What kayaks to test?

I have decided to upgrade from a tupperware boat to a composite boat.

The purpose of the new kayak will be a playful day boat in surf, coastal creeks and bay crossings in the Southeat states.

Boats I have tried and like are: CD Gulfstream and Impex Assategue.

I have been told these boats are too big for me. What does everyone think about that? and What others should I try?

Me: 49 Y.O. 5" 10" 175 lbs I come from a whitewater background with intermediate skiils.

Thanks for the input.

Not too big for you
IMHO. I’m 6’ 180 lbs and paddle an 18’3" composite boat. My boat is an Artisan Millenium by Kajak sport.


Big is relative
The big-ness is in the volume. Like a playboat vs. a creeker. Can be the same length but that volume makes it an entirely different ride.

Try the Impex Force 4 or the Montauk. Volume is a better fit to your body dimensions.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


Ideas, and Size

– Last Updated: Oct-19-07 1:36 PM EST –

These two boats may function for you, but they won't be nearly as playful as something a little lower volume. In terms of most responsiveness, they are on the big side. You are smaller than my husband and he finds both of those boats too big for fun.

Ideas off the top of my head:
NDK Romany or a Chatham 16 for playful, maybe a Pintail. (You may not like the Pintail for the going straight part of the day.)

For boats that play OK but may have some speed in the go straight parts, I'd suggest the Valley Nordkapp LV if you can find one. Don't be misled by the LV part - it's really a medium paddler's boat) It's a little more challenging than some of the others but is getting a lot of attention. Also the Anas Acuta.

The rest that come to mind are full length boats like the P&H Cetus, Impex Force 4 or the WS Tempest. But I am not sure if you will be happier with a 16 ft or a 17 plus ft boat.

PS - Don't think that just because it's a long boat it shouldn't feel quite responsive. Granted that the reaction between you and the boat is slower than in something like a playboat, but a real affirmative quality of response can still be there.

I second the Impex
Force 4 and Montauk.

And when you find a place to demo them, try out everyting else that might fit you. Ask questions.

I would add the
Tempest (165 over the 170), Valley Avocet, new Wilderness System Zephyr 16 (2008 model not available yet), maybe P&H Capella 163 and 167, Point 65N’s new (available 2008?) boat the Whiskey, maybe a Chatham 17 (I had problems fitting comfortably in the 16 and I’m smaller than you), maybe a Boreal Ellesmere.


Like a playboat vs. a creeker
As you are bringing ww experience, Marshall is wise to make such an analogy. A Gulfstream is a ‘creeker’ compared to a lively day boat, e.g. Romany, which is one of the most well regarded sea kayak ‘playboats.’

If you want a playful sea kayak, demo a Romany. It is the boat by which all others can be compared. In addition, there are a lot of them around. Once you’ve had that experience, try other day boats such as the Avocet, Chatham 16, Tempest 165, etc…

I’m 6’, 175lbs and have been using a Romany as my sea play boat with great pleasure. I’ve just picked up a Nordkapp LV to have a more responsive boat than my Aquanaut, with more speed than my Romany. The 'kapp LV is a fun boat, but more demanding of a paddler than the others mentioned.

Love My Tempest 165
I’m about your size and paddle it in the Southeast… NC outer banks and local lakes.

It is the boat by which…
all others… Say’s who? You? I’ve owned all the above with exception of the Tempest 165. Romany would be my third pick of the four listed.

Not picking on you wilso, just cringe at such absolutist comments. It’s just another good boat, of which there are many.

Congrats on the Nordkapp LV…great boat.

Didn’t mean best but most common ref

– Last Updated: Oct-19-07 6:02 PM EST –

My apologies, my phrasing must have been lacking. I meant to say that the Romany is the most common reference point for playful sea kayaks - not necessarily the best.

I still enjoy each of my boats, and would recommend each of them for some paddlers for some uses/conditions. At this stage in my evolution as a paddler, I think the Nordkapp LV will be an enjoyable and useful 'appliance.'

I've come to realize that sometimes I like the 'kick' of a more active boat - it took a season of whitewater in little boats and some time rock gardening, surfing, etc... in long boats for me to develop the confidence and experience to desire such...

My first composite boat a few years ago was the Aquanaut of which I am still very fond. The last few seasons I've spent much more time in my Romany and now have a Nordkapp LV. At the start of this season, I was very happy with my InaZone, now I greatly enjoy my I3. Such growth keeps me smiling...

Now get in a high performance
surf kayak with rails and fins!

In time :slight_smile:
I’m getting such a kick out of the I3 and hoping to be wholly at ease enough in class 3 next season that I might contemplate class 4 - that’s going to take a lot of seat time.

Also, the 'kapp LV is new to me and I imagine it will be at least a season or two of playing with it before I’ve got it sussed out. I’m planning to be ready to assess 4* by late next season and that preparedness also will take seat time.

So, a surf kayak will probably have to wait a while…

Any number of choices
I’m 5’9" 175# and I’ve found that at this size I fit very well in most stock, standard high-performance composite kayaks, including those marketed as day/play boats, usually ~16-17’ (i.e. Romany, Avocet, Tempest 165, Capella 163, Anas Acuta, Pintail, etc) and those that are marketed as manueverable expedition boats, ~18’ (Explorer, Aquanaut, Nordkapp LV, Cetus, Nigel Foster Legend, etc). Thus, you will find that you have the curse of being “average-sized” and thus, many great choices.

From your original post, I’d feel comfortable suggesting that you focus your efforts on the smaller end of the range, especially considering your WW background and desired uses. I’d also strongly recommend that you not consider anyting with a max. beam >22", such as the Gulfstream. That’s a wonderful design, but way to wide for you!

Advice #2: Try to buy a used or demo boat, it’s the perfect time of year for this. It also gives you the opportunity to buy something you think you like now, and if you find that in the near future that you like something else better, you will not have nearly the financial burden.

#3: If you have have unlimited time and money, look for the Tidrace “Xcite” and NF/Pt.65N “Whiskey” coming down the pipes.

You asked, so just my personal suggestions…


If you like the Gulfstream
but think it may be a little big, try the Slipstream. Just another name to add to the list of possible boats.

buncha choices

– Last Updated: Oct-20-07 10:29 AM EST –

old Dagger Meridian, CD Caribou, Chatham 16,P&H Capella.

I'm guessing maneuverability is more important than straight line speed,, the Caribou is fast, the other two less so.

You might be too big for a Montauk but I found it comfy for my weight,,195lbs,although the foot braces are too close for my 30" inseam legs.

so many

– Last Updated: Oct-19-07 8:53 PM EST –

So many to chose from. I'm about your size..
I set two standards for my purchase ..under $2,000 and 50lbs or less.
So depends how deep your pockets are and how much weight your willing to carry.
For me I wound up with a type of "hybrid plastic" that looks like fiberglass.
I think this is year # 4 with it. (A 16' Eddyline Night Hawk )
So you might want to keep some of those factors in mind.
It's taken some pretty good abuse with no punctures and minimal pampering. Also handles nicely. Have taken it for week long camping trips no problem etc.
Decisions... decisions....

TideRace Short Review
A friend of mine just tried a Tiderace Xcite for a day. This is what he emailed me:

he Tide Race has absolutely phenomenal secondary stability. Even I could set and hold an aggressive edge. Turns much better than my Explorer but I guess that goes without saying. You don’t even have to initiate a turn with a stroke, just pressure on the knee. The boat is very tippy, more so than your design (Siskiwit) from what I remember. I could not roll it every time like your Romany. The roll was very slow compared to my Explorer. Their model for test driving was an early prototype. The one in the store have beautiful workmanship. I bet the carbon fiber one could not have been over 38 to 40 pounds. The prices here are absolutely thru the roof - for all kayaks, not just the Tide Race.

Where did your friend demo the TideRace boat? Was it UK or USA?

I’ve been waiting to hear some word on North American distribution.

Thanks for the feedback
It will be interesting once they become available.

better fitting in Chatham16

– Last Updated: Oct-20-07 10:35 AM EST –

for the plastic 16 remove thigh braces and backband adjustment metal brackets at hips. The metal brackets for the adjustable backband straps put a corner of metal right into ones thighs. The coaming is narrow enough for my 30' inseam legs to use the underside of the deck for thigh bracing, besides the thigh brace brackets are at bad angle regardless of the position. Not the case with the composite Chatham16.
Put in a regular back band. Plenty of room now.

My gut feeling is that someone designed the boat but didn't have control over the stuff that was attached to it. Makes no sense to have metal brackets that reduce a narrow coaming even further.