Need some help with an upgrade

-- Last Updated: Mar-26-14 6:34 PM EST --

My wife bought me a lifetime lotus kayak for my birthday last year and I returned the favor shortly after so we had a pair to go out in the water where we live. She chose the kayak because it was cheap and also because being that we live in a condo it was only 8' and we can maneuver them in and out of the elevator.

We mostly use these kayaks in the bay where we live and sometimes go out in the intracoastal.

When we travel around we usually will rent kayaks and find that the ones that we are renting are so much easier to paddle and seem like they drag less.

Since we would like to take ours out more, I am wondering if there is another sit on kayak that would be the same size that would work better or if we would need to go to a larger size kayak to get better performance.

We go out for pleasure kayaking and do not need something super fast but don't like coming back feeling worn out. Ideally i would keep the our 8' slow kayaks to just to use in our backyard and purchase maybe another 2 to use for traveling and keep them elsewhere. I have an SUV with a kayak rack but have only used it once but would like to use it more.

The only positive i think is that these kayaks weigh about 40-45 pounds so they are not too much of a pain to get on the roof with a ladder.

Appreciate any advice.

longer means less drag
The basics are that a longer kayak generally will have less drag. Especially if it is also narrower.

Lifetime is generally a lower end boat, but I am not sure if another brand (even more expensive ones) of 8’ kayak would be that much better.

What kind of paddles do you use?
I am assuming your using something similar to my first paddles and since you are considering an upgrade I would suggest upgrading paddles. Aquabound stingrays would run around $140 per pair and would make a much more significant impact than changing to another 8ft long SOT. You would not believe the difference a couple of ounces make. And when you do finally upgrade kayaks you will still have the paddles.

No personal experience here…
but an alternate would be a folding or inflatable kayak. Light weight and easy to store. Which one paddles best? I’ve no idea, but if I had storage issues, I think I’d look in that direction.

Also agree on the paddles. Perhaps the best upgrade any kayak can have, and it’s transferable.


Point 65
If storage and weight are big issues you might want to check out the Point 65 modular kayaks. I have never tried one beyond sitting in one at a paddling show. Most of their line is short kayaks but they seem to have a new approx 14’ sit in kayak which could also be 18 foot tandem if you want.

dont mind buying another set
i dont even know the make of our paddles. They came from sports authority. They only say made in taiwan on them so not expecting much.

Just to be clear. I am not against purchasing an additional set of kayaks to be used for when we travel to different destinations that i would store elsewhere.

We were in the keys recently and they rented out Perception Tribe kayaks (not sure of the length) and they move very smoothly compared to ours. We really enjoyed using them.

Most inflatables are really slow
And I have owned one and paddled a few. They are convenient to take out, less so to put away because they deflate slowly (quickly lose most air but take a while to totally empty), take a little while to dry (and you don’t want to pack them up wet) and it can be hard to find a good spot to fold/roll up without getting a bunch of sand/leaves on them.

need a lot more info
Are you sold on SOT? Sounds like it, but you didn’t say for sure. The Necky Vector 13 is a fast, easy to paddle plastic SOT, but you might get sticker shock.

What sort of budget do you have? Hopefully you realize that you own budget kayaks right now (I own a dirt cheap yak also; not knocking the idea when the low budget yak meets a need). Most upgrades will be at least double what you paid for those.

Take a look here:

I think OK makes good yaks, but largely pointing you there for basic info. The Perception Tribes you liked seem like a decent boat.

since you like the feel of an easy glide
Since you like the feel of an easy glide, you probably like solid stability, and light weight (39 lbs advertised), I bet something like the Current Designs Ignite would have you two grinning ear to ear.

Lady I met at a yak day last year
really liked her Point65 sectional for casual paddling on protected waters, and storage features. Has some decent reviews here. May contact a nearby dealer to try one or check with a local paddle group like those on R

Since you have space constraints
Definitely consider a high end inflatable. I’ve got one and it works very well. I’ve also got 9 other hard shell kayaks, but this one stores and travels easy. And. its glide is better than any 8 footer I’ve tried out. It’s a way to get the performance of a longer kayak that stores in a smaller space. These folks have some good boats.

article on inflatables, folders, etc.
California Kayaker Magazine had an article on paddling and small living spaces in its Summer 2012 issue. Can be read for free online at at

Maybe best idea.
I think your best plan if you can find a place to store them is to get two longer boats–at least 13 1\2 feet long. Just for kicks, you should try something above 16’ in a sit inside. If you’ve never tried something in that range, you really should; it’s a whole new world. Be very aware though, from there on your life is likely to change–for the better.

paddle and stroke
I’d agree with the paddle upgrade suggestion. Also makes sure you have a proper forward stroke because it can wear you out if not.

But all else being equal, if you’re paddling in a large bay or the waterway, it may get windy enough or choppy enough for paddling to be a chore. Or maybe you just want to go further and see more.

Cobra Strike
If you want a suggestion for a shorter SOT that will paddle faster, try demoing or renting a Cobra Strike. They are designed for surfing, but I use mine for paddling up and down the coast and mild rock garden play. It takes a bit of practice to paddle it straight, but it has a fin, and channels that help in that area. It’s 9’6" so a bit longer but narrower and much more hydrodynamic than the boat you are paddling, and probably lighter than what you have now. I have multiple kayaks and waveskis and still keep my Strike around, it’s a fairly decent sit on top design.

appreciate all the help

– Last Updated: Mar-27-14 7:53 PM EST –

Appreciate all the tips. I think I will try and get two additional longer sot kayaks to use elsewhere and upgrade our paddles so we can at least have better paddles for the 2 slow dogs. Had no idea some of these kayaks run into the thousands. Looks like i am getting into another expensive hobby. Fun part will be demoing a few to see what works best.

Paddle many, Buy several
That’s my motto.

It’s good to try many boats of significantly different size and design to see what feel best for each of you.

That said I have a Trak 16’folding boat that I’m very happy with for speed and handling, and it’s a little bigger than a set of golf clubs when folded.

Good Luck