New paddler saying hi

I’ve been lurking a bit but figured it was time to get some advice. I’m just getting into kayaking and am currently paddling a borrowed (quite old?) P&H Orca that is ~15.5 feet (missing a rudder). Cockpit is ~16" x 31", I’ve been using a skirt, and I haven’t had any issues getting in/out of it (although I haven’t tested/had a wet exit yet since I’ve stuck to calm waters and have always had one of the kids with me in a SOT, typically being towed). I took an ACA level 2 class about a month ago and spent 3 hours in a P&H Virgo MV and I recall it fitting well, but that was my first time in a sit-in and second time ever (first being a SOT about 15 years ago).

I’m 5’10", 170-175 lbs depending on the day (ideal weight is 165, but hey…covid), built like a soccer player, 33" waist, US 8.5 shoe size. My primary goals are bay/open ocean paddling (with eventual open water crossings (5-6 miles), wave surfing and possibly rock gardening). Secondary goal is relaxed paddling with the family on lakes. My “home waters” are the NH seacoast area. I don’t mind “tippy” boats and prefer performance-oriented (knowing full well that I’m unable to get full performance due to my lack of skills at the moment (haven’t even tried to do a roll), but I’m willing to put the time in and learn). I am able to do the basic forward/reverse/sweep/draw strokes and am able to edge turn.

With all of that said, I’ve had my eye on the Eddyline Sitka, either ST or LT. I sat in an ST yesterday and it felt good, feet didn’t feel cramped (although I had my feet kind of splayed out with my heels touching, which is what I’ve grown comfortable with in the Orca…but no idea if that is good positioning or not). They also had the Dagger Stratos 14.5S and that also seemed to fit me well, and the WS Tempest 140, which felt okay (but no skeg or rudder which seems to be less than ideal for open water). Of those three, I preferred the fit of the ST most, but from what I’ve read I’m right near the top of the range for the ST and the LT may fit me better (I definitely prefer the length of the LT over the ST, and love the idea of the day hatch). I can’t say that I have a price cap, but would prefer to stay at/under 2k.

I’m fairly convinced I’d prefer a skeg over rudder, but honestly don’t care either way since I’ve been doing okay keeping the Orca in a mostly straight line.

I’ve read many “new paddler” posts and I haven’t seen Eddyline mentioned before (perhaps my selective pickings just missed it).

As it stands the used market is pretty non-existent at the moment, and dealer stock has very limited options as well. Am I barking up the wrong tree by wanting the Sitka?


I think the reason most folks do not mention a Eddyline is their price when it comes to new paddlers, even used they are not cheap esp the sitka line. I have been asking myself kinda of the same question sitka or dagger Stratos for bay paddling. The general rule is buy something used but decent and trade up, your kinda of have that done by your borrowed yak. Eddyline’s seem to somewhat rare on the east coast . I heard their is a shop in RI that may have a sitka in it , not sure if it is a LT,XT or ST.

Don’t discount used boats just because the pandemic has made them more scarce.

For example here’s a seaworthy wilderness systems Zephyr for a very reasonable price:


Sorry if it sounded like I was discounting used boats…definitely not. It was more of a “there aren’t many used boats I can find and I’m so new to kayaking I don’t even know what to look for”.

That Zephyr does look nice (price too), will have to read up on it.

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Looks like the same person selling the WS Zephyr is also selling a CD Willow:

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Welcome, Phil. Props to you for having taken the ACA L2 and expanding your skills.

Eddyline makes great boats. They’re quite popular in my area and at one of my launch sites there’s about 30 Eddyline kayaks of varying ages and models stored on racks.

I have an Eddyline Samba (now called the Sitka ST). I’m 5’4’, weigh 110# and the boat is a perfect fit. Also have an Eddyline Fathom LV and a Current Designs Prana LV.

Given your height and weight, I think the LT would be a better fit than the ST. Hope you can do a demo on the water as paddling a boat for 30 minute or so will tell you more than just sitting in the cockpit for five or ten minutes.

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Yes, looks like a nice boat. Often sellers will let you paddle a boat if they live near water. That’s by far the best way to decide on a boat.

I 100% agree that getting actual seat time is the best way to tell, just finding it difficult here. The place I took the ACA level 2 is primarily P&H with some Old Town Castine’s and I think one other type. Seems most of the rental places around here are primarily rec or SOT.

A neighbor offered to let me borrow their kayak(s) as well (I think they are older Ocean Kayak sit-ins, not sure the details), and I plan on taking them up on that offer. Another neighbor also has a WS Tsunami, but I haven’t talked to him about it (we just moved here 6 months ago).

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A tad longer than the Sitka LT at 15’, but something you could watch for on the used market is the nicely fitted-out and open water suitable Venture Easky 15 and 15LV (you could fit either one).

Venture is the more affordable division of P & H, whose boats you are already familiar with. They discontinued selling the Easky’s in the US a few years ago and replaced them with a 14’ different model called the Islay 14, which also comes in an LV. I mention these because Lake George Kayak in upstate NY was a dealer who sold a lot of them (and they were in their rental fleet) and there were other dealers in New England so the models may turn up on the used market.

I’ve had a 15 LV for 10 years and been really happy with it, used it for everything from class 1 and 2 mild whitewater rivers to rough open water in the Great Lakes – my boyfriend during the time when I first got it was exactly your size and loved the tracking and close fit of mine so so he got one for himself.

I don’t have experience with the more recent Islay 14 but Venture does make nice boats (manufactured in the UK) and being rotomolded they are are a bit cheaper new than Eddylines (though a bit heavier).

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This one looks nice but all the reviews I’ve found say it is for the smaller paddler (5’5" range and < 150 lbs):

Yes, I saw that boat too, it looks nice. AFAIK the Slipstream is a smaller paddlers’ kayak; but if you’re close by maybe worth a test paddle (if possible). And maybe someone who’s paddled one will comment. But I also think you’re right in the middle size-wise, as well as living in prime territory for good used sea kayaks, so something good will definitely come along! Keep scouring CL and FBMP!

There’s an Impex Currituck for sale in Moultonborough NH on Facebook Marketplace. They have it listed for both $2000 and $1000 - go figure. Sorry FB won’t let me link to it. It’s listed as Impex Kayaks. Might be worth a look

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I rented a Virgo MV today (same as my instructional class). It fit me very well and I was immediately more comfortable in it than in the Pyranha Orca 16’ that I’ve been borrowing. Did a 5 mile trip through a few bays and out into the open water between the bays and it handled awesome (as best my inexperience can tell). I had the skeg about 1/3 of the way down and what a difference compared to the Orca (missing its rudder). I know, learn to paddle properly without it and I plan to, but the difference was quite surprising.

The place sells their used rental kayaks (2 years old) so I’m waiting on the owner to get me a price, and he also said they have some MVs on order that are arriving at some point, so I asked for a price on those as well (pretty sure they’re ~$2k new). I think for my own first kayak, I’d definitely be happy with the Virgo MV.

This post also makes me feel good about it:

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I like the WS Tsunami. Family members in your weight range seem to be approahing the upper range for the 140. Your hip size will make the cockpit feel . . . Roomy. I’m no fan of WS rudder. I own a used 140 with rudder; paddlers never use it. The rudder on my 175 is rarely used. The 170 Tunami pro has a skeg, but I can’t fit the boat. I use a non-rudder 145 Tsunami in open water. I do become frustrated at times and wish I has a skeg. You might find the 145 a bit large. Just passing my personal observations.

Thanks Jyak. I did sit in the Tsunami 140 and it felt okay, but not as good as the Sitka ST (not quite big enough, but was comfortable nonetheless) and the Dagger 14.5S.

That’s what matters. I learned a lot sitting the 140 and 145 side by side. There is roughly about 2 inch height difference. My 230 lbs nephew said he fit the 140. I told him don’t go there until he tried the 145. My sister at 140 lbs was skimming through 30"waves without a blink. I was following white knuckled at 265 lbs in a 145. She was 74 lbs under the theoretical safe load in her boat. I was 34 lbs over mine. I was taking some water over the front, she was dry. I dropped 35 lbs and noticed vast improvement. That’s when I looked up calculating load. I love WS boats for stability. An experienced member mentioned fit, and I realized the WS seat frame is the same in both boats. I actually fit the seat width of the140. The seat width doesn’t bother my sister, but you do have a lot of options including the Tempest. With backband and skeg.; however, the length and weight might be more than you want to handle. I liked an Impex that I saw on the water, but can’t fit in it.

The eddyline is a nice looking boat. If you do decide on that, I’d like to hear your impressions. Good luck. It has less load capacity than the Tsunami, so you can decide if that’s an issue.

Rental place got back to me and said $1900 for brand new Virgo MV, $1200 for used (2 years old, rental boat), and $800-900 for the slightly older models (Venture Jura and Islay 14), which is a bit different than the “$700-800” he said previously).

They are unsure when the new ones are actually arriving, but the used ones will be available once they close at the end of Sept.

I was willing to take a 2-year old rental for $700-800, but not sure about $1200. He explicitly mentioned the one I paddled, which had a really hard-to-move skeg and the left footrest wobbled around slightly under pressure. At that point I’d rather just take the new one at $1900, or keep scouring CL/FBMP.

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I still think you should give this a look:

The green one is a Currituck, well sized for you. $1000 OBO for a boat that retails well over $3000.