Need help buying a kayak

I am looking at getting a kayak and found a good deal on a 1998 Necky Arluk 3 (Fiberglass). I am having trouble finding information on this kayak. I am trying to figure out how this kayak will do with my weight or what kayak you might be able to suggest for me. I am 5’10 130pounds. I don’t plan on carrying alot of gear and like to paddle on lakes and eventually the outer banks (ocean). The Valley aquanaut seems to have the features I like. Any suggestions? Thanks for any help!

There are several reviews on this forum.

Bill H.

A few thoughts…

– Last Updated: Jul-06-09 4:04 AM EST –

I've paddled both boats you've mentioned here (the Arluk III--and Arluk II, a very different boat--several years ago), and a couple of Aquanauts more recently. Given a choice between these two boats (Arluk III vs. Aquanaut), MY immediate preference would be for the Aquanaut (standard, LV, and HV are the choices of Aquanaut), but this isn't about MY preferences.

You mentioned that you like the "features" of the Aquanaut, but without more details, we can't really know what that means to you. From reading your post, it seems that you haven't actually paddled either of these boats, and are so far just relying on a bit of reading and/or talking. All things considered, I have a few questions to begin with:

How much paddling experience do you have? How many different boats--and which ones--have you paddled? What kinds of water/wind conditions have you paddled in? Will this be your first boat acquisition?

I'd really be interested in reading your responses to these questions--and perhaps more to come. Until then, here are a few general thoughts...

I tend to sound like a broken record (remember those?) when it comes to this subject, but that's only because I really believe in a particular approach to acquiring boats--especially a first boat--which this sort of sounds like to me. Please correct me if I'm mistaken here. If you're a relative--or actual--newbie to sea kayak paddling (and you're obviously into it enough to be looking into some serious boats), my first advice would be to resist the perfectly natural tendency to rush out and get the first boat that "seems like a good deal", and spend a bit of time paddling as many different boats as you can find. Paddle each one in as many different conditions as you can find as well. If you're a new paddler, this time spent in various boats will not only let you get a feel for the various designs, how they handle, and how they fit both your body and your personality, but as you paddle them, your skills will have time to develop a bit as well. As your skills develop (pretty quickly if you're really into this project), your ideas of what you're really looking for in a first boat will become apparent to you--quite naturally. Certainly, listen to people who have experience, but when it comes down to YOUR first boat (and the rest of your fleet, eventually), it's all about how YOU feel in and about the boat(s).

At some magical point during your frenzied boat/sea trials (could be very soon, or it could take a little while), you'll hear a voice in your heart that says "This is the one!" Listen to that voice, and find your checkbook, for your first boat has probably just found you!

Please do tell us more about your paddling experiences and your paddling dreams, and we may well be able to help steer you in interesting directions with regards to particular boats to try...and why. Above all, have fun! (obviously).


PS: If, for some reason you feel the need to make a quick decision (not many boats to try locally, or you're simply going to insist on getting a boat NOW), we can discuss your options. The most important thing is to get on the water. :)

Yes, read reviews, but…

– Last Updated: Jul-06-09 3:09 AM EST –

...have several grains of salt handy. As one who has been guilty of this in the past (a perfectly natural thing to do), even I have written an overly enthusiastic review in the heat of the moment, only to look back several years later and decide that I could have been more helpful to someone reading the reviews had I taken more time with a particular boat before writing the review. Often enough, the "paddler reviews" here and elsewhere are written very shortly after someone acquires a shiny new boat, and they're so happy and excited, all they can do is rave about it. Later, they might wish to go back and tone it down a bit, or at least make the review a bit more realistic/practical/etc. Just something to think about when considering reviews.


don’t get it
more importantly what kayaks have you paddled that you’ve liked? There are better designs for a ruddered kayak especially someone weighing 130lbs who isn’t carrying much gear. If you put on another 75lbs and it was given to you that would be a heck of a deal. I’d suggest looking at a Necky Eliza.

When you mention day paddling on lakes then surf/ocean you’re covering a huge range.

I will mosty day paddles with minimal gear on flat water. Stability isn’t the most important and would sacrifice stability for speed. I would like to have the ability to take it in the ocean. My weight is my biggest problem that I seem to have. thanks for the help!

Ha ha! So true!
Two more reasons: We grow in our knowledge of kayaks and kayaking as the years go by, and kayaks are always being improved. But you’re right, I’ve noticed that a great many people rate their kayaks a perfect 10. Once we’ve spent a lot of money on something, we prefer psychologically to believe that we made a perfect purchase.

It’s also important to consider the reviewer’s use of the kayak, experience, and size.