New boat needed for teenager

My teenage daughter is outgrowing her kayak…a Wilderness Systems Piccolo. She has to squirm to get her legs under the thigh hooks and her feet are getting cramped. I have considered a few replacements:

P & H Vela

Current Designs Squamish RM

Current Designs Slipstream

but would like to know what else I should consider. My upper price range is about $1500 so the ‘glass boats would have to be used. She is a proportionally sized 5’ 6", 123 lbs female with size 9 feet. Thanks.

Have the Vela
Things I like about the boat - great acceleration compared to my Explorer LV, stabilities OK though the boat is much faster than I am in surf yet, very manuverable and it’s darned nice to be pushing a slightly sub-16’ boat that can easily keep up with others much longer within a usual paddle pace.

Things I’d issue as cautions - quite skeg-dependent, not much of a rescue platform for a full sized guy, rear oval hatch is just too big to be truly dry no matter how much 303 I keep applying to make it slide evenly around the rim, and at feet size 2.5 bigger than mine I’d suggest that she sit in one first.

I also found that the stock seat situation wasn’t comfortable over a long time sitting in the boat but that’s easily fixed. I just finished cutting away some foam to flatten the angle out so that the front edge wasn’t cutting into my bottom thighs and last night’s trila run was promising. I’d also really love it they had just one more set of RDF’s between the last one forward and the next for stowing some things, but that’s minor.

We brought the boat on vacation this year so it’s had some time in real water, and she’s behaved quite nicely.

Tempest 165
Hey fellow Piedmonter. Try out a Tempest 165.

Wow! A Piccolo
You have a jewel there. One of the best small person boats made in my opinion. You will your money out of that one for sure. Someone will snatch it up.

For a similar boat, look for a used Wilderness Systems Alto. Equally as good and under rated. Just hard to find.

There are a ton of boats out there that would be a “next step up” but she will miss what she is leaving.

We got the QCC Q10. It is a very nice boat but is a step up in price.

What’s next after a Piccolo?
Totally agree w/Gibsonra about the Piccolo; a really terrific design. It was our daughter’s high school graduation present back in the mid 90’s and she put lots of miles on it. She eventually wanted a boat to do more playing in and ended up w/a Valley Pintail but has since replaced that with an Avocet LV (which is similar, but tracks better for her long trips way out in the Apostles.) These are all small boats (our daughter is 5’2", 105 lbs). When I asked her what her response to this question would be, she said she is still partial to the Valley boats, but would also look to P&H and, if your daughter wanted to go a long way fast, the Impex Force 3. But that is a bit pricier and harder to find used. Great Luck!

My son moved from a Piccolo to a Slipstream and loved it. I agree the Piccolo is a great first sea kayak. My son’s Piccolo had a rudder, which he didn’t like. Maybe too much for a kid to keep track of?

lots of boats out there
Necky Chatam 16, W/S Tempest 165, NDK Romany, Necky Eliza or Elaho, VCP Avocet all sound like boats she would like and I understand that they are all made in RM models even the Romany this year—although for the same price or less you might want to consider a used F/G oh and don’t forget a used Pintail.

My 17 yr old daughter uses a cd squamish and loves it - i use a ws tempest 165 and she feels its too much boat still for her. We havent tried the other very nice boats mentioned here though.

for the responses. She has tried a CD Squamish RM (her mom’s). It seemed to be a lot of boat to “push” given that it is 3 inches wider than the Piccolo. She did comment on how comfortable she was despite her first comment about not liking the seat. It is the original, unpadded seat pan with the factory backband, not backrest. I have found a WS 165 RM locally and will arrange for her to paddle it. She has been in my P & H Capella RM and found that too big. Any other comments and/or opinions are appreciated. Anybody want to chime in re: an Impex Mystic? I’d even consider an RM if I could find one in good condition.

I didn’t care for the Squamish
The low foredeck was nice but the width made me wonder, “Why?” It felt slow compared with the Squall I owned at the time. That’s another boat to try, though she might not like its tall deck and weird behavior in high wind.

I agree that the Tempest 165 would work well, but for her to use it, try putting some padding on the seat to raise her position. I glued in 1/2" minicell foam under the seat cover of mine, and that changed it from “Feels OK” to “Nice!” It made the boat more responsive to edging as well as forward strokes. Surprising how much difference 1/2" made

Remember that she added 3 ft of length when she tried the Tempest 165, so that may be what she is feeling rather than the 1" of additional beam compared with the Piccolo. The deck is higher, too, but it sounds like she needs that for her feet.

demoing tomorrow
I have found a WS Tempest 165 RM and a P & H Capella 160 RM for my daughter. We will paddle tomorrow. In looking over the Tempest, I was surprised to see how much wear it shows for only two years old. HIN indicates it is a 2006 model. It has been a demo at a local shop, so I realize that nobody has treated it as if they owned it. Hull is abraided and nicked. A few depressions are evident. Hatch covers are loose. If my daughter likes its performance, should I be concerned about the longevity of its single layer plastic.

I have not seen the Capella 160 RM yet. It is advertised as being a year old. I have a Capella RM from 2001 (original hull design) that shows much less “wear and tear” than the Tempest. I know the quality of P & H is highly regarded. My boat has no depressions in the hull and has its original square P & H hatch covers that have never leaked or dislodged in rescue maneuvers.

Has anyone compared these boats, side by side, stroke for stroke? I plan on paddling both of these after my daughter does, but I know I am already biased. Thanks for any comments.

Today’s experience
Just got back from paddling with my daughter. She tried the WS Tempest 165 RM and the P & H Capella 160. The Tempest paddled nicely though she thought it was a lot longer than the Capella. In reality, its only a few inches difference. I think the low front deck gives it the illusion of being much longer. She found the thigh braces on the Tempest to be confining. It was difficult to get in and certainly difficult to exit. She did not try a wet exit…only “dry”. The Capella was much easier to enter and exit. She really likes the thigh pads on the Tempest; whereas, the Capella was a looser fit with stock outfitting. The Capella won out on its build quality. No exposed nuts, no rear hatches that became dislodged by pulling acrossed the rescue lines, and a much stiffer hull. Its 90 degrees now and the Tempest was sagging atop the car rack on foam pads. My original Capella and my wife’s CD Squamish never did that. It seems the Tempest’s great hull design may be offset by its “topside problems”. Maybe though will be remedied in the future. We bought the Capella 160.

personal opinion

– Last Updated: Jul-20-08 7:00 PM EST –

I think over 15' is a lot of boat for most women to "push". That's my personal experience, but I'm quite sure there are exceptions for those women with great upper body strength.

Have you considered the Prijon Catalina? (15'3"L x 21.5" W)
Or Prijon Motion for a tad more stability? (14'11"L x 23.5"W)

Both are lower volume so they wouldn't feel like a bathtub for her to paddle.

Good luck!

In & Out the Tempest
Lots of folks (me included) move the seat back an inch or two to make getting in & out the Tempest 165 easier. Makes a huge difference.