Question for Rec boat owners

I need some input. You guys that have an interest or own Rec. Boats, what is it that attracts you to them?

  • Large open cockpits
  • Short Length
  • Lighter weight
  • Lower costs
  • Something else

    Working on a new design and I am trying to understand what you guys like about them.

Rec features
We bought a tandem kayak (Pamlico 135T) so may not apply here but in general the features we wanted for quiet water paddling were…

  1. Good initial stability (wide flatter hull)
  2. Decent price
  3. Comfort / adjustability of seat & pegs
  4. Storage for gear

Large, open cockpits
that remind me of SOT’s. And less weight.


Biggest attraction
Leaning up against a tree with a For Sale sign on them.

What makes Happy Rec Boat Paddling
1. Comfort

2. Versatility

3. Price

4. All round ease of use

Better rec boat?
Why not ask rec boat owners/users what they don’t like about them. I suspect that might be eye opening.

The thing I liked most about my rec
boats was growing out of them. Slow, boring, heavy, difficult to reenter and limited maneuverability is how I describe rec boats. Not even good looking.

Ideal Rec Boat
Good pri/sec stability but balanced with good efficiency so newbie(with a bit of training/practice) can keep up with other good beginners/new intermediates, and won’t outgrow it in a couple of seasons. Many seem to like the Pungo 120/140. My river group newbies seem to like our Emo Glide fleet for coastal rivers/creeks but bit longer with stern hatch and bulkhead would be nice. Easy adjust foot pegs. Low profile for wind. No gimmickry that ads to cost/complexity. Large cockpit that will still take a production easy on/off light weight skirt. Easy to reach and open/close big watertight stern hatch. Lightest possible poly/other, but tough layup - less than = 45# for 12’x26-27". Comfortable easily adjustable (back & seat) seating. Tough project you picked. Good luck, R

LOL Suntan
That is sort of how I feel, that is why I am asking. I don’t see the appeal so is part of why I am asking.

But each to his own.

Tough project you picked.
Tell me about it!!

rec boats
I have a Pungo 120 and love it. Extra easy to enter and exit. Fast enough for anyone I’ve paddled with. Just a good little boat for slow, shallow, nature watching. Plenty of room for storage. Great for fly fishing from. Things I don’t like…big waves can wash into the cockpit if spray skirt (huge) is not used.

Like nothing
You and many others around here might be surprised how LITTLE people dislike about their rec boats.

features of rec boats
What I initially liked was low cost, stability, and low weight to take the boat everywhere. What I quickly grew tired of was the slow ride and no dry storage (solved with a dry bag).

I now paddle a Necky Manitou 13 and find it close to ideal. I would prefer a better storage hatch cover. While I am fine with the opening size, I suspect mmost rec paddlers would prefer a longer cockpit opening.

I own two other beginner rec boats and out guests always love them. A rec boat has to feel stable from the first time in the boat to avoid intimidating new paddlers.

Different Mindset
Recreational paddlers have a totally different mindset than other more hardcore paddlers.

Advanced skills such as rolling, speed/efficiency, rougher open water navigation, challenging weather conditions are all things that aren’t even on a rec paddler’s radar.

While it may be true that some rec paddlers “move up” and get into these types of skills later, many others are perfectly happy just being out on the water enjoying low-skill activities such as relaxing, photography and soaking in the peace and quiet of nature on a beautiful day.

What I dislike about rec kayaks …
is that the manufacturers do not include flotation bags and then sell thousands of these large open cockpit, no bulkheaded/hatched boats to an uninformed public. At a minimum, rec boats should have a rear bulkhead and hatch or be sold with with flotation bags for the rear.

I have had to rescue a few kayakers with flooded boats in the past and I also routinely demonstrate how difficult it is to rescue a flooded boat when I instruct. It is damn near impossible to empty water from a boat with no bulkheads or float bags. It is usually eye opening when we demonstrate these rescues in the pool. With two or three people helping it can be done, but I see far too many kayakers in recreational kayaks without flotation crossing large lakes, either by themselves or with one other paddler.

If you are designing a new boat, my recommendation is to include a rear bulkhead or include a properly secured and fitted float bag. The additional cost to the manufacturer and to the end user is minimal.



I loved my little rec yak when I first
got it, and I still love it now.

No 1 reason was cost

No 2 was the small size which made it easy to transport

N0.3 was the stability, (next to impossible to capsize it)

and lastly which I didn’t discover until several years after I had it, is the fact that it is a great little white water boat.

but the best thing it did for me was get me into kayaking

Jack L

I still like most rec boats I paddle because they are comfortable, And some of them like the Tsunami 145 and the Pungo 140 have no trouble keeping up with the Sea kayaks on the long hard days yet they are far better than sea kayaks on the twisty black water creeks.

If I had to do everything I do with one boat I’d probably end up keeping just the Tarpon 160. Isn’t a sit on top a rec boat?

Rec Boats
My wife and I both have 12’ Perception Sundances and we love them. The large cockpits make it easy for entry /exit. They are also extremely stable and track well and turn easily. The large cockpit is also great for fishing as you can place everything you need right in front of you.

The only downsides I’ve found is they are not fast and are a little stiffer to paddle than a more streamline boat. I built a 16’ Pygmy Osprey which I use when I need speed or am going a longer distance. Also, with gear your talking around 50 pounds which could be a problem for smaller paddlers.

Overall I beleive the Sundace type kayak is a great way to enjoy the water no matter what level of kayaker you may be.

I think of the beauty of a QCC or Pigmy
compared to the bulky, clunky looking rec boats out there.