Rec kayak for a sea kayaker

-- Last Updated: Oct-30-07 4:37 PM EST --

It's tough coordinating my passion for both kayaking and freelance wildlife photography on the water, at the same time. I paddled my Impex OI past numerous perched eagles on a river, yesterday . .with my large 500mm lens safely stored in a hatch-no images taken. I only took a few flight shots from shore, out of my boat. There is just no way to handle this lens while paddling my boat, especially with a low volume cockpit. (35mm camera and large lens, marginally handholdable but do-able) I am hesitant to do so, but am thinking of getting a second boat, a rec kayak with larger open cockpit, giving up the paddling efficiencies, safety, rolling fun, etc. only when I am out specifically for a photo shoot. I do own the Bell Bucktail pack canoe, similar to a Hornbeck, but I am most comfy with it on small twisty creeks and back-country ponds only. Not a river like the Hudson that I often like to observe wildlife

Is there a rec kayak to consider, that at least, has some of the safety features I value, sealed bulkheads, perimeter decklines, etc. but does have a roomy cockpit for photo gear? I agree with Atlantic Kayak Tours assessment of discouraging most rec kayaks from being on the Hudson, so my journeys would be heavily dependent on wind and water conditions, and staying in calmer close-to-shore nooks and crannies.

Canoe-wise, the Bell Rob Roy possibly?

give your OI to me
I will send you one coupon good for the rec boat of your choice

Not sure about budget
but what about some of the new fishing style SOTs

They have the storage capacity, and you can pretty much crawl all over those things with little concern for dumping.

With leg straps you can even roll them when everything is packed away.

As far as flotation goes, my Old Town Loon will float full of water. Not stable but not on the bottom either. Its a multilayer material, Polylink-3 I believe.

You can
roll them but it takes some doing.

Necky Zoar Sport
My husband was looking for exactly the type of boat you describe, something stable but with proper outfitting. He demoed a bunch and ended up with a Necky Zoar Sport. He loves to take wildlife photos using a Canon 10D (soon to be updated - any buyers?)and a 100-400IS lens which he keeps up front in a Baja deck bag.

I’m sure there are others which would do the trick for you as well, but this one is worth a try.


kayak for photos
You could consider something like an Eddyline Equinox. Not really a rec kayak, but a very large cockpit and bulkheads and quite stable.

Depends a LOT on…

My wifes Kestrel 140 in TCS plastic would be my first choice. Handles well, light weight, and roomy enough for gear in the large cockpit.

I wouldn’t consider it a rec boat as it has the bulkheads and deck rigging you’re looking for, but Current Designs thinks it is.

Perception Sonoma in Airlite seems a fine boat, as does the Hurricane Santee Expdition. These last two don’t have a forward bulkhead if I remember correctly, but they seem to really scoot for a rec boat. If I were shopping for a VERY large cockpit, I’d paddle those.

Good luck, and have fun in the process,


Waterproof Deck bag

– Last Updated: Oct-30-07 8:17 PM EST –

I use my digital SLR with a 300 MM IS lens on my kayak. To keep it protected, I found this deck bag...

The zipper can be a bear sometimes, but if kept lubricated it's not a problem.

I try to determine which lens to take with me when I paddle. If I anticipate wildlife I'll take the 300, otherwise I'll take my 28 - 200 macro lens. I bought the IS lens primarily for kayaking and it's helped. Of course I use that lens when I'm not kayaking as well.


Where are all these eagles?
I saw one south of Piermont two weekends ago.

Zilch last weekend.

Andy’s deck bag is similar to what my hubby uses. If he were to use it on a kayak with a very large cockpit, it would be too far away. Likewise, he won’t use my canoe because he doesn’t want the camera equipment on the floor of the vessel.

So far, the set-up has worked well; he gets great shots, and the camera equipment stays dry.

CD Pachena
This boat is borderline for the Hudson according to Atlantic Kayak Tours and I guess I agree. It’s quite similar to an Eddyline Equinox. It has two bulkheads, deck rigging and a rudder, so you can steer it a little while drifting and taking a picture with two hands. The cockpit is quite large and it is quite stable in messy conditions. I harp on this boat too much on this board - I hardly use it anymore, it’s slow and waggles a bit, but it’s a great loaner and everyone feels secure in it.

Is a very nice kayak for photography, fishing and camping (also seaworthy). I also like solo canoes for all the above activities. The Wenonah Vagabond is excellent and inexpensive. However, I like a bit more fun in the paddling department and opted for a Hemlock Kestrel.

Cape Horn 15…
…is the original granny’s lap of a kayak. It’s very stable, very forgiving, has a large cockpit, double bulkheads and deck lines. We find it the ideal kayak for nervous newbies, as do tour operators - it’s often used for kayak rental and tours. Our only complaint is that it’s a tad slow compared to my VOLKSKAYAK. Take a look at your local outfitters - Chris got hers from a guy who leases kayaks to outfitters, one season old, for about 2/3 of retail…

Fishing kayak?
Some of them have at least floatation front and back, and they’d be the platform you need for shooting.

T-160 with float bags… You can take that thing in the surf…

I would consider …

I would be looking for something in the 12-14’ range with two sealed bulkheads, a larger cockpit opening, but not too big. It would be nice to still be able to seal off the cockpit with a skirt in case the weather came up and you had to make a River crossing to get back to your vehicle. Since you would also presumably be photographing from the boat you might look for something stable enough to do this. I would think a 25" beam would be a good compromise with a 13 or 14’ boat. I like the Necky Zoar Sport suggestion, but I think the Zoar Sport LV model would be more appropriate for your size and it weights 3 lbs. less.


thanks all. I will look into the various boats mentioned. I may end up putting the Bell Bucktail in the classifieds then as the garage can’t fit em all.

A few
Wilderness Systems Tsunami series

WS Tarpon

Feathercraft Kahuna or Big Kahuna.

Huricane Aquasports