tried out the Eliza and Inuit today

Hi all, I’m the one who posted about ideal sea kayak length and was lucky enough to get over 90 responses! Here’s a little update.

I was at a demo day today and tried out both the Necky Eliza and the Native Watercraft Inuit 13.5. Keeping in mind that I have only paddled my Perception Shadow once this year and it was a month or so ago, the Inuit felt like a speed demon in comparison to both my Shadow and the Eliza. I really liked it, right from the beginning, for its ability to track while also being very responsive and quite fast despite its length at 13.5. It had no rudder or skeg but was quite manageable without, albeit on a calm, slow-moving river. And the outfitting is super comfy while still being very fitted. The seat back, although quite high, is highly adjustable and can be tightened up a lot to encourage a forward-leaning aggressive paddling position. The cockpit and outfitting of the 13.5 fit me perfectly at 5’8" 150 lbs.

The Inuit also comes in a 14.5 but it is made for bigger paddlers. I am a bit leery of a 13.5 foot boat for ocean paddling (which I will be moving up to), but the rep claimed that it could handle that. Storage capacity is quite lacking, but not as bad as I would have thought.

My thoughts on the Eliza can be summed up as “eh.” I seemed to be having some kind of problem with the rudder, or maybe it just isn’t as versatile as the rudder in my shadow because it didn’t turn very far at all. But with the rudder up I did not find the Eliza to be nearly as responsive and, well, fun as the Inuit, which had no rudder or skeg at all. Plus, the Eliza backband was not as adjustable as I would like - - it could not be tightened enough to keep me in a really upright position. Maybe I was missing something, but that’s the way it seemed.

The Inuit is quite a bit heavier than the Eliza as well as shorter, but it felt faster in the water. Go figure.

Caveat - - I am a beginner (2 years of occasional paddling/touring) and this could just all be due to my paddling style/lack thereof. I did take a free lesson on basic strokes today (2 years late!) and learned a thing or two. I will also be taking a rescue class next month, and plan on trying to learn to roll this year.

I did not purchase the Inuit, but I am thinking about going back to try it again tomorrow. I just bought a neoprene spray skirt for my Shadow and I’m thinking I will keep it for this season while I work on my skills, but the skirt will fit the Inuit as well if I decide to go that route next year.

Since there are so few reviews on the Inuit and Eliza I thought this might be helpful. Any thoughts on a 13.5 foot kayak in ocean waters?

Good on ya. Sounds like you are figuring out what you like. My suggestion would be to try longer kayaks, too. Since you like the longest of the lot so far, you may be surprised to find your original ideas on length don’t match your rating on the water. Maybe a Wilderness Systems Zephyr or an Advocet, for example would be just the ticket (Can’t remember your original critera, but you get the idea).

He prefers the 13.5’ Inuit, the shortest
of the bunch. Unless I read the O.P wrong.

the right boat
At 5’8" and 150 lbs. you should be looking at a 16’ boat. If you want a boat that will suit your needs for lakes, rivers and ocean, check out the Romany by Nigel Dennis Kayaks. I’ve owned one for about 12 years and have found it to be a very competent boat that has great initial and secondary stability that allows me to stop and take photographs w/o having to brace and yet has the 21-22" beam and 16’ length that does not prevent me from keeping up with the longer boats. The three hatches avail me with substantial storage and the key-hole cockpit allows sit in first then put legs into the boat access/egress- very nice feature- yet still roomy. Ten mile paddles are easy in this boat. It can be had with a skeg, but over the years have only deployed it a couple times. Seriously, look at the 16’ boats, and look for fiberglass. Look for a used boat and get a great paddle (probably 210cm). I’m 5’8" at 190 lbs. LOL

There’s nothing wrong with taking a 13.5’ kayak in the ocean. You may give up some top-end speed potential, but that’s not important for a lot of folks.

If that size feels good to you, you might also want to try the Dagger Alchemy 14S.

It also depend on who you paddle with

– Last Updated: Apr-25-10 8:58 AM EST –

If you paddle with a club or other group, the short, wide boat will put you at a distinct disadvantage and you will likely be struggling to keep up. I started with a 15' x 24" boat and had no idea how much harder I was working than everyone else until I switched boats with someone. Unless he's going to be paddling alone or with people in similar boats, the OP should really should be looking for a boat in the 16'-17' range with a beam of 22" or less. Considering also that he want's to learn to roll, that's definitely preferred way to go.

Much is about the paddler

– Last Updated: Apr-25-10 9:16 AM EST –

I am one who tends to suggest 16' range for someone who wants to go ocean, and that has been about a couple of things. One is that, at that length, no one has to think about safety features like full perimeter rigging and two sealed bulkheads. Any SINK in this length has that stuff. The other has been that the boats that tend to best support learning bigger water skills and be kind to the paddler while you are learning have been the boats in this length. The Romany is a classic here - it was first developed as a schooling boat and does that very well. It will function for a wide range of paddlers for turning, bracing etc and will try its damnedest to stay upright if you do get caught out in surprise conditions.

But this is ultimately about the paddler - it is a little more about the boat when you are first gaining these skills and are more likely to have accidents. As your skills grow to both avoid messes and to be able to handle them better, the boat is less of a factor.

As far as that traditional length, there are newer entrants in shorter lengths that have all that stuff, as well as cockpits that provide decent contact for even smaller paddlers, and do much of what the Romany does. The only thing the smaller boats won't do as well is the obvious - haul gear for tripping. And they are likely to be slower, though the hull speed of the Romany is hardly in the top of the pack. This has apparently been improved in its replacement for smaller paddlers, the Pilgrim.

Even more exciting for your pocketbook, they come in plastic. I just spent more time in the Dagger Alchemy (in my case the shorter one, the 14) this last week and, aside from the leaky hatches, just can't say enough about how fun and supportive this boat is. If I was a coach it'd be on the top of my list for a schooling boat. I'd just take the one that was for sale out to get it good and wet first, lots of rolling and rescues, to figure out if the water coming into the rear and/or front hatch was within tolerable bounds.

Another one in this range is the Wilderness Systems Zephyr, also comes in plastic and has two sizes one of which is I think under the usual day boat size.

The Inuit has come up on this board, seems to be well liked. I don't know the boat.

All of these models are in their second year, so at least some demos are around.

If you are thinking more length, I'd suggest you give a try to the P&H Scorpio. You are at a kinda neat size - you could likely fit into many of the smaller volume boats but still be OK in the next volume up. You may actually be a better fit in the NDSK Pilgrim than in the Romany, for example. I haven't sat in this boat yet so I don't know myself, but it seems to reach into the middle range of paddler OK.

Anyway, it sounds like you are someone who will grow into skills pretty quickly. I'd suggest that you stay with the Shadow until you find something that you are really sure works for a next-up boat. I'd also suggest that you find some coaching in bracing, start learning a roll, rescues etc now, while you are looking at boats, so that you have a really solid idea of what features will matter to you say a year from now. The water temps are beginning to get tolerable up here now, at least in lakes and rivers, for wetsuit, top and hood. They should be even better in the rivers around you.

Try composite Eliza…The real Eliza
The poly boat is the MBA boat. The Comp is the designer boat. Huge difference…

Agree that the Romany is a good call as may be the Pilgrim.

13.5 is fine provided it has, as celia suggests, the features you need.

13.5 - nothing wrong with that
I’ve been paddling the Perception Sonoma 13.5 for almost 2 years now in all sorts of conditions and it has been a great boat for me. At only 150lb the OP should find it even more responsive and faster than I do. It is at most 22" wide though and swede form so it is probably faster and a little bit tippier than something like the 23.5" wide Inuit.

If paddling at up to speeds of about 4mph I think a person in a 13-14 footer will actually be having easier time than someone in a 16+ foot boat.

Nothing wrong with the Inuit (besides its name, probably), but it is 57lb! That’s heavy for a 13.5 footer. From the looks of it it appears it will be a decent boat. The high back that the OP likes may become a liability down the road but that’s easy enough to replace with a low backband once they figure this out.

For a strong paddler who wants to go fast a longer boat makes sense though.

went back today . . .
with my dad and talked him into trying the Inuit. He is a new paddler who will be more of a fair-weather paddler – cruise around on nice days, stay closer to shore, but wants a boat that can handle it if/when things get rough unexpectedly (boat wakes, weather changes, etc.). He’s a big guy and not very flexible. So the rec boats like the pungo fit him well, but don’t have the secondary stability/performance he wants. Plus, he has a hip problem so he needs a cushy seat.

He was going to try the 14.5 but he found the fit to be too tight for him. He tried the 12.5, which is higher volume and with a bigger cockpit but still has adjustable hip pads and knee braces so you can dial-in the fit. I got in the 13.5 and we did a demo paddle together. He said the same thing I did - - it’s fast for its size, responsive, stable (primary and secondary) and tracks well. And it is super comfortable. Apparently, it has the same outfitting as liquid logic boats. He has tried several boats and this was it - - he bought the demo.

Got him a spray skirt, roof rack, nice werner paddle with fiberglass blades, some semi-dry pants and top, booties, and a nice vest, and he’s now a yakker. He’s doing the rescue course with me in June.

I know these boats are not 16 feet long, and they are heavy, but the multi-chined hull is a big step up from other boats their size. Definitely worth a look for people who might otherwise be stuck in a rec boat.

As for me, as I said above I am sticking with my Shadow for this year. But I will most likely be looking at the Inuit again next year. I do appreciate the advice above and will check out any of the plastic boats mentioned, but I’m sticking with plastic due to my tendency to abuse things. Also, due to my paddling style/strength I’m not sure a longer boat is really faster for me. The Eliza, at over 15 feet with a supposedly lower profile in the water, was much slower for me than the Inuit at 13.5. Go figure. But I will keep trying things before I decide.

so wait…
What is it you don’t like about the shadow?

Going from a Shadow to an Inuit seems like a step down in almost every way.