I’m searching for a new sea kayak. It should be short (max 5 m), not too heavy and rigid. I’ve narrowed my search to too Prijons: the classical Seayak and the Catalina. I’m 170 cm/63 kg (sorry for the european units). How do they compare, especially in speed and handling in rough sea? Any other choices, may even good glass fiber? I’m from germany, the sea kayakers here are a bit, let’s say “traditional” (you can say snob…) when it comes to plastic sea kayaks, especially those from Prijon. I’ve found some good comments here and so I thought the Catalina would fit me right. Testing comes next, when I know which to paddle…
Haven’t paddled the Seayak
But seeing it on the rack beside the Catalina at boat shows, the difference seems considerable. The Catalina will be faster and less stable, the Seayak roomier and less tippy. I have to give props to Prijon, I’m a chronic grumbler but really can’t find fault with my Catalina. I’m about the same height and weight as you btw. Let us know which way you go!
Perception Corona/Eclipse 15
My first kayak was a Corona, now called teh Eclipse 15 I believe. In polyethylene. I have run classII+ whitewater with it, and used it for overnights. A tender design, I believe it is a very seaworthy hull if you are not timid.
Gerry- I just ordered
the Prijon Calabria which is a shorter version that can be used in big waters in non-threatening conditions. I bought without trying it because all of the lakes are ice in the Midwest but I wanted to be able to throw it in the water as soon as the ice melts.
I also sat in the Seayak and Touryak but not the Catalina. My impressions:
Outstanding polyethylene- very strong and rigid.
High volume for storage or so you don’t feel boxed in.
The adjustable thigh braces are a great feature.
While I was sitting in the boats at the exhibition hall, many kayakers told me how happy they were with the Prijon boats and that they had used the boats for sea kayaking (whatever that is from the previous post).
Wilderness Systems also makes nice plastic yaks for sea kayaking. If you want a shorter version, see the Tsunami 140 and 145.
In terms of fiberglass, Impex makes wonderful boats; check out the Montauk at 16 feet.
Don’t worry about the “snobs”. Get something that you are comfortable in that is suitable for the water that you will paddle in.
P.S.- I am still a novice so check out many opinions and read reviews.
at her weight
the catalina shoudl be stable enough.
Catalina - Seayak
Thanks for the first replies! The Calabria doesn’t have a front bulkhead, so after a capsize there’s too much water inside. That’s also one of the main critics to Prijon boats - the cockpits are too large (too much water if capsized) and the bulkheads are not stable because of the PE (not glueable). BTW, currently I paddle a touring kayak (430/63 cm), similar to the Calabria, but glas fiber. It doesn’t have bulkheads, so it’s not really “sea tight”.
Did someone ride both boats in a more rough sea? The North Sea often has big waves and strong winds.
(Used) Skegged Necky Elaho?
Length is 15 ft and change. That short enough?
I am not good at translating weights, so if your weight doesn’t convert to 180 pounds you’d have to figure on carrying some weight to get the waterline. But if you can get your hands on one (it’s been out of production for a couple of years) this boat will handle any condition and has rock solid secondary stability. It also has a narrowish cockpit and positive thigh braces so ti’ll fit smaller people well.
It was my husband’s first sea kayak - the primary reason I didn’t go for it was because of the extra weight I’d have to carry to get the waterline. It isn’t fast - has a good bit of rocker - but is still valued by many as a great rock garden boat. (It’s plastic so is very hardy.)
It has full deck rigging, two sealed bulkheads and a day hatch - full expedition setup.
My weight is about 126 pounds, so the Elaho is too big, I think. It’s still available, listed in a 2005 catalogue.
Nice board here, btw. Friendly and useful, thanks!
Skegged Elaho gone
Neck discountinued the original (drop skeg) Elaho. That boat was 15’10. The current (ruddered) Elaho is 16’4".
Still at 123, you are too light to get the waterline, even on the original model.
Gerry, I weight 112 lbs. and paddle a Necky Elaho Sport. Short 14" with a rudder. I paddle it on lakes and rivers. I have paddled up to class III whitewater without any difficulty. Have never paddled ocean waves. The lakes I ordinarily paddle are occasionally windy and the waves can get pretty choppy. Never have had any trouble at all. My Necky has two sealed bulkheads, adjustable seat and thigh braces and fits as snug as I like it. Good luck in your search.
Weight/ forgot to mention
At that weight gerry, you might want to use water bag ballast in the hatches your first few times out in the big stuff (I did). The Catalina is initially a bit tender, but you get used to it quickly and the payoff is a nimbleness that you’ll love. Also, you’ll need to “ride” the Catalina, as the nose tends to bury due to its bluntness and the boat’s short length. By “ride” I mean anticipate and lean back to lift the bow.
Perception Carolina, Dagger Scepter …
Gerry, from my own experience I can recommend you the Perception Carolina. I own one, its only 14.6 feet in lenght, very stable and with big hatches. When I am ready for a new boat I shall be looking at Dagger Scepter and P&H Easky of similar size to my Carolina. Happy paddling !
VCP Avocet RM
I highly recommend you test paddle an Avocet RM by Valley Canoe Products (VCP). It’s 16 feet (4.88 meters) long. It’s very seaworthy. Another kayak to consider the P&H Capella RM.
1 kg=2.2 pounds
63 kg=138.6 pounds
What is the correct weight? If you are 126 lbs forget the Avatar 16 as it is meant for medium +.
The 15.5 might work though. Check out the used boats. A used glass boat would be about the same cost as a new plastic boat. Take a hard look at a glass PH Vela if you see one. The CD Slipstream would be another good glass boat for a 126 lb to 140 lb person.
in the meantime I “seat-testet” some more boats. The Catalina, my first choice, feels too uncomfortable. I like a slight bow in my knees, not too straight legs. The Seayak was much better, but the new generation is really heavy (28 kg). I extendet my search to glass fiber kayaks and will test the boats recommended here. Thanks a lot!
BTW, sorry for the wrong conversion, the europe pound seems to be different to the US pound…
The Valley Avocet is one of the most seaworthy of plastic kayaks and also fun.
If you are thinking of plastic because of budget, you might check used glass boats. In the States it is not unusual to find a used glass boat for around the price of a new plastic.
I’d recommend against the Calabria
Its a good boat for certain things (I have one) but it is not good in any kind of following sea. I bought it for my wife (who rarely paddles) and for taking out newbies. The only direction this boat knows is upwind. I added a rudder after having it for about a year and this helps a bit, but you have to stay on top of it all of the time.