Suggestions for Pungo-like boats

A couple of guys I know are looking for kayaks, or at least one of them is and will drag the other along. One of them has already decided on a Pungo based on happy past experiences with it. Given the paddling venues and goals of these guys as well as their size (average height and not tiny around the middle), I can’t think of a better choice.

The other guy has had one baptism by swimming in a friend’s skinnier kayak and was not happy about it, so a Pungo-like boat may be the choice for him as well.

I am pretty sure we are talking SINKs all around based on yesterday’s conversation.

I don’t have a great list in my head of Pungo-like boats - decent tracking for a rec length and monstrous primary stability. Any suggestions of other boats I should point these guys to?

I don’t have any experience
with rec kayaks to speak of but the various Old Town Loon models and Current Designs Kestrel models certainly seem to have their share of fans. Maybe the Perception Acadia would be worth a look.

if you can find a Perception Prodigy 12
that craft will hold a very large person, easily goes where an inexperienced paddler wants it to go, and has a large cockpit, with the accompanying ‘benefits’ that new rec paddlers like. They have been discontinued for a couple years, but I see them for sale occasionally.

Native Watercraft
came out with a model a couple of years ago that was designed by the guy who designed the Pungo hull. They referred to it internally as their “Pungo Killer”, although it has already changed names. I paddled a 12 foot version and it was very similar, with the Native seating. Old Town Dirigo is another possibility, or the Necky Manitou Sport.

Thanks much
I just included those ideas in email to the guys - turns out they live maybe 15 miles from a Native dealer.

pungo like
Check out the OT Vapor 12, relatively low cost.

go Pungo
Why not just get a pungo? You see plenty of them around in the used market. That said, if he is more than 200# or so, a Loon 138 will give you the Pungo qualities you want with a bit more reserve.

Anti rec boat
I suggest you stear them towards something better than a rec boat. Touring or sea kayaks are a lot more fun. The cheapo, low performance “boats” tend to get used a lot less.

I haven’t paddled one but
I pretty much just do race boats here lately but I saw a Current Designs Kestrel 140 in a kayak shop and thought, “that looks like a good light touring boat”. I liked the lines and it has front and rear bulkheads. It looked sleek and stable at the same time.

But then the Pungo looks pretty service-able too. I paddle a Wilderness Systems Seacret (14’6 rec boat with a rear bulkhead and a fair amount of rocker so only about a 12.5’ waterline lenght) for years before I got a QCC Q600 and then got into racing. I paddled thousands of kilometers in that Seacret on the New River (placid Virginia stretches between NC and WVA) and the south fork of the Shenandoah and then the lower York River and Chesapeake Bay. Just day touring and fishing but I bet the Pungo fits that use pretty well.

has a couple models worth a look, the Axis 12 and the Catalyst 13. roomy cockpits but not overly huge. Used Blackwaters come up all the time on Craigslist too.

Pungos get a lot of use
and are not as common on the used market as you might think for such a big seller. Beginners love them. On flat water, they are a great platform for photography and fishing, or just splashing around. With a skirt and some flotation up front (12’ and under) they are pretty decent light touring boats. I bought one just to take friends along, and my wife prefers it to my sink or canoe. Strong paddlers can keep up with touring boats pretty easily.

Prodigy 12/Manatee 12
Perception still makes the prodigy 12 for LL Bean, but its called the Manatee. I love mine its stable, tracks well, and is decently fast for a rec boat. Probably not the best boat for big open water, but I’ve had it in the larger rivers around pittsburgh and haven’t had a problem.

The cockpit on this boat is big enough that you have room for a medium dog or small kid to sit in front of you. And I think the boat is plenty spacious enough for camping.

This is actually funny
I am the one who always gets slammed on these boards for telling everyone to go longer and narrower. But in this case it’s not at all a plan. First of all these guys are truly not going to go anywhere a rec boat isn’t fine. Kayaking is never going to be a huge activity for them, just something to do in a very quiet pond on a nice day in ideal weather. Second, I was being quite modest in saying they weren’t tiny around the middle. The only longer boats out there that are designed for the weight and dimensions of one of them are the ones that’d fit Wayne Horodowitch. And a huge old Solstice is way too much boat for puddling around a two acre pond.

Thanks again
I just added some of the above to the list for these guys - again was able to find nearby dealers.

I have paddled a Pongo and found it much to wide I kept hitting my knuckles on the sides of the yak.

I suppose if your friends are big males than a Pongo is perfect choice for them. However they might outgrow the Pongo with better paddling skills and want something more “kayak” like.

I would recommend trying the Current Designs Breeze lists for $799 has large cockpit and is plenty deep for larger body types. Breeze is very stable and offers the ability to be safe on flat water, bays and even oceans. Something the pongo would not be able to do safely.

In addition if you ask your local outfitter that carries the Current Designs kayaks they can get in a demo kayak or even sell one to you, all helps in keeping the cost down.

Check it out on their web site at

Agree with the Breeze
We bought 2 used and love them - we use them for rivers and for loaners to newbies on lakes also. They are big and wide enough for confidence yet narrow enough to enjoy the paddling experience and not feel tublike. My husband over 220 lbs loves them also who is “middleish”! 13.5 ft is a nice length although they are not efficient like longer boats. Sounds like that is a non issue anyway - great plastic too. I can’t say enough good about them for their designed purpose. No rudder needed.

pungo like
Necky Manitou 13 or 14.