I am considering this kayak for using on slow moving rivers since my 18 foot QCC is not meant for this. Do you think the Santee 116 sport would serve my purpose well or do you have any other recomendations? Thanks!
don’t own this one (I’ve had a Tampico 135S on rivers for three seasons so far) but know many, many Santee paddlers in Michigan. They are all having good times on our big assortment of Class I and II rivers here.
There are 5 Santee models. The 116 has two styles. The 116 Sport, has the larger cockpit 55 x24 compared w. the 116 typical 38x21. they are the same beam and length. Owing to the larger cockpit opening, the Sport is 3 lbs lighter, listed at 36 vs. 39 lbs.
Either one is big fun and great for your purposes.
In case you are considering a Sport, know that it was designed in response to fisherfolk and birders who wanted an elongated cockpit for easy reach of their sporting gear.
Hurricane is a company founded by paddlers. They listen to customers and offer top service. If you call you’ll get a person, not a recording and not a nest of voicemail choices.
The 116 will give you a lot of pleasure on slowmoving rivers and small lakes. It’s a beautiful light tracker and very responsive. Paddles real easy. Can take a knock or three on rocks.
If you like to fish or take pix, it’s a nice stable platform. Plus two dry bulkheads at this comparatively small size range is really good - added safety and more room for takealongs.
Hopefully there is one you can demo so you can see for yourself. For what you describe it’s an excellent kayak to consider.
To be fair, there are CD Kestrels in TCS and Eddyline has their own rec boat versions in Carbonlite 2000.
Try them if you can.
Usual disclaimer: I don’t work for any of the above companies.
Are there too many rocks in the slow moving rivers? Or are they too narrow and twisty? If the answer is "no" you might as well use your QCC - several of the folks I paddle with on our regular "slow moving river" actually do (but there are only a few well known rocks that are easy to avoid and the river where we paddle is not narrower than 30 feet at one particular rapid and several hundred feet wide elsewhere).
The Santee would be fine but would be quite a change from your QCC. Plus I am not convinced of the longevity of the thermform material when it comes to rough impacts with rocks. I do paddle a thermoform kayak (Perception Sonoma 13.5) often in up to class II+ white water, I seldom bang it too hard into rocks. Only occasionnaly scrape over some shallow rocks, which does not leave much of a trace, typically. For slow water that should not be an issue at all and any typical material would do.
That said, have you considered a "real" sea kayak in plastic to bang around instead of the Santee? Not that the Santee is not "real" and I'm sure it will be fine for floating and paddling at a relaxed pace but not much more else... As friendlyfire mentioned, the sport has a huge cockpit - fine if you do not plan to swamp it, not good if you ever find yourself in waves.
Okay, maybe not that slow…
So the rivers may not be that slow. Also they can be pretty narrow, twisty and have some obsticles in places that I would rather not hit with Kevlar. I figured the thermoform boat would be a little smoother to paddle than the plastic ones and still take a hit or 2. The price is pretty good on these and I won't need to take a second mortgage out on the house to get it. :-) Any more thoughts or suggestions?
tight and twisty
a Michigan guide (touring and fishin’) of over 20 years experience paddling, canoes and kayaks both, has gone on record saying the ideal river length for the class I and II rivers with the tight bends you describe is 12-14 feet. The Santee 116 is just under that. Your QCC is way over it.
Frankly, even if a skilful person could guide an 18 foot seakayak thru tight and twisty, it is a matter of making constant course corrections. Sometimes you just want to relax and enjoy an easy glide on a hot day. Sometimes you want to float a line and fiddle w. that or wait for a great shot, and not constantly have both hands on the paddle at hand ready for a bow or stern rudder.
You are right, you’re not gonna break the bank on one and it will do tight and twisty small rivers. If you capsize you are not far from shore, far easier to deal w. that open water capsizes in a rec boat.
If you happen to consider the Tampico series they are 14 feet and the S series includes real, rolling friendly thigh braces. So you have more contact and more control in that than the Santee series and you will pick up a little more speed due to narrower hull and longer length. So it walks that middle path.
But given this add’l info about your rivers the Santee sounds even better.
I have the Santee 116 Sport and a Perception Sound. Both do well in the type of river you describe. Both have the same size cockpit opening but Sound has more room under deck for your feet and legs and the seat is more comfortable. Sound does not have dry storage. The hulls are quite a bit different, Santee has a full length keel, Sound is fairly flat but stern is a tri-hull. Santee is faster, Sound is more manuverable.
The Santee is 11.5 ft, the Perception is 10 ft. The former is Trylon, the latter Polyethelene. Both are about the same weight. Sound was about 1/3 the price of the Santee.
Go longer if you can do it
I really think a 14 footer will be much more pleasing in most conditions. For shorted twisty creeks with logs or rocks to hop you might try Hurricane’s excellent Phoenix 140 sit on top or their sit in side 14 footers
How about a Santee 128
I recently traded my Necky Manitou 14 for 2 boats, the Santee 128 for the conditions you mention, and a Tracer for open water. I’ve never paddled the 116 (although I talked to someone who has one and really likes it), but I can say, compared to the Manitou, the 128 is probably just as fast but more maneuverable. I couldn’t be happier with it. Nice sized cockpit, although not as wide as the 116. A few people paddled it on a trip I was on, and it was the hit of the day (owners pride here).
I looked real hard at a Hurricane Santee 116 for my first kayak but bought a Neck Manitou 13 instead. The Santee is about 5+ lbs lighter but smaller and more fragile if you encounter rocks. The Manitou is about $100 less money and pretty light for a poly kayak. The Santee might be a tad more maneuverable in tight quarters, but I would much rather be paddling the Manitou in rough water. The Manitou also tracks better.
Santee 116 Sport
Tried the Manitee, Swifty, Old Town Vapor, demoed all we could test paddle. Did not want to sell the farm for a kayak. Went to Annappolis Kayak and Canoe, demoed a Santee 116 Sport, spent 4 paddle strokes in it and LOVED it. Fast, turns great, tracks straight, not tippy and tons of room for my fly rods, tripods and cameras. Best in class for the money!! Wife could not keep up with me while she was running on the docks to watch! Bought it on sight, ordered her one (color is everything for woman) . Took it home, put it in the Potomac river above dam 3 (calm water) she got in it would not bring to back to shore, made me wait for 2 hours while she was having fun. You can not go wrong with this boat and don’t worry about the rocks this thing glides over most.
I have a 116 and love it for coastal waters (fla keys), lakes and calm rivers–it doesn’t take much effort to paddle this thing-I’m 65 and it fits well with me loading, carrying and paddling-their new designed seat helps tremendously-the customer service is great–I don’t do whitewater in this thing–