Best sea kayak for a novice

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ARP
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Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by ARP »

Sorry, this might be a subject that’s been done loads of times......
I’m just starting out and a bit nervous on the water (but keen)... I’d really appreciate your suggestions on a nicely stable kayak that doesn’t threaten to tip me in at the first sign of a wave. I’m unlikely to become magically brave, so unlikely to ‘grow out’ of it!
I don’t have a huge budget so looking to buy secondhand.....

simon64
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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by simon64 »

Have a look at the Dagger Stratos, a short playful kayak thats totally stable and forgiving, though not the best for going fast in a straight line.
A longer straighter option would be the Venture kayaks Jura.
Last edited by simon64 on Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
P&H Virgo

charleston14
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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by charleston14 »

Some would argue that there’s no such thing as a tippy kayak, just tippy paddlers.

For starting out you cold look at something like a dagger Charleston or a stratos, or a delphin or Scorpio

Most 14ft touring kayaks are pretty stable but they are not “proper sea kayaks” ..which are longer (17ft) and narrower and to the inexperienced will feel a bit trippier to begin with.

You should also read up on the difference between initial and secondary stability, and how the hull shape affects that: a flat bottom kayak that is stable in flat water can be a handful in rough water and v bottom kayak can be more stable in rough water but feel twitchy on flat water.

You can often make a kayak feel more stable by paddling it with a load in it so the hull sits deeper in the water. And by reducing the height of your bum off the floor of the kayak, which lowers your centre of gravity.

Mrstratos61
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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by Mrstratos61 »

I have a Stratos and love it. Tough versatile and very predictable lean angles. You may think it's going to roll but it won't. I've done large chunks of Thames and some surfing in Devon.( search you tube ) I played around £350 for a good second hand one. On a budget you can't go wrong.

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by Arthur »

I have a Wavesport Hydra that is super stable, quick for its size and not too heavy to handle off the water. Lots of 'deck height' so the knees can be bent up a little - I find a lot of kayaks a squeeze and my legs and feet easily go numb. It's a similar thing to a Stratos, but personally I think it's fitted out better and is a more attractive boat, if aesthetics mean anything to you. Easier to find a used Stratos though.

Must admit, I'm thinking of selling the Hydra, but only because I prefer to paddle - and especially, portage! - an open canoe.

Gordon Gilzean
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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

If yoy can join a local club to you that would be a good way of trying different types of boats and see what you like, a personal recommendation would be a p and h scorpio, it is stable in a lot if not all conditions and i think very forgiving aswell, my fiancée who is quite a nervous paddler feels safe in it and it's also a good boat for progression as it holds an edge well and is very manouverable and fast and efficient in a straight line so good for distances, a really good allrounder in my opion if there is such a thing as an allrounder kayak, definitely try out a few before you buy one though

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by ARP »

Thank you all for such helpful replies! There is lots for me to think about.....

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by ARP »

charleston14 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:34 pm
Some would argue that there’s no such thing as a tippy kayak, just tippy paddlers.

For starting out you cold look at something like a dagger Charleston or a stratos, or a delphin or Scorpio

Most 14ft touring kayaks are pretty stable but they are not “proper sea kayaks” ..which are longer (17ft) and narrower and to the inexperienced will feel a bit trippier to begin with.

You should also read up on the difference between initial and secondary stability, and how the hull shape affects that: a flat bottom kayak that is stable in flat water can be a handful in rough water and v bottom kayak can be more stable in rough water but feel twitchy on flat water.

You can often make a kayak feel more stable by paddling it with a load in it so the hull sits deeper in the water. And by reducing the height of your bum off the floor of the kayak, which lowers your centre of gravity.
That is very helpful, thank you (I'm getting a bit less tiipy but I'll need all the help I can get!! :)

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by ARP »

Arthur wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:54 am
I have a Wavesport Hydra that is super stable, quick for its size and not too heavy to handle off the water. Lots of 'deck height' so the knees can be bent up a little - I find a lot of kayaks a squeeze and my legs and feet easily go numb. It's a similar thing to a Stratos, but personally I think it's fitted out better and is a more attractive boat, if aesthetics mean anything to you. Easier to find a used Stratos though.

Must admit, I'm thinking of selling the Hydra, but only because I prefer to paddle - and especially, portage! - an open canoe.
Ah, I am currently doing alll my water sport in an open canoe, so this is all going to be a bit different!

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by ARP »

Gordon Gilzean wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:27 pm
If yoy can join a local club to you that would be a good way of trying different types of boats and see what you like, a personal recommendation would be a p and h scorpio, it is stable in a lot if not all conditions and i think very forgiving aswell, my fiancée who is quite a nervous paddler feels safe in it and it's also a good boat for progression as it holds an edge well and is very manouverable and fast and efficient in a straight line so good for distances, a really good allrounder in my opion if there is such a thing as an allrounder kayak, definitely try out a few before you buy one though
This one's come up a few times in conversation so I am heading towards P and H - thank you. Just got to find one now!

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by MartinC1 »

PM you with an option if your interested in a boat

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by Sean_soup »

ARP wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:20 pm
This one's come up a few times in conversation so I am heading towards P and H - thank you. Just got to find one now!
Don't be too hasty, and you shouldn't base your choice on conversation imo, you really want to try before you buy.

When you have a wee bit of experience, either in a club boat or perhaps with a coach who provides the kit for beginners, something like this might be a good way to go: https://www.summittosea.co.uk/sea-kayak ... -kayaks.ir (In this case on Anglesey, but there are probably other shops doing similar.)

Summit to Sea knock the cost of the weekend off any kayak you decide to buy from them afterwards, so if you do choose to buy one it means the weekend was effectively free.

Gordon Gilzean
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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

Definitely don't rush into it, a sea kayak is something that is a personal choice and the only way to find out is to paddle a few and decide what you like and dont like, then try and find one for sale that matches that and importantly ask if you can paddle it before you buy it, most people should be happy to let you try their boat out if they have nothing to hide

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by Arthur »

Gordon Gilzean wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:27 pm
... a personal recommendation would be a p and h scorpio....

This one's come up a few times in conversation so I am heading towards P and H - thank you. Just got to find one now!
Don't rush into a Scorpio. Yes, they get good reviews, but there are as many people who can't understand why. A Scorpio can be a handful for a novice - long-ish and not easy to turn. A more manouverable, sub-16ft, kayak might be a better choice.

Take the advice of those who say 'try before you buy'.

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by simon64 »

knowing what sort of trips you want to do will help you narrow the selection down a bit, no point buying a long and fast kayak if you want to rock-hop or explore caves and passages, and don’t worry if its not a “real” sea kayak because maybe a “not real” sea kayak is a better kayak for your needs, i have had so called real sea kayaks and prefer, for my needs, the Stratos, which i think is real, but others don’t, not that it matters.
Also comfort and fit should be a big factor and if a kayak fits you well you will feel more in control of it and probably more stable, and get the right volume kayak for your weight, taking into account any kit you will be carrying, most models have a couple of sizes available.
Have fun trying out the kayaks for yourself and look forward to having some great paddles in beautiful places.
P&H Virgo

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by seawolf856 »

When I started sea paddling (around 6 years ago) the best advice I was given was to join a club and try before you buy. I spent two years learning basic skills in a variety of boats borrowed from the club and on training courses with the many excellent providers local to me on Anglesey. Eventually when I purchased my own boat I bought a Venture Jura and I have paddled it in all conditions ever since. I still have it and I still love it. The list of boats I have tried (and liked) is quite long but includes in particular the P&H Scorpio, P&H Cetus, P&H Delphin, Valley Etain and the Northshore Atlantic, an eclectic mix I know but there is not one boat that 'does it all' and suits everybody otherwise we would all be paddling the same boat. This is always proven beyond doubt when paddling with a decent sized group and at all skill levels, it is rare that two people in that group will be paddling the same boat! (if they are it will more than likely be a Scorpio, as is their popularity).
As Simon64 states, comfort and fit are extremely important, look carefully at the cockpit outfitting and cockpit size for entry and egress. Don't be pushed into buying a 'real kayak' if it simply doesn't feel comfortable. My Jura is labelled by some as a beginners boat but it has never held me back as my skills have developed and it is so comfortable that I can paddle it all day long in conditions which match my moderate water leader level.

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by simon64 »

Put the P&H virgo on your list to try, has a demo today and thought it was lovely, nice and lively but really solid stability and agile too.
P&H Virgo

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by Ken_T »

I would echo Gordon & recomend joining a club if you can, then you will be able to try club equipment & get some coaching.
Ken

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by ARP »

Sean_soup wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:47 am
ARP wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:20 pm
This one's come up a few times in conversation so I am heading towards P and H - thank you. Just got to find one now!
Don't be too hasty, and you shouldn't base your choice on conversation imo, you really want to try before you buy.

When you have a wee bit of experience, either in a club boat or perhaps with a coach who provides the kit for beginners, something like this might be a good way to go: https://www.summittosea.co.uk/sea-kayak ... -kayaks.ir (In this case on Anglesey, but there are probably other shops doing similar.)

Summit to Sea knock the cost of the weekend off any kayak you decide to buy from them afterwards, so if you do choose to buy one it means the weekend was effectively free.
Thank you. I’ll look for their next dates

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by ARP »

simon64 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:41 pm
knowing what sort of trips you want to do will help you narrow the selection down a bit, no point buying a long and fast kayak if you want to rock-hop or explore caves and passages, and don’t worry if its not a “real” sea kayak because maybe a “not real” sea kayak is a better kayak for your needs, i have had so called real sea kayaks and prefer, for my needs, the Stratos, which i think is real, but others don’t, not that it matters.
Also comfort and fit should be a big factor and if a kayak fits you well you will feel more in control of it and probably more stable, and get the right volume kayak for your weight, taking into account any kit you will be carrying, most models have a couple of sizes available.
Have fun trying out the kayaks for yourself and look forward to having some great paddles in beautiful places.
Thank you :)

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by ARP »

simon64 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:31 pm
Put the P&H virgo on your list to try, has a demo today and thought it was lovely, nice and lively but really solid stability and agile too.
Thank you - saw the review :)

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by alexishc »

As still a relatively novice paddler I would agree that for me the Stratos was a great boat to learn in. I would however echo what many other have said before me and that is to try as many boats as you can before you put your hand in your pocket and hand over your hard earned bucks. While I learned in a Stratos I'm glad I didn't but one as when the time came I knew what I was looking for.

Joining a local club is a great way to start, if you haven't already, you'll get to try the club boats and speak directly to club members. There also seem to be plenty of shops around the country that offer various ways to try a kayak and there are always kayak festival too, look in local shops, Eventbrite or one of the similar ones - possibly all done now, but don't take my word on that, I haven't looked.

happy paddling

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by Pedro75 »

I’ve been paddling on and off for 25 years. A couple of years ago I got into sea kayaking and looked for a boat. Having read reviews of Delphins being great for novices I bought a second hand 150 as I’m quite small. It ruined kayaking for me for about 6 months! As it had been quite an investment I felt that I should stick with it until I got used to it but it never happened. One day I had enough and went to a local dealer and bought a Scorpio and have been enjoying myself ever since!
Although I’m not a novice I can get quite nervous on the water and once I’m spooked that’s it. The delphin seemed odd with strange motion with waves on the stern or quarter that I just couldn’t feel comfortable with. The larger 155 may be better.
Anyway I think this backs up the try before you buy point!

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Re: Best sea kayak for a novice

Post by Jonny Hightower »

My sea kayak is a eye-watering-yellow MK I HV Scorpio. Before I bought it I had never tried one, but my kayaking club buddies assured me it was a great boat; at least two of them owned one. I found one in great condition on Ebay for £750 and drove about 3 hours to collect it. When I got there it was pouring with rain, so I looked it over quickly, approved, handed over the cash, loaded it onto the roof bars and drove home.

The following day I tried to sit in it on my patio, but the foot rests wouldn't quite slide forward far enough because the rails were too short (for me). I walked round it for ages looking for things I might be able to adjust so I could get in. Without footwear, I managed to take it out for a couple of paddles but it was close to agony each time. I complained about this at length to my kayaking friends (without breathing a word to my wife) until one of them pointed me to a kayaker who likes to do a bit of mechanical engineering in his spare time, and he made two adapter plates which allowed me to move the foot rest rails further down inside the cockpit without drilling new holes in the kayak. The result is now a supremely comfortable boat, but it was a lesson learned the hard way.

Definitely try before you buy! :-)

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