a little more squirrelly and playful and doesn’t track quite as well…?
The Alchemy is 14’ and intriguing. Great, great reviews. Some disagreement on whether it tracks well, but it does have a skeg. But it sounds like—and even the Dagger videos suggest—that it’s more for playing in surf and rivers, which is not so much our thing.
Our usage is very mixed: reservoirs, lakes, slow rivers, estuaries, some close-in SF Bay stuff. So I’m looking for a versatile boat that it not too heavy to get up into the J-hooks.
I’m 6’ and 180 pounds.
I’m leaning toward the Kyook. Thoughts?
If the Kyook has only one hatch, it won’t have flotation at the other end - a problem in capsizes, unless you put in a float bag and secure it.
Kyook is a very old model. I think they stopped making it in the 90s. The Looksha Sport they stopped around 2005. You may hit age issues with both of these (more brittle plastic and the like). Plus they may not have some things which are standard now, like deck lines.
I’ve had Looksha Sports (and Looksha IV) and have an Alchemy (and a Dagger Stratos) now. Would never go back to the Lookshas after spending some time in the Alchemy. The Alchemy has much more comfortable seat, larger (but not huge) cockpit opening, day hatch, etc. which the Looksha Sport did not have.
Check out Bay Area Sea Kayakers and/or Western Sea Kayakers. Good groups. You likely could find someone who would let you test out one or the other boats.
You probably also should look into taking an intro to sea kayak class, to learn more of the basics. Learning about strokes can help get over any worries of skeg versus rudder. And knowing how to get back in deep water should you flip could be life saving. Not sure where in Bay Area you are, but California Canoe and Kayak (Oakland and Redwood City) and Sea Trek (Sausalito) are good places that have the classes. Full disclosure - I work for Sea Trek.
Hi Peter. Thanks for the thoughtful reply and good feedback on boats and groups.
I actually took sea kayaking classes from CCK years ago, and spent a fair bit of time practicing exits and re-entries (but never rolls). But I never ended up doing much sea kayaking thereafter, and have just picked up the sport again this year. Maybe it’s time for a sea kayaking tune-up before venturing too far into the bay.
And anxious as I am to get a third kayak so I can take my visiting sons out these holidays, I should probably not rush into anything. In the meantime, we can always rent for them at Sea Trek.
CCK does do rentals also. Given your name, their new Oakland site may be more convenient for you. But Sea Trek’s Sausalito location is probably considered a nicer place to paddle.