I’ve spent a lot of time on the river and now I’m looking to learn more about sea kayaking. I’ve used a Perception Carolina for paddling lakes and rivers, but I want to get a true sea kayak. I know that price is one factor. And I know that I will need to try as many boats as possible before making a decision. I’ll be attending the East Coast Canoe & Kayak festival to try some boats out and will spend some time with outfitters.
I’m looking for a few brands that I can checkout. Wilderness Systems is one I’m looking at. I’ll size up boats for my weight/height. And can anyone point out websites, or other info as to selecting the right sea kayak? I do want good secondary stability, narrow/fast, but want to be able to turn quickly.
Hi Chris, Have you decided whether you want a plastic or composite boat? How much are you wanting to spend? For plastic boats, you can’t do much better than Prijon. They are made of a superior poly and have several models of sea kayaks. I had a their Kodiak model and loved the boat, but got rid of it when I bought my Hobie Adventure. Good luck.
Hard to go wrong with a WS Tempest.
Comes in plastic or composite.
Choosing a kayak
I like this writeup by Brian at Cape Falcon about choosing a kayak. He’s primarily a skin boat guy, but the writeup applies to any kind of boat:
I agree that the Tempest series are good all-around boats.
However, if it’s a plastic kayak you’re after, be aware that the oval rear hatch cover on plastic tempests can be an area of serious leakage. I’ve seen some where there was a full 1/4" gap between the rim and the edge of the cover.
Other plastic all-purpose sea kayak options are Valley, P&H, and (depending on your size) Sea Kayak UK. Take a look at the Valley Avocet and Aquanaut, and at the P&H Scorpio and Capella lines. Quality of these plastic kayaks is head and shoulders above some of the more common American brands. ’
If you’ve got the budget for a composite boat, then the field of options is much wider.
For more specific advice, you could post your height and weight.
You want what everyone wants
but you didn’t say if you paddled with a euro, or a greenland stick.
And you didn’t say if you wanted a pointed bow a plumb bow or a elfin style.
If you want a fast 18 foot sea kayak with a plumb bow, check out the QCC-700.
They won’t be at the expo unless some private party brings their own.
go for what is available in your area
Largest advice is to go with what is available in your area. Pretty much every manufacture of sea kayaks out there would be decent, and in many cases, only higher level paddlers could tell the difference between two brands. For those just entering sea kayaking, the minor differences between brands aren't all that important.
But what is important is finding a boat that fits you and the type matches your desired paddling, and to do that, it requires butt time in the boat. So find one which you can demo (whether through borrowing from someone, renting from a shop, or going to demo events). The suggestions here are for boats that fit others, but may or may not be relevant to what fits you.
Also, there is some specific education that would be good to get (self recoveries, etc.), so good to take a class early (and these classes are on the water, so will also give you ore butt time in boats to find what you like).
1) unless you are well over 200 pounds and/or have a height outside of the norm, most boats will fit you just fine (responding to your comment of looking at boats which will fit your size).
2) the one exception I would have to getting lots of butt time in a boat before buying would be used boats. If you get one appropriately priced, you can buy it and use your time in it as a demo. If you find it doesn't work for you, you can usually resell for about what you paid, so there is little financial risk (if you buy a new boat and then have to sell it, you lose a lot in value).
2nd vote for Prijons
I have the Kodiak and usually put 1000mi/year on it though I don’t think it’s what the OP is after. I’d recommend the Seayak for him, given that it actually has rocker and is much more manueverable.
Here’s more info
I’m 5’8" and 167 lbs. I’d like to keep the price at about $1000.
East Coast Kayak Festival
When trying kayaks at the festival, it can be a bit overwhelming. A hundred or so fine kayaks of all shapes and sizes are on hand. Take a pad and pencil with you. As you try differnt kayaks jot down some notes on how it fit,paddled and so on. After paddling 5-10+ yaks, they tend to run together mentally.If you are going for more than one day;go back the next day, repaddle the top 3-5 that you liked the best.Other wise you may leave the festival even more confused.
In the past , the vendors at the Festival had decent prices on the new and demo yaks in thier fleet. Almost bought an demo RM Avocet last year in your price range. The best deals are rumored to be on Sunday afternoon as the festival nears it's end.
Also look around the campground for used kayaks.Alot of good deals are in the parking lot and campround area.Folks looking to sale their personal kayaks in order to buy something else.
Goodluck in your conquest and enjoy the kayak festival.
The Tempest 165 would be a good fit, but make sure you test the rear hatch for leakage. You can likely find one of these used in your price range.
Other good options would be a Valley Avocet or maybe an Aquanaut. Used these should be in your price range, but they’re a little less common.