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Old 05-01-2012, 02:19 PM   #1
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Do you Kayak? opinions wanted..

So mothers day is coming up and my wife has been wanting a kayak ever since before i can remember, i think the time is right..

now it is a matter of finding a decent kayak for her needs, your opinion and experience is highly appreciated.

single person (or double since we have kids..)

light enough for one person to carry

light surf/ocean capable characteristics
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:40 PM   #2
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We purchased two Santee Sport kayaks.... we had looked into a tandem kayak, but after trying one out decided we were happier with two singles, much lighter and easier to load up on the aft flybridge area of our trawler (they are covered up in the grey bags in the 2nd picture). We also wanted kayaks that were relatively easy to get into and tracked well. We kayak on the river so no big waves to contend with. It was a great benefit that we were able to actually try out the kayaks on the 'pond' where the canoe/kayak shop was located.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:32 PM   #3
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No personal experience, but checking out the kayaks offered by REI shows that two-person-capacity kayaks weigh only five or six pounds, or none, more than single-seaters.

kayak at REI - Free shipping on orders of $50 or more

Almost all the kayaks I see are single-seaters, however. They would seem to be more easily controlled than a two-seater with only one person aboard.



If in the market, I'd choose a highly visible color (yellow?) for both craft and paddle.

For hands-free propulsion, this kayak could be worth looking at:

http://www.rei.com/product/832988/na...t-on-top-kayak
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:53 PM   #4
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My wife kyaks, I don't. I bought her a cheap ($300) sit in style, I don't reacell the manufacturer but I got it at Defender. I think it's 8 foot and it's light. She can carry it, fits on the bow, if it scrapes on a rock or the beach it gets nicked but who cares it was cheap. It's not as fast as the expensive ones but its short and gets into the really tight creeks that are fun to explore.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:00 PM   #5
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The same company mentioned by Mark has similar kayaks to the ones we purchased.
Hurricane Kayaks Santee 116 Sport Kayak at REI.com.

I must admit that I had never seen one that propelled hands free....

We wanted to have sit-in kayaks as opposed to the sit-on kayaks you often see out on the water. And you might be surprised at the difference a few pounds in weight makes!

Visibility is very important as Mark mentions, one is mango orange and the other is banana yellow!
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:44 PM   #6
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I have and prefer sit on kayaks. Mine are made by Ocean Kayak. Try before you buy. Longer equals faster and much better tracking for the same energy exerted. Shorter equals stability and agility in tighter places. If your use / excursions will be measured in miles, make sure it is comfortable for your size, weight and build. The wife and I spent 1/2 a day trying a number of different models from a large dealer who had 200+ rentals and a lake out back, before we purchased. There are big differnce in how they perform that aren't obvious to the novice paddler........ until you try one after another.

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Old 05-01-2012, 05:52 PM   #7
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If you in warmer water the Ocean Kayak sit ons can't be beat.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per View Post
So mothers day is coming up and my wife has been wanting a kayak ever since before i can remember, i think the time is right..

now it is a matter of finding a decent kayak for her needs, your opinion and experience is highly appreciated.

single person (or double since we have kids..)

light enough for one person to carry

light surf/ocean capable characteristics
Per
I have kayaked for twenty some years, in all types of boats, for many different purposes, and the first thing I have to say is that if you think the single/twin conversation, or which anchor is the best is complicated and full of personal preference...
Anyway, I would first have to know if she has any experience, and just how she might use the boat.
If she would simply use it for paddling the shallows and looking at wildlife within a mile of the big boat, and you are doing so in warm weather and waters, I would suggest a sit-on-top like an Ocean Kayak brand. They make a model called the "Malibu", which has three seats. The forward and aft seat for two person use, and a center seat for one. That would be my choice for a beginner in the waters I mentioned. They are very stable, and move through the water with relative ease. They are heavy, being 13' plus and made of polyethylene. They are super durable. Barnacles and rocks will scratch them a little, but who cares. No matter where her interests might eventually take her, this would be a good starter boat.
If you think she might want to get more adventurous and want to go island hopping and camping, then a sit-inside with waterproof hatches would be the ticket. There are also sit on top surf skis, but they are extremely tippy yet very fast. I s racing her thing? Another way to go is a whitewater river boat. Great fun in ocean surf, but requires one learn to eskimo roll if you really want to play hard.
I could talk on kayaks all day long, so ask away if you have more questions.

Check out Ocean Kayaks at http://www.oceankayak.com/ The do have a couple singles made for women that weigh in at about 40lbs.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:13 PM   #9
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Per,

Before you buy that kayak, rent a paddleboard for your wife and see how she likes it. Most people that have both use their paddleboards more. They are more fun and easier to store on deck. The kids will have a blast with them too.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:49 PM   #10
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We have a sit on Ocean Kayak model "Fenzy". We bought it on Craigslist for $300 complete. You can't hurt it. We travel in 80 degree water so you don't mind getting wet. It also stores well.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:23 PM   #11
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I have and prefer sit on kayaks. Mine are made by Ocean Kayak. Ted
Do you ever dive off your kayak?
I was talking to a guy the other day (I just happened to be checking out kayaks at WM), and he said when he visits his uncle in the Keys, he takes a kayak out and dives from it. He said it was a sit on model and the tank and BCD fit nicely in the rear well. KJ
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:35 PM   #12
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My wife's issue was portability and being able to handle it alone from her car or from the boat. We settled on an 2-person inexpensive PVC inflatable Sea Eagle for $150. It allows her to inflate and use it anywhere without needing a rack on her car. It gets infrequent use, but is onboard all summer for those warm weather paddles. Easy to store, transport and set up; not as easy to paddle as a hard kayak. For us, it was an economical compromise.

Here's a Kayak City website with all kinds of choices. I was looking at a pedal-propelled Hobie Kayak at the Asparagus Festival in Stockton last weekend. There are some really cool pedal- and sail-powered kayaks out there if you have $2500 to spend.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:50 PM   #13
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The admiral had been asking for a kayak for several years. My concern was who was going to launch/retrieve it.

We looked around and the various fiberglass, plastic, wood versions, and decided they were all too heavy for her to handle by herself.


At the boatshow or store, I would ask if she liked this one or that, then see if she could manhandle it at all.

Only in the case of a beautiful wood/epoxy model which was very light, was she able to move it around. The rest of them were simply too heavy or unwieldy.

Some friends we boat with had used inflatable units for years with good successs, so we bought one.

It is really more of an inflatable canoe inside a heavy cover for abrasion resistence. Multiple chambers, the bottom is closed cell foam about 1/2" thick, a hard plastic mini-keel, it is a fairly sturdy unit.

It is important to keep it properly inflated - uses the same pump as the dinghy.

We have 3 seasons on it and it is still like new. I do clean it well and dry it completely before storage for the winter.


We got a two person model which works fine for both of us touring the anchorage etc. Since we use it for that type of miscellaneous excursion, it is a great fit for us.

I don't think it would make a very good passagemaker however.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:07 PM   #14
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holy moly, overwhelming response... for which i am grateful.
now if i only knew which..
it seems ocean kayak is the "general" winner with possible the inflatable coming in second.
we do like the paddleboard idea also but she would enjoy more a kayak i am sure.
thanks for all replies
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:13 PM   #15
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I have 2 of the Hobie Outback models. They're great, especially for fishing as you can go hands free with their Mirage Drive. You can also paddle if you want to, and even sail (slow though) if that's your thing. May be a little on the heavy side though.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:20 PM   #16
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Do you ever dive off your kayak?
I was talking to a guy the other day (I just happened to be checking out kayaks at WM), and he said when he visits his uncle in the Keys, he takes a kayak out and dives from it. He said it was a sit on model and the tank and BCD fit nicely in the rear well. KJ
The one I have is a Scupperpro (no longer made). It has a tank well in the back that I also use to hold a soft side cooler. Yes, I have dove and snorkeled out of it. It takes a little practice as you will need to gear up and ungear in the water. Also pulling the tank back onto the kayak can be a little challenging in choppy water. I tend to do more snorkeling and free diving out of it.

Ted
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:00 PM   #17
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We have paddled kayaks in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. We've gone diving off several different sit-on-tops and they work very well for that, but they are slow for any cruising. We've paddled eddyline, current-designs, and a couple of others. Several years ago we settled on solo Pygmy Cohos but from the boat we use a tandem inflatable by Advanced Designs. My wife has a friend who loves her solo Advanced Design, she takes it down to the beach at Discovery Bay by Port Townsend, inflates it herself, and paddles for hours. They easily fit in a car trunk or a cockpit, can be handled by a 60-year-old woman, and are virtually indestructible.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:12 PM   #18
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...Several years ago we settled on solo Pygmy Cohos but from the boat we use a tandem inflatable by Advanced Designs. My wife has a friend who loves her solo Advanced Design, she takes it down to the beach at Discovery Bay by Port Townsend, inflates it herself, and paddles for hours. They easily fit in a car trunk or a cockpit, can be handled by a 60-year-old woman, and are virtually indestructible.
Like this? Looks great!

Inflatable Kayaks | Kayaks made for recreational, high performance, sit-on-top self bailing and multi-use.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:12 AM   #19
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For ocean going kayak.

One with a rudder is nice.

Easyer to keep in a straight line.

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Old 05-02-2012, 10:17 AM   #20
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We have 2 kayaks and 2 canoes. The canoes get more use but we do'nt use any of them often. We've never taken them on Willy but I've considered using the big square stern canoe as a dinghy. See pic.
The kayaks are a big 17.5' kevlar Necky and a 15' plastic Necky. I like paddling the 15' kayak better. More maneuverable.
The first boat I had was a kayak. A canvas and wood frame kit. You got a box of spruce sticks, canvas and lots of copper tacks. Buy your own aircraft dope. Built this kayak in 1951. I was 12.
Carey and O C Diver are right. There is an extremely wide range of kayaks, kayakers and kayak activities. Paddle all the kayaks you can get your hands on before you buy. Keep in mind that you want the best kayak for you not the "best kayak".
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