The do all kayak....does one exist?

So I recently got introduced into kayaking and I am totally addicted. I’m now looking to purchase a kayak and need some advice. I would ideally like to acquire one that I could bring out in the ocean, lakes, or rivers. Not whitewater rivers, but class II-III tops. I rode a dagger cortez 15.0 in a rough bay this weekend and loved its stability and tracking. I especially loved the foot controlled retractable rudder. What do you all think is a happy medium? Does one exist or am I just selling myself short in both worlds if I get a kayak that is too short for ocean but too long for rivers? My guess is 12-14 ft with a retractable rudder would be a good choice. I have been looking at the Perception Carolina 14.5 and the Dagger Specter 14.0. Any input would be much appreciated.

You will be getting lots of
advise and generating lots of discussion. I will start. You say, you are not interested in white water. As such, class 3 should not be included in your plan as that is indeed whitewater. Have fun.

Do all kayaks
don’t do anything well.

The answer is NO
Next question please…

Probably not

– Last Updated: Sep-28-05 11:56 AM EST –

At least not for someone starting out. There are very skilled paddlers who can go out on the ocean in relatively short, extremely responsive boats and be fine. But most paddlers starting out don't have the boat handling skills for this. And if you want to go on the ocean or lakes and camp as well, you are automatically going to need a boat with more storage capacity that is much less likely to be responsive enough to do you well in moving water in smaller rivers.

You mention a lot of ways you'd like to paddle - it may be best to first spend time going on guided trips in rented boats to find out where your strongest interest lies. Touring, white water, etc. And spend a good long time demoing. From New Jersey you may be within drivable reach of some good outfits in NJ as well as others such as On the River in Hyde Park, NY (, Great River Outfitters in Rhode Island etc. Even if it takes an overnight stay, you'll like having given yourself hte exposure.

For sea kayaking, you may want to see if you can find a way to attend a sea kayak symposiums - there's one coming up at Sea Kayak Georgia - to get a stronger sense of what is involved and how much you'd be interested in that.

Here is a start
Hare are a couple that might work out - tho class III is nothing to mess around with.

Riot Voyaguer

Prijon Yukon Expedition

Like another poster said - capable of a lot, yes - excells at anything, no.

just like theres a one shoe for all occasions, one bicycle for all terrain, one vehicle for all uses.


no one boat will do it all for you. Sorry. Having said that, you can get away with a longer boat on some class II waters but into class III, it’s not going to be that fun and maybe dangerous. Some folks here say they run III’s and IV’s with longer boats. Not saying that they don’t. But go take some ww lessons and see what types of boats folks are using overwhelmingly. There’s a reason… Ditto, if kayak on big bodies of water, over some distance, there are certain types of kayaks that predominate. There is a reason.


Two boats
Get a decent longer boat for touring on open ocean and lakes, buy it used, get a decent whitewater boat for class III and surfing buy it used it will cost you ~ 300 bucks. You will find you spend a majority of your time doing one or the other.

Re: Cortez … Try many other boats. The Cortez was the poorest tracking Seakayak I have ever paddled. Your experience may of couse be different

Thanks everyone for your replies. Sorry for the super beginner question…

Get several good used for same $
I have a friend. She’s a good shopper. She looks for quality, not newness. She’s patient. Over the past couple of years she has purchased a good used Bell Flashfire in kevlar (flatwater solo performance), an adequite Mad River Fantasy (whitewater solo), and a demo from the factory sale Old Town Appalachian (tandem whitewater), for a total of around $1000. She’s still looking for a fast tandem flatwater canoe. Her approach is to have a canoe that is at least competent for each type paddling she enjoys without spending a fortune. I admire that. She’s paddled a lot of different boats in a lot of different conditions to get to the point of recognizing a good boat at the right price when it becomes available.

I think the same approach could work well for you with kayaks.

No, but…
some kayaks do more things well than others do.

Since you are new to the sport, maybe hold off on buying right away and instead take some lessons from a good provider? You’d get to try a variety of kayaks that way, in addition to hopefully learning some good things rather than picking up bad habits (such as arm-paddling and relying on a rudder).

Tarpon 160 SOT… its as close to a do it all boat as you can get…

Pay no attention to t. Yes, there is…
…I just had to buy five kayaks to do it.

Class 3 is white water, but let’s simply take a

look at that genre.

There are play boats, river runners, and creekers. The point is that there isn’t even

a single WW kayak that fits all WW purposes.

You want to fish? don’t buy a prijon Barracuda.

Could you fish out of it? Sure, but hook a cat

fish that takes an odd turn and you’ll be in

the drink. You want to fish, get something like

an Old Town Loon.

Put another way. what one car is the best semi,

sports car, SUV, farm tractor, and family sedan?

personally I would have thought the Tarpon 120 was more of an all around boat than the 160.

Ocean Kayak Frenzy

– Last Updated: Sep-28-05 5:13 PM EST –

Just kidding, though when I bought one 5 years ago, the product literature that came with it claimed it was good for everything, touring, surfing, flat waters, tight rivers, fishing (it is good for that), it slices, it dices, makes a great gift!

I don't know of any such boat, and imagine any boat built to try to perform in so many different conditions would be jack of all trades, master of none.

Try renting. I still haven't broken down and bought a true touring seakayak 3 years after I got into that, so I rent or borrow a buddy's whenever I want to go. Eventually I'm going to decide what make I like best. You could do the same while you figure what type of kayaking, and what make and model of kayak you like best.


– Last Updated: Sep-28-05 6:40 PM EST –

there is!

Long-lived, famed designer Rube Goldberg, in consulation with QCC, OK, WS, CD, Nigel Foster, a native Alaskan, a native Greenlander, and the Swiss Army knife people, has come up with the one boat that does it all.

You won't, absolitely will NOT -believe what this super kayak is capable of!

My strongest advice to you, friend, is to get one, IMMEDIATELY, and -heck, why stop at III, try IV, and then the Golden Gate, and then Florida's 10,000 Islands, and some Keys mangrove tunnels and then take it out into the Gulf stream off Miami or the hump in Islanorada for some bluewater angling, and finish up on Hawaii's North Shore in winter -it's warmer than California.

This IS that wholly grayle that many have tried, and some have advertised.

It sprints fast and accelerates quick like a scared rabbit, cruises long, speedily, and effortlessly, and does it on a rail, packs a ton of gear, with a low deck and tight hatches, has great primary and fantastic secondary stability, yet rolls like a log, turns on a dime, and is strong yet weigfhs in at 40 pounds. It has a terrific seat, doesn't need a rudder or skeg, weathercocks only when needed, and isn't blown about by wind, currents, or changes in the value of a dollar or a gallon of gas.

Prhaps the best thing about this boat is its stellar forgivability. It is SOOO cool, your SO will forgive you it's rather steep price AND the time you spend with it, instead of...

Heck, it's so good, THEY'LL demand -DEMAND -one, too!

AND -BEST OF ALL? It can be paddled by an expert beginner at an intermediate level almost immediately. It even has a negatively sloped learning curve.

That is one boat you can, ANYone can, easily, joyfully, speedily, anywhere, anytime,


-Frank in Miami

Ever see the Swiss Navy knife…
…has a folding canoe blade.

I wish my first purchase . . .
had been a CD Sirocco. The more I use it, the more I realize that it is a great all-around boat. It has good speed, handles rough water well, rolls easily, and tracks well. It also has enough storage to camp and I have become hooked on day hatches and skegs.

The more I hang around more experienced kayakers, the more good things I hear about the Sirocco and it’s glass equivalent the Gulfstream. Many of them regularly paddle one or the other.

It is certainly one of the best plastic boats available.

The bottom line is try out as many boats as you can and I would encourage you to include the Sirocco in your demos.

After that, go find a good WW boat!

You shaved your moustache, didn’t you?
I could just tell.