Overwhelmed by choices...

-- Last Updated: May-11-16 8:05 AM EST --


Seeking to upgrade from a basic recreational kayak to a light touring boat. I am an advanced novice, and am interested in day touring on lakes, large rivers, and protected coastline. I am 5' 10" and 175 lbs. Top contenders are (1) Elie Strait 140 XE; (2) Riot Edge 14.5 LV; (3) Necky Elaho or Eliza; (4) Eddyline Merlin LT; (5) Venture Kayaks Islay Light Touring Kayak; (6) Swift Bering Sea. Others to consider? I like well-made things that last, work well, will and serve my growing skill and interest in the sport. Please share your ideas.



– Last Updated: May-11-16 12:43 PM EST –

Never mind, I just saw NH in your profile.

Wish I saw this post a couple of days ago as I passed through the NH coastal area.

I could have dropped off a 2015 Demo Islay 14LV or P&H Scorpio MV on the way through.

See you on the water,
The River Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY


– Last Updated: May-11-16 10:48 AM EST –

My suggestion is that you use the Iternet to look at what else is out there. It sounds like you might be considering a high end boat and in that regard, you should take a look at what NC Kayaks is offering in their Spring Sale--nckayaks.com.

I would also suggest that you check out Current Designs boats and even Stellar.

Much of this will depend on your location and the dealers you have access to. However, as is the case with NC Kayaks, they ship boats anywhere.

For the uses you specified, I would strongly suggest that you consider well built real sea kayaks and that doesn't mean they necessarily would have to break the bank. There are some very well built and capable sea kayaks made of polyethylene, or for just a little more you can have a great composite (fiberglass) boat from NC Kayaks.

While you're in the process of deciding, at some point you will need to decide on your budget to start narrowing down your choices--there are so many. In that budgetary assessment, don't forget to include a new paddle, a spray skirt and maybe a new pfd.

Some will suggest the used boat market. Fine, but be sure you understand what to look for in terms of damage and boat deformation, etc.

I'm pretty sure my short list would be wildly different than yours, but what the heck: NC Expedition, or a 17'-2" model; Current Designs Prana, Sirocco, Caribou, Cypress, or Gulf Stream; Stellar Intrepid; Eddylines Raven; Valley Nordcapp, or Etain; P&H Cetus.

those kayak recommendations are all over the spectrum of skill level and size.

would be difficult to beat just buying a used NDK Romany {as a learner that will do all your skill building}

Best Wishes


Good list

– Last Updated: May-11-16 11:56 AM EST –

I think your list looks pretty good.

I assume you know that the Swift Bering Sea is the same as a QCC Q400. These come up used quite a bit, and are very good boats for your intended usage. I love mine, I am a little shorter and a little heavier than you and paddle the same type of water.

PS there's a Q400 in a lightweight layup on the p-net classifieds for a great price. If I was in Colorado, I would jump on it.

try the GT

givum 1500

Fit my first question
The fit in some of these is quite different. You should take a second look at recommended paddler weight ranges too, max may be quite different between some of these. On a quick check some of them seem to list weight assuming a load and others start more with just the paddler, that part may be messier to sort out. But first the fit and you are going to have to sit in boats to get it. For ex, unless it has changed the fit in the Merlin LT was much more froggy legged for me than in the Eliza or the Elaho. I know a straighter leg angle is nicer to my back and hips, so I look for aggressive thigh braces or pretty narrow cockpits. Some of these cockpits are narrower around the hips, and so on.

Have you listed boats that are available used in your area? In that case the sitting in part should be doable.

Bering Sea different than QCC 400X.
It’s longer.

Caspian Sea was the same as the 400X.

I didn’t like the Merlin LT.
I found it too hard tracking, difficult to edge turn and not very efficient. I’m 5’6" and 165 lbs.

Your experience may differ from mine.

The Fathom LV is a much more fun and capable boat than the Merlin LT, if you fit into it.

Another vote for the Romany
A Romany with a wire operated skeg is a great kayak. It’s the choice of many coaches world-wide. I’ve owned one for many years, and I own and have paddled and built many kayaks, so I talk from some experience. It would surely suit the OP. It has progressive and reassuring stability as it heels, a great comfort in rough conditions.


QCC 400X
QCC 400X is a great boat!


How close to southern Maine?
As to the lasting part, despite all the arguments about layup you can beat the hell out of most sea kayaks and they will still work fine. Just not look as pretty with scrapes etc. If your definition of lasting means functional, that should not limit your choices.

And the reason I said that - if you are a reasonable drive from siuthern Maine, I suggest you go by Lincoln Kayaks. The person that bought the business from Sandy is a good guy and last I was on their lot they had a decent assortment of used well but still functional sea kayaks.

The idea of a Romany is excellent - they were designed to be a schooling boat so will both get you home safe for dinner and enable learning the most advanced skills. And they are an older boat so they can often be gotten relatively cheaply. I have kept my husband’s because even though it is officially too big for me, it is the perfect fallback boat to have for days when I am paddling solo.

Local kayak shop
I would limit your list to what you can find detailed local, through either a local specialty kayak retailer (not a big box store) or used. You will want to try before you buy, and that is easier with local boats.

Might also be good to take a sea kayak class. When I teach them, I make sure to provide information that would help one when buying a boat and gear.

Thanks, got my seas mixed up…

However, I do think a QCC Q400 would be a good choice.