Prijon Barracuda Right Boat for Novice?

Hello! This is my first time to this site. I’m new to kayaking but I’m enjoying it more each day. I’ve been out on a kayak about 8 times. I recently took three 3 hour courses that covered basic paddle strokes, assisted capsize recovery, solo capsize recovery, and and introduction to bracing and edging. I recently bought my first kayak, a used, but like-new Prijon Barracuda but I’m not sure if it was the best choice for my first boat. It’s described like this on the Mountain Equipment Co-op website: “This is a sleek, graceful kayak designed for superior speed and high performance. The hull is a modified trihedral with a slight V-shaped bottom. This shape complements the stiffness of the High Performance Thermoplastic (HPT)

to make this an exceptionally fast touring kayak.

It’s a great choice for kayakers who want a fully outfitted technical touring kayak that’s well-suited for day paddling, fitness, recreational racing, and multi-day excursions. Designed for beginner- to advanced-level paddlers.”

My choice of paddling is on the various coastal inlets around Vancouver, but I hope to paddle around the various Islands on both sides of Vancouver Island. Being a beginner, I’m still not very confident with my bracing and dealing with even moderate waves, such as those from the wake of passing motor boats etc.

I guess my question is how much if at all the narrow design - 21 inch beam - of this boat contributes to my feelings of instability in not-so-calm water and would a wider, more stable boat be the way to go. Or would you suggest that it is my paddling skills / experience have more to do with my uneasiness than the boat itself. I did a 10 km paddle up Indian Arm - a coastal inlet near Vancouver - and on the return trip the wind kicked up considerably with 3 foot waves. I didn’t capsize but I sure was nervous as I paddled hard to get back to my launch site. Thanks in advance for any comments. I love this site :slight_smile:

Definitely paddle it more
I’m a relaticve newcomer to sit-in kayaks as well. I’ve been in a Barracuda twice, a month apart. In that one month my skills improved significantly enough to appreciate the boat.

I paddled a friend’s Barracuda las week and at first it felt tippier than my WS Tempest or P&H Outlander boats. And it is. But after about half an hour on the water, I felt completely at home in it. That was on flat water. The owner thinks it is a great rough water boat as well, just you can’t really relax in it as much as you can with some other boats. It tracks very well and it is easily controllable for small corrections with some edging. It also turns very well when edged. I think the Barracuda is underappreciated because of its initial tippiness. It has real drawbacks as well - you need a rudder in stronger side winds/waves or it is very hard to stay on course.

I felt the same instability in my soft-chined P&H boat at first, for 2-3 weeks or so. Now it feels very stable. Give the Barrakuda some good workout then decide. It will definitely be less forgiving than other boats but not so much as some other boats, so at the end it is a personal preference. If you are serious about paddling and can train yourself to be comfortable in it, then it is a very nice boat to have, but definitely somewhat of a challenge initially.

rroberts sticks people with used
Barricudas as often as he can fence them. He bought a dozen to use on mighty Lake Harveysburg, and he still has several to dump on the unsuspecting market.

No. The primary…

…stability is non-existent. You’ll be exhausted

and you will likely meet every fish in the lake.

With every stroke you’ll be fighting the boat.

I have one. I love it. I’ll never get rid of it,

but it is NOT the boat for a novice.

If you buy it, you’ll almost certainly hate it.

One thing it teaches you…

…is how to make your upper half and lower half

work independently. You have to learn to relax

and not fight the boat, but I still do not recommend

it as a beginner’s boat.

I agree with rroberts. Not for beginner
especially on any chop or waves at all.

Agree with cd-1, the cuda is a fast boat but gets unwieldly in chop. Get a boat with more rocker and a little more width for conditions.

I agree with poleplant/

I agree with cd1

What I heard
An advanced paddler told me when I was a newbie… " Get a boat that is more advanced than you are because this forces you to adapt and improve."

That’s likely true, but…

…there are limits.

You need to decide
I have never paddled a Barracuda, so I don’t really know how stable they are, but here is how I got started in sea kayaking. I spend about two hours on a Malibu 2XL, really enjoyed it, took a one day class in a Valley Avocet and then bought a plastic Valley Nordkapp. Most would say that a Nordkapp is not a beginners boat, but for me it worked and I liked how it felt. That does not mean that I was not tippy the first few times out, but you can grow into it.

If you are just beginning kayaking and managed to get home through three foot waves in a 21" wide boat, I would say that you did fine. Paddle with it a bit in calm water and maybe take a class in the boat were they will focus on edging and bracing. That way when you go over, someone is there to help. Once you know what the boat is capable of, you will feel much more confident in it.


it’s both
the boat and your skills. There are more stable 21" beam boats out there with a better sense of security with waves from the stern, Chatham 17, they just aren’t as fast. It’s really not worth trying to figure out if it’s the boat or you. The boat doesn’t paddle itself and you don’t paddle without a boat.

At some point you decide whether being outside your comfort zone is a safety issue before consequences help the decision,or your skills develop to the point that the speed potential is worth it.

Next is rolling lessons so that self-rescue skills aren’t thought of as the default setting. My $.02 is that knowing how to roll is as basic as self-rescue skills for the Barracuda. You have a LOT more choices once you roll back up,you have very few choices once you’re out of the kayak. If you can’t roll and are paddling solo in conditions that are outside your comfort zone, waves off the stern, then you should have a vhf on your pfd.