I would definitely go with the narrower one, at your size. Even better would be the Sitka ST but it’s more expensive. If there’s any chance to paddle the boats that would be by far the best way to pick. I would suggest not to paddle a bay unless it’s calm with warm water and you stay close to shore.
Welcome to paddling! Concur with Doggy, consider the Sitka. It is a kayak more suited for the paddling situation(s) you mention including growth for future paddling.
Also, before spending big bucks on a new kayak, have you considered taking a lesson? Paddling in a bay in choppy or rough conditions can put you into situations that an ACA or BCU lesson should introduce you to before you get surprised at sea (which is not the time to have to learn about survival). An added benefit is you get to see and practice with essential equipment for safe paddling away from a shoreline.
Thank you, I looked at the Sitka on line as well, I wasn’t sure of the stability being narrower and their description said it was designed to fit the medium to large-frame paddler. After that I did not really consider it. I wouldn’t venture out in rough water conditions by any means and would paddle close to shore lines and around the coves in calmer conditions … From what I have read between the two, the Skylark seemed to be a better fit to my size and more of a rec- light touring boat… on the flip it was almost the same description for the sandpiper… This left me with this question mark …thank you again!
thank you, great advice! I sail and go boating in the bay, there would be no chance of me venturing out in choppy/ unpredictable conditions. Very early in the morning, and early evening the bay is usually like glass, and yes, I actually have a lesson later today! I am excited! they do not have eddyline, so it will be in whatever they use for lessons… Thank you again! ps…I may consider the Sitka
There are a couple of different Sitka models; Sitka ST is the one designed for smaller paddlers. It would fit you better. As for not being stable, many people find boats become much more stable after they’ve paddled them a bit.
The Skylark was my second kayak. Have you paddled it? I’m 5’4" and about 113#. It is not an easy kayak to re-enter after a capsize because of it’s beam. The large cockpit will fill with water during a capsize and pumping it out takes a while. I took my ACA L1 class in my Skylark and it was a real chore getting back in. The Skylark and Sandpiper are recreational kayaks and should be paddled only on flat water.
I think the Sitka ST (formerly called the Samba), is a much more appropriate kayak for you to grow with. The cockpit will fit you much better and it has full deck rigging, including perimeter lines which the Skylark does not have. That was my third kayak and I still have it because it’s a very fun boat to paddle. I would have the backrest removed and replaced with a backband.
What bay are you speaking of? Fresh or salt water?
oh wow!! Thank you for sharing that!!! That is a big concern for sure!! Important info that I truly appreciate! The Sitka was highly recommend by all who replied. You guys know best for sure
I read reviews on here and one spoke of her Skylark, she wrote how she paddled in 3’ swells and how well her boat handled…I was impressed by her review. How is the stability on the Sitka? Does it easily tip? Hope not!
Greeniegirl, the Skylark cockpit measures 35" by 18.5" and the boat is 26" wide. It’s a high volume boat with a fixed seat and no thigh braces. As a small paddler, I never had hip contact with the boat because of its width. I also had the foot pegs all the way up and wished I could move them even a notch more forward. If you don’t have good contact, you won’t have good boat control. After two months of paddling the Skylark, I knew I could not improve my skills so I bought the Samba, which is a touring kayak.
The Sitka LT (a/k/a Samba) cockpit is a standard keyhole cockpit measuring 31.5" x 16.5". The kayak is 22.5" wide and is a low volume boat made for the smaller paddler. It has a sliding seat so you can adjust it for fit. I learned how to edge and carve turns, skills that could not be learned with the wider rec boat. I also paddled the kayak on Lake Michigan, something I would not do with the Skylark because it did not feel stable in our short period waves.
As to the lady who claimed she surfed three foot waves on Lake Erie in her Skylark, I don’t think she knows what a three foot wave looks like but am glad she safely made it to shore since a rec boat is not appropriate for any Great Lake unless paddled very close to shore.
The Sitka ST may feel “tippy” when you get into it because of its hull shape and hard chines. Loose hips rectifies that, as well as paddling forward. I also have two 21" wide sea kayaks which I find quite stable. You can tip any boat if you get off balance and don’t keep loose hips. Even the Skylark.
Given where you paddle, I don’t think a recreational kayak is appropriate unless you would be content with always staying close to shore and on flat water.
You didn’t say if you’ve sat in either boat or paddled them. You need to try them before making a decision.
Hi Rookie, first thank you for taking your time to write. A very good explanation and I fully understand, thank you, you really helped and I appreciate it very much. You actually helped more than you know.
As of now, kayaks are not in stock. I called so many places, I got 6-8 weeks until they will be back in stock. Unfortunately non to demo except one place that is about 8 hours from me.
When i was talking to sales in the stores I contacted they actually told me either one of my mentioned boats were fine for my needs. Now I am pretty surprised.
I am not hippy or large at all. 5’ 116 lbs. so agreed, i wouldn’t be connected to the boat and that sounds way to big.
i will definitely go with a Sitka ST. I am truly grateful for your help and guidance , and everyone who took the time to guide me.
I have my first lesson at 3pm today. It’s at a local water sports store. Looking forward to it!
You’re most welcome and I’m so glad you had such a good time! Did you do any wet exits and learn how to get back in your boat? It’s fun getting wet on a hot day.
Hope you can continue getting those lessons in. I take it you already have a PFD and maybe a paddle?
You might send an email to the Northeast Eddyline Regional Representative on the off chance she may be able to help you find or demo one. Three Mountain Associates, email@example.com. Sometimes the regional reps will have a list of used boats for sale.
Thank you again!! I will definitely drop them a line!
That’s a great lead, thanks!!
Yes I have a PFD! I have a SUP paddle. Not sure if it will be good with a kayak?
We did not do wet exits, she said next lesson. We went over gear and safety, correct way to paddle, hold the paddle, strokes , turning … basics. We went in the cove of the bay, it was calm. Beautiful day!!
A SUP paddle won’t do. You’ll need a double blade paddle, the lightest you can afford. When you need to make that decision, your instructor can help with the length you’ll need and as to brands, I’m sure you’ll get loads of suggestions here.
Omg what was I thinking when I wrote that???
I know I need a double blade paddle lol I was looking at them yesterday at the shop where I took my lesson. (Water sports store) Saw a nice one I liked, yes pricey… 430.00.
It is going to be a long while before kayaks are back in stock. Looks like the end of the summer. I will reach out to the rep you passed on to me today, fingers crossed.
I can rent from this shop , so I will do that for sure.
LOL, am guessing you were looking at a carbon paddle, perhaps a Werner? Good taste; carbon is wonderfully light.
Accolades to you for getting off to such a great start with lessons, renting and getting in seat time. The on-the-water experience is a great learning opportunity and it may well be that by the end of the summer, you’ll have a better idea of what you want in a kayak.
You’re getting to know what you don’t know, which most people don’t do when first starting. I was one of them.
A lot of people end up with paddles that are too long for them. If you;re taking another lesson note the length of the paddle that they give you. The large majority of kayakers use a low angle paddle. The correct length when using proper technique in a forward stroke is when you do not hit the side of the boat and for the majority of the stroke the entire blade is in the water. No more and no less. Any more or less reduces efficiency. Length depends on the width of the boat and your stature.