Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

Hi all, the wife and I bought an Intex explorer K2 last year (£89 not the crazy price now) to test the water so to speak and see if kayaking was for us before taking the plunge. Well we love it and so far we've paddled the river stour and lulworth cove to stair hole but mostly around the cove (only went as far to view it not go through it). We only went to stair hole when it was flat calm and didn't get up close as I was concerned about submerged rocks tearing the kayak. Anyhow we really want to get out on the sea more and see what you can only see via kayak.
I was looking to buy used and something that we can paddle to durdledoor easily until we explore other parts of the coast. Something we can learn to roll (both directions) and self rescue etc. What I don't know is should we get ones we can grow into or ones to learn the skills first then upgrade? Also would I be able to do this in a 5mm diving wetsuit? Don't really want to buy one for snorkelling and another for kayaking and we'll be getting drysuits later anyway. Thanks.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

Just see the X2:perception expression in the for sale section and those are exactly the thing I was thinking.

Chris Bolton
Posts: 3276
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:33 pm
Location: NW England
Has thanked: 40 times
Been thanked: 130 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by Chris Bolton »

The Perception Expression would be good for your use. Those in the advert were a good price and I'd be very surprised if they're still available. Whether you want to go for something a bit longer depends on how comfortable you feel in rougher water and your general balance, confidence and fitness. You don't say if you have any previous experience of the sea but you should certainly make sure you understand tides, wind and weather, as well as self rescues and communication. Joining a club or getting some coaching is recommended, and will also give you the chance to try different types of kayaks.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

I canoed (I found out now it was a kayak) in 84 in salcombe from South sands to what I thought was called stink point? Found rolls straight forward enough (I was 14) . Used to do a lot of sea fishing (shore, shallow boat and deep sea) but mostly just looked at tide times. Pretty much went in all weather and conditions. I enjoy snorkelling too. With our Intex I know it's and our limits and if in doubt I won't go out. Checking weather, tides, sea state, possible dubious condition changes is a must. I live right by woodmill activity centre which do kayaking in the wier so I could nip in there. I don't wish to do any paddling in Southampton water though as it's just gross.

Just realised...thinking back to my group kayak in salcombe none of us wore a bouyancy jacket 😳. Safety it seems wasn't cared about then.

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 14070
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 15 times
Been thanked: 65 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by Jim »

P4ddy wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 12:54 pm
I canoed (I found out now it was a kayak) in 84 in salcombe from South sands to what I thought was called stink point? Found rolls straight forward enough (I was 14) . Used to do a lot of sea fishing (shore, shallow boat and deep sea) but mostly just looked at tide times. Pretty much went in all weather and conditions. I enjoy snorkelling too. With our Intex I know it's and our limits and if in doubt I won't go out. Checking weather, tides, sea state, possible dubious condition changes is a must. I live right by woodmill activity centre which do kayaking in the wier so I could nip in there. I don't wish to do any paddling in Southampton water though as it's just gross.

Just realised...thinking back to my group kayak in salcombe none of us wore a bouyancy jacket 😳. Safety it seems wasn't cared about then.
Society has learned a lot! Also technology has come on a lot, the BAs in use then were nowhere near as good as the ones we have now!

Double sea kayaks are still fairly rare, and the composite ones cost a huge amount so you are probably as well sticking with PE allrounder touring and sea touring boats.
I just looked at Prijon's website to remember the name of a friends double (Excursion) and I notice that in their allrounder category they have loads of doubles and all but one of them look suitable for your use - the only thing I would say is that rudders are optional on these, and my mate found his excursion handled much better with a rudder (it came without, we built one on a week long trip in Scotland because they were struggling a bit without it, made a huge difference!).
Wavesport Horizon looks like another possibility and may be easier to find in the UK, although I have seen Excursions for sale second hand occasionally.

Worth learning abut tide streams as well just heights, and the effect they have around headlands - there are some particularly tricky spots along the Jurassic coast at certain times in the tidal cycle, around headlands like Peveril and Aldhems. Get there at the wrong time and you will find the sea flowing faster than you can paddle against, often with breaking waves trying to flip you. I think BC had an online sea kayak navigation course running during lockdown, might be worth checking if it is still available.

mcgruff
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:06 am
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 31 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by mcgruff »

I'd love to get an Epic V6 one day. Stable, fast, light. Plenty space for a camping trip. The open cockpit means capsizing isn't a big deal (provided you're dressed for it). They also do the same hull in a closed cockpit, the 16X.

There are lots of DIY options if that's something you might be interested in, including relatively easy builds using plywood instead of strip-planking. Check out the Shrike thread on this forum, for example.
Have fun and don't die.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

The pinch point between the IOW and Hurst castle creates one hell of a current. I saw 3 brave kayakers on 1st July off the spit just riding the swell for fun. I saw one them was in a cetas. I wouldn't want to bail out there. I'd seek advice from others and local knowledge on areas to get a heads up on where to keep an eye on and to avoid. Timing paddles so as to go with the tide if possible. I expect going against is like us two battling the K2 against wind and current...that's a struggle and feels if you stop you'll go backwards.
Deffo don't fancy a DIY option. On the advice from an instructor who I worked with and lives a few doors away I'll be getting 2 singles rather than a double. He instantly said singles so if we were to capsize one of us can aid recovery (I mean rescue, recovery sounds like there's a body) He doesn't kayak anymore though and has a knackered shoulder so can't paddle with him.

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 14070
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 15 times
Been thanked: 65 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by Jim »

Doh! Failed to understand the question!

Still recommend starting with PE boats, which is exactly what you are looking at. Cheaper initially than composite and if you buy secondhand you are unlikely to see the value decrease much if you get properly into it and upgrade later. Sit on tops (either recreational/touring or surf ski types like mcgruff is suggesting) are also worth considering, learning to climb back on should be easier than learning to roll, and they are very stable to start with.

And congratulations on spotting the idea to go with the flow - so many sea kayakers spend their whole lives messing about calculating how to cross flows instead of just doing the obvious thing and calculating to go with them! :D
(I'm exaggerating, but people do spend a disproportionate time working out vectors for crossing directly to islands when a lot of the time they could just start further up-tide or make landfall further down tide...)

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

Had a go on a sit on top on holiday, didn't feel right? Still fun though albeit nothing to actually view where we done it. Just felt odd sat on top and I think of them as the recreational pond paddle boat of kayaks. The sort you see lined up to hire.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

What your saying about crossing with the tide sounds the same as swimming out of a rip tide

Chris Bolton
Posts: 3276
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:33 pm
Location: NW England
Has thanked: 40 times
Been thanked: 130 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by Chris Bolton »

Also would I be able to do this in a 5mm diving wetsuit?
I missed that on my first reply. Paddling any distance in a 5mm diving wetsuit will be very uncomfortable, it will restrict your movement and will chafe. You could possibly use it for days when you're planning to practice self rescues, but even then it will be restrictive. There's also an advantage in practising with what you'll normally wear, a wetsuit has more buoyancy and you might get a nasty surprise doing a self rescue for real when you didn't have that. Mostly now I wear a drysuit, but when I started, and if I'm going for a gentle paddle in reasonable water temperature and not expecting to get wet, I just wear thermals / fibre pile and cag / trousers.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

Bit of a bummer. Maybe salopets from our floatation suits and a cag until we get drysuits? I know the water where i go is 16-17deg this time of year and I'm ok snorkelling for up to 2 hrs before I need to get out. That's with just shorts and a t-shirt.

mcgruff
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:06 am
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 31 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by mcgruff »

P4ddy wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:00 pm
felt odd sat on top and I think of them as the recreational pond paddle boat of kayaks. The sort you see lined up to hire.
Hybrid surfski /sea kayak designs basically take a sea kayak and tweak it for speed. The waterline length is increased (without increasing the overall length). A flat bottom helps the boat to catch a free ride on waves.

The storage space & speed make them good expedition boats. Not just for pond-paddling :) Most of them have closed cockpits - like the Rockpool Taran which has been used for several UK circumnavigations, including by the current record-holder.

As a rule these boats probably aren't the best choice for a beginner but the Epic V6 has a reputation for being easy to handle. With an open cockpit & self-bailer, a capsize won't feel like an episode of Saving Lives At Sea.

An open cockpit is also good for launching into wind & waves when you have to get moving fast or get turned broadside. No spraydeck to fiddle with. Last time I tried that I got a lovely cold wave in my lap.

Not a cheap option though.
Have fun and don't die.

mcgruff
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:06 am
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 31 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by mcgruff »

P4ddy wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:30 pm
Bit of a bummer. Maybe salopets from our floatation suits and a cag until we get drysuits? I know the water where i go is 16-17deg this time of year and I'm ok snorkelling for up to 2 hrs before I need to get out. That's with just shorts and a t-shirt.
I think a huge part of learning to paddle safely is learning about the sea & the risks you have to manage: tidal streams, cold-water survival, etc. So you're half-way there already :)
Have fun and don't die.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

This https://www.northeastkayaks.co.uk/islan ... -14-0.html or a wavesport hydra although I need 2 so it becomes pricey. I may go to a shop local and see how they feel to sit in. The one in the link is more affordable X2 that 2 hydra's I ideally want used though leaving cash for gear. Had a look at those mentioned, I like the rockpool sit in. Don't like the price though. I'd have to sell one of my bikes for that.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

I forgot about initial and secondary stability. I'm thinking something with initial could end up feeling a little restrictive and we'd outgrow them as our ability and confidence grows. But secondary we can grow into and it would be more suited to the end goal. When I canoed (I still call it canoed as that's what we called it then) I remember initially it felt very tippy but I quickly got over that and thought no more of it. So much to consider. Oh and a retractable skeg as I'm sick of ours getting in the way in shallow water making launching sometimes difficult and it can get caught it weed aswell. We've tried without it but it's impossible to go straight.

mcgruff
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:06 am
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 31 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by mcgruff »

If you're keen, and can put the hours in, I think it should be fine to get a boat which is a bit of a challenge at first (within reason).

Lower initial stability could be less tiring on a long-distance run because the boat doesn't react so much to waves on the beam. Core muscles have to work to compensate & maintain balance.
Have fun and don't die.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

That sounds perfect, and get a core workout too. That's a win win situation 😉

We definitely want to cut through the waves and make progress on water. Battling a tide and wind in the K2 is certainly a challenge and a workout.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

I'm not able to try out a few at Southampton canoe because of Covid-19. Can only purchase online and collect adhering to social distancing.

mcgruff
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:06 am
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 31 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by mcgruff »

I was wondering what was available at a similar in price to the Islander 14ft you linked to. I found this: Pyranha Octane.

It's more of a hybrid design than an elite, racing surfski so the stability might be manageable. I can't really say for sure how you would find it. The 53cm beam is pretty standard for a sea kayak.

I can definitely say I'd have a LOT more fun :) 17ft is a much better length for a boat to take on the sea.

Here's a review: https://paddlingmag.com/boats/kayaks/bo ... e-surfski/
Have fun and don't die.

mcgruff
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:06 am
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 31 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by mcgruff »

Have fun and don't die.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

Seen a capella and a tempest 170 together well in budget. But they are 400 miles away 😲 They're just the sort of thing we want to be out in and to have something like that from the start would be great. I've been hung up.on us having the same each so we can learn and help eachother as boat characteristics would be the same.
On that note I've seen a couple of Ace Voyagers a lot lot closer and cheap. Don't know if they would be ok for a while or if we should hold out for something like the capella closer to home?. I've not mentioned budget. We have a spare £1k but obviously that's blown buying new, hence the ones in the £700ish each range.

pathbrae
Posts: 461
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:42 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 43 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by pathbrae »

P4ddy wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:42 am

I've been hung up.on us having the same each so we can learn and help eachother as boat characteristics would be the same.
I wouldn't get too hung up on getting identical boats as you are not (presumably?) identical people so the boats will behave very differently. Best to treat it as two purchases and get the best boat for each of you given weight and size, strengths and ability
So much sea - so little time to see it.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

pathbrae wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:55 pm

I wouldn't get too hung up on getting identical boats as you are not (presumably?) identical people so the boats will behave very differently. Best to treat it as two purchases and get the best boat for each of you given weight and size, strengths and ability

Hmmm? Ability? Only advantage I have is having canoed 36yrs ago. I've taught her how to go straight without having to keep correcting. If the two I saw on eBay were closer I may have bought them but an 800mile round trip is a little excessive.

pathbrae
Posts: 461
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:42 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 43 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by pathbrae »

P4ddy wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:13 pm

Hmmm? Ability? Only advantage I have is having canoed 36yrs ago. I've taught her how to go straight without having to keep correcting.
I'm not talking about your ability as a paddler - you will both have different learning paths through your kayaking years. A boat which is ideal for you might be far too big for your partner. What seems to have rock solid stability to your partner might have you white-knuckled and tense, fighting for balance as you are a different shape and size and just don't fit the boat.
So much sea - so little time to see it.

Chris Bolton
Posts: 3276
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:33 pm
Location: NW England
Has thanked: 40 times
Been thanked: 130 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by Chris Bolton »

Different designs of boats could be an advantage. You can swap them around and see which you like best; it's all learning. Some people just don't 'get on with' some boats, but really take to others that are superficially similar. It might be stability (more or less, or primary v secondary), turning, responsiveness, comfort (seat shape, leg position, etc) or something else, and you won't necessarily notice on a test paddle even if could arrange one. It's one reason why buying used is a good idea, as you don't lose much if you sell on.

Mac50L
Posts: 192
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 10:22 am
Location: Canterbury, New Zealand
Been thanked: 10 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by Mac50L »

P4ddy wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:13 pm
Hmmm? Ability? Only advantage I have is having canoed 36yrs ago. I've taught her how to go straight without having to keep correcting.
Every British writer up to the 1970s said fit a rudder to a sea kayak. Every New Zealand designed sea kayak has a rudder. One of the paddlers who has done more circumnavigations than anyone else, Paul Caffyn, says "Fit a rudder." The best rudder design and pedal rigging design came from New Zealand.

Fortunately, as my partner and I build our own kayaks, they are rigged with the best designed equipment, all DIY. The designs for everything are on the web - if you look in the right places.

User avatar
P4ddy
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:27 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by P4ddy »

Can't fit one on an inflatable though ha ha.

Mac50L
Posts: 192
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 10:22 am
Location: Canterbury, New Zealand
Been thanked: 10 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by Mac50L »

P4ddy wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:41 pm
Can't fit one on an inflatable though ha ha.
Why not? The New Zealand made ones haver rudders.
http://www.incept.co.nz/sea-kayaks/k40-tasman
All it takes is a bit of thinking. I did say the best rudder design came from here.

Mac50L
Posts: 192
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 10:22 am
Location: Canterbury, New Zealand
Been thanked: 10 times

Re: Help a newbie choose first sea kayak.

Post by Mac50L »

If rudders do become an item to be considered then here is some background.

Rudder pedals -
https://canterburyseakayak.wordpress.com/rudder-pedals/

Daggerboard rudder -
https://canterburyseakayak.wordpress.co ... rd-rudder/

For rudder design ideas see this -
https://canterburyseakayak.wordpress.com/rudder-types/

The Incept kayak uses something like the vertical stow, very simple. The first rudder I made just to get something fitted in 1984 was to this design. The Americans, SealLine SmartTrack, re-invented it in 2006, calling it “new” and claiming “it is a revolutionary sea kayak rudder system”.

In 1992 Don Currie showed the Daggerboard rudder at a national sea kayaking event in New Zealand and I made the first to be used on a trip. He paddled the same area a month later and we both had found the same minor modification was needed. Two kayak manufacturers used that design for a decade before KajakSport in Finland "patented" it. A decade later the Americans, Sea-Lect, "patented" it.

Post Reply