Advice about boats.

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  • #11389
    Gerry Hogeterp

    I’m new to the club and new to sea kayaking.Haven’t even paddled a sea kayak.I’m a white water paddler ,so I have experience on water though.From the info I have so far.I need a boat that’s at least 17feet long with room for storing stuff , plastic because  it’s less breakable,and used because that’s where all the good deals are . I don’t know much more then that.Do I need a rudder?  If any one has advice it would be appreciated Thanks Gerry.

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  • #11403
    Gerry Hogeterp

    I want to thank every one for the great advice.I bought a plastic 13″ Prijon Catelina ,from Western Canoe and Kayak.It would cost $75  to rent boats,and the boat cost $1175,so you know .I would be  paying rent and it could add up quick.I’m happy with the boat,but I can”t believe the diffrance from white water to sea,even the roll ,you have to have perfect form,as there is no give.a white water play boat is 6″ long and light ,if your form isn”t perfect athe bow or stern or edge will give you some foregivness .I felt as where tied to a log .Oh well the best thing”s in life are what you accomplish by learning,and I’m exited to learning this sport.maps,compass,tide charts,landing and launching in waves.I know one step at a time.I love it.Thanks again Gerry.

    Chantal Ethier

    Hi Gerry,

    Wow, there isn’t much I can add, Geza provided you with excellent and logical information; my only comment/suggestion would be to try different kayaks before buying.  Figure out what you like and don’t like then look for the boat that suits you best based on the features that you’ve determined to be important to you.  Many Kayak outfitters sell gently used boats at the end of the season, you might find that to be a good option and it would certainly provide you with the ability to try several boats in close succession and enable you to eliminate those that are not a good fit and narrow down your search.

    I hope this helps a little.



    Geza Vamos

    Your question about rudders: two ends of the sea kayak design spectrum are west coast designs that are wide and stable, with large hatches for lots of storage, but slow and more traditional inuit/greeland/British style boats made for speed: narrow, tippy, less storage space. The west coast designs depend on a rudder, the traditional designs have a skeg to provide straight line tracking and you steer with rudder strokes, as you do in white water boats. The choice depends very much personal preference and ability – you need to try both styles, ideally in calm water and then with lots of wind and waves, and see what works for you. Personally I like the retractable skegs, however got a rudder on my new boat to enable sailing.

    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.

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