Hello looking into buying a couple kayaks which seem to be a really good deal, 2 perception carolina 14 footers for 800 with rudders and skirts. are they good boats for beginners who want to go play at the apostile islands and local lakes anr rivers?? I paddled a current designs squall i believe? with a rudder and i really liked it. anyone know if they would perform similar? Thanks, Happy Paddling
I have a 15.5 purchased new this spring. I have mixed reviews…
First I will say I have had a lot of fun in this boat, have had it out in different conditions and never felt in trouble. I think it is pretty fast, but coming from a Grumman canoe, what isn’t? I have yet to completely roll it up, though I have come close. However I am teaching myself which is probably a big factor. It’s wide, too wide, but stable. Not as wide as a rec boat, somewhere in between. Workmanship sucked: Cosmetic flaw where the hull didn’t separate cleanly from the mold. The bulkheads leaked badly until I caulked. I use the rudder on occasion but only when conditions are rough, the rudder stuck until I filed down a screw head. But again, I am not an elitist. I should hate this boat after reading various comments about it, but I keep having fun.
$400 a piece?
At that price you should have bought them already! Beaters worth twice that easily.
squall vs. carolina
the squall is 16.5 by 22. the carolina is 15.5 by 24.5. no, they will not paddle similarly. i've used Carolina's as 'student/teaching' boats. they have cavernous cockpits that will swallow you up unless you can pad them out to fit. they are slow. they're not high quality boats. that said, they can certainly be fun. they're a fine entry level boat if you don't aspire to greater skills than simply dabling about. they're stable. the rudder will have you going where you want to go and mitigate weather helm.
$800 seems reasonable for both boats.
Had a Squall
That was my first sea kayak. As above, these are not at all the same boats as the Carolina. While fairly deep compared to newer boats, the Squall has a considerably less cavernous cockpit than the Carolina and has a fit that, for a smaller person, will favor advancing skills. It is also one of the faster plastic kayaks out there and tracks like a train, partly because it is on the narrower side compared to many brethren of its era. It doesn’t support the Greenland stuff like the really low volume, newer hulls, but then again neither does much else of its original design era. Very few were even doing that stuff.
Liv2paddle’s description of the Carolina cockpit swallowing people up is right. An average height woman in one of those boats is just about up to their “floatation” parts in one of them. Between that and the width it won’t support the same kinds of skills that the Squall will.
I would also mention that the seaworthiness of the Squall is fantastic - it was a great starter boat for big water 'cause it got me home safe in a lot of stuff that was frankly bigger than I should have been out in. It’s a true sea kayak, and still extremely popular. CD did a new mold for the boat a couple of years ago because of that.
All that said, the Carolinas have their place and serve that niche well. It’s just not the same as that filled by the Squall.
So you saw that ad too?
I saw this listed today as well… $800 seems like a good deal, but I noticed the person who posted it didn’t give the age of the boats, just listed them as a Carolina 14’ (is that the 13.5’ or the 14.5’?), colors (red and yellow) and that they had skirts.
You’re never gonna win that Carolina 15.5 with that attitude!
A 14.5’ Carolina was my first kayak and I liked it well at first. Its faster than most canoes and rec boats, but slower than most sea kayaks, so I call it a tweener, as in between. If you go on group outings, you end up paddling by yourself between the two categories of boats.
It’s width makes the boat very stable. Stable while upright generally means stable while upside down, too. So it is a harder boat to learn to roll in. I learned to roll in mine.
The Carolina carves wonderfully, and once you figure out what you are doing you won’t have much use for the rudder. I only sparingly use my Carolina anymore, mostly when I want maximum maneuverability or when I want a tough hull because I know I will be bashing rocks or logs. I’ve used it on strainer clogged rivers and wished it didn’t have the rudder because it gets caught on branches, etc., rather a safety hazard when you get down to it.
~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD
We have four Carolina 14.5’s - Versatile
The rotomolded Carolina 14.5 is a very versatile kayak. Able to bump over rocks in small rivers. Able to do a 100 mile trip on the Mississippi.
Has more ability in waves than I have skill or nerve. Lots of storage for camping.
It is an “all around boat” not specialized for any one type of water. It is heavier than some other classes of kayak, but typical of it’s class.
I’d recommend it for a beginner. Not sure about using a Carolina in the Apostle Islands. I have no experience in big water, and no appropriate skills.
The cockpit shape was revised in 2004. The front of the cockpit was raised for a bit more knee room. We prefer the earlier style, that’s just personal taste.
carolina any good? reply
turns out they are a few years old, I saw the new one at the local kayak shop for 879 brand new and turns out the seller wants 800 each! when i told him the price i saw he changed it to 1000 for pair with skirts(neopreme)in good contition. Is this too much? 800 seems like a great doable deal,lol Thanks!
price seems good
In Wisconsin we paid
$650 for a 3 year old Carolina with rudder. Used but not abused.
$750 for a 1 year old Carolina with rudder, PFD, paddle, and roof carry kit. Boat was nearly new.
The rudder seems to add about $125 to the value of a used boat. That equals the cost to add rudder to a boat which does not have one.
my carolina 14.5
I paddle a carolina and often wish for something different. on the rivers i wish i had a shorter boat, on lakes a longer, faster one. when i wanted to learn to roll, i borrowed a boat that fit betterand was shorter to use in the pool (didn’t succeed). but if you can only own one yak, this isn’t a bad one to start with. very stable for entry and exit. handles wind and waves ok,especially with the rudder. we paid 400 for a 3 year old boat with no rudder. i got mine with rudder for 350 but that was a fluke i think.