Still Kayak searching ...

Great short boats
Eddyline Falcon 16. No longer in production but may be able to find used.

Impex Montauk

Kajaksport Viking

Yes and NO, …

– Last Updated: Dec-21-06 2:56 PM EST – still depends on your speed. At the speeds MOST newbie paddlers go, it won't matter, because the overall wetted surface area will play a much bigger role than the size of the "hole" you are punching through the water. At the speeds a person is likely to go once they've developed good technique, the width of the boat starts becoming more important.

There's a woman in our local paddling club who is small and not very strong, and she was afraid she wouldn't be able to "keep up" with other paddlers unless she got a "fast" boat. She got a 17-foot sea kayak after taking someone's advice that this boat would be "faster" than a rec kayak. Problem is, she can't propel the boat anywhere near fast enough to keep up with a group of lollygagging daytrippers. Later, she got a little 10-foot rec boat for easier paddling in tiny creeks, and lo and behold, even though it's basically a bathtub and is nearly a foot wider than the sea kayak, she can make it go about 20 percent faster than the sea kayak.

There are no always-correct answers regarding this issue, but this illustrates the point I was making.

Okay, here's another example: My two rowboats are within an inch or two of being the same width, but the guide-boat is 15 feet long and the packboat is only 12 feet. At speeds of 4 mph or less, the packboat is waaaay easier to move through the water. The greater ease of travel at that speed or slower is unmistakable. Also worth noting, is that I seldom find it necessary to go faster than 4 mph (according to the GPS) to keep up with an average group of paddlers (such groups are not compsed of long-distance speed lovers like grayyak). Increase the speed to 4.5 mph and the situation changes. I would guess that at this speed, the effort needed to move either boat is about the same, maybe with a slight edge to the longer guide-boat. Increase the speed even more, and the packboat "hits the wall" at 5.0 mph, and gaining that last one-half mile per hour in the packboat takes a monumental increase in effort in comparison to the gain in speed. For the longer guide-boat, the extra effort needed to gain that same extra half mile per hour is not a big deal at all. For slow to moderate cruising speeds though, the 12-foot boat feels almost effortless compared to the 15-foot boat. I admit that for my purposes, the difference in effort alone would not cause me to choose the 12-foot boat in preference to the 15-footer; I can live with the extra effort if other factors make the 15-foot boat a better choice. The point is, that the difference in effort, which in this case is simply a matter of wetted surface area, is huge.

Epic GPX

– Last Updated: Dec-21-06 2:53 PM EST –

Those little Epics are rockets. The 16 would be a nice boat also. At 120 lbs my wife is too light for the Viking for day tripping.

Thank you guideboatguy!
Absolutely correct, albeit counter to common belief. Greyak is also correct in commenting that too much width adds to the drag footprint as does length. I like the way you phrased things.

Speed and length

– Last Updated: Dec-21-06 7:50 PM EST –

I am one who suggested more length, but context is all. If a shorter person is looking at boats that I know have fairly high decks and a tough reach to the water, exactly what I've seen in women struggling to paddle efficiently while their paddle shaft whacks the side of the boat every other stroke, I would tend to recommend longer rather than shorter because overall it is likely to get them into a less wide boat. A lot of boats closer to the 12 ft length present that kind of problem.

If someone is already thinking about boats closer in length to a full sea kayak, it's another story. When I have a day paddle where I may be the only female out and have some faster guys to keep pace with, and conditions are predictable, I take my 15'8" Vela rather than the Explorer LV because the Vela is considerably quicker up to the likely 4 knots that we'll be going. It also has a fairly trim width at the waterline - 19".

I am not sure where Auntie is at this point - she had asked about a specific boat a couple of weeks ago but no feedback from her on that thread. In that thread she also mentioned a couple of details missing from this one. One was that they were looking for boats to take with them when they relocated to down towards the Baja penninsula for the cold weather, I get the impression a regular event, and the other was that whatever boat would be trevling down there on the roof of a motor home or maybe living up there for a bit. They were going to take lessons down there and bring the boats and the skills back up to Vancouver.

Boats choices
HI, the Pachena is a nice boat, not particularly fast, but reliable and stable. Any of the boats you mentioned, particularly the longer, narrower boats would probably do well. Being strong, stamina wise is probably more important than physical stretch wise as far as keeping up. Finess is the key to a smooth, lasting and steady paddling stroke. Go to a demo day and paddle side by side, or rent the boats of choice first before you buy…One thing, too…if you think you will be doing this often, don’t under buy…meaning you get a boat with few challenges that you outgrow as you learn…keep the edge towards safety but not so that you wish you had a better boat after a month of paddling.

Different stroke for different folks
"My book says one should buy a kayak to grow into, not one to grow out of. Do you agree?"

In general, that’s the right recommendation.

But keep in mind you’re taking this boat all the way down to Baja and back, that’s a long of time in area that’s not always guarantee to be safe. I would rather not go with a $3000 Mystic on this trip, if I were you.

Get whatever available used that’s not WAY too big for you. When you come back home, you can get another one more appropriate for the water and your skill. Hopefully by that time you know a lot more about what you like or dislike. You can then apply the principle above.

You can probably sell that first boat for about the same of what you pay for. That’s the beauty of buying used. Or you may want to keep it as a guest boat, or for your next years trip down south…

Well, yes. I do tend to …
… forget there are people who find paddling over 3 mph to be a workout. L

Sure, drag is technically more on a on a longer narrower sea kayak than a shorter wider hull at speeds under say 3-4 mph - but the differences are generally small (and between already low effort levels).

If people are really feeling that they are having to work harder to go slow in a sea kayak than a rec boat they must either be quite sensitive or 3-4 mph is actually pushing their limits (and most of us have seen this).

I’m not disagreeing, just quantifying a bit. I’m as big a proponent of scaled down kayaks for smaller scale paddler as anyone. No so much a fan of just changing one major dimension as some makers are doing (though that has it’s uses too).

I am a bit long boat biased - for touring type use. I think L/W ratios over 10:1 just look better - and prefer glide and bridging chop to bobbing like a cork. Obviously I’m more of a keep moving vs. sit in a play spot type paddler (for now).

Another point often lost
Is WIND. Im my experience nothing kicks a less powerful paddler in the butt more than wind. Not only can they not appreciate the potential speed of the longer boat, but the extra windage and reaction in bigger seas makes the bigger boat FAR more difficult to control. To me this is way more a factor than drag differences. Put a small, less powerful person in an Impex Mystic, then in a bigger boat…add 20 knots of wind and guess what. The little Mystic nets them a better result. Another reason the Coaster is such a great boat.

BTW, I’m all about going fast and long boats. I get that totally and endorse said boats for the right paddlers. I shout a lot about the smaller boats simply cuz I hate to see petite paddlers struggling secondary to bad information.

Same at you bud.


Please do . . . .
Salty - what is the name of the 15’2" compositie boat for Barkley Sound?

I’ve been spending hours and hours reading and searching… Not much in the way of used for my size around my area (southern Vancouver Island). Will check out the mags. you suggest. Thanks.

WOW! Lots of great advice, thanks.
You folks have been busy and have given me lots to think about! I really do want to have a boat that will give me some challenges so that I do not outgrow it in a few months. On second thought the Diamante is too big. I measured our rack on the motor home and it just won’t fit properly.

Security in Baja: I too am concerned about having a nice new kayak stolen but the reality is that I just can’t find a second hand one that fits me. Ihe Diamante is second hand and a good price but too long. We will be staying in small communities on the beaches and are not into the big cities and will definately lock them up so I’m not worried about the Mexicans taking them, now the Gringos that could be another story…

Inflatables: Sorry sharkbiter but I really don’t want an inflatable - I have a zodiac already and there just isn’t any more room to store another inflatable.

QCC 300: I am interested in your comments about the QCC JackL and will see if I can find one to test out.

Rentals: Where we are going in the Baja there are no rentals :wink: in fact there are hardly any people!

Speed: being a cyclist I like speed, and I like a good workout. But seriously, I am not going to race this boat, just have some fun and get a workout too. And I promise I will not stray far from shore and only want to be out there in calm waters - my husband is very cautious too, much more than me.

Lessons: the lessons we took were great - Basic paddling strokes and Recovery Essentials. I learned lots and got comfortable very quickly. I know I’m going to love this sport. My plan now is to paddle lots and very safely in the Baja and take more lessons when we get back and before Barkley Sound.

Celia: the Vela sounds interesting but is probably for an experienced kayaker, yes? I am definately wanting to try the Mystic but there isn’t one in town. I think I might have to take my chances and seek one out on the drive through the states south… Yikes - that just makes me feel more desperate!!

I might have jumped the gun…
I have reread your post, and noticed that you are “inexperienced”.

How much paddling have you done?

If the answer is none, you probably should start with a wider boat than the QCC since it is liable to feel tippy to you.

There are only a couple of the small ones around, but if you can find someone with a 600 that will let you try it, the stability is just about the same, and will give you a feling for it.

Merry Christmas,


Hurricane Tampico S
My wife keeps up with everyone (and passes me most days) in the Hurricane Tampico S which fits her very well and she can load it herself at 13.5 feet and 41 lbs. Jack is right about getting a boat too long. If it’s flat water and day trips you can’t go wrong with this boat and it’s very good in chop. Maggie took hers across to the Manitous’ last summer which was a real test. But you’d probably not find this boat in Canada. Maybe on your drive south?

BBK Idun or Valkyrie

– Last Updated: Dec-22-06 12:52 PM EST –

If you can find one nearby to demo, the Betsie Bay boats are great for small people. The Valkyrie would probably be a good size. It weighs 30 lbs, which is great for hauling it around, and the light weight and efficient design makes it handle well in the water for a small person. My inexperienced friends usually prefer my BBK valkyrie to my other boats. They're not cheap, and you can't bang them around the way you can bounce plastic off rocks. But I'm very happy with mine (on the 3rd boat, I finally chose the right one for the conditions I like to paddle in).

I'm about your size--half an inch taller, same weight, and I have no trouble keeping up with much bigger, stronger guys. I've tried my friend's tempest 165 and QCC 600, and both of them felt like bathtubs, even though they're supposed to be reasonable boats for people our size.


– Last Updated: Dec-22-06 1:14 PM EST –

There are quite a few used boats in your area for demo or just sitting in on grass.

Custom boat…no name
Infused carbon, glass, soric cored, skegged, 2 Valley ovals, low profile, super efficient. Perfect for your size, and you shouldn’t find it too tender…to date noone has. e-mail me directly and we can set you up if you want. No cash required…

Thanks, I checked again. I’m going to try putting a wanted ad in like I have on my local used lists.

Beautiful boats
I had a look on their website, very beautiful boats indeed. I think they are just a bit long for me right now tho, I will keep it them in mind for the future … when I start my fleet.

Good for you
There is a tandem skin-on-frame that I would love to get, but it’s just too far away - 2 day drive, $600 on gas alone!