WS Piccolo

A Wilderness Systems Piccolo is for sale on Craigslist in SE Pennsylvania. I know they’re not easy to come by, so I thought I’d post it here. If you Google it, you won’t find it because they spelled it wrong.

There is also one in Burlington VT (on craigslist) for $150

There’s another in Gainesville, Fl
on Craigslist for $475!!! I just picked one that looks new for $275 in SW Fl.

Nice Boat
We owned one when the kids were you and loved it. Also check out the Alto. Both are designs that someone needs to bring back with upgraded outfitting. We would not trade our Altos for any of the new plastic boats.

Andy Singer
designed the Piccolo and Alto for WS. Walrus Kayaks, a relatively new company in Vermont, is manufacturing kayaks that are designed by Andy Singer. You might contact them.

Those are nice looking boats. I have chatted with him a few times. Not only is he a good designer, he is a nice guy. I wish him luck and hopefully he can incorperate some of the below the waterline features of the Alto with some of the more modern (trendy) features of the newer boats. Too many people buy boats for what they look like above the waterline.

WS Alto
Okay, I took gisonra’s advice and I just bought an Alto this morning. With a PFD and paddle for $450. PFD and paddle are nothing to write home about, but will get me started.

The Alto seems to be in decent shape and should serve me and my wife as new kayakers. Bottom has the regular scratches from use.

However, the seat is in pretty bad shape. I need suggestions for replacements for it.

The original seats weren’t that good anyway so you didn’t lose much. The back was too high and it made it hard to get in from the water. It also got in the way of the spray skirt. NRS sells some backbands that are nice. Immersion Research also has one I like. Leave the seat pan in and use the plastic. You can put a pad on it if you like but I like the direct feel of the boat under me. Gel pads really make me feel sloppy in the boat but that is my personal opinion.

Support the boat on a flat surface or put planks under it to spread the load if you are keeping it on a rack to avoid dents.

I hope you like the boat since I steared you in that direction. I have never found a person that didn’t love the boat. They can be a bit rudder dependant but that is overcome with skill. Enjoy!

Thinking I’d like some sort of padded seat. Is the entire seat sort of universal? The one’s in the Old Towns I’ve seen in the stores seemed like good ones, just don’t know if they’ll work in the Alto.

I’m installing a boat lift in my garage as we speak…except they only included one of the two needed ropes!! Arrrggghhhhh.

Everyone has their preference. sells the gel seat I got but it takes away the feel I like in rough water. It is great for calm water. A closed cell foam may do OK also. If you get the gray kayak outfitting foam you can form it and shave it. It can be glued with contact cement. I just don’t like doing that. I prefer the hard pan with maybe a towel in it.

You may decide you like a high backrest but proper paddling form is more straight up with body rotation. A high seat back can hinder this movement, get in the way of the skirt, hurt your roll and hurt your wet rescue. Again, it depends on what you want to do with the boat.

I say, get it in the water quick and have fun. Even if the seat is worn and your gear is old. You will learn a lot on the water about what you need.

Here is some hints:

You may not like your legs completely straight. This can cause your legs to go numb and painfull. Get a swim nuddle or a couple foam wedges of some type to support your knees with a slight bend.

Thanks again
We have a reservoir about 1 mile straight down the road from our house so I’ll be in very calm, flat water. When we move to North Carolina we’ll have the sound about 200 feet from the back of our house and we’re second row from the ocean. I anticipate using the sound as a place to paddle. If the rain holds off I’m going to get my feet (and probably the rest of me) wet in the morning!

Fill me in
When I first got in mine I felt a little shakey. Then I realized what secondary stability was. You can tip that boat until water floods in around you. It is very stable throughout the roll progression. The trick will be getting in and out. Youtube has a couple clips that may help. Also, make sure you adjust the foot pegs before you take off. Have fun!

First time out observatons
1. The Alto didn’t feel tippy at all, at least not so that it felt alarming. Getting in was okay, stumbled a bit getting out, but no face plants! Makes me glad I didn’t buy a “beginner’s” boat if they are supposed to be more stable.

2. Went about an hour, to the next county…which is across the reservoir. Male Blue Herons along the way, etc.

3. I don’t see the seat when I’m paddling.

4. Is the paddle that came with it is too short? Looks like I need 220 cm paddle, the one I have is about 7’2"m which is supposed to be about right. Just seemed too short.

5. Took a canoeing course in college decades ago and I have to adjust my stroke. J strokes screw you up in a kayak!

6. I won’t use the rudder for awhile. Went nice and straight on the way out, back and forth on the way back, as I got a bit fatigued.

7. Need to overcome my wrestling background, I tend to try to power through things too much, whereas the kayaking should be more relaxed.

8. Thanks to everyone for the good advice. You guys are a great resource!

So glad it worked out for you. You will love the boat for a long time. If you don’t believe me, go to a demo. You won’t find many boats that compare. You won’t find any in that price range. It’s even a toss-up with my carbon/kevlar QCC700. I will choose the Alto any time I plan to bounce off rocks, oyster beds or shallow areas. Open water, races or long distances the QCC wins out.

If you can paddle that boat without the rudder you are more skilled than you give yourself credit for. Especially in wind or waves.

A quality paddle is the best upgrade you can make. I really like Onno paddles and they are a good value. He can also recommend the correct length. I have his wing and a mid-tour. I prefer the tour for most times. Paddle length and blade size is a personal choice. I like a medium size blade and an adjustable length. For short sprints a large blade with some length will really move you. But that combo will kick your butt in distance. It depends on your body type, distance paddling and speed.

One more questoin
The Alto came with a flotation bag in the bow. I think that was an add on by someone along the line. Since I’m 5’7" and 175 to 180 lbs I’m thinking I don’t need that bag since it may cause me to ride higher than normal?

Leave it
It has no affect on the floatation of the kayak. It was put there to displace water in case you turn over. If you turn over it will float the kayak enough for you to crawl in and will displace enough water for you to pump out the remainder of water. Float bags are critical for boats without bulkheads. In rough water some still use float bags in case they blow a bulkhead.

Leave it in place inflated to soft pressure when the boat is hot. You should practice turning over very soon anyway and you will immediately realize how important the bag is.

could have bought a Piccolo AND an Alto
for $400!!

one for each ear!!! Great deal!

Makes my getting the Alto on Saturday for $450 seem sort of lame… :frowning: