New Ocean Kayak Buyer - Need Help


I am in the market for an ocean going kayak and am somewhat overwhelmed by the choices available. I was hoping if I posted my current specs someone might me able to make some reccomendations as to good kayak choices? Thank you in advance.

  1. I live near the Pacific ocean, there is often large and rough surf with substantial winds and currents. I am a strong surfer, swimmer and experienced in boating. I have kayaked before in these conditions using both sit inside and sit on top kayaks. But I have never owned one. I was hoping to purchase a kayak that was suitable for these ocean conditions and that would travel quickly and in a straight line. Im not looking for a surf kayak, just an ocean-capable kayak good for medium to long distances.

  2. I am 6’0 175 lbs. I dont plan on bringing more than 50 lbs of gear with me.

  3. I am looking for a price range under $1500 new.

  4. Because of storage constraints, I cant buy anything much larger than 16 feet.

  5. I am open to used kayaks as well if anyone has suggestions there.

  6. I am open minded on sit on top or sit inside

  7. There are some good retailers near me including REI

    and a Cobra Dealer

    Thanks very much!


Can you store diagonal and go to 17’ ?
More options open up.

New Kayak
Not really. I could probably cut a hole in some cabinets but my wife will kill me. I mean if its the best boat in the world and I need it so bad, maybe she’ll understand…

Oh, then just put it on the floor : )
Does your Cobra dealer have any of Cobras skis or Elimiators or that new multi-sport SINK kayak ?

Not in stock. But I am sure they could order whatever I want. I dont think the eliminator is what I am after as it doesnt have any storage

what area?
Whereabouts on the Pacific are you?

Has there been any particular model or type of boat you’ve rented or borrowed that appealed to you.

With your budget you should be able to get a great used kayak and there tend to be a lot available in coastal areas. When people are looking for a first boat I’ll usually check the Craiglist posts in their area as well as the ads posted on this site, to tell them what is available that might be worth looking at locally.

If you go new, you will be limited to plastic kayaks for the most part, though there are some composites in the top end of that price range. With used boats you may be able to get fiberglass (a bit lighter). Then there are folding and skin on frame kayaks. If you are in Oregon you could build a custom one for $1500 at Brian Schulz’s kayak building seminars.

That said, there is a growing range these days of production sea-worthy boats around 15 and 16 feet. Your physical size and ability also mean you will have a lot to choose from. Throw us a little more info and i expect you’ll get lots of suggestions.


– Last Updated: Sep-12-11 6:10 PM EST –

I am in Newport Beach. The craigslist is Orange County, Los Angeles or San Diego.

I have paddled a wide variety of crafts in different conditions but at the time I wasnt focused on buying so I dont remember there names. I have also regularly done outrigger paddling and kayak surfing on a Cobra Strike which I loved.

What other info do you need to help?

Did you try the Cobra Re-Vison ?
Ocean Kayak Sprinter would be another fun one but a little long.

All of these are way under 1500.00 and you can probably find them used EZ in SoCal too.

good deal in LA
This Dagger Charleston is quite a good deal and the boat has gotten good reviews. Unusual to find a 14’ boat that will fit average to larger paddlers and still be ocean suitabe. Can’t beat the price ($450).

Am still going through the West Coast CL listings but most seem to be sit on tops and/or too long for your storage limitations. More later.

Second the Cobra Revision
This would be a great boat for paddling out from the Newport harbor or doing surf launch and landings, paddles fairly fast, tracks well, is not too long, and you can surf it and ride swells too.

I’m in San Diego, and actually use my Cobra Strike for Coastal paddles when I am not trying to keep up with SINKS, it’s a pretty versatile boat for it’s size, and a really good surf craft.

Use the money you save on a good paddle (See Onnopaddles for example.)

You can be creative.
My seakayak hangs outside on a fence in a narrow walkway. It’s covered with UV protective tarps and locked with heavy cable locks. It’s pretty invisible, just need to hose out the black widows everytime I take it out.

decide between SINK or SOT

– Last Updated: Sep-15-11 1:38 AM EST –

You should decide between SINK and SOT first, then we can guide you in some more. Sounds like you have a bit of time in each, so which appeals to you more?

If you went the direction of SINK, options that are seaworthy, can carry some gear (good for overnight or two, if you pack tight) and under 16 feet are Dagger Alchemy, P&H Delphin, and North Shore Aspect. There are a few others just over 16, such as the Necky Chatham 16 and Wilderness Systems Tempest 165.

There are other shops in your area (nothing against Cobra, of course - good boats, but really only SOTs). Southwinds in Irvine comes to mind as one of the larger ones:

For SINKS consider Valley
poly aquanaut or avocet. Both can be had this time of year brand new for under $1500 at end of season sales. Great all around, forgiving, fun, competent boats.

Going quickly straight…
I can’t improve on the help you are getting re what boat, especially regarding the SOT’s from people like seadart. But the part of your post that caught my eye was wanting to go quickly straight. My first thought was that you said that because you have had trouble making a kayak stay on course in wind or similar situations in the past, and/or would choose quickness going forward straight over high degrees of maneuverability in a hull design. Is this correct?

When someone goes to design a kayak (or canoe etc) hull, they are making a choice between tracking and maneuverability. A boat can be biased towards one or the other, for example the Dagger Alchemy maneuvers better and the some of the older plumb bow designs track better, or be a relatively even compromise between the two. But it can’t do both things the best because each requires different hull features.

It is usual for newer paddlers to want to go straight fast. It is also usual for paddlers to get better at handling a boat that is more maneuverable with time in the seat. For a situation like yours, with decent surf and bigger swells around, it is not uncommon for a paddler to decide they want a boat with more maneuverability so they can play in that dimensional stuff easily.

I guess what this comes down to is, whatever first boat you get, you may want to take some early help on a good (and safe for your joints) paddle stroke. That’ll help you handle whatever boat you get better as well as give you a base if you decide that playing in waves looks fun too.

Check the PNET Classifieds
If you keep an eye out you may find something good.

I have not paddled the Cobra Revision, but I was very interested in them. Especially at your weight.