Suggest to me a Kayak....

You guys and gals here always seem to give great suggestions to a person looking for a new boat that I can’t pass up the opportunity to hear your opinions. :slight_smile:

To give you a bit of info…I’m about 5’9" and weigh aroung 185. I’ve been kayaking for about a year now (and canoeing longer) and paddle on a frequent and regular basis. I’m fairly athletic (I’m a runner and weight lifter) and my main reason to kayak is for fitness (although I enjoy it immensely). I currently paddle an Old Town Cayuga 146 and overall I find it to be a very nice boat. The thing I find lacking is that I feel I may be hitting the boats limits on speed. Honestly, in real life, it doesn’t really matter…I paddle alone and I’m getting a great workout no matter how fast the boat will go. On the other hand, I enjoy competing with myself, always trying to beat my personal best times (and I’ll admit that I enjoy new “toys” every now and again :wink: ).

On an outing, I use my GPS and generally do a 10 mile trip. In my current boat, I can average about 5.2 mph for 10 miles. I may be wrong here (and please tell me if I am) but I feel the boat is running into the law of diminishing returns…as in a lot more effort doesn’t give me much more speed.

Basically, I want something that’s more efficient and still packs a degree of comfort and some storage space for the longer day (or two) outings. I usually paddle in larger lakes or rivers with calm to moderately choppy waters. The biggest water I would be paddling would be Lake Erie, which is a couple hours away from me. Most of the time, I go in one general direction for 5 miles and turn around to complete my 10 mile jaunt, so maneuverability isn’t a huge factor but decent tracking is important. I’ve been looking through the review section but it’s a bit overwhelming with all of the different selections. One boat that has caught my attention is the Necky Looksha (there’s a dealer about two hours away from me) although I’m certainly open to any other suggestions. Also, my max budget would be 3K for this boat although anything less would be appreciated by the wallet and wife.

if you’re paddling for fitness
it doesn’t matter if you’re hitting the boat’s limits on speed

plow water, do yourself some good! :wink:

go used & fglass…
you will make your $$ go further…as you are really fitness driven I would skip the lengths under 17 feet and 23-24" widths and go right for the gusto - given your background you are athletic enough for a longer, narrower boat.

Since you have your comfortable kickback boat in the Cayuga, get into a true fitness boat… A CD Stratus could be a blast, or a used Valley Rapier 18, or one of the Epic or Nemo touring series. Try a surfski by Epic or Fenn…

If a more traditional kayak design appeals, try a CD Extreme aka Nomad, plenty of them show up used. CD Andromeda. Artesian Millenium. NDK Silhouette. Impex Cat Force 4. CD Solstice GT. P&H Sirius (no longer made but very seaworthy and does show up used at good prices). Sultan Azul another oldie but fast, fast.

If you are able to score a Mariner Max or Elan, they will be shorter but just as capable and give you a great workout and fun in the waves…but bec.the Broze brothers have stopped building, they are now classics, and might push your budget closer to the max.

Other people will chime in. This is just to prime the pump.

If you are talking the Looksha IV, I can’t honestly get excited about recommending that one. It’s fairly widely acknowledged as slow (per a recent thread). If you can find a used Looksha II or III, now we’re talkin’…

I second the comment to get a high quality paddle. Used correctly it will accelerate your speed and endurance no matter which kayak you choose. You might like to try a wing paddle. It’s a different technique and you’ll need someone to show you how to use it, but it’ll amp up your workouts.

New kayak
I agree that at $3000 you have a lot of choices. You might try the Valley Aquanaut which should give you a nice ride on Lake Erie and handles well in Class 1 rivers. Good luck.

You’ve got so many options I’d be looking used to save some $$$. Keep an eye out on Craigslist, EBAY, and listings here. Something should pop up that would work out great for you.

I’d be looking to get something over 16’ and pretty narrow for sure. Sounds like you don’t need something really maneuverable and they’re so much more fun to paddle over a short kayak.

First time I paddled a 17’ kayak I thought it was going to seem incredibly long and awkward. I was surprised to find it didn’t seem that long at all. And it’s so nice not to see the bow wagging back and forth every time you take a stroke.


If you have the need for speed

– Last Updated: Jul-22-09 6:23 AM EST –

and comfort and a boat that will handle rough water, look at the QCC-700.
It has it all over that Looksha


right on Alan
This man lifts weights, he’s got core strength, and he runs, so he’s got endurance and very good cardio. At 37 he’s in prime condition with the engine and balance for a longer narrower boat.

I agree with posters on other threads that not everyone needs to progress from short and wide to transitional and less wide to longer, narrower boats -some people are athletic and focused enough to go straight to a more advanced boat. They enjoy the challenge and they should just do it, esp. when they are attracted to speed and fitness workouts.

Lots of fast long boats to consider
CD Extreme, Seda Glider, Impex Force, Thunderbolt / EFT or maybe even a Surf Ski!

Test Boats…
My suggestion is to spend a weekend trying out different boats. Find several retailers within a reasonable distance (~2hrs) with several brands of boats. This should give you an idea of what boats fit you well and to possibly purchase. My list would be:

Impex: Force series or Currituck

NDK: Romany or Explorer

Valley: Aquanaut or Avocet

Current Designs: Caribou

P&H: They have some nice designs but don’t know the models off hand

Necky: Chatham 16 (I’ve paddled or had students in the Lookshaw and don’t like it)

Enjoy Shopping,


a 700 series could be an excellent boat for what you want to do. Since QCC sells direct, you might try calling them and finding the names of QCC owners in your area. Most kayakers are very happy to show off their boats a bit and most will let you take a test paddle.

OP look North
to Michigan. Check out the listings.

Lots of boats. Here are a handful which stood out to me (I’m not the seller nor do I know any of them):

  • Not one but TWO P&H Quest LVs for $2000 and $2020.

    This is a pretty recent introduction, boats are likely to be very mint. The LV is designed to be a fast, agile day boat. P&H quality is topshelf.

  • Impex Currituck - as suggested by another poster.

    $2000 Impex is another fine boatbuilder. Currituck

    is one of their classics. It will hold more gear

    than some of the others mentioned if

    you decide to go out more than a long weekend.

  • a neat drop skeg multi chined 2005 Necky Elaho DS (the original classic do-all Elaho) in roto. Not bullet quick but fast enough and manoeuvrable on wide rivers and any big water you want to try. $1100 w. a Palm PFD and paddle. … damn, someone will want that Elaho just for itself at that price. It’s in the UP, a fair drive for ya. But you can paddle Lakes Michigan and Superior on the way up!

  • Current Designs Squamish in composite (harder to

    find than the roto version). This is the “shortie”

    of the lot at 15’8" I have paddled one and it

    is a quick fun agile kayak for the shorter trips

    that you’ve described. I have a glass kayak 15’11"

    and a bit smaller in dimensions else I’d be on this

    one like glue. And since it’s in Coldwater

    that’s in the very southern central part of MI and

    not too far from central Ohio.

    Anyway, again , no financial interest here. Any of these could potentially fit you well and give you a nice complement to the Cayuga. The asking prices are very attractive esp. compared to a brand new boat (which loses 25-35% of its value the moment it gets that first few scratches). Leaves you lotsa reserver for more goodies like a sweet light paddle, a VHF marine radio and a rack system for the new baby.

    Amy and others are right, demo a bunch and have a good time doing it!

Epic for me
For fitness and competition, I prefer a solid footboard as opposed to foot pegs. I had a Looksha several years ago and it had footpegs that were also rudder controls, and they move. QCC uses the SmartTracks, which I managed to break several times in my Epic 18, so I added a footboard. The new Epics come with a foot brace and toe steering. I have had the Epic Endurance 18 since 2005 and the hull seems indestructible, wouldn’t hesitate to buy another one. Epic and QCC share bragging rights for the fastest sea kayaks, but I would bet on Epic because of the solid footbrace, and the option to paddle with knees in on smooth water or knees out under the braces in rough water. And I rarely get beat in a race by a QCC. :slight_smile:

Yes and no
Being a QCC-700 owner and having a daughter who is a Epic 18 owner.

I agree that the Epic is the faster of the two, but it ends there.

The quality of the QCC has it all over the Epic.



QCC + Onno gas pedal?
QCCs are beautiful, but I wouldn’t trust the SmartTracks. However, they can be replaced with the Onno gas pedal. Pat tells me mine is on the way, can’t wait to try it.

Thank you for all of the suggestions so far!..and don’t hesitate to keep 'em coming if you have additional ideas to add. I’ll definately take all of your suggestions into consideration as I narrow down my choices.

get your boat…
and tell us about it…then mark your calendar for the first weekend in July and the 6th (I think) annual Kayak Rendezvous on South Bass Island (part of the Lake Erie Islands) accessible by ferry from Catawba Island or if you’re cool w. 4 miles open water you can do that w. other paddlers.

It is a really good time! Lots of paddling, different mileage and routes. Whether the wife paddles or not there is plenty to do/see at Put in Bay and the cliff campsites in particular are very relaxing. The kayakers are very sociable at meal times, arranging small group paddles and there is always some type of mingling event in the evening. This past rendezvous pulled in about 125 paddlers! Long boats rule at this event - prolly 95% of the kayaks there were 16 feet or over. So go long '-)

definitely QCC
My first kayak was a Looksha. Not 4 months after I got it I bought a QCC700x because it was so horribly slow. The QCC destroys it in every category I can possibly think of.

try them out…
and see which one you like… I tend to suggest an all around sea kayak with decent speed and a skeg… I would start there and paddle others to see which one is right for you…

The used P&H Quest LV or Impex might have plenty of speed for you and is an open water kayak… or you might like the QCC or Epic when you paddle those… lots of good suggestions…

new kayak
build yourself a shearwater 17 from clc its not that hard . a comparable glass or carbon boat would cost around 3000 $ you can build one of these for 1000 $ and have a much better looking boat.

new boat
Check out the Prijon Barracuda. It matches a lot of your needs. It tracks well-it’s faast.

16’ 11"


day hatch

However, on a bouncy day on Lake Erie you might not want this boat. It is tippy for me in" conditions". That is why I purchased a Valley aquanaut. Thanks to cd1,wilsoj,and others for guiding me to this boat.

it is not as fast as the 'cuda but it can handle rough water better without sacrificing much speed. Good luck in your purchase.