My wife recently got introduced (and addicted) to sea kayaking and has paddled a few boats of extreme variety so she is now pretty sure what she wants. Her first boat was a little introductory Perception Airlite Tribute 12 which I credit for making the learning process very enjoyable and smooth. She also has a beat up Perception Cape Horn 14 in poly. This boat was a big step in the right direction as she really loves its increased speed and responsiveness. I then got her a Delta 15.5 Expedition in thermoformed poly. She is very petite (5’2" 110lbs) and this boat was just TOO beamy and cavernous. Now she has taken over my 17.5ft Azul Aspen which was supposed to be MY boat. I now paddle her Delta and she paddles my Azul. The Azul is a good fit but just too long and heavy for her. She has about 600 miles experience since starting paddling 10 months ago. She MUST have a rudder so I am now searching for a low volume 35-45lb 15-16ft composite sea kayak with a rudder and smallish cockpit. This has been a frustrating search for sure. I believe a composite Cape Horn 15 might be perfect but they seem hard to find. Any other recommendations out there that fit this criteria. We mostly paddle lakes and protected waters but our lakes are big and wind/waves are expected and the reason for at least 15ft long boat.
Current Designs Solstice GTS?
This may fall on deaf ears, but learning to paddle a skegged boat will open many more possibilities. My wife also requires a rudder, so I am sympathetic. In any case, she should learn to paddle with neither rudder nor skeg for safety reasons.
Where are you located? Folks here may be able to point to possible solutions.
At 5 ft 2 and 110 the only boat l can think of in the CD line that would be a good fit is either the Suka or the older Slipstrem. I had a small boat in the Solstice line and it could have been smaller. She needs smaller than me by 2 inches and 15 to 20 pounds. But these are both skegged. Or a Rumour, also skegged.
Frankly the rudder thing is likely to kill your chances for a really good fit. (IN a usual sea touring kayak. See next comment.)
By and large the greatest variety of ruddered boats are from an era when NO ONE was making boats for other than average sized male paddlers, except for kids WW boats. That shift in sea kayak designs, to take women more seriously, only happened as the Greenland style skegged designs were coming out.
It appears that she wants a touring kayak, and the old school WW boats are fun but still don’t like going straight and lack the features she wants. Though she could have a lot of fun in an old Piccollo…
Another idea, racing kayaks are often ruddered. The sleekest of them may not have the most forgiving stability when not going fast, but you may have better luck with Epic and one other racing manufacturer whose name l forget.
Also, there was a manufacturer who built somewhat custom made boats, per customer, and could set them either skegged or ruddered. I forget the name so can’t check if they are still alive, but if it jogs anyone’s memory it is the make of boat that Jack and Nancy who have been on this board paddle.
Get her a Sterling. It’s only $$$.
Good reference for older CD kayaks Celia mentioned.
Some have not changed at all except pedals.
Looking for fast, light weight, no rudder and no skeg to worry about, but very seaworthy in the rough stuff–take a look at a 15’-8" NC. nckayaks.com
Be sure to look at the inventory–they’re having a nice sale right now.
I am small-framed (5’3", 96 lbs), and have a QCC10x. It’s a dandy boat for smaller, lighter paddlers and has ample space for gear. Mine is from the pre-Winona buy-out time, and has a skeg, but the new ones are available with/without rudder only. Mine is kevlar and weighs ~43 lbs. See: http://www.qcckayaks.com/Q10X.aspx
Feel free to p.m. me if you and/or your wife have any specific questions. Good luck in your search!
Celia, Jack and Nancy have QCC boats. I believe Nancy had a voice in the design of the QCC10.
I’d check out the Stellar kayaks, have low volume touring boats that you can get a rudder kit for. And they’re very light and well made.
A composite Perception Shadow 14 might work. It’s a wee bit tight on my thighs at 5’6" and 160 lbs. Smart Track rudder and about 42 lbs in Kevlar. Only available used and not real common.
The CD Suka is definitely a small paddler’s boat - I can’t even get into the cockpit.
Well if it were I, we’d get an appointment at Sweetwater Kayaks in St Petersburg, Fl. They took the wife’s size and fit her into three boats. Then took the three boats to the water for her to try out. Very good customer service and boat fit.
Some others have had good success with similar service at Savannah Canoe and Kayak. savannahcanoeandkayak.com/
We may have narrowed down our search to the Stellar S16 Advantage layup that weighs only 38lbs. Savannah GA dealer only three hours away may be on our radar in a couple weeks.
I am 5’3" and weigh 105 (and a certified instructor). I paddle an NDK Pilgrim Expedition Squish (aka Low Volume). I happen to be selling mine to acquire another one. They are specifically designed for us ‘smaller’ kayakers. I teach rolling and skills and love this kayak. More info on mine at www.wannapaddle.com/pilgrim-expedition/ which is lighter thanks to a carbon kevlar deck.
My wife who is 5’-2" and 113 pounds has a QCC 10X out of carbon Kevlar and loves it.
She was in on the original design and raced the first one they made in the Old bogie and Bacall races in Key largo. the week after the race they had ten orders for them.
Hers has a rudder which she wouldn’t be without since she races it. It is 21" wide and very fast and responsive
It is good in rough water
I know this is an OLD thread but I just thought I would update on our final choice of boat for my petite wife. We got a 16ft Seaward Cosma TX made from slick thermoformed plastic, just like the Delta Kayaks and others. This boat is great for her. We kinda stumbled on a fantastic deal from a couple that was moving (retiring) to Bali and naturally couldn’t take the boats. We got the very nice Cosma and a classic Prijon Seayak for $440 which included paddles, cockpit covers, sprayskirts and PFD’s. Turned around and sold the Seayak for $300 so the Cosma was virtually free! WOW! She didn’t like the Stellar boats low deck and uncomfortable seat and I didn’t like the pricetag. I got my Azul Back and we are both very happy. Thanks to all for your advice
That was a crazy good deal.
Seaward no longer makes thermoform kayaks. My wife had a Cosma TX which she liked fine, but eventually moved to a used kevlar Necky IV. That $440 deal must be the best deal I’ve seen.
Stellar S15 might be her ticket. Just saying.