I am back to seakayaking after 20 years. How do I find my kayak?

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by Joshua C, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. Joshua C

    Joshua C New Member

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    Location:
    Utah via Oregon
    Hello,
    I used to live to seakayak and it is my favorite thing in this life to do. Life took me away from it until now. It has been 20 years and I have forgotten what I liked and wanted even then, but I am trying to find a kayak and now that there are no magazines and no major symposiums (as far as I can tell). I don’t know where to start looking for a kayak. I want to demo a few (glass not plastic) kayaks and would love any advice. I live in Utah, but would drive to the coast if I was able to try out a few kayaks and bring back the right one.

    I am 6’2,” 230 lbs, and want a glass expedition seakayak. I used to have an Eddyline I loved, but I can’t even remember which model I had. I will use it for lakes and large rivers in Utah, but will seek to end up in Baja and the sound as much as possible.

    Thank you for any guidance you are able to offer!
     
  2. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    My recommendation would be to take a trip to the coast, take a skills course (refresher) and try some different boats. In Seattle, Kayak Academy (George Gronseth) will take care of the instruction and they also have a good selection of new and used boats most of the time, from what I've seen from the website and the few times I've dropped in there.
     
  3. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Joshua, I bet you owned an Eddyline Wind Dancer, same boat I used for 20 years. Pretty much Eddyline's default choice for guys our size. Eddyline no longer makes that boat, but there must be used ones out there, moldering in garages.

    John's rec of The Kayak Academy is a sound one.

    As you mention, the retail sea kayak market has really crashed, at least in OR, WA, and BC, anyway. And, composite boats (aka fiberglass boats) have also evolved ... a lot! Another good resource, this one in Portland, OR, where you can see a sampling of boats is Alder Creek Kayak Supply. ACKS is on Tomahawk Island, off I-5 just S of the OR/WA border, aka Columbia River. They also have a good instruction program, and have a float on site where you can try out boats. Check with them ahead of time for timing and availability.

    The used kayak market in the Portland area is also a good resource. Craigs List Portland sometimes has listings.

    Links to a couple shots of my 1992 vintage Wind Dancer, now owned by another guy: https://pbase.com/bartenderdave/image/108988612
    https://pbase.com/bartenderdave/image/110557876
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  4. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Though you were clear on wanting a fiberglass boat, you have been out of the market for a while and boats of all constructions have improved. Eddyline, for example, makes boats out of carbon1te 2000 - a hard plastic that falls in compromise between rotomolded polyethylene and fiberglass. And beyond those you have Kevlar.

    Though my glass boats are decades older than my partner's carbonite 2000, after 10 years or so, her boat shows no sign of wear (except the usual bottom hull scratches).

    Also, you mentioned your primary waterways would be lakes and rivers with an occasional trip to the sea. So you might consider something for those lakes and rivers - it could be smaller, lighter, less expensive, etc. than a larger full size Sea Kayak - and rent a boat from a local vendor at/near your sea excursion launch point.

    That way, you don't have to deal with the size/cost of a boat designed for a very small percentage of your on the water adventures nor the issues of tranporting it from and back to Utah.

    And I've been told, not sure if is true or not, that some of us have more than one boat; each for its primary environment.

    Where I'm coming from on this is I live in High Desert, hundreds of miles from ocean swell. But we do have some high mountain lakes that are open at least 5 months a year. As I load/unload my full size boats at the lake launch points, I see others with their "younger brother/sister" lake boats. They have a hatch to store picnic and probably overnight gear. But they are small - 10 to 14 ft or so - and much easier to move around and carry.

    I don't have one because I have no more space to store another boat. When I replaced one of my glass boats with a kevlar construction, I had to put the replaced boat up for consignment sale in the Seattle area because I don't have room for four boats. I'm just mentioning that because I was suggesting you look at a smaller boat for rivers and lakes and yet I don't have one; but that's because of my storage limits.

    Glass boats are beautiful and, when cared for, seem to last indefinitely. But when I read about your primary environment with the infrequent trip to the sea, I thought, "Why shop for a situation that will be 2% of your experience when you can rent on that occasion?" And, as mentioned above, owning two boats is possible.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
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  5. rider

    rider Paddler

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    What's your budget? And do you want a boat to go straight or turn? Why no plastic? How much gear does it need to be able to haul?
     
  6. stagger

    stagger Paddler

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    I live in Calgary. There are few lakes here and no ocean at all. I’ve owned full-sized boats and they were just too much for my lake day/overnight paddles. Nowadays I have a couple of 12-13 foot “day touring” boats that do me just fine.

    (I do own a full-sized touring kayak which I keep out in Vancouver at my sister’s place. Logistics would be very difficult for my 1-2 ocean trips per year if she didn’t live there.)

    FWIW, a Mariner Coaster is a wonderful mid-sized boat that feels like a real sea kayak but doesn’t feel disproportionately large for a day paddle.
     
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  7. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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  8. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Joshua, did you notice that WS Tempest 180 Prokayak over on the Buy and Sell side? Might be your size.
     
  9. designer

    designer Paddler

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    I saw that too. What did Jack Nicholson say to Helen Hunt in, "As Good As It Gets"? "You make me want to be a bigger man." Too much boat for me but might be just right for Joshua. (And I don't have room for it; even in the living room as a piece of art.)
     
  10. BigandSmall

    BigandSmall Paddler

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    As a fellow big guy I can mention a few of the glass expedition models I've tried. I'm just shy of 6'2 and 240'ish depending on the day. The Valley Etain 17-7 gets a lot of attention as a expedition model. I found the cockpit a little too short and you bark your shins up getting in. I understand that they have corrected this though as of 2016. It's also pretty narrow depending on how you carry your weight and your ability level. The Sterling Grand Illusion is a very stable maneuverable glass boat with top notch construction. You can get it as light as your wallet will allow. I only putted around in it for 20 minutes or so but was strongly considering getting one. The P&H Cetus HV is on my short list of boats to try. I own it's plastic sister boat the Scorpio HV and love the hull shape and seat/cockpit. I see they have some light weight options available for it too. The T180 mentioned above is also an option, I found it fast and stable similar to my Delta 18.5. I also own an Impex Assateague which I've read is quite similar to the T180. I'd put it closer the T170 size wise. The cockpit is too short on this one as well, it's another shin scraper. I now look for models that take a Seals 1.7 size skirt. I also consider 230lbs to be towards the high end on the Assateague despite what I've read online. I consider it to be more of a day boat for me but I'm sure more skilled individuals would be fine with it. If you're willing to look at thermoformed models there's also the Delta 17 and Boreal Designs Storm 17 to check out. I haven't tried either yet but will rent them when I get a chance. Have fun shopping.
     
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