Hi Have a old town otter and want to upgrade.
MY skill is a advanced beginner-intermediate.
I’m petite so need one that"s lightweight and manuvearable for my size. Any suggestions?
Hi Have a old town otter and want to upgrade.
Try a used slalom kayak. About 20 lbs,
fast, and turns on a dime.
where do you like to paddle?
what kind of water do you paddle w. the Otter, and would you like to expand your paddling venues w. the next boat? Would you like a kayak that can handle open water like bays or the ocean? rivers with rapids? or calm Class I/II rivers? twisty little creeks?
You are also posting about lowkey local paddling groups in your area (NE U.S.) You might check w. some groups as to where they go and what kind of kayaks the folks are using. You may make some new paddling friends and be able to sample a range of boats which would greatly help you find your own.
I am a petite female paddler too & have tried a lot of kayaks that fit us. Give us some idea of what you want to do and I’ll make some suggestions.
Salt or fresh water?
Your profile still lists Stonington as a fave location for paddling. Your prior posts make it sound as though you have stayed in quiet waters inland, or at least as inland as it gets in CT up to now.
Re that Stonington part - would you be paddling north (inland) or south or southeast (LI Sound) from there? Basically, do you want to upgrade the boat as well as your paddling territory?
I am asking because going out into bigger water may make for slightly different suggestions than paddling just quiet rivers and ponds.
As far as weight goes, one of our cohort manages a not-light 16 plus foot plastic sea kayak on and off the roof of her car with just a blankets, foam blocks and straps, and a small cart to get it around on the ground. Lighter is faster, but if the best boat for your pocketbook and use is a little heavier than you'd like there are plenty of ways around it.
Check the cdkayak.com site they have a kayak Vision 140 that is extremely light weight.
Also check with local outfitters (not Dicks, Gander mountain or wallmart to name a few) for help finding a used or demo yak. Some outfitters can get the sales rep to bring down a demo yak for a test paddle.
Lastly I purchased my kayak on a year end sale of rental stock last summer from a outfitter in WI.
WS Tsunami 120 SP
at 35 lbs for the small person.
kayak specs …
hello ..are you looking for a genuine touring boat or a day tripper boat ....is cost/weight a factor? plastic vs composite? skeg vs rudder? what length ? there's the Eliza model that is geared towards small framed people. also check out craigslist for used boats in your area.
skin on frame or folder
I’m an average sized advanced intermediate female paddler and agree that you are wise to consider weight in your kayak choices. I have a couple of “radical” suggestions but they are based on my own experience with a range of boats. I’ve owned rotomold plastic, fiberglass, several aluminum framed nylon folding kayaks and a wood and ballistic nylon skin-on-frame.
You don’t state your budget but my recommendations would be a new or used Feathercraft folding kayak, either the Kahuna, K-light or Wisper (each under 35 pounds). These are high-performing boats you will never outgrow and you will be able to knock any of them down into a duffel bag and take them anywhere, on a plane or in a car trunk. BUT one of these will set you back $3000 to $4000 new or about half that cost used.
The other option is to look for a handmade traditional design skin-on-frame. My 18’ West Greenland kayak, with spruce and cedar frame and urethane coated nylon skin only weighs 32 pounds and is a snap for me to load – it paddles and rolls like a dream. You can get one made to order for around $1500 OR take a weeklong class yourself and make one. They come up for sale sometimes – I got mine for $800.
You might find these options rather unusual, but these have become my favorite and most-used boats after many years of paddling.
You haven't answered the question about how likely you are to be in salt water, so this is shooting in the dark. The problem is that just about anything will be an upgrade from an Otter, so leaving it there doesn't provide a lot of direction.
So - ideas of boats that might meet some of your criteria and you may be able to find used as well. Note that this is just a list of boats for smaller paddlers based on manufacturers sites - some have a large cockpit size that causes me to say you'd have to sit in it. These also may or will support getting your skills into solid intermediate territory.
WS Tsunami SP, Tsunami 135
Hurricane Tampico 135S
CD Suka, maybe Cypress, Vision 120 better than the Otter but not up to the first two
Dagger Alchemy (the smaller one)
Necky Eliza, Looksha 12si
There are other boats, longer, but I suspect that most would be too big a change for what you are contemplating right now.
A number of manufacturers are making crossover boats - intended to perform decently in class II/III WW as well as be OK for day touring with a skeg to train the tracking. An example is the Dagger Axis. I don't know about recommending these for you though. At 5'3" you may be swimming in these boats, and they may be tough to find used if you want to limit the sticker shock. Most of them are newer designs.
Another idea could work for your size depending is an old school WW boat. WW folks got to making boats to fit smaller people long before most sea kayak makers did. The problem is that these boats don't have perimeter rigging, and you'd probably have to spend some time learning how to making it go straight. Without perimeter rigging the boat is a poor idea if you want to paddle south out of Stonington to explore water offshore. Should you need to re-enter on the water (after a capsize), you need something to help hang onto the boat while you get back in.
I am guessing that you are within reasonable reach of Stonington in driving time, which may put you within an easy drive to the Kayak Center in Wickford RI. I don't suggest you buy a boat from them - they lean towards sea kayaks and that's likely more than you can or should buy until you've spent some time in boats beyond the Otter. But it may be worth a drive to demo some of their boats. If you are talking upgrade, you really owe it to yourself to get into a variety of boats to get some parameters around what that means.
Yesterday I went on the riverfest in nect. and loved it! It was a small but faster river then I’m used to and a blast!
So I"ve experienced flat water, small rivers, and about 2’-3’ waves on a bay off Stonington,ct.
Yes I should try renting a variety of boats to decide.
Thank you for all the suggestions.