Need help choosing!

I’m new to kayaking. 54 yo, 5’7" female, 180 #. I want a SOT for lakes, rivers. Just for recreation & “poking” about. Whitewater & ocean not for me. Speed is not my goal, but don’t want to struggle all day either. After researching, I’ve narrowed my decision down to 1) Ocean Frenzy ( though not wild about the flat bottom) , 2) Liquid Logic Coupe (love the idea of skeg and versatility), and 3) Cobra Explorer. Leaning toward the Coupe! thinking I won’t “outgrow” it in a season. I would so appreciate any input/feedback/experiences concerning any or all! Additionally, any recommendations I should consider! Thank you!!!

Price range?
You don’t state what your price range might be, but for a few more dollars, I’d recommend considering the Hurricane Skimmer 116. Fast, quiet, and comfortable. It’s also lighter than any of the others you mentioned.

Need help choosing!
Thank you for your suggestion! Hoping to stay under $800, but will consider spending more for the “right” match ! Will definitely check it out!

Cobra Explorer
The other boats will be slower and all f them are very very slow boats.

Id see if you can try out an RTM Disco someplace or some 12-14 foot long boats that are less than 30 inches wide. The short boats are so slow that there is no point in paddling harder; it just pushes out a bigger wake.

Ocean Venus 11
the larger of the two (Venus 10, Venus 11). Light, easy to carry, good agility and decent speed.

None of the recreational SOTs are about speed anyway. But that’s OK.

If you can find a used Hurricane Phoenix 120 or better yet a 130 or 140, it will almost certainly be under $800 and might come w. a seat, paddle etc.Very nice SOT.

Buying new can be expensive esp. since the SOT seat is almost always not included, and most ppl want that.

Need help choosing!
! thank you for your input! A slow kayak coupled with my limited endurance may equal less enjoyment! I question my ability to handle a longer, more narrow kayak, but as I’m a beginner, I have nothing to compare it to, and I suppose I may as well learn on one a bit longer!

Need help choosing!
Excellent! thank you! Looking at used kayaks as well, but had NO idea what to look for. will definitely research the ones you recommend! I also rather like the Venus 11… There are so many options available out there! I truly appreciate ALL of the suggestions from you experienced enthusiasts!


– Last Updated: Aug-06-13 6:32 PM EST –

Welcome aboard, Kc!

You're heading in the right direction, but it appears you're only looking new.

We've been thru 8 boats -only two were bought new, and one of them was literally half price, so perhaps that one doesn't count. Of the 6 we still have in our back yard, only 2 -my skegged Valley Aquanaut SINK (Sit INside Kayajk) and our Knysna Isthmus (a different breed of cat -a 17' X 21", gas pedal-ruddered glass really fast SOT) were bought new. Sally's Hurricane Tracer SINK, my old Perception Eclipse Sea Lion SINK, and our two old OK Scuppers -Sally's Classic, and my Pro, SOTs, were all bought at significant ($200-$800) dollar savings.

So think used as well. Check out paddling shops and guide operations for possibly available used boats, check right here at P-Net, and check Craigslist, with the usual caveats for avoiding boats that are advertised with, shall we say, a bit of hyperbole...? Also check if there are any paddling clubs in your area -they'll provide good advice, perhaps a boat or two or three to test drive if you attend one of their events...

And don't forget you're really buying a "system", not just a boat.

1) The boat -that's where you are right now; the OK Frenzy is probably a bit short and a bit wide for what you seem to want to do -cruise. The Coupe seems to be a bit better choice, as especially is the Cobra. If you can afford one -think used -you might want to check the WS Tarpon 120 or better yet, the 140, out;

2) The paddle -don't get a really cheap flat-bladed heavy one -for years of enjoyment, get a lighter glass and/or composite-shafted, plastic or composite-bladed asymmetric dihedral paddle -you can pick fairly decent ones up even new for $85-$150, and they DO make a difference;

3) Your PFD -get as good a PFD as you can afford -good meaning adequate flotation, of course, but almost as important, comfort -so you'll be happy wearing it! -there are women's models available with bust cut-aways that significantly reduce binding and bulkiness, and Sally has one that's good for her (and even comfortable for me);

4) Boat transportation -purpose-built roof racks (Yakima, Malone, Thule are the leaders; there are others) are excellent choices for solid, steady boat totes, and while even the better 'temporary' foam block setups, if correctly used, and lined fore and aft as well as across the boat, can safely carry a boat for any number of moderate distance trips, the recommendation for a roof rack still holds (of the 4 racks we've had, 2 were bought used and gave us years of safe service)

5) Accessories particularly important for SOTers... sunscreen, hat, and a moderate-sized dry bag for your wallet & keys and similar stuff.

So good luck with your search for paddling gear -may you find good gear to go with your good boat, and have many happy days-months-years on te waters as you


-Frank in Miami

Need help choosing!
Thank you, Frank, for sharing this valuable advice! (Craigslist is one of my favorite go-to sources for all things used at great prices!) My family (hubby plus 3 , 20-something kiddos, are heavily into riding our SeaDoos at speeds that practically make your hair catch fire. I’m more into nature, and enjoying it at a slower, more nature-friendly pace. So excited to start kayaking! We have pretty good PDF for the SeaDoos, but I wonder do they manufacture special kayak ones…thinking that paddling comfort may call for different design. I can research that as well…I also see I can purchase packages that will adapt my current auto rack to make it accommodate a kayak. Again, thank you for the broader picture considerations!

good used SOTs
what a friendly response! you will go far as ppl will want to help you.

You can find these used SOTs on the market for under $800, some of them well under:

Ocean Venus 11 (the 10 will be undersized for you but anyway the 11 is easier to find, and both are light and easier to handle, and designed w. a woman’s COG (Center of Gravity, which is lower placed - a good thing) in mind.

Any SOT you are considering see how they are to lift on and off your vehicle roof rack. See if there’s a side handle and if it makes for an easy carry. If not, and you otherwise like the kayak, there are kayak carts specially designed for SOTs

Ocean Frenzy as you noted

Wilderness Systems Tarpon (the 12 or 14) These are beefier and heavier but they do perform well. See how it feels to lift them on and off your vehicle rack.

Perception is the value line of Confluence and has several popular SOTs you should be able to find used:

Perception Pescador - very popular, in 12 or 14

Perception Tribe - 135 (thirteen feet, 5 inches)

Perception Triumph 13.

Hurricane Aquasports Phoenix 130 or 140. Really nice handling, light and attractive SOTs. These are thermoformed plastic and are lighter and stiffer than rotomoulded plastic. all things considered this is my best rec for you along w. the Ocean Kayak Venus 11. Imo the 120 will ride too low for you, my friend who is 180 was in it.

Emotion Temptation can be bought for around $500 new.

They have a simpler model called the Spitfire (9 footer) for $100 less. Emotion frequently get slammed as a low value brand but I think these SOTs give quite a lot for value and are fun to paddle.

There is a man I know on eBay (not me and not related to me) selling an excellent barely used red Spitfire w. seat for $199 and will professionally wrap and ship it to you in any of the lower 48 via Forward Air… even if the shipping is $120 or so you are about even with chasing down a brand new one if you can find it.

The Hurricane Skimmer is indeed an excellent SOT but it was just introduced within the year and costs $1100 and you go out and buy a seat separately… seats can cost anywhere between $70 and $170…

RTM Disco and RTM Midway are awesome (wish I had a Disco) BUT they are more for the go fast crowd and to many they give up a lot in primary stability…prolly not best bet for you)

Malibu X series SOTs are light, turny and fun fun fun but they are shaped for surfing and fitness, and you need to put on some speed for best stability.

That’s all I got for now. Happy Hunting!

The Skimmer comes with an excellent, comfortable seat. I believe the Phoenix is now the bare bones model. List price for the 116 is $999.

I love my Skimmer 116. Yes, it is more expensive, but it’s light (39 pounds) and easy to handle on and off the water. The Trylon is beautiful. Also, I prefer the adjustable foot braces rather than the molded variety as found on most others.

I wouldn’t dismiss it because of the price.

Hurricane Skimmer 128
I’m really enjoying mine. Weighs 43 lbs. Fast for a sit-on-top, tracks well, very quiet, dry ride for a SOT and really pretty. It came with a seat.

I also have a Hurricane Phoenix 120 which is a nice boat, but noisy.

In my volunteer work at a state park, I regular paddle a Tarpon 100 (same as the Pescador 10) and the Tribe 9.5 and Tribe 11.5 The Tarpon/Pescador is far superior to the Tribes, faster, quieter, tracks better, has dry storage. The Tribes are lighter, very stable, slow–good little workboats for what we do at the park, but I wouldn’t want one for my personal use.

I’ve paddled an Emotion Spitfire and wouldn’t have one—too small, doesn’t track, pokey. Also paddled the Venuses, and they are very stable but slow.

Yes - kayaking and shape related designs
… are available. another thing to think about is that SOTs often have high seat backs. It could be worth looking for one with a mesh back that won’t interfere with the seat. Find a good paddle store while you are shopping, try some on, and talk to the staff.

folks, The OP stated her budget was $800 or under. So that’s where I kept my suggestions.

Skimmer is over budget whether it’s listing for MRSP ($999) or over. Some paddleshops are listing it for over and getting it. It will be a very popular model for Hurricane.

A new Phoenix (any size)has an MSRP well over $800, closer to $1100 and up depending on length. Which is why I suggested OP look for used ones. Also, Phoenix series doesn’t come w. seat so in buying a NEW Phoenix OP has that cost, too.Buying a used one she is likely to get a seat w. it and maybe other gear.

Skimmer has an integrated seat but I hear it is a very wet ride and doesn’t hold up that well :wink:

Look at Necky Vectors.

– Last Updated: Aug-06-13 11:00 PM EST –

They come in 13' and 14' and are very user friendly. On the light side for SOT.A local store had them on sale for $700.Quick and easy to handle in the water. more narrow than most SOT.

Skimmer seat—
Haha, RW. The Skimmer is a very dry ride when paddling; I don’t need scupper plugs at all. Very dry, that is, unless it rains on the way to the launch, and then I’ll have a wet seat all day. Not a problem in Florida summer and I’m still figuring out what to do when it gets cooler.

They have had a problem with some of the new airstream seat backs–the spring popped out on mine the first time I tried to adjust the seat. The good news is that when I called them about it, they sent me a new seat back right away and this one seems to be fine. Great customer service.

I also think a used Phoenix would be a good choice.

The OP did not indicate that $800 was a firm price ceiling, hence my recommendation.

Many of the suggestions in this thread are fine boats…for someone who has no trouble dealing with 50-60+ pounds. The OP stated that she will be off by herself. Speaking from experience as an older female who often paddles alone, light weight is of prime importance, otherwise the boat just won’t get used. If I can find something used that meets my specs, great, but what’s the point of buying something just because the price is right if it’s just going to be too heavy and cumbersome to deal with? That’s why I bit the bullet and bought the Skimmer. Absolutely no regrets.

the Ocean Venus would likely be your best bet.Good all around performance,stability,light weight and price.ACK Outlet has some great deals on several Ocean kayaks and some others.

I got the Prowler 13 Angler from them a short while back.Great people to do biz with.Don’t worry about buying a “blem”.It’s just cosmetic/barely perceptable.

take a look
at this link. fill in the blanks and enjoy your search

nitpicky gnat lol
she said she hoped to stay under $800, but was willing to go higher for the right one. So we’re straining at gnats here.

since she will need a paddle, in most cases a seat,and she also stated she will definitely need a attachments for her rack system. She may need an SOT cart to get to her desired put ins. Add all that to the price of the kayak itself and a SOT costing $800 or less begins to look more desirable.

In my responses I chose to look at things in a more comprehensive way. You take a different tack and focus on boat cost alone.

Neither is wrong. Giving the OP options is right.

We are all trying to help here.