Swell scupper 14, any advice, good for a beginner?

Hi All,

I’m thinking of getting this: Swell Scupper 14 (https://swellwatercraft.com/swell-launches-2020-version-of-the-scupper-14-kayak/). Was going to get a Crescent Lite Tackle but all is sold out & back-ordered!

I’m 6’0/275pds and beginner paddler (been on a kayak only 4 times). Will start on lakes in central NJ where I live and I also live 10min walk from the bay (Atlantic Highlands, NJ) so looking for something that will work there too (when I’m comfortable going out there).

Does anyone have any experience with this boat? Or also might be looking at a VAGABOND KASAI or VAGABOND MARIMBA.

Looks pretty decent from what I can see, not looking to fish or stand, just want a nice smooth, relaxing and stable paddle


Swell has a good pedigree, having been formed by the guy who created the Ocean Kayak brand.

Some of the first models had some issues with the special draining scuppers they were using, but seems like you are getting a newer design which hopefully has those fixed.

I can’t find specs on capacity. You will want something with a 400 or more capacity. Kayaks at close to capacity can start performing a but funny. Even if it lists a 350 capacity, I would be concerned about it.

They say capacity for the new one is 390pds.

No, max capacity is listed as 375 lbs. They may have changed it since you last looked. Here:


There are lighter boats out there, too (thermoformed), but they cost a bit more.

I had read 375pds as well, maybe that’s for the older models, not 2020 since these have new plastic? Jim the owner emailed me and said they would have a sale during June (https://sitontopkayak.com/product/swell-watercraft-scupper-14/), and here it says 390…not sure now.

That weight is fine, this is already at the top of my budget so wouldn’t want to spend more than 1k possibly. My only concern it being 25’ wide and me being a beginner how it would work for me, even though I have seen a person saying they were 290/60’ waist in it…

Of the three you mentioned, I’d take the Marimba off the list as it’s a few inches wider for an otherwise equivalent boat.

The Vagabonds are very flat-bottomed with nearly no rocker. The flat bottom gives them good initial stability; no telling what they’d handle like heeled, and might not be good in waves. Okay for flat water.

Swell doesn’t give a side view or any information about rocker, but their heritage suggests they’d perform confidently in rough water.

Another choice you might look at is the WS Tarpon 140. It’s a bit above your price point, but is very well regarded.

Edit: Take the Kasai off the list; it’s the wider one.

I was also looking at the Tarpon 140 actually, on the site I posted there are more pictures from the side, bottom, etc, which might give you a better idea.

I plan to eventually use whatever boat I get in open water bay, when calm, never too rough or far from the coast, so not too worried about when water is very rough, not going offshore fishing either so :slight_smile:

The only thing I don’t like about the Marimba is the feet position, so close together, I’m not trying to race so not sure how comfortable that would be for me.

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