Newbie seeking boat-buying advice

Hi all, first post so go easy.

I’ve let my ego do the talking again and now it seems I’ve agreed to participate in an adventure race in the early fall and, as such, i am in need of a kayak with which to train.

I’ve been reading the reviews of some, and I’ve been to the stores (REI, Hudson Trail) but I’m getting mixed reviews from the “experts” there and would like some feedback from my peers.

I’d like to get an all around boat, one that I can not only train with for the race but use for camping and fishing, etc, later. From what I can tell, I probably want to get somewhat of a longer boat (between 12-14 feet) but I may be way off.




Lots of options
A good general purpose boat is indeed 12-14 feet. Longer and you’ll have problems turning around in tight spots, especially fishing. Shorter, and hull characteristics make the boat a bit slower (on average). I personally like my Old Town, because the hull material is strong, doesn’t oilcan, and is very well insulated. I pay the price of extra weight, however. My kayak is 13’ 9" and 26 inches wide. I think this compromise works well, although it is a bit slower than my friend’s 14-foot, 25 incher. I strongly advise trying to find a dealer who will let you demo boats until you find something you like. If you just buy what the “experts” like, you’ll either get great advice…or lose your money.

It’s been four years since I shopped boats, so I won’t make model recommendations.

current designs kestral
the kestral is a boat that i think you would like. it comes in a 12ft or a 14 ft length and also comes in a hv (heavy volume) model for larger paddlers or those that carry more gear. it tracks well ,turns well , has good stablity. good luck shopping jack

boat buying tips
thanks for the advice! Seems that I should be demoing boats. I’ll look into the two mentioned, but they come up a lot in conversation about good all-around boats.


First Boat
Oh boy! You are gonna have fun. No such thing as one boat to do it all but that is just my opinion. Talk to some outfitters and PADDLE as many boats as you can.As you paddle your ideas about what is the perfect boat will probably change. Good luck. Vaughn Fulton

demo demo demo
Actually the 12-14ft range is pretty short by training standards, most racing kayaks are 16-20 feet long.but anything racy will be too narrow and tippy for you’ll have to find an all around useful compromise. not even going to suggest any models at this point,see what you like first!

No one boat can do it all.
You’re going to hear that a lot around here.

I don’t know about racing or fishing, but the Prijon Kodiak is a great camping boat. Comes close to a good all around boat – and good for beginners. Stable and fast.

You can use a paddle float…
to fish if your boats tippy. Caught many a large salmon this way in my high performance boats. The more ladden your boat the more initial stability. If you get a more advanced boat…learn to paddle the thing. Practice paddle skills, stay focused and commited,confidence, stay relaxed , dont give up and you will soon be able to paddle any kayak almost anywhere. Feel the water with your kayak…what is it doing, dont over react, and for gosh sakes most importantly keep your mass over your ass…with this in mind Im sure you will be on your way to kicking some ass in many a race…bon voyage

Eney, meny, miny

Second the kestrel

There is no such thing as a racing/fishing boat.


We have sold several Point 65N Crunch Rockers lately to adventure racers. They are triple-layer poly boats that are fairly fast, yet incredibly durable, plus good for all purpose kayaking (not sure about the fishing, though).

Here are the details:

You’re not too far away and you’re welcome to come down and demo one – we can even meet you up near Williamsburg so the drive isn’t quite so far.

I know a few p-netter’s demoed them in Charleston, so maybe they’ll join in with their non-biased feedback :-).

Just another option.