Perception Tribute 12.0 in ocean?


I’m relatively new to paddling, this is being my third boat in about 2 years. My GF and I purchased a couple of used kayaks, Dagger Edistso’s with rudders. HUGE boats and heavy, but actually very nice boats. We sold them. Main reason is that they were simply too heavy together, never mind individually, and we want to be able to get boats we can take out by ourselves on the local lakes.

Next boat we owned, breifly was a Ellie Sound 100. Too short and wide. Turned well, but had almost no “glide” and tracked very poorly plus it leaked and was very flimsy. We returned that boat immediately and got our money back.

Finally ended up buying a Perception Tribute 12.0 for my GF. What a sweet little boat! Small and light weight (about 40 lbs.) but it handles and glides like a much bigger boat, perfect for a small person such as her…and me! I ended up ordering one for myself despite the “woman specific” marketing and I’m glad I did. The boat is small enough for one person to handle and since both of us are under 140 lbs., and 5’6" or under, the boat handles amazing. Of course, I have my eye on a Seda or a QCC for something along those lines down the road, but for now, for learning, for “beating up a bit”, these boats are perfect for us.

So far, we’ve only taken them out on the lake. Perfect. I would also feel very comfortable taking these boats out on the bay. It has a sealed rear bulkhead and a forward foam pillar. Of course, we wear PFD’s.

My question for you experienced paddlers, especially those of you in the So Cal area, can you tell me if the boat would be OK to take out in the surf and or where one would take a sea kayak? Would this boat be OK, for instance, for my GF and I to explore the La Jolla sea caves and the rock gardens around Sunset and surf at Swami’s?

Really loving paddling! More than I thought I would, to be honest with you. I come from a cycling, trail running/hiking background and always loved the out-of-doors, plus my dad and I used to fish from float tubes, so I enjoy this aspect of it, being close to the water and such. The skills involved are really interesting and i like perfecting the various paddle strokes and maneuvers. Didn’t realize what a great whole-body conditioning it was! I’m looking (dreaming), down the road, at something like a QCC Q10X. There are, of course, many amazing boats out there I know, and I hope to learn more from you all, but this is where I am in my paddling thus far.


More a question of you …

– Last Updated: Dec-02-11 12:18 PM EST –

and not the boat.

If you wear a skirt and know how to wet exit and self rescue and learn to roll you should be fine on low swell days. When the swell forecast is less than 2' and winds less than 10 kts you should be fine to paddle along the Sea Caves in the cove and Sunset Cliffs. The problem is when conditions change, you could be way over your ability to get back to shore or rescue each other in rough water. The good news is the mild climate in San Diego means conditions usually change slowly, but not always, so you need to proceed with caution. Also remember that large agressive waves can appear even on calm days so H I would recommend you stay away from Sunset Cliff area until you have some skills in surfing and a boat more appropriate for sharing the surf zone. You can launch from Avenida de la Playa Boat ramp in La Jolla. You can also launch from the Seaside parking lot or Cardiff Reef parking lot on small swell days. When the swell is bigger if you have some skills the boat will be OK. Do not paddle at Swammy's or any other areas where there are surfers in the water. You will risk physical abuse.

The San Diego Kayak club goes on coastal paddles, but they won't take you in a 12' rec boat, so your options for improving your coastal skills will be limited. I would sign up for the Seakayaking lesson series with Jenn Kleck at Aqua Adventures, especially the surf zone class.

If you want to do kayak surfing start with a Cobra Strike or whitewater boat. I'm local in Encinitas, send me a PM email if you want more help getting started.

Lack of bulkhead
I would say the lack of a forward bulkhead is something to be cautious about. If the kayak should become completely flooded it is difficult to empty. Not to say it’s a bad idea but simply be aware of this. Otherwise it’s your abilities that determine the rest.

I hear good things about the Dagger Alchemy 14 for playing in coastal waters. That could be my future toy for playing in surf.


will be taking lessons
from Aqua Adventures this spring. I don’t envision myself going out in the ocean before then, just trying to get an idea about this boat.

Appreciate the heads up on not being about to go with SDKC. Do they require 14’ ers and above do you know?

Also, thanks much for the thought on surfing. I have thought about getting a cobra type SOT for that purpose.

On the bulkhead thing…
Yeah, that is something I thought about for sure. Not sure if that foam pillar is adequate or not. What about using a bow bag? I thought maybe putting one of those up there might help.

I don’t know, at this point, I"m torn between getting a full-on sea kayak or maybe just getting a SOT surf Cobra. Eventually…both!

Thanks for the thoughts.

Before you buy a boat ----
Go down to aqua adventures and talk with Jenn then go demo some boats there.

You may decide you want to look for a used boat that better fits your ultimate plans. Keep an eye on Craigslist.

The kayak club is sort of in a state of flux. I don’t really know what the future will hold. I do know in the past they have discouraged rec boats for coastal paddles which is a good general policy. A good thing to do is to do one of the Aqua Adventue paddles in one of their boats, it will give you a better idea what you want.

No, reasons are -
as much about you as much as the boat.

Just to dispose quickly of the boat stuff - lack of a forward bulkhead means it’d be quite difficult to re-enter and keep empty after a capsize, and having tried hauling a few of these myself that includes in an assisted scenario. Adding float bags, maybe WW style, might help but maybe not enough given the likely space you need for your legs. The high seat back I see in the pics suggests to me that the boat is not friendly to an apt skirt for bigger water, a neoprene decked one.

But the largest issue is you guys, as paddlers. If you can’t rescue each other in messy stuff and haven’t at least started towards a roll, the two of you are not a great bet for the environments you describe at least alone. Though I don’t know, I also suspect you don’t have adequate clothing for a swim in 50 degree water. Saying that you have a PFD to me indicates that you haven’t spent enough time swimming in chillier stuff to know what else you need.

You can likely find some lessons in a nice warm pool over the winter to start getting these things down. Then look to go out with a group or a guide initially, even if it means renting boats, to get good local knowledge on what is involved in paddling those offshore environments.

install a float bag
if you can, but make sure it is well secured in so you don’t lose it when it’s needed the most.

I remember Steve (Flatpick) saying how much fun the 12’ Tsunami is in the surf, but that one has a forward bulkhead.

Cobra Re-Vision maybe ?
45#, Same / greater speed, perfect for SoCal surf cruising.


Thanks to all for the thoughts…
…and ideas.

I’ve pretty much decided to keep my Tribute as my lake and bay boat and wait until my skills grow and I have a chance to paddle a bunch of different ‘yaks.

I love so many different styles right now. I was just checking out the Think Fit as well as the full-on surf ski like the Epic V8. But I also really like the Hurricane Tracer 165, looks like an amazing boat for the price.

But, of course, looking at boats on the web is a lot different than paddling them, which is a lot different than LIVING with a boat. One reason I’m glad I got my Tribute 12.0 is that, for a rotomolded boat, it’s relatively light at 40 pounds. I really want a 17’ sea kayak, but I want it to weigh no more than about 40 pounds!

Thanks for the thoughts, folks. Agreed, I need a forward bulkhead and that rec-seat isn’t conducive for self-recovery.

Hold off on the sea kayak for now
You are showing fairly typical new paddler interests right now, seeming to focus on boats like the Epics that are more on the go-straight-fast side of the family. If you learn the skills to mess around in surf and caves, you will likely want a very different hull design than these boats. Granted a good paddler can make these boats work in situations favoring high maneuverability, but it’s an awful lot of work compared to just having a better suited boat.

Good news/bad news
You can put float bags in the boat and paddle on low swell days in the mean time. Paddle the lagoons and Mission Bay and San Diego Baya as well.

If you get into several different kinds of paddling you may own two or three different boats. A decent whitewater boat for rock gardens costs about $300 used 40 lbs tops. A decent used waveski for surfing about $300 -400, mine weighs 15 pounds. Plenty of money left if you want to pick up a sleek long boat or surfski … hopefully. Go used, get a decent paddle, look at Onno paddles.

I will own more than one
@seadart, what boats of the sort you mentioned would you recommend, in specific? Just curious, really, and wouldn’t hold you to those recommendations, just trying to get a feel.

My plan at this point is to paddle the heck out of my Tribute, then go to the various events that are coming up in the spring and summer. I know that there is one Aqua Adventures hosts in March I believe it is and also one up in Big Bear in June. I will most definitely take advantage of trying the various models before dropping any more money (of course, if some crazy-sweet deal made its way to my Craigslists app on my iphone…well all bets are off!)

Great sport/hobby/obsession to have, really, especially here in San Diego. And I haven’t even paddled in the ocean yet, though I have enjoyed the bay.