New Boat suggestion for Wife?

Shopping for a new boat for my wife. The criteria are that it be reasonably fast, 45 lbs. or under, and preferably have a more open cockpit design. Some degree of stability is necessary as she’s moving up from a rec boat now. She’ll no doubt adjust to a narrower beam, but would like to retain the ability to dangle her legs over the side and bask in the sun. Rudder or skeg if possible. Intended use will be mainly flatwater, however will be used in LI Sound, the Hudson River and some protected bays also. Anyone have suggestions? (Tough one with seemingly mutually exclusive criteria…) Thanks.

CD Pachena
My Wife has A Current Designs Pachena. I think it will fit the above mentioned criteria.

Perception Shadow
My girlfriend has a Perception Shadow in kevlar which is 42lb, quite stable, and fast enough for normal touring. It has a rudder which needs to be used in moderate winds due to weather-cocking.

Happy Paddling!

Check out the RM Avocet.

CD Pachena/Whistler
If thinking plastic over Glass, the CD Whistler may be a good choice.


Impex Mystic
You can check it out on their website. My wife has one and loves it. Nicely finished, fast, good stability, skeg, 43-lbs in glass, well made. All things considered a real bargain.

there’s the" dangling the legs "
option would think that manufactuers would have a false saddle seat behind the cockpit just for this activity.and a picnic tray that fits across the cockpit.a paddle lock on the stern for single handed sculling,so m’lady would not have to sit down her wine glass to adjust her drift. but what pfd goes with a gauze dress and a straw hat?

dangle legs over the side??

– Last Updated: Jul-19-04 12:36 PM EST –

kind of matters how tall/short she is. Are you speaking the lazy leaning back with both feet over both sides? A short person isn't going to be danging legs unless it's a narrow low cockpit,,,then you lose the big cockpit option. Agree with the Pachena recomendation or Necky Manitou for the quasi/rec. style that paddles easily.
Wait,,a Futura 14'x24" "surfski"!!!! that's the one.

I can't figure out why more of these aren't sold.

Why so few short wide skis?
Maybe the reason few of those are sold is that a short wide ski - is still a ski - and skis just aren’t for everyone.

My girlfriend has a Findeisen Venture*, which is a similar short wide ski to the FUTURA 15 (at 13’9"x 23"). I find it far more similar to my UX racing ski than to any non-ski SOT I’ve paddled (meaning for me, it requires serious attention to stay upright on either one). My 21" Q700 is 5x more stable than her Venture (which would be considered very stable for a ski). Well, maybe not 5x - but it’s a very dfferent feel. Little primary - but good secondary if you can get your self to trust it on an open deck where too much lean means sliding off.

Stability is relative. When a surf ski maker says the boat is stable, it’s nothing like what WS means when they say a Tarpon SOT is stable.

Once you take an SOT below a certain beam, it becomes a different animal. Fun yes, but mostly suited to faster paddling/workouts and not much else (day touring for those with good balance - like Iceman on his Isthmus!). Not much fun to just sit on and relax (good luck!), OK if you like to keep moving.

Stability on narrow SOTs is no so much about the boat and much more about the paddler. At that point, for general paddling, most REC/SOT paddlers would be better served moving into a SINK. Having multiple points of contact with the hull and a lower center of gravity makes a narrower hull a lot easier to manage, particularly in moving water.

So maybe short wide skis are just too much of a challenge for many REC/SOT paddlers to move up too (easily at least, right Frank?) or find enjoyable. Too different from the paddling they enjoy.

Also maybe not enough of a speed upgrade (or too limited in what else it can do) for many SINK paddlers to want one. Anyone in a narrow SINK looking for more speed is more likely to enter skis at the next level up (spec skis, “beginner” racing models, whatever comes up used, etc.).

So where IS the market for these seemingly middle of the road craft?

Then there is the warm water or at least coastal bias - as inland and cold water paddlers aren’t as likely to see these boats or order them blindly.

*I should note that the Venture is Kim’s first boat - so short skis can work for beginners. She has good balance and doesn’t have any bad habits from wide barges to unlearn! She could sit on my UX with feet in the wells (nervously) after just a few minutes. The ONLY time Kim has fallen off her Venuture (which has a shallow smooth seatpan and no straps of any sort) unintentionally was the day of the Bacall race in Largo last Feb - and many here can attest to the size and steepness of the chop/wind waves that day - and she was out there specifically to practice paddling and recoveries in conditions (twice).

Venture pictures:

Since these shots, this “newbie” has upgraded to a carbon paddle and new PFD. I’m a bad influence.

Approximations are OK, but size does make a difference.

My wife, who’s small at 5’ even, is very happy with her WS Tchaika Pro. She’s faster in it than she was in her previous boat, which was longer, heavier, and wider.

On the kit side, the Pygmy Arctic Tern 14 has a good reputation as a playful yet stable boat for smaller folks.

Question for Martha
Sounds like a little project for Martha while she’s away, MARTHA STEWARTS KAYAK LIVING.


The Open Cockpit…
is a problem. She’s 5’9", long legs. I suggested a ski, the Futura II in fact. Have a friend who paddles one, and it’s as stable as can be-relatively fast, as compared to my QCC. Problem is, she doesn’t want to be sitting in a puddle, and as Northeasterners, the water does stay cold for a while. Thought about a K-1 style boat like an SRS Dart or Polaris, but again, at least with the Dart, there’s the stability issue. I’ll check out the Pachena, and one or two others suggested (Impex, etc.). The weight issue rules out poly. Many thanks-if any others occur to you, keep 'em coming.

Have you put her in your Q700?

– Last Updated: Jul-19-04 6:32 PM EST –

Same question for the NDK Explorer.

Sure the Q700 (and NDK) is intended for bigger folks - but I'm 5'9" too and Q700 fits great! Doubt she weighs anywhere near what I do - but then neither does JackL and he doesn't feel too small for his (though Nanci had fit issues - cockpit too big(?) - in a Q600 - which I assume has been outfitted to her now?).

Q700 may or may not be to her liking - but should at least reveal quite a bit about what may or may nor work, how narrow she can go, how a fairly standard cockpit size works out, etc. Q600 would likely be a better fit (sort of assumed you'd already considered that so didn't post that suggestion directly).

The "more open cockpit" makes it a bit tricky to make suggestions, as to me that limits it to heavier rec boats or SOTs.

The Impex boats are definitely nice, but Mystic is pretty short (been looking at one for Kim). Short can be fine, but I don't like to assume the ladies wouldn't be happy in longer hulls too. Once you get between 16'-18' and are talking sea kayaks - the choices are MANY. If this is to be a more intermediate boat - I can't help much with ideas. I went straight from a 28" beam SOT to a 21" SINK.

PS - Did you find the Futura II more or less stable than your Q700?

Sundance, Acadia, Carolina
I believe any of the above would fit. Sundance is now in Airalite, and both that and the Acadia as well as the America have large cockpits that would be low enough for her to dangle in the water. I tried that in my Carolina the other day with no problem. All are speedy little boats (little as compared to 16 footers, that is). And the Carolina is one of the most stable skinny boats you can get. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with mine! But you would need Airalite as opposed to my 51lb plastic ark. Just a note on the Carolina, I heard the other day that down around LI sound they are one of the most popular boats in the water. Good luck. Just my two cents worth from an avid Perception fan.

Initial Stability
She’s been in both my boats, and while she was a little concerned at the onset over the initial stability, she adapted fairly rapidly. They are quite big on her though; even I at 6’1" and 190 lbs. would like a little less volume at times. We’ll continue to search. A ruddered open cockpit k-1 style would suit the bill, but you give up the stability for speed. The Futura II feels more stable than the QCC, at least to me. You can edge it, surprisingly, but it’s intended to be purely rudder dependent. As a ski goes, I don’t put it in that category other than SOT design. As far as a speed comparison goes, some have said it’s a touch faster than the fast sea kayaks (QCC, Epic, etc.), but it feels about the same to me. It is lighter, and thus, accelerates faster. I can hit the wall in terms of hullspeed with the Futura; the QCC feels less abrupt, like it has greater top end. BTW-Epic 18-nice boat-once you get that one up to speed you can hold it up there indefinitely-it just goes. We’re going to try the Impex boats and maybe a Nighthawk 16 this weekend.

You May Be Underestimating…
how quickly your wife may be able to adapt. My Wife started off in my Montauk (16’x22"). She doesn’t paddle as much as me but is quite comfortable in that. Last season she wanted to learn to scull, I stuck her into my Greenland style stitch & glue (17.5’x20"). We paddled a bit around the lake and she got used to it pretty quickly. Then we went on to sculling which she picked up in one session. She hasn’t been out this year. Guess we’ll find out where she’s at when I get her again. Hopefully soon.


WS Caribou
If she is 5’9" she will fit just fine. The cockpit is not huge but is long. I can get my feet in and out while siting. Mine weighs 43# in kevlar and has a skeg. The boat is surprisingly stable due to the hard chines.