Hello, I’m looking for some buying advice.
I’m comparing the Hurricane Santee 135 and the Eddyline Skylark.
I have only had the opportunity to paddle the Santee briefly. I will not have the opportunity to paddle the Skylark (not available for demo in my area).
I am 5’5" and 150lbs.
Adv. beginner to intermediate skill level.
Enjoy large rivers and lakes to small creeks.
Looking for speed first with maneuverability a close second.
Hello, I’m looking for some buying advice.
I am a big fan of Eddyline boats. And I am sure that the Skylark is a very fine recreational kayak. But I am not sure if a rec boat will appeal for very long to an intermediate kayaker. At 12’ long and 26" wide it will not be a very quick kayak. Very stable but not very fast if that is what you want.
Thanks for the reply. Have you or anyone else out there had any experience with the Santee 135? I was just wondering would it be too long for exploring narrow channels. And, would I perceive any significant performance difference between it and a kayak like the Skylark. Basically, I’m a small guy kind of in the market for a lightweight transitional kayak.
I don’t believe either the skylark or the santee have thigh braces and both have more rec-style cockpits…I agree that you’d probably get frustrated in either with intermediate skills.
I think your best bet might be the Current Designs Vision 120SP. It meets your short length criteria at 12ft, with a narrower beam at 23". Its definitely a transitional kayak or scaled down sea kayak, not a rec kayak. Its fully outfitted with 2 bulkheads, perimeter lines, and thigh braces. Its very light and supposed to be very fast for its short length, while still being very maneuverable. Those thigh braces will also help you edge and turn much better than a rec-outfitted boats.
Video overview on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG9wFsLClYA
Good review: http://kayakdave.com/2012/06/13/current-designs-vision-120-sp-review/
Or, if you like Eddyline and can deal with a boat just under 14’, I think the Samba would make you happier than the Skylark.
I’ve gone on a few group paddles with a person with a Skylark (I have a Nighthawk). She loved the boat. She was able to keep up with the rest of the paddlers. We perienced some swells and chop like you would get in a bay with lots of boat traffic and she did well. It sure looked like it was easy to deal with out of the water.
I like Eddyline
…having owned a Fathom LV and now an Eddyline built RockPool.
But the Skylark is more of an intro kayak and if you are at an intermediate level, you might get frustrated by the Skylark as it is short, wide, and lacking thigh braces.
Consider a longer and narrower kayak. Eddyline has a bunch of them (but I’ve only had experience with the Fathom).
Hope you get a chance to try some of their other models.
Santee and Skylark
Funny, I’ve been eyeballing these 2 also. Here are a couple of reviews I found-
http://www.rei.com/product/814733/hurricane-kayaks-santee-135-kayak. Click the Reviews tab at the top of the page.
Both reviews said that the 135 is quick and maneuverable. It’s also much narrower than the Skylark (23.5 inches versus 26). And according to Hurricane’s website, it evolved from the Tampico, which is their day touring boat.
BTW, you can get thigh braces in the Skylark through Eddyline as an option.
I don’t mean to take sides here (even though it sounds like I am). I own and like Hurricanes, but if I had the dough, I’d seriously look at Eddylines.
I actually like the Vision 120… Well everything except for the price. I also like and dislike the Samba for the same reasons. I am not sure that my current skill level supports such an expensive purchase. I think that I am just going to have to either wait for one of these used boats to go on sale or purchase a lesser (more rec oriented) kayak until I feel my skills have outgrown that boat.
Skylark and Samba
I bought an Eddyline Skylark when I started out three years ago. I wanted a high quality rec boat, stable and lightweight. It is all that, but after one season I wanted something a little longer and narrower, faster and more maneuverable, without adding much weight. So I bought the Samba, and I'm very glad I did. Fortunately, my wife has taken to the Skylark, so it wasn't a waste of money, but the Samba is much more fun and I took to it right away. Only two pounds heavier than the Skylark. Not cheap, but a great boat and exceptionally high quality. You might also consider the slightly longer Fathom LV, although that one is narrow enough that you might be a little uncomfortable with the stability until you get your sea legs.
Have not tried the Hurricanes, although I've seen them and up close they do not seem to be as well made.
I did try a Vision 140. Nice and light, and it edged smoothly, but did not track well without the rudder, and I decided I did not want a ruddered kayak.
At your height and weight the Samba might fit you and would give you a better ride than the Skylark.
A more expensive kayak…
…might be less costly over time if it does not limit the progression of your skills. If you get the right boat, you will likely keep it for an extended period …and you will end up with a lower cost/time ratio.
Try to get some more seat time in more kayaks. Can’t beat experience.
keep in mind
you don't have to get a "rec-oriented" boat to save money -- you could go rotomold rather than the thermoformed or go used. Don't get a fat boat!
(That said, I love my Eddyline -- Fathom, not Skylark, and my wife loves her's - so if you can $wing it, do. As said below -- oops ABOVE, think long-term, you may not want to buy a boat you will want to replace soon.)
The only short but narrow(ish) roto boat I can think of currently in production is the WS Tsunami 135, which is 13.5ft long with a 23" beam. Heavier, and I think it would be a slightly less maneuverable option, but it would run you about $1200 instead of $2000 for the Vision 120SP or Samba.
Oh I guess an Alchemy S (Dagger) might fit the bill too, 14ftx23".
Venture has also hinted they might make an small-paddler version of their new Islay, which is a 14ft little bro to the P&H Delphin…but you’d probably have to wait a yr or more for it to come out (if it ever does). The current full size version is a bit fat IMO.
Keep your eyes on craigslist for something used. I’d try to keep the beam around 23" and look for features like thigh braces and bulkheads. It should feel like you’re wearing the boat, not flopping around in it.
14’ x 24"
is better than 12' x 26" (not that it is that simple but generally speaking -- and you said speed was a priority).
14' x 24" is the Necky Manitou just to put another example out there of spending le$$ (rotomold) than a thermo form.
See the others on the Necky day tour page.
Here's 14' by just under 24"
Thanks for the advice everyone. I am taking this advice under consideration. Happy paddling.
If you like the Vision 120 SP…
If you like the Vision 120 SP then you may want to consider the Vision 135 RM. All the same features and similar handling at a more affordable price point ($1200 MSRP). RM certainly adds some weight and the 135 is a bit longer than the rest of the boats mentioned above but it’s worth checking out.
Other nice transitional boats to try include: Venture Easky 13, Hurricane Tampico 140S, Hurricane Excusion 128. I’d argue that any of these plus the Samba and Vision 120SP/135RM would out-perform the Santee, Skylark, or Tsunami 125.
If you’re looking to grow as a paddler then stay away from recreational-type cockpits (make sure you get something with thigh braces). Also, you’re much better off getting the right boat the first time than to upgrade a year or two from now. Finally, always follow up recommendations with an on-the-water demo before purchasing.
I do a lot of narrow channels in 14 to 16 foot boats. As an advanced beginner your turning skills will improve rapidly as will your back paddling stroke.
Most of the channels I go up are about 10 feet wide but there is always a way to turn the boat around on the way back out.
A 14 foot boat is a lot better for everything else than a 12 foot boat. So if you are only going to have one boat I’d recommend a 14 or 15 footer.
Two I think you should try are the Hurricane Tampico 140s and the Dagger Alchemy S. The Tsunami’s are great but as with the other boats folks want to upgrade over time. With the Alchemy or the Tampico you’ll be ready for class 2 white water or the sea. You’ll have a boat that you’ll be happy with for the rest of your days.
Sure you may end up getting more boats, like a wave ski, a white water boat, or a 19 foot expedition boat. But if you stick with paddling you’ll most often be in a 14-16 foot boat with 2 hatches, bulkheads, and generally good handling.