stable, lightweight beginner kayak?

My mom wants to start going paddling with me (she’s 58 years old, 5’7" and 165 pounds) and has never been in a kayak but has been in a tandem canoe a few times. She is mostly concerned with getting something stable, and also lightweight since she will have to lift it onto the car by herself. We are thinking something around 12-13 feet long. I know of lots of starter kayaks (Dagger, Perception, etc.) but don’t know of any that are really lightweight. My first kayak was 12.5 feet long and it weighs about 56 pounds. We were hoping for something around 40 or so pounds if there is such a thing.


Cheryl Noble (yes, my real name after marriage)

Feathercraft Kahuna

I think its too long (almost 15 feet) although it is lightweight. I don’t think we want a folding one either because 20 minutes to assemble and disassemble every time would get to be cumbersome I think. But I appreciate the suggestion.


Don’t have to take it apart

– Last Updated: Nov-12-05 7:27 PM EST –

every time. Just once every 2-3 months to rinse and wash the frame. You may want consider an Atatl Just a suggestion.

Swift Adirondack/Saranac

Pungo 120 Duralite
is worth looking into. It is a very stable recreational craft which weighs only 39lbs.

Made by Wilderness Systems.

Hurricane Aqua Sports…
Santee 116 (sink) - 11.5ft long, 28" wide, 36lbs.

Phoenix 120 (sot) - 12ft long, 28" wide, 38lbs!

I think the cost is ~$700-800.

Hurricane kayaks are thermo-formed and look like fiberglass. See for more info.


Check out
the Hurricane Aquasports boats. They are made of a thermoform plastic. I own a Tracer, it is 16.6 ft and weights only 46lbs. They have smaller rec and SOT boats that are even lighter which seem to get good reviews.

They also seem to be a bit cheaper then thermoform boats from perception or eddyline.

Eddyline Skylark
They’re a tad pricey but nice boats.

Length 12’, Width 26", 39 pounds. Stable, tracks well, nice looking boat.


13.5 - 14’ range
I would look in the 13.5 - 14 foot range, otherwise she may have trouble keeping up with you in your Tarpon. Take a look at an Eddyline Merlin LT and Swift Saranac 14. My 60+ish sister just get hooked this summer and really loved our Saranac - until she found an exceptional deal on a Merlin LT in the pnet classifieds. The Saranac can be had in fiberglass, kevlar (lightest) or trylon (similar to carbonlite and airalite). It won’t be as stable feeling as a recreational kayak, but you get used to the stability very quickly.


Prijon Capri Tour

– Last Updated: Nov-14-05 7:20 AM EST –

Prijon Capri Tour. Blow molded plastic is much more like airalite stiffness at 1/2 price, not flimsy, heavy rotomolded plastic (hard to describe, you have to see it), German made boat, I own 2 and they are super boats, including in some light sea chop. 12 feet, 42 lbs. Yep, that's all. Retail about $725, but end season can likely get for about $625. Very cute and tough boats, have dry hatch, that require no rudder; Prijon will ship to you and split the shipping (pay about $60 on your end), ask to speak to CFO Ivana at their 800 number and she'll likely give you the shipping deal (no sales tax unless you live in CO), but you should demo first if at all possible. See reviews on p-net. One other consideration for all the great ideas you had is how you and your mom will transport; if you buy airalite (which saves, I found, only a few lbs and costs a lot, relatively speaking) or fiberglass (expensive), you will need fancier transport system like cradles for cartopping (cannot just strap down like with plastics or will crack). The Capri has all 9-10 of 10 reviews on P-net, and it is a fine boat indeed. I bought it because, although about $150 more than cheaper plastic boats (like your mom says, you get what you pay for), I did not wish to pay for/care for/repair an airalite or fiberglass boat, and I wanted lightweight and relatively fast. Good luck to you and your mother, Cher Noble. I think you will find something nice for her.

Yep, that’s what I would do.

We have looked at the options and we do like the Prijon a lot. According to the web site there is a dealer in Houston but there web page does not mention Prijon. I am going to contact them tomorrow to see if they have one or if we can order one. If not there is another place in Austin, a little farther away but still not too bad. Thanks for all the helpful advice from everybody. My mom was surprised that there were so many good ones to choose from.

I hope that you and your mom can see a Prijon of any type, as the German workmanship and type of plastic is well worth the slight extra expense. Hope that dealer in Houston stocks them; one look and you’ll be hooked. Prijon can ship to you though and they package very well, and do not pay sales tax so evens out with shipping cost. Let me know what you think of it. It padles like a dream, very fast yet not overly tippy. I think the speed comes from the light weight.

Eddyline Skylark
Seems to be one of your better choices. Lightweight, stable, affordable, paddles like a dream. Also, a very reputable company.

Let us know what your mom got.

I’m also a Hurricane Aquasports fan…
…the Santee (either size) is about as stable as you can get, and easy to paddle.

I’ve never heard it mentioned before that you need special cradles, etc. for thermoform hulls. “can’t strap them down or they will crack.” Couldn’t disagree more. In fact, I had a Prijon & you can’t keep them strapped down for long or they will dent. I keep my thermoform boats strapped down on the rack for extended periods with no problem.

Good luck to your mom & I hope she enjoys paddling. Would second the suggestion that you get her to demo any boat before buying it. I’d be looking at the classifieds here & elsewhere.

2nd the Pungo 120 Duralite.
Very stable, quick little boat.

P-unit: agree with the demo.

– Last Updated: Nov-20-05 11:01 PM EST –

Please look to other posts here, in recent past even, about airalite repairs; airalite cracks. Thermoform, I am not familiar with, unless you are speaking of the foam filled Bic type boats. Rotomolded plastic is cheap but heavy and very prone to oil-canning. Blow molded, like Prijon (I own four Prijon boats--but I am a consumer, not a dealer or anything), can be strapped down and any "dents" will pop out almost immediately; as you know from owning one, they are top-of-the-line plastic boats. Composites, fiberglass and kevlar, require kayak cradles to transport.

What ever you mom buys, testing is a good idea. You will find the best vessel for you when you test.

I Highly Recommend This One
I am 72 years old, and have been enjoying my lightweight STABLE kayak for 12 years now. It’s an EddyLine Skylark, and wow, what a delight she is! Yes, I can lift it by myself, although my hubby helps me. Although I bought my Skylark 12 years ago, I know that EddyLine still makes that model. It’s a very popular model because she’s a lotta fun. Hubby has gone through 2 kayaks and is ready to purchase his third while I’ve had my Skylark. I never want any other kayak but this one. I recommend it HIGHLY!