Necky Loosha 14 or Necky Manitou 14?

I think I have it narrowed down to either one of these two… I would like to hear the opinions of more experienced paddlers of which one of the two would be the best for me.

I am a female, 5’7 medium frame. I still consider myself a novice, even though I have been paddling a little bit here and there for 2 years.

I am looking forward to read all pros/cons. Feel free to suggest other boats if you think they would be better. I have also considered a Perception Carolina 14.



Probably an apples and oranges choice
I picked up the Manitou 14 for my wife to use at her family’s lake camp. The cockpit is one of the easier ones for her to get in and out of so for her that was a requirement. As far as paddling characteristics I’ve paddled it several times including in some heavy wind waves and found it a very well behaved hull with an excellent mixture of solid stability, reasonable speed, reasonable maneuvering. good tracking and a solid skeg system. Can’t speak on the Looksha, but see no negatives on the Manitou .

The Looksha might be small
and the Carolina might be a bit big – just guessing here, but I’d try to sit in them and see how they feel. I have paddled the Manitou and it’s a great boat. I’ve seen the Carolina – definitely a good boat, but unless you need the extra volume it’ll just slow you down.


I have the older Looksha Sport, almost
the same length and probably not too different in design. In spite of my size (6’ 5") and weight (220), the little boat is ok for me, so I think the new 14 will be for her. Of course if I tried to do an overnight, I would have to pack superlight…

More about you

– Last Updated: Mar-28-09 8:22 PM EST –

Where do you plan to paddle and what do you want to do in your paddling - quiet lakes and rivers or bigger stuff like the Great Lakes or ocean, day tripping or expeditioning, are there skill sets that you want to acquire like rolling etc?

Hard to answer this question well without knowing this stuff.

I've run into more than one woman who started out with a brand new boat like those you are considering then soon realized it wouldn't take them where they really wanted to go. So this stuff can matter to your pocketbook.

Agree with Celia here
Of the two I’d suggest the Manitou simply due to the fact that the Looksha 14 has a huge cockpit fit and more Frictional Resistance. The Manitou is a nicer boat all round and handles big water very well. The Manitou is a boat designed by paddlers whereas the looksha 14 has a lot more marketing influence. OK enough boat, but the Manitou is excellent and will work better for your size.

To Celia’s point though, depending on your goals longer term another option may be better. In the Necky brand I’s suggest the “composite” Eliza. It’s a super paddling boat as are many others in that category.

Paddle many and think about what you want to do longer term.

More information
Thank you all for your replies.

As far as my paddling goals, the main one is to enjoy. I have discovered something that I really like, and I enjoy tremendously being in the water. If I get better at paddling, great! I did take a class on rolling and I could roll and get out of the boat with no problem. I am embarrassed to say that I could not get back on the boat… I have been lucky enough that in two years I have not had to try to get back on the boat.

I live in MN and have lakes all around me. I do have a 10" poly boat for the smaller lakes around my house. I would like a bigger boat to venture into Superior Lake, Apostle Islands and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

I have looked at the Eliza and really like it. But I think it does have a weight limit of 160lbs. I am 175 now and my weight goes up and down because of a thyroid condition. I may be 160 by the summer, but I don’t want to invest a lot of money on a boat that would not accommodate me in the future if I regain the weight.

Do you know if the weight limits are very strict?

In reply

– Last Updated: Mar-30-09 1:17 PM EST –

First, do I take your saying you could roll to mean that you could capsize? FYI, usually saying you can roll means that you can execute the full 360 degrees and come back up again without exiting the boat. I am guessing from your description that you are talking about the first half of that.

Especially if you plan to paddle larger lakes and could not execute a self-rescue, I would stay away from boats with quite high decks and/or limited perimeter rigging. And you want two sealed bulkheads. Obviously the safest thing to do is to resolve this problem or paddle with others until you do, but a boat like the Carolina isn't likely to help you. I'd suggest that you revisit the problem, but consider trying a stirrup and looking at boats with pretty low rear decks. I am guessing that you are running into a not uncommon issue with women of low upper body strength and an awkward concentration of weight around the middle that is hard to get up and over the boat.

You will be safer with a boat featured like the Eliza - two bulkheads, lots of rigging and a relatively lower deck. But even better, you'll be safer with some time spent learning bigger water skills. To be blunt, if you can't make it by a minimal paddle float self-rescue you should not be doing trips like the Apostle Islands by yourself, or getting any distance from shore.

As to weight limits for boats - do you plan to camp out of this boat or do day tripping? If the latter, a bit of overage isn't likely to be a problem. You aren't talking about enough more weight to get a dangerously unstable waterline. Most boats like the Eliza assume paddler plus gear for their top capacity. Talk to the dealer about this - the Eliza seems a good boat for your goals.

In general, I think you will find more variety that'll do you better for the long haul by looking longer and more of a true sea kayak than the 14 footers you mentioned. What kinds of boats do the dealers around you handle? I think it'd be worth your while to sit in some WS Tempests, a number of the boats in the Current Designs line for smaller paddlers, the Capellas for P&H and the always reliable SKUK Romany. Note that not all of these have a full line of plastic to match their fiberglass boats - I don't know what your pocketbook is - but if it comes to it you could always go used.

Again - worry about getting skills and clothing to be safe, decide about the boat along the way.

Manitou 14
Has two bulkheads, good hatches, a skeg, and a very capable hull. It’s also quite efficient to paddle and for your size will allow you all the capability you’ll need all the way to outer coastal advanced conditions. Now, if you ever achieve that level of paddling you may upgrade to a slightly longer, narrower hull, but the M 14 is an excellent all round kayak.

Carolina likewise seems a decent kayak but I have not paddled on in bigger seas. May also check out Eddyline Kayaks for an ABS thermoformed model. That buys you a lighter weight option in good paddling designs.

Salty, long as you’re around, what is
the relationship, if any, between the old Looksha Sport and this new Looksha 14?

Pretty much ZERO
The hard edges were retained for marketing / family recognition purposes, but it’s a very different hull. It’s super stable with a huge fit and all in all an OK boat for what it is.

Carolina cockpit

– Last Updated: Mar-29-09 2:08 PM EST –

Awfully big for good contact for someone of this size who may be looking at bigger water - 39.5" long by 21.8" wide. It's going to be difficult for a 5'7" female to find useful contact under the thigh braces to control the boat, if at all. Cockpit on the Manitou 14 is likely a more realistic fit - 35.5" x 16.5".

That all said, both of these boats have higher rear decks than some of the longer ones out there, and while guys tend to not face this issue it can be huge for a woman trying to do a re-entry.

I don't disagree that the Manny will get her going Ok Salty - but maybe waiting a little to try out some longer boats via demos and maybe another class might result in a better long term choice. The fall sales are long gone anyway, so there's not likely to be a big price diff to be found by jumping now or in a few weeks.

just depends on her needs. The M14 is an excellent all round choice to get her going and maybe forever, but agree that if she even thinks she’ll pursue distance touring higher skill level paddling why not bite the bullet and get the higher end boat out of the gate.

Caveat here is her future, and again, the M14 is extremely capable. So she’s not buying a dud.

Thank you for all the replies
I did paddle a Current Designs Solstice GTS a couple of years ago, it was 17" I believe and I loved it. I would have never thought of getting something this big. Too much boat for someone who can’t even get back in it! And yes, I was wrong. What I could do was capsize, not roll completely (never tried).

Thank you so much for all the replies. I guess it will come to Necky Manitou or Necky Eliza. I would not do any camping so I would probably not add that much weight to the boat. Maybe the Eliza could still be an option for me. I will try both boats at a Demo in a couple of weeks. I will also look for used ones at Craigslist.

I am so thankful for your advice. Thanks again,


Eliza weights
I’m 210 and often paddle a omposite Eliza with no worries. Most weight capacity figures are very subjective. The poly Eliza will easily accomodate you and it performs very well.

Get a boat and go paddle!