Need a little help..?

Hi there I’m looking to buy a kayak this coming spring and I’m having a hard time choosing one. The problem being I would say I am an intermediate paddler but looking to become for advance. I also like the idea of something light and easy for me to get around with. But I weigh 180 pounds (I’m a girl) and if I have a pack or 2 with me the total will be around 200. I like the Perception Tribute 12 Kayak and from my research it maxes out at about 200. What are my other similar choices??

Usually the longer the kayak
the higher volume it will have and can float more weight without sacrificing performance.

When you said packs of around 20 lbs…is that for day tripping or overnighting?

I would look at something longer. You can go 14 feet and if you learn to edge the boat to turn you will not sacrifice maneuverability.

Most 12 foot boats are IMO for those not seeking to advance but merely to get out there.

If weight is an issue to carry consider a pack canoe. My RapidFire is a 15 foot double blade carbon fiber canoe where usually one sits on the bottom. Its 23 lbs.

Choosing a lighter composite over poly can save weight if your budget is OK with it. Going deckless (pack canoe ) also saves weight.

It is probably just me, but intermediate
paddlers do not become advanced paddlers in rec boats.

get a longer boat
If you want to progress to a higher level with your paddling you ought to consider a longer kayak than a 12 footer. You will find a greater variety of better performing boats in the 14 to 16 foot range, too, and most will have a capacity of up to 300 pounds, well within the range for you and whatever gear you plan to take with you. I’ve used (and owned) a variety of touring kayaks around 15’ and think that’s a versatile size for most women – long enough to give good tracking and have decent hatch volume, but many are still a reasonable weight for you to handle yourself in hauling to the water.

I’d recommend you try some styles in that range (outfitter test paddles or find owners who will let you try them). Personally, I like the Venture Easky 15 but there are many others that are similar. You can often find the Easky on sale for under $1000, it is under 50 lbs, handles well, paddles straight and fast and is nicely outfitted with a comfortable seat, thigh hooks and decent hatches. It would be a good boat for advancing your skills and it’s fun to paddle.

QCC 600 might be the ticket
Quality of their boats is top notch, and prices are reasonable too. Definitely worth a look.

I’m not going to say there can’t be an “advanced” paddler on a 12’ SOT or any other 12" boat. However there are a lot of skills you will find in a SINK that you couldn’t in a SOT, and really depending on what you do with it, you could be very skilled in a short boat.

Still, if you forsee yourself getting into multi-day trips involving some moderate open water crossings, then I do think a longer boat will be more accomodating. I should point out that QCC’s hatches are huge, which really helps with packing.

As I found out after a few boats though, the longer ones really help you to make more miles and further your skills. I would really suggest something more in the 16’ range.

proper kayak
Looking to advance your skill level. That is great and a proper kayak is essential. At your weight I would suggest a minimum of 16’ and would suggest a sit-in boat. Take a look at the Nigel Dennis Romany. It has fore and aft water-tight hatches as well as a day-hatch (recommended). It has a skeg. You will be learning to edge the boat and there really is no need to have a rudder. Whatever boat you get, I’d suggest fiberglass to start (unless you plan to run aground alot or anticipate regular striking of rock/oysters). The Romany has been around a very long time and fits a lot of people. Very stable and does better and better as the conditions get rough. You probably won’t grow out of it for a very long time. I’ve had mine for 13 years and still love it. Not the fastest boat, but you will not be left behind in a group paddling 16-18’ boats. There is a decent amount of storage too. I’m male, 5’8",190 lbs and carry an additional 15 lbs. worth of survival stuff each trip. Lots of luck. By the way, I’d also suggest that you take a course, and that way you would probably have an opportunity to try different boats. Don’t buy until you’ve tried about ten different boats…

Test drive the Ikkuma 17
It is a great boat for your specs.

does trekking the NFCT
in a 9’ Perception Sparky count?

“Advanced” could mean a number of things. The long-boat bias here is sometimes a bit silly… any prospective paddler should evaluate their goals and destinations, and get the best boat that fits their particular needs. Maybe that evolves and changes over time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean everyone automatically wants or needs a 16-17’ sea kayak.

I second the Romany and add…
A couple of other boats. I also have a Romany and LOVE IT. It’s a boat you will not outgrow. Many good deals out there. For the price of a new plastic boat, you should be able to get a used glass Romany. I also highly recomend the plastic Necky Chatham which is slightly more stable than the Romany and can take great abuse. It’s often compared to a Romany as a “wanna-be Romany”. The Avocet by Valley is also very, very nice for somebody that wanst the next level of kayaking. I have seen many new paddlers like me, purchase a short boat only to outgrow it’s capabilities really fast and move to a longer 16 foot+ boat.

$$$ considerations
Those are all super boats you guys are recommending but they are in the $2000 to $4000 range. The OP didn’t state a budget but I know I would hesitate to drop that much on a kayak if (like the OP) I was so unsure about length and style.

I suggested the Easky because, at between $700 and $1000. it offers good “bang for the buck” and has many of the features and performance characteristics of more “advanced” boats without being as costly (and in some cases, as scarily squirrelly for a paddler accustomed to rec boats).

There is a reason many outfitters use the Easkies for intermediate to advanced instruction and as a rental for challenging tours. It is a good craft to get the feel of a “real” open water touring boat, to learn bracing, self-rescue and rolling and to develop a sense of what features one might want in the ultimate advanced kayak one is likely to step up to.

I’ve got higher end boats yet am still apt to grab my Easky as much as them because it has a good balance between challenging and fun and I don’t mind bashing it about, even in mild whitewater.

In fact, there was a discussion of it on here a couple of years ago.

(BTW, I have not felt the need for either a skeg or rudder on mine, though it came with all the hardware for the latter if I wanted to add it.)

The Easky 15 LV looks interesting. Only weighs 46 lbs and is rated up to 286 lbs load.

I didn’t know that Easky’s came in LV. I’m 5’6" and 155 lbs and would like to try the 15 LV. I’d like to compare it to my Nighthawk 16.

Prior paddling
In what did you become an intermediate paddler? Where do/did will you typically paddle? What skills do you envision will make you and advanced paddler?

Background please.

Can’t atTribute to your leanings towards a Tribute but there’s a world of other choices out there.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

LV fairly new
Yanoer: I understand the Easky 15LV is a fairly recent model. I spotted it at my outfitter’s last summer and it was kind of an impulse purchase. I’m 5’ 5" and 155 # and it fits me like it was custom made – I expect you will feel the same. Generous cockpit (I can enter butt first and swing in my legs) yet it doesn’t feel sloppy at all. Good legroom (and mine are rather long).

At 46 lbs it is easy to schlep on and off the car and I find it has a similar “water feel” to my Feathercraft Wisper. The convertible seat back (it folds in half to become a backband-like low-rise, which I prefer) and the sturdy thigh hooks add to the nice fit. It’s a blast on fast creeks: I can raise my paddle overhead and hip-steer it through the rocks and rapids. Fun to surf boat wakes in it, too. Find I can keep up on the straightaway with paddlers in fancier 'yaks with little effort. Not as fast as my Greenland SOF but a lot easier to turn and not as squirrelly in rough water.

I plan on using it for rolling classes this winter. A sweet little boat for the price, I think. I have yet to paddle a Nighthawk but have been out with others that had them – seems like very similar general specs and hull so you might find an Easky LV a reasonable cheapo option for places you would hesitate to risk your nicer kayak (as I do) or as a competent loaner for friends.

Only drawbacks to the 15LV so far are that one hatch leaks a little bit (like a half cup or so during a splashy day), the rubber covers are kind of a pain to get on and the hull is thin enough that I have to guard against oilcanning situations. I can live with all those for the $730 I paid for it.

$730 for your Easky 15 LV - great price.
I haven’t seen any prices much less than $1000.

I just got my Nighthawk 16 toward the end of the paddling season and don’t have much seat time in it.

Your mention that the Easky 15 LV is fun on fast creeks is of interest to me. I don’t have a kayak that I like on fast creeks.

“fast creek” defined
by “fast creek” I mean narrow and somewhat shallow with good flow, some ledges and gravel bars, and from intermittent flatwater riffle to Class 1 rapids. The bow takes head-on waves well, but at 15’ long I would not take it above Class 1. It doesn’t turn fast enough for that.

try a dagger
If all your looking for is a 12 footer, take a look at the dagger axis 12.0. I own one and love it. dagger considers them a "cross over " boat that performs well on rivers and flatwater and I agree. They are very stable and maneuver well, track great with skeg and have good cruising speed for the leagth. The big plus for you would be the capacity since that seemed to be your biggest concern. They are rated at 350 lbs, me at 6’5 and 215 I’m able to fit an additional 60 to 80 lbs. Of kit on board without an issue and still be well under the limit. i also have an old town dirigo 12 footer, it’s a great boat for what it is, dosn’t track as strait and has a little less storage space that the axis, but it works for short trips and makes a good fishing platform. those are just the 2 i can recommend from my own experiance. good luck and take your time, you still have a good 3 mounths to dicide.

Easky 15LV still on sale
I stopped by my local outfitter’s (Exkursion in Monroeville, PA, a Pittsburgh suburb) last night and saw they still have several Easky 15LV’s in stock and they are still on sale for 30% off (they are a small shop and probably need to clear the room). At $1099 base price that makes them $769.

From another female type…
You need to be clear about what you mean by advanced (or intermediate). For many here that means ocean, major waves, or alternatively higher class white water. Skills include having a roll that works in some amount of real conditions and good rescue skills. The last means you can help out if the sh*t hits the fan in a group and people start capsizing or having some kind of emergency.

A lot of people use intermediate to mean that they spent a couple of seasons paddling a kayak around in calm water and didn’t capsize or have any emergencies. That is not the same as being able to handle one. And as someone said above, advanced skills are rarely associated with a rec boat. Granted good paddlers can do pretty advanced stuff in a rec boat, but odds are they didn’t first learn those skills in one. These boats just aren’t helpful in the way that a well-outfitted and fitting touring or white water kayaks are.

Particularly for smaller women, this usually means starting out in a true low volume boat to get good contact. The boat that works for an average guy is usually too big to respond smartly for a smaller person.

I suggest that you start out used, to get more boat, and don’t fall in love with the first one. If you really seek advanced skills, you’ll likely be moving to another boat after the first season. The suggestions above include some good ones.

Re weight, get a cart to go from car to water and learn to slide the boat on and off your car rather than trying to lift it. That’ll leave plastic in the mix, where you can get a really decent first boat for as low as a few hundred dollars if you look around.