Questions about my new kayak

I guess you could call me a novice paddler. I started 3 years ago and have paddled at least once a month, except the extreme cold midwest temps have prevented it this winter so far. I first bought a 10 foot Perception rec. kayak. I paddled large and small rivers, lakes and creeks in all sorts of weather conditions. After the first year I was wanting to upgrade, but was not willing at the time to invest a lot of money. Last year I came across a used 13’ Dagger Cypress with a rudder. I love it, but it was very heavy and wide,and in many aspects it was not that much of an upgrade. I enjoyed it and had it in rivers, creeks and lakes. I still had difficulty keeping up with the younger girls. I had been coveting a Necky Eliza for 2 years after I took a friend’s sea kayak out, and I finally found one on sale in Bloomington, IN. I originally was going to sell the 13’ with rudder, but as I began to read about the sea kayaks, now I am wondering if I should keep the Cypress. Because I love paddling rivers and creeks, will the sea kayak be a good boat for these waters? I am wondering if the shorter boat might be best for those conditions. Just wanted to ask a more experience paddler before I sell the other boat. Before I purchased the Eliza, I tried a friend’s sea kayak and it was an awesome experience on both a lake and a larger river, but I am wondering if there would be times when I would wish I had the 10’ or 13’ boat. Also, last summer I took a womens’ trip to northern Michigan. I took my 13’ kayak. This was before I purchased the Eliza. We did shallow rivers, large lakes and Lake Michigan. If we do this trip again, is the 15’ Necky versatile enough to be able to paddle in all those different types of waters? Please advise me. Thank you!

Deborah Walters

I could do all those waters in a 15’
Necky, which isn’t to say I would want to.

Rudders are for open water, not for going through twisty streams. I took the rudder off my 14’ 5" Necky Looksha Sport, and I control it with the paddle and with outside leans. In twisty streams, rudders just get hung up on drowned trees and gravel bars.

I paddle flatwater
and up to class III in a 17’ long 22" wide sea kayak and find it is perfectly acceptible, though there are some caveats.

In rapids on the upper Sacramento (class II - some say III, though I doubt that) I found that boat handling was different than it is for shorter boats. Long kayaks and canoes may well have the bow and stern in counter rotating eddies. I have been spun in place in at least one occasion. In the rapids themselves, handing the longer boat was no issue whatsoever.

In calm or slowly moving water, the longer boat isn’t at all difficult to handle, but all that length adds to weight, which you’ve indicated is an issue. Rudders and skegs (I don’t have those on this boat) add weight as well, though they may be advantageous in some conditions (high winds, predictable currents).

I don’t think the conditions you describe will challenge the versatility of the longer boat and the longer boat may well be a bit faster for you.


The right tool for the job
"" I took my 13’ kayak.""

“” We did shallow rivers, large lakes and Lake Michigan.""

Few would recommend a 13 foot kayak for paddling

Upper Michigan’s large Great Lakes.

A long boat that’s a good fit for you can be more maneuverable than a shorter boat that’s too big for you. A sea kayak can pivot quickly IF you learn to lean and edge it.

If the Cypress is too big for you, there’s no point in keeping it unless you want a guest boat.

It comes down to you.
Chances are that I would choose a full length sea kayak in every situation that you paddle, and that a shorter, wider, more stable boat would offer no advantage to me. But that’s me. I can comfortably edge and maneuver sea kayaks, and really enjoy doing it in little twisty situations. That stuff is quite fun for me, even in, or perhaps especially in, straighter tracking boats.

The question for me comes in where you describe yourself as paddling at least once a month for the last 3 years, except cold winter months. That sounds like an occasional recreational paddler, which is great. Paddle when and how you enjoy it. Nothing else makes much sense. But it draws into question whether or not you are the type to pick up edging skills and good maneuvering strokes. Only you can answer that.

So I would suggest keeping both for now, and learn what you’re capable of in the Eliza.

I would figure that if you develop the appropriate skills for paddling big open water like Lake Michigan, you will enjoy the Eliza more for all of your paddling venues. If that doesn’t turn out to be your thing, maneuvering a sea kayak may just be a struggle for you, and you won’t enjoy it in maneuvering situations. So I think it’s more about the right kayak for the paddler than it is the right kayak just for where you’re paddling, leaving whitewater runs and long open-water crossings aside.

Unless you need
If you don’t need the cash.and have storage keep the cypress.makes a decent loner boat.and I find that after I get rid of a boat is when I find it would of been nice to have.