Getting a kayak for my wife.
I just got a Liquid Logic Remix XP10 - a crossover.
We’re in Minnesota so the majority of our water up here is lakes.
I expect to be lakes 50% of the time, slow rivers (St. Croix / Mississippi) 40% and some whitewater (Kettle…) 10%.
She will be paddling lakes and slow rivers, maybe eventually building up to try the easy whitewater with me.
I would like her boat to be capable of Class IIs, but it should excel at the slow rivers.
She really liked the Dagger Axis 12.0, but the cockpit was pretty large. We could solve it with some extra padding and making it a better fit… but I’m concerned about her ability to control that wide of a boat in some Class IIs.
I will be teaching her to roll… The Axis 12.0 just felt like a beast of a boat and could prove difficult to roll.
She tried the Axis 10.5, but she didn’t like the feel as much.
There weren’t many other 10-12 foot boats at the demo, so I’m curious what other boats we should be looking at.
I’m anticipating her in a 12 foot boat. It will give her a small speed advantage over my 10 footer (which is good).
On my radar is the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120. Not sure how that would do on some Class IIs though. Thoughts?
The Dagger Approach was frowned upon by the retailer employees - apparently the Axis is 10x the boat the Approach is. Anyone disagree with that?
The Perception Prodigy 12 fits the size requirements, but seems “cheap”.?
Necky Rip and Manitou seem interesting…
Basically - has anyone else been on a similar search and have suggestions / recommendations for any boat that meets the criteria?
Also - looking for some MN paddling buddies. I live in Fridley and plan on paddling the Mississippi a lot! Would love to have a few friends to paddle and do car runs with!
Getting a kayak for my wife.
I would take a look at the Pyranha Fusion RT.
Take a look
At the Perception Tribute 12. Maneuverable and pretty quick for its size, good for mild water.
Will excel at flatwater and loves the river, whether slow current or Class I-II+. Flatpick even extolled it as a surf boat! Fairly easy to roll, just add hip pads. The cockpit is easy to get in & out but small enough to fit a proper sprayskirt. You can paddle it all day long true to its touring nature. The stability is beginner-friendly and feels solid on edge, very versatile overall... it's not a boat you will grow out of.
 the Dagger Approach is strictly a big guy's whitewater boat with a dry compartment, difficult to roll and it sucks in any amount of flatwater.
Remove the Pungo…
from your list. It has a V- hull and very pronounced skeg, only wants to travel in a straight line. Huge cockpit opening also. Skirts won't stay on in anything other than flat water. Wouldn't do for any whitewater over class I.
Someone is bound to claim to have used it on a class III run but the fact is the Pungo just isn't designed for whitewater.
Edit: I own a Pungo 120 and like it for flat water but it doesn't like to turn and the huge cockpit is not an asset.
It sounds as if your wife has limited experience and no white water experience and no roll right now. Just for a different opinion, I would suggest an all around sea kayak (like the Tsunami suggested above) for her to try. It would be so much more fun and easier for her in the lakes and slow rivers.
I don’t doubt that these 12’ hybrid boats can be taken into white water, but I have yet to see them in the II-III where I paddle. I would be pretty scared to do it myself, and I have a few years experience and a pretty solid combat roll. Even if I could do it, I doubt that it would be much fun, because a boat like that just can’t handle quickly enough for what I want to do. I have no problem BTW, taking my sea kayak in some easy local II- water around my home.
I think she would be absolutely terrified going into a II+ run with no roll, no experience, in something like that. Nobody IMO should have to learn whitewater kayaking that way - I think it would turn anybody off. Her first white water run might be her last.
So I would have her try some sea kayaks and see how she likes them. Perhaps eventually, she will want to do white water, and then get or demo her a good learning white water boat like a Mamba, a decent white water paddle, and some lessons. In the mean time, you will have a tough time keeping up with her on the flat water, and she will like that. She is not going to enjoy the sport trying to push around a relatively slow and cumbersome hybrid on the flat water, and trying to negotiate a tricky II+ run in something that is relatively hard to turn and hard to roll.
Anyhow, that is just my opinion. But I do have my wife now sea kayaking and running white water with me. She was initially quite frightened of the white water, and without her ww boat and lessons, I doubt that she would be doing it with a solid roll and enjoying it.
Old School ww boat
Old school boats have hull speed and are easier to roll than newer planing hull boats. Boats such as the Remix strike me as an attempt to get back to some of the positive traits of older boats.
A Dagger Piedra or Perception Pirouette S might work very well for your wife. There are a lot of these boats around and they sell for very little money.
check out this yak
Current designs kayaks have a model you might find interesting.
Vision 120 is a 12 foot yak, and weighs only 28 pounds. It has a shallow v shape hull and soft chimes along with a keyhole cockpit that spray skirts fit, and thigh braces for added boat control.
Approach hard to roll?
I’m suprised you find the Approach hard to roll, a friend of mine has one and Ive rolled hers many times to amuse her by teaching her boat to roll ( she won’t try it!), in my opinion it rolls like a round log! Much easier to roll than my creek boat, different but no harder than my WW playboats, or my carolina 16 rec/transitional for that matter.
It’s probably not the boat for the original poster, I agree, too much whitewater boat and not long enough for real speed on flatwater, but the rolling comment has me confused!
She’s new to kayaking. I don’t plan on taking her onto anything other than a lake or a lazy-river until she can roll and she wants to do it. I’ve had a few scary experiences myself on some III+ IV- rapids that have more or less deterred me from ever going above a III again. The last thing I want to do is scare her away from the sport I love!
Point is - eventually I see her wanting to do some IIs with me, and I’d love to get her a boat now that she can get to know over the next few seasons so she’s really comfortable in going down some rapids…
Definitely not going to rush it…
Maybe I should go for a more touring kayak now and “upgrade” to something more WW worthy when she’s ready…
Going to look more closely at the Tsunami 120.
I remember seeing that boat at the demo we went to but didn’t put her in it… It will probably be there at the next one…
The Vision 120 is also interesting. Might be difficult to find one around for her to sit in though.
Tribute 12 needs another look too…
Thanks for the help so far!
We just bought a Tsunami 120 for my wife about 3 months ago as her first kayak. She’s had it out with me from flat calm to winds 20+ and waves up to about a foot and a half on our nearby large lake and just loves it.
It has no bad traits that I can see… turns well, but tracks well, too. Less tendency to weathercock than my Capella and keeps up with me fairly easily at my usual moderate pace.
Question: is “moderate pace” for someone with the name ‘shadowfax’ insanely fast?
Try WS Alchemy
You'll probably want the smaller size for her. Not fast, but great maneuvering and should be very amenable to starting a roll.
I am having a hard time understanding how you could put any Pungo on a list when you indicate you want to teach her to roll. I am guessing that you just haven't looked at one of these in person?
The Alchemy is a little sea kayak, something that works well with the idea of getting her comfortable and able to have fun on flat water. At 14 ft plus and lacking reinforcement in the nose it probably is not a great candidate for class II, but unless your area is unusual used WW boats aren't hard to find. And by the time she is comfortable enough to try class II, a creeker that is harder to roll but provides a higher degree of resistance to same than a teacup may be a good idea for her.
agree tsunami 120
As an older woman who started ww about 3 years ago after 4 of flat water, I would get her a boat she will love on flat water or slow rivers now and worry about rapids later. I have several friends who use the Tsunami 120 or 125. They track well but if you lean them they will turn. If you learn to ferry and do eddie turns, you can handle short class ll. I paddle a carolina on flat water and have an old school ww boat for ww. I would not get an old school ww boat as a first boat. No glide, hard to paddle straight in flat water, not as comfortable. Also, don’t worry too much about the roll. Some of us never learn and still are comfortable in class lll.
from a woman’s perspective…
and many of the previous comments may have been from women as well, I don’t know. I agree with the sea touring kayak suggestion. It is perfect for a lake and slow rivers where a tight turning radius isn’t an issue. She will be able to paddle as slowly as she wants at first but will eventually be able to keep up with you easily (giving her a great deal of satisfaction - knowing she isn’t holding you back). I am selling a 10 year old Perception Shadow Sea Lion (in Ocean City NJ, so buying mine isn’t really an option for you) that was originally designed for women and is no longer being manufactured. I don’t now if Perception or anyone else designs a similar boat for women. It is so stable I have never been unintentionally dumped out of it (in the Atlantic Ocean, Delaware or Chesapeake Bays) and it will run all the way up on its edges without sliding. If you can find a used one in your area or someone can recommend something similar, she will have a great experience learning the basics. Then when she wants to try some fast water paddling, get her a different boat for that. I hope she learns to love kayaking as much as I have - I have to sell my boat for health reasons and I hate to lose it!
you mean Dagger Alchemy?
nice boat, born of the same lineage as the Tsunami line, with a bit less volume… but, a 14’ touring-style boat may be a mismatch for paddling alongside the OP’s XP10.
a creekboat or really any 2nd ww-specific boat is overkill when the OP’s intent is 90% flatwater/slow rivers; a Tsunami 120 or similar will handle a little whitewater just fine, has a decent amount of rocker to make it maneuverable and has enough volume to truck thru a hole or standing wave. especially when you’re doing a river run where there are long stretches of slow current or slackwater interspersed with the occasional ledge, cobbles etc. – you don’t have the option of switching kayaks. the 2nd bulkhead up front is helpful if you swamp it, and you can even add a whitewater-style stepout pillar T’d against the bulkhead.
another boat I would throw into the mix that doesn’t get mentioned here is the Venture Flex 11. This is the rec version of the Pyranha Fusion (which is more seriously whitewater-oriented, but also worth considering) and can be ordered with a skeg. It’s a bit lighter and less expensive than the Tsunami. No 2nd bulkhead, but a float bag could be outfitted up front.
ws tsunami and necky manitou
are what my GF and I started with for lakes of various sizes and non-whitewater sections of the Snake River. We now use them also in Class II. They are both 14 feet, but a bit shorter would probably be fine, too. (I now have a longer skinnier lake boat that she has some trouble keeping up with; we also now have IK’s for class III.)
Just my 2 cents. Have fun!
Whoops! Dagger Alchemy NM
the Prijon Combi?
It’s just under 12’ and made to accommodate flatwater or mild whitewater.