I’ve got the end of winter bug to go into the upcoming season with a new boat. I’m looking for a day touring kayak under 15’ (due to storage issues) for a bigger guy (6’ 220). I’ve been reading countless reviews lately and narrowed it down to 1) Carolina 14.5, 2) Prijon Calabria, 3) CD Whistler, 4) CD Kestrel 140, 5) OT Adventure XL 139. I suppose I need a sea trial with them to decide but any input is appreciated. Uses would include flat water lakes, bigger bodies of water in chop up to 2-3 ft. May venture into Lake Michigan on a calm day (under 2’). Want something a bit more challenging/fast than a barge.
Can you work on the storage?
otherwise it’s hard to float over 200 pounds on something challenging.
Demo demo demo, get floatation front and rear, donsider boats like the CD gulfstream, IMpes susquehanna if you can hack a 16 foot boat.
Otherwise look to a qcc q400 X but it will be hard to learn to roll and it is a bit short with not so good tracking in heavier winds.
I could maybe stretch storage to 16’
but I have to measure the garage. Based on reviews the Prijon boats sound like they’re worth the money. The Calabria would be nice sized with a bigger cockpit opening for my big body…although I’ll have to try to sit in a SeaYak also. I would be concerned about the SeaYak’s primary stability in case I want to take a fishing rod and cast while out on a lake. It seams silly to continue a cycle of wanting to upgrade boats every new season, so I hope this time (had a rec boat prior) I can get a boat that is challenging enough to grow with, but still be stable enough to not be a pain in the neck if I want to sit idle on the water for a bit. It all comes back to the demo…
What’s Your Budget?
If you can afford it, I think the Eddyline Merlin XT would be good boat to grow with and can handle the Big Lake.
Never sat in the SeaYak but she’s a tank to lift. This shouldn’t be an issue for a big guy though.
…has many features not found in most of the
boats of it’s genre. The foot pedals are more
like a car’s acceleration pedal than the pegs
in most boats.
It has adjustable thigh braces, and the hull
shape makes carving much easier.
I think the Calabria is one of the best boat
bargains on the market–for it’s genre.
Disclaimer: I do not work for Prijon, but I do
own 3 of their boats. Two WW kayaks and a
Barracuda touring boat. I stuck with their WW
boats because the lack of center pillars makes
them far more comfortable. I got the Barracuda
because the only other boat I demo’d that I liked
as much, cost twice as much!
Is the Calabria “sea worthy”…
for instance, if I try rolling a Calabria will it “work”? If I capsize the Calabria will the lack of a front bulkhead cause the front end to flood to the point of not being able to get back in and/or bail the boat out? I hear it comes with a custom float bag in front. Is this sufficient or for the above concerns should I stick to boats with 2 bulkheads?
What about the SeaYak vs. Calabria comparison for big guys and/or ease of use and fun on the water?
Have you considered used?
I picked up a used Necky Kyook. Nice touring boat that I think fits your size restrictions. I have toured on Lake Superior twice. Once it was big waves, second flat calm. Boat worked well in both situations.
Too bad about the sub-15 foot limit
A Q-500X would give you more capacity and greater speed. If you are near Lake MI you should arrange a demo at QCC.
Check out the impex susquhanna
a step you can take and a boat you will enjoy in the rough stuff for a long time.
the 500 is very very high volume so it is vulnerable to wind. Even at 220 you have to work it to edge it.
No denying it’s really fast for a boat of 23 inch beam though
They are great boats with the best rudder system available. I have an Eski and it’s the best boat I’ve ever owned. It’s fiberglass and 16’6" long. The longer boat you get the happier you’ll be on the water. They no longer import the Eski from Germany but you might find a used one. Otherwise look at the new poly boats available in the U.S. Have fun and get what you want.
I’ve tried and liked the Carolina but…
I wound up getting a CD Pachena (14.1 ft) in fiberglass. Stable and large cockpit is roomy enough for a ‘big guy’. For me it’s a pleasure to paddle, and I’ve had it out in everything from ocean to ditch. Get one with a rudder.
I’d narrow it to those two. Don’t listen to those guys pushing for a long touring boat if that’s not what you want. In the range of 14x25" touring boats you’ll be mighty stable,the odds of dumping it are small,and if you did having a front bulkhead over a big secured bulkhead isn’t as significant as a long skinny kayak as so much of the volume is still in the cockpit. If the thigh braces are too snug on the Whistler you might still have a rollable/bracable kayak with them removed. Unless the Prijon is outside the budget I’d lean to it. Old kyooks would be a good deal but a new Prijon would be better for maneuvering in chop.
At this point I’m leaning towards
the Prijion Calabria based on quality/value for the money. The Whistler sounds like a good boat too, but I have tried sitting in a Breeze already and my big legs did not fit good at all with the thigh braces. I’m assuming the adjustable braces on the Calabria could solve that. Although a great looking boat, the Pachena is out of my price range, and I would not want to have to worry about the fiberglass from a durability standpoint.
I appreciate all the advice.
The Breeze is the thermoplastic version of the Pachena. I personally don’t care for a forward bulkhead. On these shorter boats it’s really a waste of space. Right now I can stow a spare paddle below deck, wedged on top of my forward float bag. This would be impossible with a bulkhead there.
Try the Eddyline Merlin XT. I’ve got an LT and it is great. These boats are lightweight and can handle any water. They cost a bit more, but are worth it.
I can roll a calabria…
…and my roll sucks. And we WW kayakers use
Sea worthy? Probably, but I’ve only paddled one at lake demos, so…
the SeaYak is longer. For the price of a SeaYak you could get a Kodiak.
There is another boat that Prijon makes, the touryak which is a bit longer and more expensive
than the Calabria.
I’ve seen the TourYak on the Prijion
website. It looks like a good size/cockpit opening size for me. I wonder what the big advantages of it would be over the Calabria? I have not seen any reviews on the TourYak anywhere? It must not be one of their real popular models. If a Calabria is almost equal in performance, then most people probably don’t see why to spend the extra jing on the TourYak only to gain 11" in length and a front bulkhead. I’m probably one of those, since I don’t forsee packing the boat for a week trip, maybe an occasional overnighter, but then I could use a rec boat for that. I hate decisions.
For whatever reason I am being lured in by the thought of a shiny new CD Kestrel 140 in the TCS material, at 43# it would be a joy to use/transport, and they sure look pretty.
My reservations with the TCS Kestrel are
1) the cost, I’ve seen it priced online for around $1500, OUCH.
2) New material, unproven durability
3) New manufacturing process for CD. Will it be “good”.
It seems like everyone loves CD quality so I would expect the same on this boat. Perhaps it is better to wait a year or two before diving into this one, to make sure the new technology is up to par.
Don’t Buy Anything Yet…
This spring go to a symposium or two and really demo different boats. You’re focusing a bit more on the superficial stuff and prices rather than anything about the performance to what you want to do and develop.
Also, forget about a new boat to avoid much of the agonizing about whether you’re getting your money’s worth. Think: Demo, demo, demo. Then, make a list of the boats you like and look to buy one on the list used.
Great boat for a big guy and I believe there are several in the classifieds.