new recreational kayak

I purchased a Pelican Storm 100 SE recently and maybe someone can advise what I’m missing here but I thought it was the most unstable vessel I could possibly imagine! From the first moment it was afloat, it had a real tippy feel and I was constantly shifting my hips in a balancing act to keep it level!

Mine has no skeg like others; is that going to make a big difference? It is an inexpensive recreational kayak for fun paddling on nearby lakes and ponds.

I’m not an experienced paddler but have kayaked off and on a few times over the years experiencing nothing like this! Is it possibly just inexperience with this type of kayak or needing more weight or…? I never ventured too far from shore because of this uneasiness and sure enough, when I went to brake on the port side to change direction, it shifted and over it went, with me in it!

Someone I met also said that float bags?? are needed in this type kayak or if it tips it will easily sink to the bottom.

The way it felt, I’m kind of uneasy about my second try ,much less letting my wife or daughter try it!

Any advice or comments?



primary vs. secondary

– Last Updated: Jun-20-08 12:30 AM EST –

I have not paddled the boat in question, so am just going by basic kayak knowledge.

First, a skegg will not help you with kayak balance at all. It would help you maintain a straight course when things like winds or waves try to turn you.

Float bags also won't do anything to help balance. But they will prevent a kayak from totally sinking should you flip it. These are pretty much required in boats without sealed hatches.

What I think you may have is a primary versus secondary stability issue. Primary stability is the tendency for a boat to tip from perfect upright to slightly off of upright (but not necessarily turn over). Secondary stability is what causes a boat to actually flip over. I think your boat has low primary stability, but likely has good secondary stability.

What you may want to do is go to a controlled situation (beach, pool, etc.) and wear clothing with the plan of getting wet. Then see what happens when you allow the boat to not be perfectly upright. Be prepared to flip (hence the controlled location). Of course, do this after making sure you have good flotation so your boat doesn't sink.

I don’t have a clue about that kayak, …
but from what you are saying, I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole!

I know it is too late now, but you should have tried various rec kayaks out before you bought one.

You could have rented one at a livery, or searched around for a dealer that has access to either a lake or a pond to let you demo it.

The post above is right on the skeg. That has nothing to do with stability.

Kayaking should be a fun experience and there is no way it is going to be fun for a novice with a boat like that.

Two choices:

  1. If both you and your wife enjoy swimming keep the boat
  2. Bite the bullet, get rid of it, and get a stable one that you can enjoy like the rest of us do.

    I would opt for number 2



Looks like
Costco’s rebadging of Pelican’s Pilot 100 XE. With a 28" beam and its hull configuration, I wouldn’t expect it to be unstable at all.

from what I’ve heard,
Some Pelican’s hull design arent great. Its not always about dimensions, I once tried a Riot 14’ touring kayak, and only a mere 4" narrower than my Pamlico 140 . a 4" beam difference with the same length should be of small difference, but this boat had a very odd hull and it was extremley unstable. It wasnt even near as stable as other 14ers, such as my kayak, or the carolina 14 (with the same dimensions), let alone couldnt even come near the stability of even longer EXP kayaks, such as the CD Caribou, at 18’ long, 21" wide, still more stable than this riot.

So hull design can play a big role. Pelican isnt exactly a top name in paddlesports.

PS-how much do you weigh?? that could play a role too. this kayak doesnt hold much. Most kayaks I’ve seen hold AT LEAST 300. Mine holds 400

kayaks cant sink
You ever get a ziplok Container and fill it with water?? If you put it in a bathtub full of water itll sink down but the very top lip will still hover at the surface. It is too little in mass to sink down to the bottom.

new recreational kayak
Thanks for all the good feedback. I think I’ll just try again in shallow water with drip-dry clothes and try and get a better feel for it and if not, then look at replacing it. Before I bought it I researched on a site that had numerous reviews on this exact kayak and all were very positive especially relating to stability! “great first kayak”, “good stability”, “can’t tip it!” (maybe they were all posted by Pelican shareholders)

By the way, I’m around 185 lbs./ 5’ 10"


kayak floatatio
they can’t sink but if you don’t have any floation bags or bulk heads in them they are devlish hard, if not impossible, to get back into if you have to do a self rescue—ie a kayak without the above floation will not hold the weight of a person and will not provide floatation for that person----hence floatation bags—but you don’t need them if you are planning on never paddling further out than you can swim.

When you buy your second
kayak, get a different model.

I bought a Heritage 9.5 and it is stable as a rock. Don’t know how I will tip it over but I keep trying. Had that puppy on the edge of the molding last week and it came back down… lucky me. That was in a class 3 sideways without a paddle that I lost in the rapids. Now that is stable. I am about your size but add about 20 lbs.

A stable rec yak should be stable, period. Sounds like a bad design.

Positive Reviews
Almost all reviews are positive. Think of the worst boat you have ever paddled and read the reviews. There will be first time owners that rate anything that floats a 10. Part of it is inexperience, they don’t know what they’re missing. The rest are not willing to admit that they bought a pool toy. Maybe you can sell it and get something you like.


– Last Updated: Jun-20-08 10:05 PM EST –

Kayaks can sink. One of mine met a watery grave a few years back. Just to comment on the reviews, Pamlico 140 rates his boat a 10 but there is strong evidence he has only paddled in his garage. Most of us here, me included, just talk a bunch of trash and really do not paddle well at all. A well known exception on this post is JackL, He is well known in the SE US and has some impressive racing stats.

Ask a guy with a all kevlar or carbon
kevlar racing yak that has no compartments or air bags if it will sink.

It will sink like a rock



First mistake - you don’t keep a boat level. You let it rock back and forth underneath you and just stay centered. The worst rec boat in the world will stay upright in some amount of chop, it just has to wiggle around a little to do it.

And odds are that wife and kid won’t be as tense, won’t have as much weight to get it rocking and will have a much much easier time than you. Put your daughter in it and see what she does - or more importantly what she probably won’t do - and copy that.