Purchasing my first kayak. Little background about myself first. 25 years old 5’10" 200lbs (like most I intend on changing that for the better). Really strong lower body strength and upper body strength. I have plenty of time on my hands, and a life to now work off those extra pounds I put on in Paramedic School. Grew up on Long Island and am no stranger to the water or the things that ride on it. I am pretty familiar with kayaking, and this is no where near my first time. However I am no where close to an expert. I am pretty familiar with the basics of paddling. Id consider myself a novice since its been so so long since I was a regular at paddlesports, so it will take me time to re learn rolls, self rescues and advanced techniques, but I am good at adapting. I work as a full time Paramedic, and used to be a Firefighter, and also worked at a station that specialized in Marine Rescue.
I plan on using my kayak in local North Carolina lakes, most moderate sized, some very large and are subject to chop as well as moderate wakes from boats. 1-5 times a year I will be using it on the coast in the inter coastal waterway, bays, inlets, and when I venture back to N.Y the same. I really have no intent on open ocean use at this time, but am prepared to paddle between bays and inlets as required. I plan on getting a spray skirt for these salt water ventures, and want a kayak that will be able to handle 2ft seas in the event they happen. But this wont be my primary use. I spend about a full day on ventures but no overnighters.
My purchase dilemma:
I planned on purchasing a Riot 13 from craigslist for an incredible 400 bucks. Long story short public safety work schedule, was told it was sold before I could meet the seller.
I am now narrowing it down between 3 kayaks.
1: Riot Edge 13 for 849 with free shipping.
I like the skeg, and extra cargo space, but obviously I wont have it for a while if ordered off line. Only decent reviews I have found on this has been here on paddling net. I have not been able to sit in this or try it on.
2: Wilderness Systems Pungo 120. I have it on hold at REI until closing Sunday. I have been back and forth on this. I notice it got fantastic reviews, and is great for beginners. Its deff wider then my other two options, and only has a stern storage container which will cause some problems in the needle department if I ever take an involuntary swim. I do like the width in the event I enter some rough seas on those few times Ill use it out in the Ocean/Inter Coastal. I have sat in the Pungo both with and without the dashboard installed. Plenty of room, maybe even a little too much. No way it will handle my 60lb Canine companion so thats not even in the cards. I can easily re position and see the benefit in being able to “really spead em” when I want. Deff the widest cockpit I’ve sat in thus far. $695 is the cost.
3: Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125.
Available to me from a local Kayak shop currently $830 on sale not sure how long it will last there. I have sat in it today spent about 25 minutes sitting in it. I fit with no problem, and am just as comfortable as in the Pungo, albeit forfeiting the extra room to do jumping jacks, spread wide out if I want to. Its deff much slimmer then the Pungo and seems like compared to the Riot I am missing the skeg and the under deck cockpit storage. I can see myself spending the day no problem.
More or less what I am looking for is just some more advice besides that received at REI. More or less which of these will handle the few times Ill be using it in the ocean the most, obviously my purchase will be geared towards the fact Ill be using it mostly in large lakes which are also subject to a little bit of chop. Nothing crazy though. Im deff trying to keep the boat under 900. I already have a PFD and car rack and City indoor storage at the lake.
Also want some recommendation at paddle sizes. That Im not too familiar with.
Im trying to make my final decision by tomorrow since Ive placed some items on hold, but I have also spent the past 4 weeks doing product research.
I bet I won’t be the only one who suggests that an athletic 5’ 10" 200# young guy who intends to eventually paddle in Long Island Sound needs to be looking at kayaks longer than 12’. For your size and the waters you are talking about paddling and your performance desires, you should be looking into 14’ to 17’ touring kayaks. I’m 5" shorter and 55 lbs lighter than you and have paddled LIS – would not do it myself in anything shorter than 14’. The thing is, for your weight, a 12’ boat has to be somewhat wider to get the displacement – a longer boat can be more narrow, therefore faster, better tracking and easier to propel. I think you would quickly become frustrated with such a small boat and wish you had gotten something a bit bigger.
Sitting in a boat in the store doesn’t tell you much about how it is going to be on the water. I think you are jumping the gun trying to buy a kayak tomorrow (I guess by now it is today) when you have not paddled comparable models.
used boats your area
Here are some likely prospects in used kayaks on North Carolina Craigslist. Don’t know your exact area, but there seem to be quite a few for sale in the state, and this is the time of year when there tends to be no shortage of used boats as the season ends. And stores have plenty of stock on sale – you need not feel you have to jump on a few that you have come upon this week. These are all around your price range and a better bang for your buck than any of the new ones you have looked at, even on sale:
(the Easky is only 13’ but still an excellent boat – I have the 15’ version and love it)
Thanks for the info. So even if my primary use is gonna be fresh water small medium to large lakes with the exception of that once or twice bay use go for longer? If so I’ll completely switch tracks then. There are plenty 14-16 footers on Craigslist right now I just figured with such little justification besides semi annual or 3-4 times the most coastal use per year wasn’t enough justification to investigate a larger touring or sea kayk. If that’s the consensus then maybe I’ve been looking down the wrong path.
and there is certaily no rush, I’ve been in the market for about a month now. Just finally ready to make a move
lakes and rivers
I 'm inland and paddle lakes, rivers and streams most of the time too. I do own one 12' kayak and it is just too slow for my taste even on these waters (I use it as a loaner for friends.). I started with a 14' 6" kayak that was 25"wide and wanted something faster that tracked better within a short time. And I'm an only moderately athletic 64 year old woman. My younger brother is exactly your size and an athletic novice who wanted a kayak for the upper Hudson River and Lake George in upstate New York. I found him a 17' touring kayak 3 weeks ago and he loves it for those waters.
You also mentioned rolling and "advanced techniques". Those would not be much of an option with a short wide boat. You will limit your options in the ones you are looking at.
Size and hull design drive performance. You don't match the boat to the size of the waterway but rather what you want it to do on that waterway. I gathered that you want to move. Short boats are fine for fishing, photography and leisurely lily -dipping. Maybe I misinterpreted your personality and paddling goals, but I would have pegged you as more of a guy who would prefer a sports car to a golf cart, if you get my drift.
Willowleaf is right
Go for a longer boat! Even the guys that I regularly paddle rivers with are in 14' kayaks or longer.
get the longer boat
Last month I ended up towing a lady from the lunch stop to the take out (6 miles) because she could not handle the head wind that came up in her 10 ft rec boat. Buy used if you can find one, most of us do not use the same boat for many years if we become serious. I paddle a 14.5 ft boat on small rivers, and a 17 on larger water.
Buy Used Now
You are just starting. Buy used now, until you figure out what kind of paddling you will be doing. If you intend to progress, your taste will change fairly quickly, several times, during the first few years. Every time you buy new at retail price, you lose as much as half the boat’s value when you sell it as used.
There are two kinds of people - those who prefer to challenge themselves to become better kayakers and those who prefer to have a relaxed time on the water. Nothing wrong with either. The first group would progress fast and change boats a lot. The second group will be happy with a short wide recreational kayak for years.
The length is not the only thing to consider - sit on top might be a safer option for many (easier to self-rescue after a capsize). Width is also a factor - the wider, the slower and heavier, generally.
A 14’ x 22"-24" would be a great option for you, once you get comfortable with its stability (some find anything but a 3’ wide bath tub unstable at first). And you should really read-up and take a class on safety and rescues. That might change your mind about kayaks like the Pungo, for example.
That Elie Strait for sale in Greensboro (one of the Craigslist links I sent you, I think the second to last on the list) would be an excellent starter boat for a good price and one you could easily resell. Though these rarely come up for sale used because people really like them once they own one. If it was near me, I would buy it it a heartbeat for my nephew (who is your size). It 's a $1200 kayak
The correct spelling of the model is Strait if you want to check out the reviews on here - honestly, if it is near you and you could get it you would not regret the purchase, these have been very favorably reviewed and with the rudder you could take it anywhere., yet it is light and a maneuverable size for smaller rivers. Read the reviews under the "review"tab above.
Thanks for the advice so far to all who contributed. I’ll forfeit my efforts at the stores and stick with Craigslist. I guess I got too bummed over losing out on the riot that I was careless in ignoring Craigslist for the past week or so. I’ve emailed out to a few selling some 14-15 footers including a dagger and wilderness systems cape horn as well. I’ll continue to keep an eye out. I do appreciate the feedback. And classes are a definite plan I go back to working my favorite high shift schedule this week permanently which will re open my calendar quite a bit.
Tsunami 125 not a bad choice
I happened upon a Tsunami 125 a little over a year ago on sale. I liked the idea of the huge cockpit. This is a typical beginner concern about easy entry and exit. My plan was to add some quiet river paddling to my exercise routine. I am slightly bigger than you, 6-0, 215, athletic.
The Tsunami I think was good choice as a starter boat. But after only a fews months and numerous short trips I began thinking about my next boat. The Tsunami does track well without a rudder, and I found it easy enough to edge some and turn. It is also outfitted the same as WS larger boats. I was able to successfully to take a paddle float self-rescue class with it. Others that showed up for the class with open cockpit boats were told their boats would basically be unable to self-rescue being so full of water with no sealed flotation hatches.
I discovered I really liked this new activity, and how the whole body is
involved in paddling. I am guessing the hull speed for the Tsunami is around 3-4 knots. I found I could paddle that fast and then the boat will start to plow, and you can’t make it go faster. Longer skinner boats go faster. So after a year I sold the Tsunami for about what i paid, and now have a new WS Tempest 170 composite, which is faster than I am.
I my point is, the Tsunami 125 is great, versatile kayak. It may suit you for some time. I had mine in some 12" - 18" waves, exciting but with no problems. I also replaced the seat back with a WS back band. I have also discovered that back band is a misnomer. It is more of a butt cup. I have my pulled down tight to the seat bottom. I easily learned to maintain a good posture, and the seat back will be in the way of self-rescues.
Then if you get all caught up in the glide and wanting a bit more top end, pass it along to someone else, and you will have learned want you want in your next boat.