plastic 15-16 foot kayak

-- Last Updated: Oct-21-10 12:20 PM EST --

Thinking about adding to the fleet. The GF has taken a liking to the Manitou 13, and would like something other than the Epic V10S surfski or a Discovery 169 canoe to join her paddling on local rivers and lakes, but also want something for me to use in rougher water ocean races and general ocean paddling. Figure 10% of the time racing, 60% of the time on rivers and lakes, 30% general ocean paddling.

Looking to buy used with a cost around the $600-$800 range.

What I would like (in order):
--around 16 feet long so it can fit lengthwise in garage easily
--some variation of plastic so I don't have to worry about bashing rocks/stumps/beaver damn hopping
--handle paddler/gear load of 225-275 pounds
--I'm 5' 9" with 30" inseam, 36 waist
--speed (relative to the class of boat and material it is made of), since I will probably do a few ocean races with it

What I don't need:
--storage space
--latest and greatest design of day hatch/knee hatch/bungee/deck line design

Neutral on because I don't know enough about:
--seat/rudder control options

Appreciate any suggestions for boats to look out for...thanks!

your height/inseam? NM

updated original post with
–I’m 5’ 9" with 30" inseam, 36 waist


– Last Updated: Oct-21-10 4:06 PM EST –

If you just wanted a 15-16' boat that handles big water, then I have some suggestions. But one that is fast - not sure about that. Most people who want fast sea kayaks capable of rough water go for longer boats.

So, back to good open water 15-16' boats:
New products on the market (but likely too expensive right now for your budget, even if you could find used), I'd suggest the Dagger Alchemy or the P&H Delphin.

What you may find used: Necky Looksha Sport could meet your needs. Necky Chatham 16 or Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 may also be good, but also may be a bit too long (both are 16' 6"). Also maybe one of the shorter Valley boats.

zephyr 155
is nice.

Romany Excel
Why would you race in this next boat when you already own a ski? You will not get a fast boat 16 ft or shorter with over 200 lbs in it. Lose 50 lbs, then you have a great selection of short ocean boats.

Most good boats designed for ocean use that are this short are designed for smaller paddler weight than you are listing. One that short that would fit you is the Romany Excel. The Sterling Grand Illusion is 16’9" length overall. At 17 ft or longer, you have quite a few fine options for your weight.

Chatham 16?
It’s not going to be terribly fast, but you’ll be able to excel in surfing it during waves + makeup speed that way.

thanks for the replies so far

– Last Updated: Oct-21-10 3:17 PM EST –

Thanks for the reply so far folks!

I'd race this in conditions that I wouldn't be comfortable in the ski, which has kept me from some of the local ocean races.

I debated putting the speed in there since 90% it won't be racing, but I figured I'd throw it in there. Race weight would be 210-230

Looking at it another way, I like how the Manitou 13 paddles... Is there something (other than Manitou 14 of course) that mimics the handling/speed (again, for its size) of the Manitou 13 around the 16 foot range?

Race Locations?
Where are you racing?

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

probably won’t fit
I doubt the Chatham 16 would fit.

I’m uncomfortable in it at 185 pounds, 6’0. The outfitting is kinda restrictive with the hard, curved thigh braces, IMO.

I paddled the 17
I know they’re very different boats, but I believe the Chatham 17 is an inch more narrow. I was probably 225-240 and was able to paddle the chatham 17 fairly well (ok, it wanted to periodically throw me in the water!).

It was tight.
It was very tight, though. I actually had to pull up on the coaming/thigh brace to get my leg under.

Stuff like Blackburn Challenge. Not sure if I can stay focused 20+ miles, especially if conditions are 3’+ in some spots.

Same goes for the Lighthouse to Lighthouse race down in CT. At 14 miles, not sure how fast I would be in 3’+ waves coming in from the southeast.

EMS Hingham
Has two used boats for sale you could check out.

Both near your price range…

17 and 16 are different
The 17 and 16 are very different. At 6’ and 220#, I don’t fit in the 16 (my butt can’t even drop into the seat), but I do fit in the 17.

I checked the specs for plastic, and the 17 is a 1" narrower boat, but has a 3.5" wider cockpit opening (go figure).

go 17
Measure your garage, see if it fits. You will have more options.

Slow …
The Alchemy and the Zephyrs are slow IMO. Will be no good for racing as most other kayaks their length will beat them (unless things get really rough).

Kayaks like the Piranha Speeder or the Prijon Barracuda will be faster though more tippy. You said you do not want stability yet have concerns about 3 foot chop so I’m confused as to your needs/abilities - the above two may be a handful for an inexperienced enough paddler though they are a lot more stable than most skis.

I have not paddled much the other Prijons but I read some of them are relatively fast and efficient despite being rather heavy.

The Eddyline Fathom is a nice fast-ish kayak in the 16 foot range but it is not in the $800 range even used.

The P&H Scorpio is a decent boat, but again, hard to find under $1,300 used…

I’m sure there are others, but as already mentioned, 15-16 footers, unless made for speed specifically, will likely be on the slow side of things.

The Epic 16x would be a good choice if you fit in it, and I’ve seen a few around the $1k mark used.

Perhaps you can make a skin on frame? That will be light and you can tailor it to your needs. In a workshop you can probably make one around $1K over a few days or on your own for a lot less (and a little longer).

Trade off’s I think …
"-handle paddler/gear load of 225-275 pounds

“-… since I will probably do a few ocean races with it”

“What I don’t need:


–storage space”

A 15’ - 16’ boat that holds up to 275 pounds … but fast enough to race. It’s not gonna be a LV, but more likely a boat designed as a smaller boat but not for a smaller paddler. These boats tend to be on the wide side. Short and wide, trade off would be speed. Boats that come to mind: Capella’s, Tsunami, Zephyr.

If you can do without some weight, Avocet, Tempest 165, Romney come to mind. Narrower boats, more speed.

Out of your price range, I think, but otherwise a good fit might a Northshore Atlantic.

If you can do with out some of the weight,