Question about upgrades for a novice

Hello, I’ve had a nice start to my hobby of kayaking with a used Old Town Dirigo 106. The boat glides and is easy to handle. However, it seems a bit slow, and there is definitely a top speed it can go, beyond which no amount of frantic paddling improves.

I’m looking at a Perception Sonoma 13.5. I know this is not a perfect kayak and there are much faster ones out there, but I need to stay within a garage space and financial budget. Do you think that his karak will be faster in a meaningful way? I’m not looking for racing speeds, but I do find it somewhat discouraging that my paddling can be overcome by a person strolling on the side like beside me. I am going down very slow moving and calm rivers. I don’t think I enjoy paddling on the lakes or in waves, so I am not too concerned about those kinds of challenges.

I’ve paddled the Sonoma 13.5 and it’s pretty nice. It’s not as fast or nimble as a sea kayak but it’s definitely zippier and sportier than other rec kayaks I’ve paddled - though I’m not familiar with yours. A friend in one was able to keep up with a group that had sea kayaks in it, so likely a lot faster than yours. It’s also nice and light. If you’re not a really large person it might meet your needs. Give it a test paddle if possible.

Thank you for the information. I think that helps frame the reviews I’ve read and confirm it is in-between different types of kayaks. I’m pretty medium so I don’t think I’ll be too crammed. My current kayak is about 55lbs and while I sincerely appreciate the exercise and upper body strength, I do have some concerns about my back and so shaving off some pounds is probably advisable as I portage with it on my shoulder generally.

Yes, it’s kind of a transitional boat. If you end up buying it, you might put a float bag into the front as it has only one sealed bulkhead. It’s definitely much more fun to paddle than most rec boats I’ve tried.

You’ll find a longer boat will allow you to build more speed. Short boats have to be wide to get the displacement to carry your weight.

Did you get the Sonoma? If so post a picture on the “Show off your boat” thread, which needs to be kept alive forever! :wink: