Small Kayak on Flatwater

To your original post - re speed
The talk seems to have drifted away from the part of your original post which seems to equate a boat being slow with it being boring. You ask if it would be boring or if you could learn flatwater tricks to make it go faster… or very close to what I just typed.

How important is speed to you? If it is of importance to your enjoying the paddle, it could shift some of this discussion.

Small Boat Shop

– Last Updated: Oct-01-13 1:16 AM EST –

I already answered your identical post on another forum and I will reiterate what I said there in case you missed it: visit the Small Boat Shop right on the water in Norwalk. They'll tell and show you the differences in kayaks for use where you'll be -- they also sell a lot of used and consignment boats.

Listen to what people are telling you here -- I don't care how "sharp" you think the Pyranha's look, they are NOT designed for the waters you are contemplating and will not be enjoyable to use. I've paddled in the Sound and down the CT river. Even the 14' kayak I used my first time out along the coast felt a little short. Depending on your body size and skill level, you might need up to a 17' touring kayak, though a 15' serves most average sized people.

BTW, "freestyle" kayaks are for whitewater, not flatwater. Just like a 125 cc dirtbike is not the right vehicle for an extended trip on a high speed interstate, a freestyle kayak doesn't have the performance factors for wide deep rivers or coastal sea waters. Form follows function.

You can easily carry one on a Civic with a normal roof rack. I have a friend who hauls an 18' kayak on a Smart Car. No kayak that fits inside a sedan is seaworthy, unless you get a high end folding kayak.

YOu need to get in some boats on the water and feel how the shape and length affects the performance. A 7' kayak in the ocean is like trying to navigate with an inner tube.

If you do look at Venture kayaks, try to find an Easky 15 or 15LV (unless you are over 200’ or 6’ – the LV would be too small) and try one of them on the water. Very fast and nice handling boat for the price – in fact one of my favorite coastal and river touring kayaks. Fully equipped for the ocean with dual bulkheads, thigh hooks and deck rigging and most models come with a skeg. Lighter than most mid range touring kayaks too – 49 lbs for the 15 and 44 for the 15LV.

It looks good too (wink).

Inside your Honda civic??
Well, that would be an inflatable.

The only small kayak I’m familiar with that is seaworthy in rough water is the Delta 12.10. It’s more stable than my 15.5’ sea kayak.

Flatwater tricks
You can learn a lot in a whitewater playboat on flat water. Edging, rolling, turns, pivots, stalls, cartwheels – it is POSSIBLE to do all that without moving water.

But I wouldn’t recommend it, especially for a beginner.

If storage in the car is a high priority, a sectional might be an option:

To be clear:
People are being jerks here because they care about your safety, which is a legitimate concern. It’s well-intentioned.

too dogmatic
Seadart’s advice seems to differ, and so does the Broze’s design philosophy.

I don’t think anybody has been a “jerk” in this exchange – so far I think there’s been a good selection of experienced people weigh in with a range of legitimate perspectives, especially from those of us who have actually paddled those waters where he plans to venture.

And you’re right – we are concerned about his safety since he has explained he knows nothing about kayaking and model performance factors. During my second outing in LIS in 2003 we witnessed several paddlers in small rec boats get dumped by a massive power yacht wake that hit them broadside out past the Thimble Islands off Branford CT. Fortunately it was a hot day in late August and the water was tolerable (though they were in shorts, tees and sandals), but they needed our help (from our sea kayaks) to empty their boats and get back in them. One of the party was too exhausted from the struggle to paddle the slow and wide rental back to shore so we took turns towing him.

Original post states some interest in speed. I asked but it is unanswered where that balance lies. But if go-straight-speed is important, short boats in waves are certainly not going to get him there.

It may be that OPer is looking for something distinct here but knows too little about kayaks to relate that criteria to the right boat.

And as said, many who replied have actually paddled that area.

well I have

– Last Updated: Oct-02-13 7:49 PM EST –

a W/S Artic Hawk--fg and almost 18 feet long--21 inches wide--rolls well but if you are not used to hard chine Greenland type boats, it will feel tippy at first (you soon get used to it) and I use it on the Maine Coast, Chesapeake Bay, the James and Potomac Rivers---similar to the CT River--and it is a dream to paddle.

The other posters are right when they recommend a longer kayak--to begin with it will track better which is important on open water and secondly it will be more stable when the wind kicks up---I'm sure that LIS and the Ct. River are very calm when there is no wind---the issue is when the breeze gets to 10-20 knots--then you want to be in something suitable.

As far as how it looks---my W/S Artic Hawk has a really sexy, sleek look to it--and I disagree with some who say you shouldn't buy a boat for the looks--aesthetics are important to many people, but don't let functionality and safety take a back seat to looks--you can and should have both.

Finally I drive a Toyota Corolla--similar to the Civic--I have no problem loading and unloading the boat on the roof of the car. Now go buy a proper ocean kayak.

Check out this group
A good idea is to take some lessons and do some long paddles in different kind of kayaks before you buy.

This group does training paddles and crossings of the Sound.


– Last Updated: Oct-03-13 5:07 AM EST –

I've had much much worse on forums :) I appreciate the concern of getting pulled out into the ocean or something.

hmm disregard the boring statement I made. I meant more like...'can I actually move around with a very short boat' rather than simply floating like an innertube.

Again I'll probably look into a bit of a longer boat with a skeg (now that I know what that is) like Fusion after I take some lessons next year.

this video

– Last Updated: Oct-03-13 2:09 AM EST –

that seadart posted pretty much answers my original question I appreciate all the feedback though especially suggesting to get at least a boat with a skeg if I go into the ocean even if I am very careful

late to the game
A couple of things:

  1. The fusion looks like a fine boat. Although probably not ideal for longer open-water paddles, it does have a rear bulkhead, and so is better from a safety/rescue perspective. However, unless you have a giant SUV or a pickup, it’s not going to fit inside your car. Because you’ll need a roof rack anyways, why are you focused on this boat in particular?

  2. You definitely do not want a freestyle boat. Freestyle boats are very specialized beasts designed to do one thing well (WW play on waves and holes) at the expense of pretty much everything else. Their size and hull design makes them terrible choices for open-water paddling, and I would hesitate to recommend one to a beginner paddler, even if the beginner’s primary interest was in WW paddling. It would be rather like buying a unicycle for bicycle touring.

    If you’re interested, there’s a good article here on pnet that breaks it down a bit more:

Yes, you can
…move around in a small boat rather than get bobbled all around like in an inner tube. Boats are not circular, for one thing.

One of the times I paddled my little WW boat to a marina where I went to practice maneuvering around the many slips, a guy about to leave in his rowing shell asked me where I had started. I told him, and he marveled, “I wouldn’t think you could paddle something that short that far.” I quickly told him I only make that Point-A-to-Point-B-and-back kind of outing on calm days.

It is definitely an inefficient way to cover mileage, compared with a longer boat. But still can be fun, especially if you are not actually trying to get from Point A to Point B–more like making a little playground out of wherever you are.

It still sounds to me like you’re better off getting something longer than a freestyle WW kayak, though.

I think going with fusion is a good idea because it’s easier to carry and most importantly store. I explained above that me and my parents both live in condos. and it seems versatile, if I wanted to try whitewater at some point. A neighbor of my parents said they would be willing to let us try one of their kayaks that they carry down to the beach, so that’s good news in addition to probably taking lessons before buying.

Sit on top?
There are som short-ish sit on tops, in the 12-13’ range than could be an option too. Necky Spike comes to mind… Those will probably surf beach break waves easier than the Fusion, and be safer in terms of self rescue. I just bought a Spike second hand for occasional use for my daughter but had to take it to the river to try it :slight_smile: it is surprisingly. Ice to paddle in bumpy water and does OK on flats too. Easy to remount and not terribly heavy at just under 50lb. I’m adding thigh straps for more control and rolling in white water, but they don’t seem to be necessary for easy surfing and general paddling - the seat offers pretty decent contact for even strong edging and the feet are well planted.

borrow, rent, try, lesson, JOIN A CLUB!
Don’t make the mistake of buying the wrong kayak!

Look into the garage of all kayakers, you’ll find half of them have “starter” kayaks they never used again! That’s the mistake you can avoid making…

You mention you have friends/neighbors who will let you borrow their boat. Give that a try. But don’t just stop there…

Go and rent from an outfitter or two, ON THE SOUND! You’ll get a chance to see how different boats feel on the open water.

You’ll need at least a basic lesson on how to get back into the boat if you do flip over, unless you stay very close to shore and are a strong swimmer to be able to tow the boat back.

The best way to learn about kayaking on wide open water is actually by joining a paddling club! There’s one at Brooklyn and you can use their “club boat” for free! Same with AMC, which although primarily a hiking club, has a boat house and boats you can “rent” for relatively low cost. The big plus of being in a club is you get to learn from experienced kayakers, that’s priceless!!!