New Purchase Opinion

My wife are new to kayaking and we want to Kayak on lakes and calm water only and looking for a stable (best for the buck) kayak, smaller size, 9 - 10 feet. Need opinion on the following as we want to buy this weekend because of free tax weekend.

Swifty by Perception

Manatee by Perception

Blast by Victory

Otter Old Towne

About the same
Choose the one that has the best seat, and has foot braces. Also, if any of them come with a hatch, that’s a plus. All a good, stable, first boats. They are easy to cartop and get on the water, and nice for lakes and slow moving rivers. They are a bit slow, and if you get hooked on kayaking, you’re going to want a narrower, longer boat in about a year. But I still have my Old Town Otters, use them sometimes on narrow shallow rivers, and also use them to introduce people to kayaking.

check out the reviews yet?
I’m a beginner as well and also only want to kayak on flat water. Have you looked at the reviews yet? There are lots on the Swifty and the Old Town Otter. I’m not sure about your other 2 choices. I have friends who enjoy their Otter for themselves and for their teenage kids for just flat water use on the lake where their family camp is located. I know one other person who uses his Otter on a slow moving river and loves it. He takes it when he wants to paddle solo, otherwise he uses a tandem kakak for himself and his wife.

Good luck with your decision.


I have read the reviews on all of them and believe I have ruled out the Blast for lack of a good padded seat and possibly no foot peddles. The Otter is $349 but I can purchase the Swifty for $384.99 (including paddles & life jacket) at REI. In Mass this weekend, we have tax free. The Manatee at LLBean is $399 (including paddles & cover)…but taxes to be added.

I agree with the assessment above which said i should have a comfy seat and peddles, all of these have no storage hole so that option is out.

Dry Storage and Bulkheads
Dry storage is not so important in a small recreational kayak, most will leak a little so everything gets wet anyway. Much more important is a bulkhead to keep the entire boat from filling with water if you do flip. None of the models on your list have dry storage or a bulkhead which is something to think about before buying that first kayak.

But if you carry dry bags, keeping essentials dry would be ok right? As far as water in the kayak, I’m using it for a lake and doubt there would be significant water entering…can’t I carry a pump? If I need a bulkhead, then I need a bigger kayak as i see no 9-10’ with a bulkhead.

New Models
The new Loons (Old Town) have a rear hatch with a bulkhead, there must be others in the 10 foot range with them also. The Necky Mantou Sport(almost 11 feet) has great reviews but it may cost more than you are willing to spend. Depending on your weight you may be better off with a longer kayak anyway.

Don’t need a bulkhead
For flatwater day paddling. Just a bonus if its there. A decent paddle will cost a fair amount. If the boat with paddle has a decent paddle, it would be the best deal by far.

New models
I’m 175…and I do understand that longer and slimmer kayaks are better in the long run, however being a newbie, I’m more concerned with stability and safety, not speed. As you see from my original post, I am looking to kayak on lakes. My wife is very in-experienced.

If you could, check out REI’s deal on the Swifty w/paddles and PFD. I’m sure the add ons are not top of the line, however I’m sure they are not junk if sold at REI.

Weight Capacity
I don’t know how they came up with that weight capacity. I weigh 175 also and wouldn’t buy anything less than 10 feet in length but that’s just me. Good Luck with whatever you decide on getting.

They’re all duck pond boats,take your pick. something like a Manitou sport or Dagger Blackwater would be a step up boat you could have fun with,camp out of, and even learn some sort of skills(and actually go more than a couple miles without getting annoyed with the boat) and …safety and stability…um. sorry, a boat with no floatation isn’t really ‘safe’ at all.

Duck Pond
Thanks for your thoughts on what kind of kayak I am considering purchasing, however you must be a bit more experienced and perhaps did not read my entire post. I was not intending to use the kayak for camping…and why would I be annoyed after a few hours. All these kayaks received decent reviews.

Also on safety, you refer to no flotation device is no good. According to the specs on the Swifty, it states that:

Built-in flotation offers peace of mind in case you defy the odds and manage to capsize it.

The two kayaks you refer to are twice the $ and I’m sure are better…but we are talking beginners.

Try checking with Kittery Trading Post about their availability for demo!(10min demo is worth more…is possible).

Hull width is often not the final word in initial and/or secondary stability.

Here’s the catch. The “built in floatation that gives you a peace of mind” is probably 1/3rd-1/5th the volume a bulkhead or decent sized air bag would give you. It’s just a relatively little piece of foam in the very end that will keep the kayak from sinking if swamped, but most likely won’t be enough to re enter and pump it out. and annoyed after any length of time because the duck pond boats lack any sort of performance,try paddling one into wind/small chop for any length of time.

Then I guess everyone’s review on this kayak is wrong then…???

depends on who is giving the review
A small rec boat is exactly that. recreational purposes only. I started out in an Old Town Tush (basically an Otter) and put a float bag behind the seat immediately and stuffed a mesh bag full of pool noodles in the front ahead of the foot pegs. This brought the cvoaming out of the water when full so I could pump it out and get backin…not easy…but doable.

People giving reviews for the most part gush about their purchases and have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Pleae bear in mind that those of us that have a bitof time (just over a year for me) realize that as you get more enthusiastic about the sport the limitations of the equipment become glaringly obvious. so a lot of the comments are based on the frustration of having to spend more later and upgrading when a bit of patience and research could have ultimately saved quite a bit of money.

Your comments that you are newbies and only want to use the kayaks on slow moving water or still water are similiar to 99% of all new paddlers that come on the forum…and a lot of us try to explain that it will cost you more in the long run and all it will really do is make dealers happy as you come back in in a few months looking for a “better” boat.

Either way, you are going to love the sport and I hope you make a good decision for you.


sorry dude but in short,yes

– Last Updated: Aug-11-06 2:31 AM EST –

Take anything written in pnet reviews with a big spoonfull of salt. Reviews of intermediate+ kayaks tend to be more competent. Reviews of recreational and semi-recreational kayaks typically come from people that just got their first kayak and are giddy because it floats(kinda like when i was 16 and thought my 81 camaro with a 125hp 267 was quick and good handling car).
Truth is, with any gear review site, there's going to be tons of people that have no clue what they're talking about,and this happens way more with entry level product. There's a reason a lot of reviews are totaly contradictory of each other,on the same exact item.
Sure a given duck pond cruiser may be a 10/10 as far as 300$ pond cruisers go, but it'll slide down to about 5/10 compared to an advanced rec boat(11-13 ft,bulkhead+hatch) and to like 2/10 compared to a rec tourer.

I started out…

– Last Updated: Aug-11-06 5:50 AM EST –

in a Swifty and it really is a good beginners'boat. Any of the boats you suggested would be fine. I learned a lot in my Swifty, had a great time, and was ready for another boat in two weeks. I outgrew my second boat in about a month. (I still have them - I lend them to my friends who are beginning paddlers.) For me, the main purpose of both boats turned out to be: giving me confidence on the water, and showing me that I really wanted to get into kayaking. I wish I had borrowed/rented boats and then put the price of two rec boats and two heavy, unsuitable paddles into a good boat. What people are trying to suggest is: find out first if kayaking is going to be a passion for you. If it's going to be a casual enterprise, any rec boat will do nicely. If you absolutely love it, then you can put your money into a good boat and better equipment.

But you can put flotation in one of these boats, even if its just a few cheap Wal-Mart Drybags filled with cut up pool noodles and secured in the bow and stern. The goal is to just limit the amount of space that can fill up with water.

What happens when a rec boat
with no flotation dumps its passenger. I “rescued” an Otter that did this. A very tall teenager managed to dump it. In his attempt to right it, it filled completely with water. I told him to swim to the nearby shore. I dragged this lead weight to the nearest shore (rocky.) I attempting to drag it just enough onto the shore to tip it, the toggle strings broke. It was a struggle to get even half the water out. I eventually did so, but it took a long time. If this happens to you in anything but very warm flat water, very close to shore, it will be more than a nuisance–it will be a life threatening.

The Sparky’s built in flotation will help a little, but the boat will still be full of water.

Keep this in mind as your interest in kayaking develops, and you start to venture into more challenging weather conditions.