I am looking at a Pungo 120 and a Heritage Santee Sport 116. both have nice large cockpits, the Santee is lighter and more expensive. I would even buy a used one of either if I could find one. Hate to pay the price.
“Nice Large Cockpits” ???
Just a curious question, what do you find favorable about a “Nice Large Cockpit” … in wind and waves and moving water you will not be so happy with the choice.
Large cockpit. . . .
Don’t let seadart scare you away. . . .
Most non-kayakers are leery of being seated in a kayak with a cockpit that looks cramped or dangerous if you’re upside down in the boat. Or else they don’t want to be shoe-horning themselves into a cockpit (especially true of some larger kayakers).
So starting out with a boat that has a large cockpit is OK, as long as you realize that you won’t want to take such a boat into waves, rapidly moving water, etc. In other words, for just getting out on flat water, OK. Otherwise, look for another kind of boat.
Either the Pungo or the Hurricane Aquasports Santee 116 Sport is a good boat. The Pungo is a lot heavier, but it’s cheaper, as you note, and you may want a cheaper boat in case you don’t like kayaking or you REALLY like kayaking and you want to get something better.
On the other hand, a Santee might be a boat you’d use more often because it’s lighter and thus not such a load to get on top of the car or into the water. One drawback of the Hurricane Aquasports boats is that you should not use them anywhere there are rocks, because the material is not designed to be bashed by a rock. The Pungo doesn’t have that problem. I’ve taken mine in class 1 rivers without a problem. (Although you definitely want flotation bags to do that, in case you dump it. Once a Pungo fills up with water, it is not going to move anywhere.)
As I’ve said elsewhere here, if you get into kayaking, you get more boats. But the two you mentioned are both good starter boats, as long as you understand their limitations – they’re meant for flat water.