Looking for something to do socially distant I bought a 17’ sea kayak. A 90’s Necky Zoar and it has served me well. I have learned to paddle, I love the long size and how it tracks so much better than the toy kayaks I have had before. I like the speed and the fact that I can enjoy a lengthy lake and have time to listen to music, radio shows or to even meditate while doing so. It is quite therapeutic. But I guess all you that paddle already know this.
Anyway, as good as the Necky Zoar is, the kayak isn’t a spring chicken, it is very heavy. The seat is a pain and at times after paddling I get sciatic nerve pain. I certainly don’t want that. I thought about installing a much more modern premium seat, but pricing wise I don’t know if it makes sense.
One thing that is kind of an issue, is that it is plastic, and when I put it on a cart, and it is hot outside, the bottom will deform. Eventually it will regain some form, but it not as good as a harder material can do.
Anyway, I am looking at upgrading to a harder material Kayak. So what is your verdict regarding fiber glass kayaks? Which are good kayaks today that aren’t extremely expensive, a good value for a non professional seasonal kayaker?
The best value in a fiberglass boat is always going to be a used boat. I often see good composite sea kayaks for sale on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for under $1000, which is at least $1000 less than new, often much more. Even though the pandemic is causing many more people to buy boats, it doesn’t seem to be affecting the sea kayak market that much.
In terms of which boat, there are so many good ones. Since your main concern seems to be comfort, only you can tell which will feel good to you. Lots of sellers will let you paddle the boat if they live near water, or at least sit in it propped up on foam or the like.
Need to know a bit more about you for recommendations - primarily height & weight range. That can help with suggestions. price range is helpful as well. New composite boats seem to be in the $3500 - $6000 range. used can be much less.
Glass boats will be stiffer than your 90’s plastic boat but, depending on age and designers expectation of usage may not be all that much lighter. Older British boats were often built to take a beating.
Your sciatic pain may be more about you rather than the seat. I have had to build core strength and I also have been doing a half hour stretching routine most days. That has worked wonders for my problems with sitting in a kayak.
If you are looking for light, beautiful, and fast there is a Night Heron in the classifieds. It is listed at 44 lbs and is a wood cored fiberglass/epoxy composite.
Edit: I see from your other post that you are in Texas. There are two ads in classifieds that might interest you. A Tempest 170 and a Williams Paradigm. I hadn’t known about the Williams but it looks like a very interesting boat.
Agree with rival51’s comment about sciatic pain. Had the same issue in two different boats. After I started doing piriformis stretches each day, the problem eventually went away.
You may also want to consider a different paddle. You didn’t mention what you’re using now…but that having been said, look for a light fiberglass or fiberglass blade/carbon shaft paddle with a small to medium head. Probably would be easier on your body than your current paddle (making some assumptions here…)