Newbie needs help picking kayak

I’ve been staring at a ocean frenzy at my local rei but I’ve read that they are pretty slow. I am willing to sacrafice a little stability for speed. During the summers I want to explore lakes and rivers in the southwest US. However, I also take a few weeks off each year and visit the gulf coast and the west coast is only a half a day’s drive so a little ocean capability would be nice. What would ya’ll suggest?



I suggest that you find out what is

– Last Updated: Jun-03-08 3:23 PM EST –

locally available at 14' plus.Then go here:

Then go here:

Then tell us your weight and height.
We will then have something on which to base a recommendation.

I paddle the kinds of places you want to paddle.I use a Tarpon 160 for the salt because I don't like SINKs(sit-inside kayak) and a 15.5' canoe for the creeks and rivers because I don't like SINKs, but those are my preferences.

I’m a fan of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon series:

I have a 2001 model (from before their fancy new seating system, damn it!) and I’ve used it in just about all warm-water environments around Florida: lake, river, coastal.

Mine is very stable – the only time I’ve ever hit the water unintentionally was when I had to pull it over a log in a narrow river and had to jump to the seat from the rudder. I almost made it.


There has to be a…

…pick your nose joke lurking here somewhere.

Frenzy is fine starter boat.

– Last Updated: Jun-03-08 4:14 PM EST –

It's not fast but if you are going to be paddling small lakes in the southwest ... where are going to go in a hurry. Works well for rivers without rocks (they tend to catch on the keel). Works fine for learning how to paddle in the surf zone. Are you in Arizona? Take it to Sea of Cortez, Rocky point, it would be a blast. Would be fine for the lower Colorado. It's heavier than it looks but is fairly easy to car top or throw in the back of a pick up. I own several kayaks (kevlar/composite sit insides, to waveskis to sit on tops.) I keep my Frenzy to introduce friends to paddling and as a knock around boat when the waves and weather suck but I want to get out on the water.

I stand five foot ten at a buck fifty without my shoes on. I would like to stay with a shorter kayak for ease of transportation and storage.

I’m in Arizona. Don’t know for how long but I plan on making the best of it.

check out…
…the desert paddlers yahoo group.

9 feet long
and 31 inches wide. The Frenzy would paddle like a bathtub on flat water. OK for playing in the surf but not much else. Something longer and a bit narrower would be more fun.

Look at a Hurricane Aquasports
Tampico.Good for a person your size. I paddled a rectangle of a boat once and thought it was horrible. but I knew what a real boat felt like.

Faster SOTs
There are many SOTs by Ocean Kayak that are Faster but still stable and affortable. You should check the Ocean Kayak Sidekick, and Scrambler too.

Feathercraft Kahuna or K Light

Maybe a SOT
Although I would lean more towards the Tarpon or Manta Ray than the Frenzy or the Scrambler.

The Tarpon 14 tracks extremely well, but that makes it considerably less maneuverable than the Manta Ray. Both have pretty good glide. I’m 225 lbs and the Manta Ray is also much drier. The Tarpon holds an inch or so of water under my legs on still water.

The Scrambler feels like plowing water to me.


Avoid the Pamlico…
Limited use beginner’s boat…

The Manta Ray uis a much drier ride
tahn the Tarpon. So are the Phoenix 140 and 160.


– Last Updated: Jun-04-08 1:29 PM EST –

I lived in Tucson for two years. I really liked the town, but July and August in the daytime really suck. I did do lots of outdoor activities. Hiking all year long. In the summer I used to get up at 5:00 and exercise. I remember sitting on my balcony late at night and watching the moon over the Saguaros in my wash. Boating in Arizona is limited.

You are not going to have a lot of choices in finding kayaks in Arizona unless you are near Lake Havasu. The Frenzy at the REI will get you started. Store your boat someplace very cool. Not in your garage unless you live someplace cool like Flagstaff.

Good places to paddle:
Sea of Cortez --- go down and visit via Why it is a great place, not well known but well worth the trip.
Patagonia Lake near Sonoita area.
Parker Canyon Resevoir -- Also near Mex border south of Tucson.
Lots of small lakes in the mountains north of Phoenix.
Lake Powell
Lower Colorado River ---- Lots of good places to paddle . San Diego --- Lajolla Cove is a 5 hour drive from Phoenix area. Don't tell people you are a zonie. It sounds like you might be stationed there by the military. Tucson at the airbase would be great. Yuma would suck (Last time I was in Yuma it was 119 degrees), but would be close to the river and great paddling.