I am looking at buying either a Old Town Rush (Bass Pro Shop) or a Swifty by Islander Kayak (Dick's Sporting Goods). ANy recommendations are appreciated. Thanks
I started about 3 months ago posting a similar question and after more research I wound up purchasing 2 WS Tarpon 140s. I quickly moved passed looking at the very cheap entry level yaks due to lack of flotation and length. Now if you not paddling too much the 9 footers shouldn’t be too bad but I wouldn’t want to paddle much in those. The lack of flotation (no sealed bulkheads) was a subject brought up on here and by talking to dealers, without floatbags added I am pretty sure you could easily sink those 2 boats. I went with the SOT tarpons because of warm weather paddling I do and for fishing. For sit inside a not too expensive option is the Dagger element, or just go to a kayak shop where they will be able to explain more.
The Rush is a nice rec kayak for
a short one. But, if you can spare the change, you may want to think about getting a longer kayak.
Of the two - I like the Rush better
Don’t be fooled by the foam blocks in either of them. If you plan to paddle in anything but shallow warm water near the shoreline, then you need to get some floatation bags and secure them in place.
I was at the same point as you about a month ago and started looking at entry level boats. But after comments from here and from people at work including one guy who has a swifty, I went with the larger light touring Tsunami 14.0. Has everything I want or might want in the future including sealed bulkheads.
Both do what you’d expect
Before listening to others telling you to get longer boats, you need to think about what kind of paddling you’re going to do. In a lot of water, short is good. What short never is, is fast. While longer may be a consideration, I started with a longer boat and have been going shorter. Started with a 13’6" boat, then to a 12’, and now in a 10’. I need maneuverability, not speed. Most of the time I’m floating downriver at river speed and fishing. When I paddle, it’s to avoid an obstacle or navigate a rapid. In those instances, I don’t need speed, I just need to be going a different speed than the current so that I can control the boat. So length isn’t a big deal.
If you’re going to get in and paddle expecting to make way rapidly, length is a very big deal. How you intend to paddle will make a huge difference as to how happy you’ll be in a 9’ or 9.5’ boat.
The float bag suggestion is a good one, but they’re cheap. You can get them at www.nrsweb.com. May as well eventually get a skirt too. Keeps the sun off in the summer and the wind off in the cooler months.
Either of the boats are suitable for slow, casual jaunts. Neither will be fast. Depending on your size, either can be comfortable (that’s a personal fit and preference thing). I’d tend to go with the OT Rush, but I’ve paddled Perception Sparkys (now sold as the Islander model you’re considering) and found them to be pretty functional boats for the kind of paddling I do too. They’re worth the money they ask, but you can surely get better boats for more money.
Something to consider is resale value. If you get an entry-level 'yak to get into the sport and want to trade up in a year, or decide that it’s not for you and want to get rid of the boat, the sell value may be worth knowing. Take a look at e-Bay and the classifieds on this site and see how much folks are asking for them.
Good luck. Have fun. Until you know what you’re doing, paddle with a buddy.
- Big D
The Islander website is closed,
it refers people to Dicks, so Dicks may be selling off the remaining kayaks.
The Swifty Islander
is no longer produced it has been replaced by the prodigy 10ft. I own a Islander and use it on large lakes, and go on long day trips with it,it is not a fast kayak but is very stable. I have been through some pretty big wind waves with it and had no problems.
Thank you everyone for your comments and advice!