ready to buy?

-- Last Updated: Aug-16-06 7:54 AM EST --

Novice here wanting to purchase kayaks for husband and me.

Our stats:
me - 60 years - 4'11' 130lbs (total knee replacement and osteoporosis but don't let it stop me so far)

husband 63 years - 5 ' 5" 145lbs (very good health and strength)

both have small feet (grin)

Flatwater kayaking bug has bitten...

We've rented kayaks 4 times in last 4 weeks or so...

SOT rented for 24 hours and kayaked 3 times in Sarasota Sound and Tampa Bay Florida.

Old Town Loon tandem at river outfitter and did a six mile paddle/float in 2 hours. Little Miami River (river neither high nor low)

2 Perception Swiftys from outfitter in Butler KY...did 6 mile paddle 2 hours and 10 minutes...(mostly paddling cause river was slow and so were boats and boaters...grin.) Licking River.

2 Old Town Otter Tandems that we used as solos on Acton Lake in Oxford Ohio...out for 2 hours and boy we were bushed...lugging those boats around...grin. Did 5 miles.

OK...we're thinking of buying something in this range...

Perception Carolinas
P&H Easkys
Liquid Logic Pisgah
Dagger Spectors

We think 14-16 footers.

We had originally been looking at Element for me and BlackWater for husband but outgrew that notion. Do we need to go further up the scale to touring instead of rec/short trips boats or with our age and condition and wanting to do mostly flatwater and not more than eventual 6 to 8 hour trips AT MOST are we in our niche with those boats listed?

Thanks ahead for any serious answers or suggestions we may receive.

What do you mean by “outgrew that notion”? Does that mean you decided that staying more rec type would be fine?

Also, for your height (4’11"), how comfortable did you find the Swifty on your various body parts when you did that long paddle? The reason I am asking is that this is an awfully tall and wide boat for you, and at a certain point having to reach around a large volume of boat can get wearing. Or maybe it isn’t an issue for you…

That said, your post is very complete. My first reaction is that you’ll probably want boats that track quite well compared to the rest of their group, given that you started with some distance work. I don’t know the boats you mention well, but you may want to reread the manufacturer’s descriptions and look for a rating on how well they track.

ready to buy?

– Last Updated: Aug-16-06 8:19 AM EST –

Thanks Celia for the quick reply...

I meant that we ruled out the really short and sluggish boats quickly.

I haven't noticed much soreness from the reaching to paddle but I might not know what I'm supposed to be doing at all...need some lessons I know and that's coming right up.

I do freeweights regularly and am fairly strong in my upper body all things considered I guess.

I'll pay attention to the 'tracking stats' as you suggested.

Consider weight
For what it worth, pay close attention to the weight of the boats you consider especially if your going to car top your kayaks. If you going to purchase poly boats in the 14-46ft range the weight will vary from 50-56lbs. If you stay in the 43-46 lbs range you will paddle more often and you won’t kill your backs.

14 feet
What normally happens is that people purchase short squat boats and within weeks are dissatisfied and want to upgrade. Dealers understand this and use it to their obvious advantage. You seem to have avoided that step and are ready to move up to the “next step”

but what is that? A 12 footer? 14?

You need to ask yourselves what you envision yourselves doing. do you have thoughts of long distance touring and possibly camping? Will you restrict your activities to just flat water (not what you will think for the near future but later) or will you want to get out on a calm ocean every once in a while?

I went from an Old Town Rush (upgraded Otter) to a 17 foot Tempest 170 RM at 62 lbs. I adapted to the weight as you will if you really love the sport and you will find creative ways to not have it be an issue.

The obvious things are flotation for the boat, a paddle float, a pump, good personal flotation devices, whistle, and proper attire for sun/wind/water temperatures. These are all part of the “package” and needs to be planned for accordingly.

From the way you two sound, I strongly suspect that if you go with a rec type or rec/touring boat you will be frustrated and dissapointed sooner than later. But I am only going by what I have read from you so far.


One of my favorites in that range…
… is the Current designs Kestrel 140 (14’). It has a very efficient hull with good speed and is a capable boat. You can get a very light one which makes a big difference

ready to buy?

– Last Updated: Aug-16-06 9:31 AM EST –

Thanks for the responses folks...I'm taking notes and we're heading out the door to go look at kayaks.

Paul...I fear you might be right about us eventually wanting touring boats...however I can't see us doing overnight tours and camping...I might be wrong about that...grin.

Grayhawk....I did peek at the Kestrel 140...looks good to me. I'll try to see it today in person.

I’d look at the Necky Manitou also.
It’s a day touring boat in the range you’re talking about. One of the important differences in some boats in this range is sealed bulkheads in both bow and stern. Many of the boats only have bulkheads in the stern. It’s an important safety feature often overlooked by novices.

for the very same reasons
stated by Marciak, see if you and hubs can demo some Hurricane Aqua Sports Tampicos… you being a petite woman might really like the TampicoS, he might also or the big brother the TampicoL.

Both light touring, are 13.5 feet 23.5 wide, come fully decked for and aft w. perimeter water line and very important, two fully sealed bulkheads.

The S is listed at 41 lbs. I can pick it up easily (I’m just under 5’4" and weigh 115, size 6 feet), the L at 43 lbs. Beautiful Trylon finish too. If you are within striking distance of Kalamzoo MI let me know I just found a mindblowing deal on 2006 Tampicos fresh from Hurricane in NC - ordered an S for myself an hour ago, picking it up Saturday :slight_smile:

More thoughts

– Last Updated: Aug-16-06 7:17 PM EST –

There are two things that I have been thinking about, one is that one of you is a 4'11" woman who does maintain upper body strength and the other is that you guys did six miles in Swifties. As others have indicated, you don't sound like paddlers who are going to be happy very long with boats unless they make it easy to go some distance and can carry gear. That means two sealed bulkheads - anything less will take extra fussing should you go camping. And you'll want decent deck rigging, for reasons that you'll understand when you learn your first self-rescue.

However, you may be fine for a while with boats that are OK for basic flatwater stuff but not so hot at making it easy to learn a roll. That is important - because at 5 inches shorter than me there are just about no boats out there right now that will be easy for you to haul around and will give you the kind of contact that you need in the cockpit to make rolling easy to learn. If/when yuou want to learn, you are of a size that will be best off being put into a WW boat.

You should take a look at Current Design's web site if kevlar is affordable. Kevlar makes a boat that is relatively easy to heft, you aren't talking about bashing it on rocks in Maine, and CD is presenting a couple of new boats for spring specifically aimed at the smaller female paddler. Varying lengths - I believe one is a pretty convenient shorter length. I haven't sat in the Kestrel, but it seems a good idea.

I was also thinking about the Hurricane boats, but would add the Tracer series to the list if you can find one where at least some part of your thighs are in contact with the boat when you sit in the cockpit. They may have a lower deck than the Tampico which you'll appreciate, and they may be a little sleeker and better rigged out for growth in your paddling.

You should also look at the Betsie Bay boats fr yourself. They are wood so quite lightweight, and their smallest one may be a decent fit for you.

Once you get into expedition length boats there may be some other suggestions, but it seems that for your purpose over 16 ft is a bit long to start. But you should take advantage of the remaining warm weather to go around and try to get into just about everything to get a feel for the boats, take classes over the winter if there are pool classes around you. You both may find by spring that a bit over 16ft is looking a lot more interesting to you.

By the way, I haven't commented on your husband because he has a few more options. He'll still find that most boats are too big, but he should be OK in several of what are normally called "small paddler" boats. At under 5 ft you'll find over time that you have the tougher fit issue.

Ready to buy?
Evening Gang and thanks so much for all of your imput, Celia, Marciat, friendlyfire and all the rest before.

We went and sat in 3 kayaks today,

Liquid Logic Pisgah (14’)

P&H Eskey (13")

Perception Carolinas (13’ 7")

Celia…I’m short but kinda round at 130 lbs at this teeny height. I need a boat with a 38" cockpit because of my girth and my ‘replaced’ right knee…it doesn’t bend as much as it should so I’m awkward getting in and especially out…but I can and WILL continue to do it!

The weight is not a big issue for us…we can work on hoisting and positioning the kayaks together and my DH is fairly athletic and strong for his height and weight so he has no problem with 55 even 60lbs. He’s inventive too. Grin.

We found a 20% off sale on kayaks in Columbus

We’ll go back to Columbus and do demos with a few kayaks next Tuesday eve. (It’s a 97 mile drive!) but this is the biggest selection and best prices in our area. Don’t wanna order online…so I guess I’m more limited than I thought in what I could get.

Did many of you order your kayaks online? The outfitters around here don’t seem to have many of the longer boats (16’ and over)…probably cause we’re far from ‘big’ water. Maybe I haven’t been to the right outfitters.

Friendlyfire…the Tampicos look really good! I know you’re excited.

About the Carolina
At your height, those boats are so deep that you’ll have a very frustrating time when you come to learn to manuver it. A cockpit that comes high your torso will be tough and uncomfortable to do turning strokes etc.

I’m not trying to slam the boats for what they are, I’ve seen this a lot. We have them show up in after work practices and again and again the women in them find themselves frustrated and unable to perform some of the basic control storkes comfortably because they are so deep in the cockpit. They just plain can’t get the position and access to the water they need, and that’s women who are my height (5’4"). They are killing themselves to get the boat over for the simplest stuff.

You really need to care about how deep you are in the boat - and try and have as much of your torso as possible clear of it. Granted at the cockpit length you mention that’s not going to be easy.

Try experoimenting with how you get in. Instead of trying to bend your knees into it, likely what you are doing, sit on the deck just behind the cockpit, put your legs in and slide down onto the seat. I’ll bet you can manage a less long cockpit, and in fact what I just described is the recommended way to get in and out of a boat in circumstances like with a higher dock, that kind of thing.

Excellent boat for the money. I think it would work well for you both.