Reply To: Advice about boats.

Geza Vamos


The model of sea kayak you need depends a lot on your goals and preferences, your length and weight, and above all comfort. Modern white water boats are light years ahead in the way they are outfitted for comfort. If you want to play in waves breaking on rocks, then I would agree a plastic boat or if you can not find the type of boat you like second hand, then plastic may be your solution.  I prefer glass sea kayaks because the harder material does not get rough from abrasion, so it ride smoother in the water, are lighter and have more sensitive response (white water slalom is done in glass boats). The newer thermoplastic molded plastics are also hard and light and cheaper, but I don’t believe there are many models to choose from.  I like to go for for little effort and I mostly day trip, so I do not need much space. If I go on a multi-day trip, I accept that I must pack little, as if I am backpacking.  I meet those goals with a super narrow long glass boat. Singles range from 19″ wide to 24″ wide and width combined with the length (I agree over 17 feet for speed ) and shape of the bottom, that make a big difference in the speed and effort needed to go a mile.  A wider boat should give more storage space, at the cost of less speed.  I strongly suggest don’t buy any boat without several hours on the water (rental or demo paddle, and I would try enough boats that you have a good idea of the range of qualities,so you buy something you will be happy with. Most kayak guiding companies have used boats at the end of season. Personally I’d much rather a well used and price reduced glass boat than a plastic one. Glass can be repaired – I have a Valley Nordkapp form 1983 .  Plastics are hard, sometimes impossible, to repair.  Contact me if you like to try a narrow fast (tippy) kayak. I’m trying to get back into white water after a 20 year gap.  Saturdays, sometimes Sundays, and evenings for day trips from Vancouver.