should i get a pungo?

Well, I’ve been looking over reviews and researching kayaks for a long time now. It seems like the Pungo is the best recreational kayak out there for its price, but it doesnt seem to fit my well enough.

I’m going to be using this kayak for paddling in rivers, lakes, and occasionally surf but thats optional. I’m 5’11, would like to fish, and the Pungo’s speed and tracking combined with stability and manueverablility seem unbeatable for $600.

However, I feel like it might not perform as well as a narrower boat with less emphasis on carrying capacity.

Should I still get the Pungo? Or is there a better design for the same price for my needs?

Necky Manitou 12
I’ve paddled both the Pungo 120 and the Manitou 12 ( actually 12’10").

I thought the Manitou turned just fine, and had a much nicer “glide” for a short boat, the trade off being somewhat less primary stability.

I am 5’8" and 180-something pounds most of the time.

I can’t see why fishing out of a Manitou would be a problem, though.


Prijon Capri Tour

– Last Updated: Dec-02-05 7:26 AM EST –

Click touring, multiple element. See p-net reviews.

And to answer your question: no, you should not get a Pungo.

nothing is wrong with a Pungo
However if you are lighter than 250 lbs you have many other choices. It will depend on what you plan to do with the kayak.

My Pungo Classic has served me well, I’m looking forward to picking up a 14 foot one next weekend if all goes well. Pungos are reliable stable craft - for the inexperienced, overweight, or folks with bad knees who need more cockpit space. Easy to swim out of.

In your case, as I said, you most likely have more choices. So if you can afford a little bit more listen to the folks out here who know what they are talking about, read everything you can, and try to get somewhere where you can demo it if possible.

Don’t get a Pungo
"I’m going to be using this kayak for paddling in rivers, lakes, and occasionally surf."

It is not appropriate for all of these things.

my favourite thing
about my pungo 140 is the open cockpit.

it is great for changing position a little bit on longer paddles, and even draping my legs over the side and dipping my toes in the water. or, tieing up under a tree, loosening the seatback, and taking a snooze in the shade.

i do wish i had a rudder, though, for those times when i photostalking wildlife while floating downstream on the current and/or tide, and need to discreetly correct my course to avoid the riverbank.

Look at other boats!!
While the pungo is a good boat for deep water rivers and lakes, I have seen many holes develope if yo are going to be in shallow rivers or creeks. The combination of that deep v hull and the heavy seat with you in it makes a low spot that takes all of the impact on the bottom. I liked the suggestion of the manitou 12, maybe the Current Designs Kestral 120, or the Dagger Echo 12. These boats are all around the same price give or take. I would go somewhere and test paddle them to see if the speed suits your needs. I would also not buy based on the seat in the pungo because I have seen many of them break. The Kestrel seat is the only on that I have seen any problems with and that is because it is so simple. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (800)874-5272 and I will be happy to help you out. --Gavin

I have a Pungo and. . .
I second the remarks of Gavin. My Pungo is great on a lake, but not so great on any rivers or creeks with shallow water or even mild rapids. I wouldn’t dream of using a Pungo in surf. I like the Pungo’s big cockpit for my lake trips, when I can sit my dog in front of me, or else just cock my knees up, which I can’t do in a lot of other kayaks. But if you’re on a river and you dump the boat, you will scream with frustration. The volume of the Pungo will make the boat feel like the Titanic.

About the seat: I was sold on the Pungo by the Phase III seat, and I think it’s really the most comfortable seat I’ve seen in a kayak. But, as Gavin noted, mine broke too.

Bottom line: the Pungo is perfect for slow, lazy, easy rides on flat water, and that’s about it.

Perception Sundance 12
Similar to a Pungo, but in my opinion a bit better. I love mine.

If you are going to use it both for
fishing and the surf, you may want to conside a sit-on-top. Much better for the surf than the Pungo and very popular for fishing. Tradeoff is probably glide and paddling ease, weight capacity, a wet ride, and not the best if you paddle a lot in colder waters.

Surfing Not A Option In Pungo
Even small surf is not an option in a Pungo.

But is is a very EFFICIENT boat for its length. And very comfortable.

reply: Should I buy a Pungo
I was reading and noticed three boats were mentioned in a few of the replies; a pungo, a manitou, and a kestral. I thought I would give my thoughts on the three boats.

I own a pungo 140 and a Necky Manitou. I am 5’9 145lbs and I love my manitou. The manitou is a great boat for flat water because it is very fast. It cruises around 3.5mph and top speed is around 5mph. The manitou can handle class III rapids without a problem if you put a spray skirt on it. It is also capable of surfing and doing more advanced maneuvers that other recreational boats aren’t capable of. The manitou is an awesome all around boat. I would definitely recommend it.

The pungo 140 is also a decent boat. It is just as fast as the manitou. The pungo has a much larger cockpit area for fishing and taking the dog out with you. However, it doesn’t seem to be a great river boat. Class I or II rapids can put water in the large cockpit causing a novice paddler to flip. Once this boat is full of water you have a problem. It basically takes two people to flip the boat and get the water out of it. The boat isn’t bad and is probably your best bet if all you intend to use it for is fishing.

I have a buddy with a Current Designs Kestral. His Kestral is a 12 foot boat. The Kestral is much slower than the manitou and the pungo 140. The kestral has problems paddling upstream whereas a manitou will pick right through the rocks and head upstream into a decent current. However, the kestral has a larger cockpit which may be what you are looking for in a boat.

None of the three boats are bad boats. They all have their ups and down. Just remember, generally the longer boat will be faster. As for my pick, I’m sure you can tell I would most certainly recommend the Necky Manitou. It is just a great all around boat. Good luck. Maybe this post will help with your decision.

My personal “fleet” consists of an original Pungo, a Tarpon 160, a newly adopted Cape Lookout 155, and a recently rebuilt trailer waiting to be outfitted to carry yaks.

I truly enjoy each of my yaks and all are regularly paddled. Each boat has it’s own good and not so good characteristics, but, those differences are to be expected with a rec boat, a SOT, and a light touring craft.

If I had an edict that I could only keep one boat, I could make an immediate decision with no consideration necessary. The Pungo would be the yak that I would keep. Overall, she is the most convenient and versatile boat in my fleet. She is easy to carry, comfortable in all weather conditions (having both full & mini skirts), fun to paddle in both flat water and waves, and will keep up with any of my fellow paddlers.

If you look at the classified ads, you will see less Pungos for sale than any other boats. There is definitely a good reason. People may acquire other boats, but, with few exceptions, they keep their Pungos.

If you get the Pungo…

– Last Updated: Dec-02-05 9:56 PM EST –

If you get the Pungo, get the 120. I first bought the 140. Loved it. Then bought the 120 Loved it more(still love it). Then I bought a Dagger Animas (10.5 ft). Recently i bought a Dagger Mamba 8.5. The boats are getting shorter.
If you really are going to do any moving water, at most get the 120. The 140 though roomy is a barge when you need to turn. The 120 tracks great for a rec boat, but compared to the 140 it turns much better. Also weighs less (not as many chiropractor visits). Don't lose too much sleep over this decision. Just go get the boat, whatever it is and get out there. If you are like several of us, it will be the first of many. Oh, and DrDisco is right. Lakes and slow rivers will be fine for the Pungo. Leave Surfing out of plans with that boat.

Good Luck,

You’re right in this observation…
However, I feel like it might not perform as well as a narrower boat with less emphasis on carrying capacity.

Yep, true. Fishing, Pungo good. Fast travel, rapids, surf, Pungo bad. Consider acrefully all your options.

OT Sport Jolt
Take a look at the Jolt 101. Good price, maneuverable, has a reputation for being a good crossover boat between low level whitewater and the flat stuff. The problem is percentages. Will you be doing mainly flat water with some moving stuff occasionally? Or the opposite? Buy a boat geared toward what you will be doing most of the time. Be careful, a friend of mine bought a Dagger Zydeco a few years ago because it supposedly could do both flat and white water. It was terrible at both.

I rented a Pungo 120 last year
for a few hours on the Florida Intracoastal Waterway. I was impressed with it’s stability, tracking, comfort and surprising quickness for a short, wide boat. Loads of room too.

It easily handled large wakes from VERY large boats.

However, I would be hesitant to take it on very big water like the ocean or Great Lakes.

Manitou 12 or Prijon Capri Tour
although the Pungo is a nice enough boat. I didn’t like the huge cockpit, though.

I second that…
Stick to a Necky Manitou (the 12’) or a Current Designs Kestrel 120. Better boats by far.

or better yet, the Prijon Capri Tour.