question for owners of multiple kayaks

In your quiver of 2 or more kayaks - how many of those boats are more specialized in purpose or use, and how many are more “jack of all trade” compromises?

The thread on “it” boat prompted this question. It seems to me that unless one has a specialized use or purpose in mind, the best “it” boat would be a compromise boat. OTOH, if one were to own more than one boat, it might be better to pick from the extremes.

Compare to BIKES

– Last Updated: Dec-21-12 12:50 PM EST –

No one takes a skinny tire road race bicycle
off a sick 3 meter high jump on a dirt track.

You also probably wouldn't want to do 100 miles
on a full suspension mountain bike with knobby tires
riding pavement all day.

Dagger made something called the Dagger Crossover.
It was a hybrid, a half/half and it was marginally okay.
Too long for real whitewater, and too short for oceans.
It's also off the market now.

Can't have your cake and eat it too.
Stuff has design limitations, pushing them causes issues.

My problem is that
most compromise boats that I’ve tried don’t seem to do well anywhere. Because of my knees, I’ve shifted to SOT’s. Surf ski’s are a hoot, but they can be a handfull. A fishing type SOT is really comfortable and my old Manta Ray 14 was great in lower level whitewater. I also like to sail, so my Hobie Adventure Island sails really well. Now, it’s a barge when pedaling or paddling, but it’s fun as a sailboat. And, my inflatable, an Innove Safari, packs in and out well along with being a pretty good whitewater boat.

I like boats that do well in their particular environment.

have two, may add a third
My glass Aquanaut is my distance cruiser and overnight boat. My plastic P&H Delphin is my surf or play in the rocks boat. I may add a much smaller boat for some surf and rocks. I’m not the sort to have many more.

I paddle
3 different boats on a regular basis, the other 3, not so much. My Artisan Millenium (18’ sea kayak) is my main ride, but I mix it up by paddling my Mako XT surf ski, and my canoe, a Sawyer Summersong. How I make the decision is dependent on multiple factors. Weather, temps and venue.

6 currently
The two rec boats will probably be sold off this spring, so I won’t cover them.

The Dagger Kaos is surf play only, for use by others.

The Dagger RPM is primarily surf play, for use by me.

The Jackson Super Hero is primary WW boat.

The WS Zephyr is the all-arounder sea kayak.

On the ‘want’ list are Dagger Axiom Or Jackson Fun Runner, to replace the RPM for surf and for slalom and river play. And maybe someday an additional sea kayak that is more of a distance boat than the Zephyr, if I ever take up coastal paddles over 15 miles in a day.

A decent crossover boat, like an Ethos or Fusion or Rogue, would be a nice replacement for the rec boats, fulfilling their intended role as well as allowing for other uses, like roll practice and loan to river first timers.

Just two right now…

– Last Updated: Dec-21-12 2:48 PM EST –

.....I paddle the Illusion for all day / play. For trips of a few days length it's OK, too.
For anything where I really need to pack stuff (1 - 4 weeks) I use the Tempest 170 Pro.
I used to have a Tern 14 for play but with the Illusion I no longer had a use for it.


5 in the fleet with one on the way
Pyrahna Fusion for WW and surf play, WS Tsunami 170 as a pack mule travel boat, Manatou 14 for general trips and spare boat, LL Inuit 14.5 as my rocky area beater (rough use), WS Pungo 120 as a spare, for tag along freinds with little kayak experience. I just ordered a WS Zephyr 155 as a surf/touring boat, (the sport car of the fleet). Once the Zephyr arrives I will get rid of the Pungo and the Manatou will be used as the “new guy” boat.

I travel a lot so I get into a lot of different situations water wise. If I had unlimited funds the fleet would be a little bigger and more use specific.

My "quiver"
Pack mule: Nigel Foster Shadow

Day/play boat: PH Delphin

Surf boat: Megatron

WW: Pyrana Stretch

SUP: Starboard 12’6

I only use the Shadow for trips, it hardly gets used anymore, great old boat but HEAVY. The Delhpin has been a blast, great day and play boat. The Megatron is otherworldly, kicks my ass but I’ve learned a ridiculous amount learning how to kayak surf.

The sup is great for hot summer days for just getting out on the water.

I’m pretty satisfied with my little fleet, if I were to get anything else I might look into a twenty something sailboat to get the wife out on the water occasionally.

Tempest 165 is my ‘do everything’.

Alchemy S is for rough stuff… and a loaner for friends.

Different boats for different water
Rapidfire for the Adirondacks

Surge Kayak - 17’6" kevlar for salt water play.

Wenonah Solo Plus for river cleanup and messing around.

Tsunami - for friends and bashing into shore.

Surf Board for when I want pretend I’m not an old man.

Our experience

– Last Updated: Dec-21-12 7:28 PM EST –

I'll get rid of the obvious - the four WW boats, the one canoe and the 6 sea kayaks all serve different masters.

Within the sea kayaks, one is not wet all that often because it is heavy plastic and doesn't track for crap, the Necky DS Elaho. It would be good for rock gardening if we lived closer to surf. It is fun for wet work too, and can be nice in pool sessions because it is relatively short for a long boat and can be dropped on pavement on a cold night without getting hurt. It is also a stranded boat, only two years of them, and it is a hard boat to give up because of fitting a unique niche.

After that there are five (two day boat short and three long) sea kayaks between the two of us. The choice of which boat depends on considerations about rescue platform need (two of them aren't great there), speed (three of them aren't the best there), how much attention needs to be paid to the boat (the Nordkapp LV loses votes there) and how long a boat we want to haul (the two day boats win that one).

Suffice to say that there is overlap in each boat between these characteristics. So we make the best choice for the day.

It can be easier if we are taking someone else out and are loaning them a boat. Usually they'll fit one of my husband's boat, so he can switch off with them over the day. I don't have as much fun - hardly anyone fits in my boats.

my momma used to say

– Last Updated: Dec-21-12 8:41 PM EST –

"don't ya know you can only paddle one boat at a time." She told me this when I was in college using her garage to store my boats. I think she did have a point. I have a two year rule. If I haven't paddled it in two years then I sell it or give it away.
Here’s the current fleet: Lliquid logic xp10- better whitewater boat than tourer- although I have used it on sections of the northern forest canoe trail, overnight trips. I do find it is the boat that I use most of the time because it is so versatile, and has a comfy seat, very forgiving in whitewater. Its biggest drawback is that it is heavy to lug around but it does fit inside my van.

Perception mirage- old school whitewater kayak but fast on the flats- drawbacks are a small cockpit, seat not very comfy although I do use it as a crossover boat, tippy feeling in whitewater. On the plus side it is super easy to roll and only cost me $2oo.oo

Wavesport Y- use it as my creek boat and to take to roll sessions since it is easier to carry and load. It is the lightest boat I have to carry. Unfortunately I share this boat with my son so when we creek together I end up back in the xp. Biggest drawback is its kinda hard to get out of it when I had to wet exit.

Madriver plastic Adventurer Canoe- good for up to class II, overnights but not longer- hard to portage, hard to solo for long. It does fine on the flats, my wife thinks its tippy- limit it to class I, II only, well sometimes we get venturesome and paddle class three in it.

Three duckies- Riken Cherokee, Aire Tomcat, and Sevylor- very user friendly for easy whitewater with beginners, although my son, and his friends do takem out in the New River Gorge and Lower Gauley; if you got some current, just layin back in em is great for relaxing, also easier to take pictures from than the canoe or the kayak, as you get old its kinda hard to sit upright in em, beer gut gets in the way and the seats are crappy- don’t provide much support.

2 rafts- Miravia 12’ and I have an old campways Shoshone that I spend more time patching than paddling- great for group fun on whitewater- biggest drawback is packen everything up and putting it all away, I usually end up doing that part myself

7 of the 9 boats I bought used, total spent on fleet $3,7000…..It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have a bunch of boats. The important thing is if you're happy with em, don't worry about what other folks think. I'm a boat slob, not a boat snob. I say that because there are some folks that are more about the boats than the paddling. If you paddled a crossover you know what I'm talkin about. I love the paddling but have never felt that way about a boat. If you paddle a particular boat a lot you get familiar with how it handles and you kinda trust it. tdaniel

canoes, but
that’s a good question. Still have my first canoe, a 15’ Dagger Reflection, and that has become my all around “go to” boat. Cl.2, decent enough for poling, center seat for paddling, nice comfortable boat for long days. The Dumoine went from cl.2-3 tandem to a dedicated poling boat, though I could tandem if i wanted I suppose.

The Whitesell; dedicated ww tandem pig, but fun in the big water. PITA, dedicated side for paddling, seats both near center, fun having 420 pounds of paddler surfing though.

Dagger Encore pretty dedicated ww river runner.

Millbrook Flashback, a ballerina of boats, nice ww runner, twitchy, deceptively dry, but a fragile boat, not used on ledges.

The boats i got rid of were all specialized. Squirtboat for going underwater, a couple c1’s, which were specialized only due to the fact that after 20 minutes I needed out…so they became park and play boats.

Think I need a new composite all around boat. No problem paddling flatwater in a moderately rockered boat, thinking Millbrook Coho with an extra layer of glass or 2. Soon as my Reflection bites the dust which will be any decade now…

question for daggermat?
is the Millbrook flashback the same design as the madriver flashback of the 80s? My experience was that the madriver version was responsive and a great class two surfin boat but became very wet when the gradient picked up.

sorry I jacked the thread.

Ten years ago, I had a P&H Quest and a Pintail and was perfectly happy. Then got into Greenland paddling, and soon had a variety of kayaks for special purposes. Now looking to simplify again…

Used a lot

–Tiderace Xplore M–all rounder, surfing, and camping

–Betsy Bay Aral – day paddles

–Black Pearl–Greenland play and rolling

Occasional paddles

–Pintail (looking for a new home, b/4 teaching and surfing)

–OC Impex Outer Island (looking for a new home, b/4 A to B)

–Impex Temiskawa (paddling with spouse)


–NDK Explorer (2)

–Superior Arctic Hawk

–Keyhole Outer Island

–Dagger RPM Max

–Plastic Capella

–Plastic Wildnerness Systems Tandem

I might be the odd one
I might be the odd one with 5 sea kayaks that are very similar to each other and of the same style, only the 6th one is different.

Then again when I was mad keen on mountain biking I also had several bikes of similar style.

But just like my bikes, each kayak rides just a little bit differently.

All of my kayaks are with skeg, no rudders.

All of them are glass (actually carbon/Kevlar).

The difference between them is the volume and beam, rocker and hull shape, chines.

The largest one is for trips of a week or longer, while at the other end there is the low volume and low deck.

But every time I take one out for a paddle I feel how each one responds differently to the conditions.

Do I have a favourite? Not really.

Am I searching for the “it” kayak? Not at all.

For me there is no such thing: a kayak that does it all with absolute grace does not exist.

Just like my mountain bikes, each one has merits and shortcomings. Each one is enjoyable for the virtues and the faults, so I have to hone my skills to be able to paddle with confidence.

If You Paddle Extreme and Hard
Then you need back up boats while your damaged ones are in the “OR.” If you race, best to own a pair: one for training and the other to race. So if you race whitewater, flat water, and ocean, you can have a minimum of at least six (6) boats stored somewhere in the yard? Anything does happen, and having to sit out a race, event or outing due to a broken boat is a catastrophe. Now go add a bunch of doubles and the family cruisers? I’m over a dozen now, plus the kids.

Just 2 boats
Necky Chatham 16 Poly is by far my favorite. Great in rough water, surf and very maneuverable. easy to roll. My other boat is an Impex Assateague fiberglass. Paddled maybe 3 times in past 3 years. A foot longer than the Necky, harder to roll due to higher back deck, but enough space for a 2 week expedition, and much faster than the Necky, so I use it for 25+ mile paddles. Anybody want to buy a slightly used Assateague?

yup it is

– Last Updated: Dec-22-12 8:33 AM EST –

a 27 pound version, anyways. The decks and light weight keep it surprisingly dry. Not a boat to punch the waves though, as i found out one day and fortunately had the brace of my life. Bobs like a cork...