New kayak - help selecting....

To start my data - 5’11" and 230lbs. Consider myself a beginner and have owned a Preception Tribe 11.5 for the past year. I like it and want to use it more in the ocean so ride some waves and do some fishing. That said I would like to get into a sit-in kayak and something that is more in the realm of a touring kayak. I want someting that I can paddle mroe efficiently and go a bit further in.

My spots consist of New Jersey bays, some ocean and then rivers and laks in PA. I don’t need an ocean kayak but would not mind a kayak that could be taken into the ocean if I so desired. I definitly want it to be able to handle the bay which can get some wind and waves.

Now I have my eye on 3-4 kayaks - my guess is they are all different but I have never been able to test any and I don’t know of a place where I could possiably paddle each. SO I am lookign for inputs and suggestions on these (all in the 1000-1200 dollar range)

  • Strait 140 XE (I really like this one)
  • Alchemy 14.LG
  • Edge 14.5
  • Stratos 14.5L

Any info or suggestions are appreciated.

For your size and what you want to do, I think you should stretch it out a bit–like to about 17 feet, or so.

You don’t think any of the kayaks I mentioned would work for my size???

What is out there in the 17 foot range that would fit me. I love the idea of a sea kayak at some point but I am still a beginner and I think somehting in the 14 to 16 foot range to get me into the touring range is a better start. I also think since I would want to use the kayak on rivers and lakes that a bit smaller and more manuervable would be better.

I finally found a dealer with the strait 140xe but shipping is steep. I like it a lot - only would have to seal up the hatches. After that I lean torward the stratos as it seems set for larger paddalers and seems to do well in a lot of conditions…

Where are you located? If you’re on the east coast, surely there are places where you could try different kayaks. You should never, ever buy any kayak without paddling it first, or at least sitting in the cockpit to see if #1 it fits and #2 it’s comfortable.

Why would you have to “seal up the hatches” on the Elie Strait? It comes with hatch covers.

I am your size. I have a 14 ft kayak that is ok to paddle. However it sits lower in the water has a lower length width ratio and is just OK. Most of the boats that are joys to paddle for my size/weight are in the 17 ft range as others have said. My 17 ft sea kayak does the same thing it just does it easier. Turning ability is more technique and boat design. For example kayaks with more rocker will turn better than kayaks with little rocker. A paddler that can “edge” a boat turns better than one that cannot.

Rookie - I do live on th eeast coast and my guess is I can find one maybe 2 of the boars listed above but it wouldrequire probably 100 mile drive or more… The 140XE is only sold by a few places anymroe so no chance there… I think I am going to need to buy without sitting in one - not that I want to but choice is limited.

Overstreet - I like the idea of a big boat but transporting a 17 foot boat and storing it are not going tyo be easy. I also think trying to take it on a river or into some of the marsh lands in the bay on the Jersey shore would be difficult because turns get tight and I don’t think a 17 footer would fit… I think a 14 footer (sit in) would be a hughe uograde over my tribe 11.5 sit on top.

IF I was to go big are there any 16 or 17 footers out there in my price range that are of good quality?

Also still lookign for folks inputs on the boats I listedd - any feedback on which of those is best would be great.

I have bought three kayaks in my fleet used for under 1,000.00 all retail for 4-5,000. All in great shape. Maybe used is an option?

I’m a bit smaller than you and paddle the smaller Alchemy. I like it a lot and I think an Alchemy will do all the things you want it to do. Don’t know if you need a small or a large. I found mine used for $600 so I had no problems pulling out that stiffening hardware that got in my way. Good luck in your search.

Drive the hundred miles to look at kayak at bare minimum sit in it. Better test paddle. Worth the drive.

Don’t get hung up on the idea that a longer boat can’t be maneuvered in tight places. With some practice and a few pointers, you will be able to turn the boat completely around in its own length. Learn what a bow rudder is and practice until it is second nature. Stern ruddering is for surfing

At the very least, try out some real sea kayaks before you buy anything and don’t be discouraged by first impressions if the boats seem tippy and hard to manage; that will all go away in time. The rewards are more than worth the effort.

I would strongly suggest looking at what Current Designs has to offer. The Prana, Gulfstream, Sirocco, Carabou and Solstice should be on your list. There are lots of other great brands and models, but those should get you pointed in the right direction.

I am about your size, 5’11" 230-240 lbs. with a size 14 foot. I have an Alchemy 14 L. I use it for rivers, lakes, and some coastal. It does fine for all of these. If I could have only 1 boat it would be my Alchemy ( I have 4 kayaks and a solo canoe). Of all of my boats the Alchemy definitely gets the most use. For what you describe I think a day touring boat, like the Alchemy or similar, would be a reasonable choose. If you spend most of your time on larger lakes and open bay, I would also consider a sea kayak, depending on what others you paddle with use. Depending on a lot of factors, but in general, a 14’ kayak will be faster and more efficient then what you are currently paddling, but not as fast or efficient as say a 17’ sea kayak. So consider where you would use it most. I have no experience with the other boats you list, so I can’t help you there. I would also look at used boats, and I would not hesitate to drive 100 miles or more, and have more then once, to at least sit in or better yet demo a boat. I’ve tried too many boats that didn’t fit me for me to order one without at least sitting in it. Good luck with your search.

I use a Stratos as my river tripper/camper. I’m 6’2 245-250 depending on the day. Very maneuverable stable boat and I really appreciate that in the river. On flat water it’s a little slow as you would expect due to the hull shape and my waterline. I also find it requires a little skeg for tracking unless all you want to do is pay attention to your strokes. If you do go with that model I find the Seals 1.7 fits better than the 2.2 they suggest in the cockpit cover. My 1.7 Seasprite skirt also fits well but I haven’t tried other skirts on it. If you’re doing more day paddling than camping and more flatwater than moving water maybe also have a look at the Zephyr 160 by Wilderness Systems. Of course if the rivers are rough I’d go with the Stratos over the Zephyr. Not knocking the other boats in you list at all as I haven’t tried them.

Apprecaite the feedback - I like the current design kayaks but all are in the 2-3K range for price - not what I want to pay right now.

find a used CD boat

Where is the best place to look for used?

ebay, craigslist, paddle clubs may have listings, google used kayak and a few sites will pop up. Other kayak forums. You do need a bit of patience don’t panic and take what you don’t like. Warmer weather will bring more listings. Google the name of kayak you want with “for sale” after it. If you want a certain brand like say CD call dealers to see if they have anything used or would sell from rental fleet.

look around even of they are far away you will get ideas on pricing. If it says “asking price” they will come down. Buying you can go up in price, they can’t go up in selling price. Many have no clue what to ask so they start high. I bought a 2000 CD Extreme HV on ebay. It started at over 2,000 and I know it has a limited audience. Then it was listed for 1,800 then 1,600 then 1.200. I sent a message list it for 800 and i’ll buy it. They did and it’s mine. Really in better shape than it looked as they just pulled it out of storage and took pictures. I buffed it up, new deck lines, and decals and it is near new looking. Few scratches on deck buffed out. That did take a couple of years to find close enough to me. I didn’t want to pay a ton because I had one already just not high volume. Got a CD Solstice 2 years old say about 3,400 new the year I bought it for 1,800 plus accessories which brought it to a replacement value of over 4 grand. Then add taxes if I bought new. Guy used it a few times and then shelved it. Deals are to be had out there. Not sure if you listed what area you are from here but others may know of some kayaks for sale. Got a 1999 Libra XT 22’ tandem for 900 which cost about 5 grand new. Couple of scratches buffed out and it is exactly same as new boat sold now. I did put in newer style Sea-lect pedals for comfort for about 150 bucks.

Alchemy and Stratos both should work. I like them both. Don’t know the other 2.

I would take a day long intro to sea kayaking class before buying. it would give you more info on what to look for on buying a kayak,