Replace Looksha Sport LV with a used...

I’ve been paddling a Necky Looksha Sport LV for about four years, and I’d like to get a used kayak that will let me cover more distance in an afternoon and maybe be more challenging to paddle.

I’m 5’5", around 155 lb.s, and will probably be using the boat most often in bays and estuaries (the area in the photo at on windy days. I’d prefer a longer and skinnier boat with bulkheads fore and aft and maybe a drop skeg (I’ve been using the rudder on the LSLV as a drop skeg). I probably won’t get to spend more than a day this year camping out of the boat, so I don’t need a lot of volume.

My budget is around $500, more if I wait a couple of months. Some of the boats on craigs ( close to my budget and within a couple hours driving distance are a Necky Looksha IV, a Necky Eskia, a Perception Carolina, WS Tempest 165, and others.

I’m trying to narrow down the list so that I won’t spend a lot of my very limited time looking at boats that don’t fit me. Any suggestions?

I don’t know what the market will present to you at your proposed budget but the Eakia, Catolina and Looksha IV are going to be much bigger volume craft than the fit of what you’re used to.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

looksha IV
My wife has a kevlar Looksha IV, which she really loves. It is a ruddered boat. A few years ago we paid ~$1400 for it. A used rotomolded Looksha IV should be significantly cheaper. As Marshal suggests, be sure you fit. If it feels tippy compared to your old boat that will disappear … as you probably realize.

Lots of advice exists on this web site on how to assess the condition of used kayaks. Used boats often come with other goodies e.g. spray skirt, paddle, etc.

looksha IV foot pedals
I perhaps should have mentioned that our looksha IV came with the sliding foot pedals for rudder control. I replaced those with the more desirable pedals that do not slide once set where you want them. They use an automobile-accelerator style of mechanism to control the rudder.

I agree with Marshall that things will be tight with your budget. But something may show up - dont rush and keep checking and you may get lucky. You genera,lyrics will be looking at plastic boats, as they are less expensive than composite.

Also check with Bay Area Sea Kayaker ( There is a classifieds section to their Web site. Good group to also join.

If you haven’t yet, stop in at the local shops and chatting them up. California Canoe & Kayak in Oakland and Headwaters in Lodi are the two I think are closest. Headwaters does sell used, I don’t think CCK does. But you can also get a feel for what new boats would fit.

Of the boats you list as available, only the Tempest may be good for you. The rest are probably too big.

If you see a Looksha IV LV, that would be the longer version of what you have.

P&H Scorpio LV sometimes come available. That probably would be good for you.

If considering new, Valley Gemini RM pops up as a plastic boat that might do you well. Or many of the boats with LV in the name.

Looksha feedback

– Last Updated: May-30-16 5:03 PM EST –

I picked up a used Looksha IV for my brother last year (he's about 5' 11" and 195 #.) I used it a couple of times before delivering it to him -- I am exactly your height and weight and found it rather too big for me, though I am more accustomed to lower volume touring boats so perhaps that is understandable. It's a very heavy boat too -- found it a real bear to load it.

I had rented an Eskia for an all day coastal tour a few years ago and liked the fit of it better than the Looksha IV. The Carolina 14 fits me but I honestly don't like the performance of Carolinas compared to similar boats and think that if you were used to the smaller Looksha you might feel the same about the Carolina (I find them and the WS Tsunamis barge-like and prefer the equivalent models from Venture and Necky.)

Can't comment on the WS Tempest as I have no experience with it.

Also Elaho
The Necky Elaho line comes up from time to time and is a boat that might fit you well. There are both ruddered and skeg versions - most people I know prefer the skew version.

Second the Elaho
Looksha IV will be a tank on you. All but the first two years of the Elaho are ruddered, and they straightened out the tracking a good bit. The drop skeg Elahos are mostly fun if you like doing a lot of circles. They will track but it is not their favorite activity.

Maybe a Impex Outer Island…
If you can find one the price may be right. Long, narrow but the deck was a little low for me. Designed by the same person as the CD Caribou.

Looksha IV yet again

– Last Updated: May-31-16 10:27 AM EST –

I will expand on my comments regarding the discontinued Necky Looksha IV, not to be confused with the many other unrelated Lookshas in the Necky lineup. Personally I would avoid the heavy rotomolded version as I would for most kayaks of that length, but would consider the other construction options seriously.

At 17' x 22.5” the Looksha IV is not large for a 17' kayak. The rotomolded version of this kayak is specified at 65 pounds (way too heavy for me), 53 pounds for the fiberglass, the carbon at 48 pounds, and the kevlar around 50.

To our kevlar model I have added the non sliding foot pedals. The other add on is minicell foam in the cockpit to ensure good hip contact for rolling - something I would need to add to most kayaks of this length. At 145 pounds and 5' 5” in height, this 75 year old does not find this kayak too large.

Looksha IV way deep for 5’5"
The depth and width of the boat is decently matched to our over 6 ft tall friend. It is not about the length and weight of the boat but the fit and volume match. OPer is only a couple of inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than me. It doesn’t matter what it is made of, the Looksha IV would be a tank for them in any layup.

if I were you
I’d at least demo the T165.

a dumb idea for you

– Last Updated: May-31-16 2:32 PM EST –

(tongue in cheek, not really a dumb idea but maybe not up your alley)

I'm always disappointed at the meager offerings for smaller people. But you could build a boat that fits you for close to your stated budget.

Not the same designer
I’ve met the guy who designs the Caribou (Barry Buchanan), and the guy who designed the Outer Island (Jay Babina)is a friend of mine.

Just sayin’

Epic 16X, if you are very patient and

I’m 5’6" and find it very efficient.

The Trackmaster rudder can be locked into place and used as a skeg.

I’ve seen them on craigslist for as little as $1200, but usually in the southeast.

Seaward Cobra?

– Last Updated: Jun-02-16 10:26 AM EST –

This was just posted late last night on the SF bay area Craigslist. Good price for a composite boat, and sized for your metrics. This is an older boat but I believe it is equivalent to Seaward's current "Luna" model. There are a couple of reviews on for the Luna:

There was also a Current Designs Squall (also scaled for a small to medium adult) that was just posted for $650.

Right you are…

– Last Updated: Jun-02-16 11:32 AM EST –

Don't get old...

I remember following both of their designs, just got them muddled together somehow.