Too tippy? Or just right?

I tried out an 18 ft. Necky Arluk which has quite a roun bottom (very soft chine?) and seemed quite tippy. It wasn’t like I was really afraid of going over but it sure tipped to the side very easily. I am not really very experience paddling kayaks although I’ve paddled canoes many miles. While the tippyness was a bit disconcerting, it also seemed to help me get in a good paddling groove. And I’m not sure how it would be if the conditions were rough. Any thoughts for this kayaker wannabee?

Give iit a few hours on flat water.

– Last Updated: Oct-02-04 8:44 AM EST –

Then try it (with experienced company) insomewhat more textured conditions. Many time what feels terrible on flat water is much less afected in steep chop that a more (stable) boat.

Try it loaded.
It will paddle very differently. Touring boats are designed to handle best while carrying stuff. I put ballast in my touring boat if I am going to paddle it empty.

I have seen where some people adapt well to a kayak with low stability and some don’t. If you buy the kayak and you don’t like it after a year you can always sell it and buy something that feels better to you.

Arluk III
My guess is you tried an Arluk III. This boat is designed for fast touring and for experienced paddlers. If you are new to kayaks this boat may indeed seem tippy. My suggestion is to find a boat you are initially more comfortable with, gain experience than look for a more a boat to fit your growing skills.


If you’re planning to
grow your skills over time, then “a bit disconcerting” would be exactly the right level of tippiness for a new boat. You’ll have to work on exits, rescues, and rolling, but it will all make you a better paddler. If you’re looking for a more recreational approach to the sport, then you would want to be too disconcerted. But over time, increased skill makes you much safer than initial stability. Many of us paddle very tippy boats in the ocean and feel very safe. Among other things, the speed which usually comes with tippiness allows you to outrun problems (such as approaching ferries or weather fronts). More importantly, the balance and boat control which go with tippy boats increase paddling skill.


As you and the boat and your 7 ft long(wide) Paddle become one, then it is amazing what you can do. But still I do not mess with mother nature by putting my tippy boat(thunderbolt) in the blackburn challenge ocean race. Always havea backup plan. Can you roll or at least get back in the boat? Do you paddle with people who practice rescues? I am always in favor of trying to buy a used boat- especially this time of year because you can often save half the price.

you didnt dump
though you probably will, what i see is the boat is within your skill level and challenging. so do you want to be challenged?

Thanks for all of your
very enlightening comments! I think that I’ll try it again with a load this time. And yes, I very much want to become skilled at this sport and I especially liked the comment that “a bit disconcerting” is just about right. When I was paddling it it did feel like the tippiness would be something that would probalby work to my advantage in learning to paddle efficiently but I just wasn’t sure. I’ve got a much better handle on it now! And even in my novice condition I thought that the ease that it went through the water more than made up for the tippiness. Thanks again!


Very Familiar Feeling
I tested drove a wiggly boat that wiggled like no tomorrow in flat water, made another big loop back to the launch and the wiggle began to subside, long since been purchased and for the most part the wiggle is gone under most conditions. The key and in time is you the paddler will relax & wiggle back and gain the confidence in the boat and you and find yourself and the most invincible.


You and the boat
Invincible…I intended to say


I tried paddling when I was loaded, and
I fell over even faster.

Similar Story
My buddy bought a kayak that felt tippy to him. On his first several trips out, he’d add a little ballast for stability. Now he’s perfectly comfortable without the ballast.