I have paddled flatwater (olympic and marathon) kayaks for over a decade. Looking to move on a Valley or P & H Boat now that I am closer to the ocean. I would like to continue to use my wing. Please commnet on your thoughts about these rudderless boats using a wing.
Likely Which Boats?
Don't use a wing paddle. But do have a P&H boat. And some of these boats have fewer paddlers out there who have time in them on bigger water, wing or no wing because they are older models or a model that tends to fit a rather small - literally - population (like the Vela).
Which boats were you thinking about?
I’d think with your background you’ll want a tracky, fast boat. If your background was slalom you’d probably want a very loose boat! I think you may get frustrated in a Brit style boat as far as speed goes. What about the new Epic 18? Or this Outer Island boat? Foster Legend is also a good call. Have fun.
which boats and what type of paddling
I've gone the opposite way, from sea kayak to olympic boats. I'm not really familiar with the VCP or the P&H boats but a wing works fine with any reasonably narrow sea kayak for open water touring. I paddled many miles in a skegged sea kayak using a medium size wing. Rolling and bracing is quite solid with a wing and a well balanced skegged boat is easy to control with body english. The only sea kayaking that I wouldn't use a wing for is rock garden play where you might need to be able to do whitewater type maneuvering strokes and a roll or two that wouldn't work with a wing (somebody that does that type of paddling might be able to help you in that arena).
Edited to add: Most skegged sea kayaks (even the faster designs like the NF Legend) are going to feel like total dogs after paddling ICF spec flatwater boats. If you are looking to do fast fitness paddling you might consider a speed oriented ruddered boat like the Rapier or Kayak Pro's Vampire. That said, the more maneuverable sea kayaks are still really fun to paddle in really sloppy conditions (unbelievably boring in the calm though).
watch out for low brace
If you intend playing in the surf with a wing paddle be aware that they can break doing a low brace as they are designed to take force from the power face but break more easily when the force is applied to the back of the blade. Otherwise wings are fine in sea kayaks although it will feel like a slug compared to the race boats.
SK to faster
I’ve also moved increasingly from sea kayaks to surfskis and Thunderbolt type boats. A wing is just fine with a narrow sea kayak- I used mine all the time with a Mariner 2 and a QCC 700. A good wing is plenty strong for low braces, etc. Good for rolling too, though limited in types. I would second the idea of looking at one of the fast hybrid type boats- the Thunderbolt, Vampire, Rapier 18 and 20.
With Olympic K-1 skills, you’ll likely not have much of a problem in anything, and all will feel like barges in comparison. That said, the Rapiers have all the amenities of true sea kayaks (VCP hatches, rigging, thigh braces, etc.). Also worthy of mention might be the Westside EFT (w. rear bulkhead/hatch), Kirton Inuk, and maybe the Ruahine Ocean X. These are a notch down from true open ocean racers like the T Bolt, etc., while still plenty quick. The only paddle I could see going back to after years with a wing might be something with a stiff, wide blade, like an Ikelos or a Corryvecken. Even those are going feel like noodles. Wings sweep roll just fine, and low brace as well. High braces, sculling, and draw strokes not so much so.
What’s your MO?
If you have killer rock gardens or surf in your plans, maybe you’ll want to demo a Nordkapp LV or a Capella. If you still want to go fast the Rapier or Endurance are said to be cool. Won’t get to paddle one until this summer. You do have a wing already, however, the Lendal Kinetic wing can switch out blades to accomodate other sea touring designs should you want more flexibility. There is a good segment or two with Sean Morley on This Is The Sea 2 using a wing in rough conditions. He has a website too, just google it.