After 2 years of kayaking with 14’ intermediate “day touring” kayaks, I am looking for a more capable kayak that can handle the ocean as well as carry enough gear for multi-day trips. I plan on using the kayak out on the inter-coastal, a large bay (Biscayne Bay) and ultimately doing an everglades/ 10k islands expedition. I would appreciate recommendations for older sea kayaks that I might be able to buy second hand, as well as any other advice you think might be helpful. By the way, I am 5’9" and 160#.
Here’s a start:
Saw several others, but based on your size & the kayak size, or me not liking the kayak or some feature of it, these are a few to consider close to you. I did not check FB Marketplace.
Characteristics to look for include: two bulkheads minimum, three bulkheads with a day hatch is ideal, a functioning skeg, and budget time and $$ to take an ACA or BC lesson or two if you haven’t already - it will be the best money spent at you venture into open water conditions.
Thank You for the in depth suggestions. I will keep a lookout for boats like those. My biggest uncertainty is the sizing (fit) of a kayak. Is there some quick way to get an idea of what sized paddler a kayak is optimized for?
How much of a problem is an oversized kayak? I have seen a few boats that seem like they are meant for a larger paddler than I, but are available locally at a very tempting price like a prestine looking Chinook NW for 250.
To big is not good if you’re doing serious kayaking. Your control will not be good and you’ll get tired much faster. Look for a Current Designs Solstice GTS. Try it for fit. Buy right buy once be patient. Price could be 700-1000 depending on year. Maybe need a few deck lines and bungees. Two hours you can get it to look nearly new.
Paid $650 buffed it up new bungees.
Solstice GTS is similarly styled.
Your location is?
Lot’s of nice kayaks I’ve seen on FB marketplace & Craigslist.
I was interested in the Gulfstream but no seats available that I need from CD. There were two more CD boats in the listing and Extreme and Solstice GT but they sold.
Project-yak, I am far from an expert but I had a WS 16.5 foot Tempest for about a week and a half and I own a Necky Chatham17. The WS kayak I got for a friend and he picked it up from me about 10 days after I brought it to my home, but I did take it out about 6 times and of those times 2 were in some fairly high winds with good sized swells and chop. My Chatham is my most used kayak and I simply love it.
I am short at 5 foot 6 inches and I am thick and solid with very little fat. My last med test says my body fat is up to 9% and that’s the most it’s ever been since I was 18. My legs are large in diameter at 26" in diameter. I have a 34 inch waist and a 46 inch chest. All that detail is for you to have something to judge by.
I felt the Tempest was just fine and I had no complaints at all. I am shorter then you but thicker. So you may not have the same satisfaction I did with the Tempest, but I’d bet you would not be all that far off. The man who got the Tempest from me is my is only 5’ 8" and weighs about 155. He loves it.
My Necky Chatham is the one I just love, but if I had one thing to whine about it’s that the thigh braces are a bit too short for me. The only cover about 1/3 of my thighs and I’d like them better if they came at least to my half way point, and hooking over would be even batter. Someday soon I will simply make a new set from scratch to get past the 12:00 points of my thighs. Still, I love my Chatham17 and I have had it in some pretty choppy water several times with no complaints at all, once I learned to press up and out on the thigh braces when I edge over hard, or roll.
If I were closer to those kayaks above I would have already bought the 2 Necky’s for $1000. I know a few friends that i am sure would take them from me for $500 each. At 500 each if you find you are not happy you can probably sell them for what you are into them.
If you spent the $900 on the WS kayak I bet you’d like it, but it is nearly 2X as expensive as the Neckys are. Still, $900 may not be a bad price in Florida where getting to big water is easy. Price is set by demand and use, and I would just have to guess sea kayaking is a but more popular in Florida then it is in the Rocky Mountains.
I have zero knowledge about the Venture kayak, (never even seen one) but at $500 it seems it may not be a bad bet to check out.
I would contact the sellers and see if you could demo the kayaks and see which one (or ones) you like
At your size, most any regular size kayak would fit. Many small/low volume ones will work also. You would be swimming in most high volume boats.
I’ve had the low volume version of the Easky 15 for 12 years now and really like it for a range of use – have had it in mild surf, big windy lakes and many rivers and streams, even a few class 1 and 2 open rapid sections. Very versatile boat and lighter than most others in its class. I’m 4 inches shorter and 15 pounds lighter but my ex boyfriend had the standard Easky 15 (like the one in the ad) and was nearer your size.
Ventures are made in the UK by the highly regarded P & H, who makes some of the most respected high end composite sea kayaks. The Venture line is their more affordable rotomold line but the boats still have some of the design features and quality. I’ve paddled Neckys and Wilderness models in that length range and the Easky is more fun. Both tracks and turns well, feels really solid in rough water. I’ve never had trouble pacing people in 16’ to 18’ higher end touring boats when in it.
Lower profile semi Greenland style with hard chines and nice touches like a convertible back band, a paddle park bungee hook and a steel security bar molded into the deck so it can be cable locked to the roof rack. Can’t understand why they discontinued the model about 6 years ago – it’s a great boat for its price range and there is nothing similar any more. Venture replaced it with the heavier, shorter and blockier Islay models, which are as stodgy as WS Tsunamis IMHO.
That is definitely a nice boat. I was looking into purchasing a CD Squall GTS earlier this month, but someone jumped on it before I did.
Looking for a kayak you need to look at a few sites one or two times a day then jump fast. Nice hulls good deals usually go fast. Two boats I got I looked for a few years.
I’d put a few links on my phone then I could check each one in 20-30 seconds.
Stay away from an Aquaterra Chinook…that was ok in the 1980s. The ones I had were no bulkheads, basically oversized recreation kayaks. Be wiliing to travel a few hours to get your sea kayak. Good sea kayaks go fast if in good condition and fairly priced.
Traditional average sized person for most kayak manufacturers is 5’9" or so and around 180 pounds. Yes, that average sized paddler was a guy hence most women were small.
You are not a large paddler and could, if you wanted, make some smaller paddler boats work. But you would need to sit in them to confirm because you are on the cusp of it being a fit that would be uncomfortable over time.
If you want to do things like rolling, an oversized boat and particularly a deck height that is overly tall will make this much more difficult. If more wet work skills are in your future - and this may be a plan for more open places like Biscayne Bay - you probably do not want to reach into boats for larger paddlers. Guessing that you would restrict rolling for any place with alligators…
I have a consignment carbon/Kevlar Impex Force 4 with compass, that would fit you nicely. Can ship. $2395. Sorry it’s matching Force 3 already has a home. (Would’ve been too low of volume for you)
Here is a possible option possibly close to you. I have a Tandem AR kayak. It’s the swift by Paddleyak I like the boat. It is fast but has two motors so to speak. I also have sit in sea kayaks.
This one is up by Melbourne for $500
Just found another up that way
I have a friend that owns a Sirocco and likes it. It is one of two Current Designs boats he owns. They are good boats and the ones I posted are very reasonable prices.
The Sirocco is a great rotomold kayak and the pricing is right. I had one and loved it, however I am 6’1" @ 200lbs and it swallowed me, it is not suited for a 5’9" @ 160 lb paddler. At PYs size, he should find a CD Squamish (corrected).
Sorry re the Squall but maybe not? It was my first boat. My 6 ft 1 inch husband could get into it, though he did not find it comfortable, but his legs were too long and went beyond the ends of the foot pegs. I am 9 inches shorter than that so there is no good way to tell at what height that becomes an issue without getting into the boat.
Now note that I DID have the foot pegs replaced with a smart trak system before it left the dealer, and it is possible that we shortened the length a bit too. Too far back to remember. But the guy would have used the same holes in the hull so I am not sure how far that may have moved things.
You are correct, I was thinking the Squamish and typed Squall.
A couple more choices.
Thank you so much for the suggestions and most of all for the advice on size. It would suck to drive a few hours only to discover the kayak I was after is not a good fit for me. With all of the advice on here I am making a list of recommended models and making a list of kayaks to avoid (typically because of fit).