Small beginner - small kayak???

-- Last Updated: Jul-08-04 12:18 PM EST --

I need some advice. I am a 5' tall 120 lbs female and shopping for my first Kayak. I am interested in using the kayak solo for recreation and fishing in lakes, semi slow rivers, and ocean flats and maybe later low surf. Because I live by the ocean and also want to fish I am mostly considering a sit-on-top with a semi low cockpit. I am also concerned about size and weight as I will need to load and unload the kayak myself most of the time. Yesterday I had a demo lesson and tried three kayaks; cobra play, dolphin heritage and the Bilao Bic.. The Bic handled the best but the instructer said I would probably be unhappy with boats of these lengths and should try some longer boats for better performance. BUT I am small and also want something I can carry easily... - now I am confused if the small ones will suffice or if I should buy a longer heavier craft not knowing if it will be alot of trouble to transport for me. - Please advise... THANKS!!!!

You didn’t say what type vehicle you …

One of my many daughters is only 4’-10" and she weighs 110 lbs.

She has a Plastic Perception Sole, which she loves.

She drives a small Toyota pickup, and has made a special removable cradle for the yak out of some 2" x stuff, which goes in the bed of the truck.

She also designed and made her own kayak carrier, out of scrap wood and some old wheels.

If you are innovative enough, there isn’t too much that should stop you.



Small manageable Kayak
Ocean Kayak brand makes either one or two kayaks specifically designed for woman. The Venus and the Mars. Both are sit-on-tops, one being longer than the other and both are intended to be made lighter so that a smaller person can can them. I have seen them both and the design is quite nice, low freeboard, large well in the back, open cockkpit area for the legs and by looking at them I would say they appear as if they paddle quite good, test drive if possible though. Go to Ocean and they give all the specs, weight, etc.

Have fun


did a quick search

– Last Updated: Jul-08-04 2:25 PM EST –

in the Buyer's Guide here. The Malibu MK 3.4(38 lbs) and Hobie Pursuit (40 lbs) might also be worth considering. The Malibu would probably be faster than any of the models you tested.

Vehicle is a chevy
Thanks everyone!!! - I drive a full size chevy silverado with a six foot bed but I have a tool box installed. That brings me to the next questions of transporting and which methods are best…

Hobie Pursuit
Friend of mine has one, very high center of gravity and absolutely no secondary stability, once you lean it, over it goes. Just my thoughts.


Wildness Systems Tarpon
Might take a look at the Wilderness Systems Tarpon line, they come in lengths from about 10-16 feet and are nicely appointed, seat back rest is kind of ridiculous but might function okay for you.


won’t advise
which sot as I haven’t paddled many. As for the pickup , I put my 9’ yak in the bed (6’) with toolbox and it only sticks out about a foot with the tailgate down. No cradle, or rack needed.

The kayak search
How is that search coming along. Rule of thumb, longer the boat, the better it will perform and faster it will go or smaller the garage, apartment or owner, smaller the boat. Hope you can learn to manage something in the 12-15 range though, not the end of the world if you can’t.

Happy shopping


;You might check out airalite
There are a lot of new boats this year made in airalite. Perceptions Sundance is one such boat. It’s not a sot, but it has a very large cockpit and comes in various lengths. Not sure what they weigh, but I know they’re lighter than my plastic Carolina. Popular for fishing or touring, but I’d recommend a skirt if you’re going on the ocean.

Anyone out there tried a Sonoma yet?
I’m also looking at buying my first kayak. I’ve spent a lot of time surfing the net, reading reviews, talking to the few people I know that have kayaks…

The airalite boats really interest me. I’m really leaning towards the 13.5 ft Sonoma by Perception but none of the shops around here carry the model. I haven’t actually seen one of these in person yet. Major googling has turned up a store about two hours south of me that has a few in stock. I just need to find the time to go check it out.

Any opinions from someone on the board?

Hoodat Whatzit

I found a Kayak
I found a 9’ 10" kayak called the Bic Bilabao. It has a wheel assembly on the nose and a handle on the back for carrying. I went for two demo sessions with an instructor and tested 6 boats. This one was a sit-on-top like I wanted and it is very stable. It tracked better than the other boats its size. I use a camping pad in the bed of my truck with four hooks to secure it and I can handle it well by myself… so far so good, now I have to start fishing!

my new kayak

– Last Updated: Jul-15-04 5:47 PM EST –

When I did the internet search I kept going back to the perception boats also based on features and ratings,,, But I wanted to actually test the boats before buying and that is how I would up with the Bic Kayak. I would have liked to test a perception but there are no dealers near me either.

have paddled the venus
and was very impressed,and I’m a 5’8 165lb guy. have tried a lot of sot’s and this one is a winner, even small girls ,60 lbs were dragging it around and paddling it with no effort .try it,the hull also was fairly flat so you could do some white water also provided you got thigh straps.

Enjoy your new best friend. Your heading for good, relaxing and exciting times. Kayaking opens up a whole new world of things to do and your life will soon revole around it.

Be smart & safe


Go with something you can carry!
I too must think about loading the kayak myself.

Guess I lucked out when last year I purchased

a Sonoma 13.5 by Perception. My kayak is light

fast and straight. By the way, this is my first


A Used Dagger Callisto
13’8" 40 lbx. 24" wide/ Very fast for it’s size. My daughter is 5’1" and 92 lbs. and she paddles along side me with no effort. When she’s not in it, I am. Dagger de-commissioned a lot of boats a few years ago and this was one of them. Someone should talk to those marketing guys.

there’s a venus in the classifieds
for 300 bucks.

Try the Emotion Exilarator(spl?) Greta deck top boat that works well with smaller people.