Kayak recommendations

Looking for recommendations- specific models or just general specs. 

My kids are currently paddling solo Microbootleggers. We’re nowhere near open water so we stick to flat water exclusively. These boats are fantastic, but when I asked about what to build next, they both said “something faster.”

We definitely don’t need sea kayaks for negotiating surf, and I know they’d balk at the instability of an 20’x16” toothpick. We don’t haul around gear beyond a water bottle. The kids are in their teens, so I’m not looking at “kid size” models. 

What are your top picks for a flat water “rec” boat that’s noticeably speedy?



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RE: Kayak recommendations

 Shearwater 14

Chess 14

Chess 16 LT

I'm listing the shorter boats because they will be plenty light, quick and maneuverable, which I presume is a consideration for teens, but the shorter length does put some limits on top end speeds.

And their teen years will be of much shorter duration of the life of the boat, so be sure to remember "room to grow" if the kids are going to grow up big.

Finally, CLC put all the work into the comparison chart on the "boat plans and kits" page.  Looks at the specs, the pictures and dream.  Let the kids be part of the decision - that way they'll never be able to criticize the choice!

RE: Kayak recommendations

the boats above are a good start....fwiw, i would not jump to the conclusion that 20" X 16' (or any other length) are unstable.  its really about hull shape.

the petrel is a great little boat and relatively fast and is only 20 inches wide.  not unstable at all becuase it has a relatively flat bottom and hard chines.

i would add the shearwater sport into your mix as well as the petrel play.

i would also check out the the kayak comparison table:  https://www.clcboats.com/various/specifications.html  which is a great way to quickly go through the CLC inventory where you can plug in you kids weight and other criteria to help you see what you might want to consider.


RE: Kayak recommendations


Fast kayaks are kind of my “thing.”

No doubt that all the boats mentioned above would be faster than your solo Microbootleggers, but only marginally so.  In the endgame, speed is all about LWL (Length Water Line) so to get “noticeably faster” you need noticeably more LWL.  Make sure that you are looking at LWL and not LOA (Length Over ALL).  For example, the Petrel has an LOA of 17’ but the LWL is only 15’.  That two foot of overhang makes it a GREAT boat for waves but does nothing for speed.  From the water’s perspective, the Petrel is only 1.1’ longer than your Microbootleggers.

For flat water speed, you want a boat with a plumb bow and little rocker.  Depending upon the size of your teens, the Pax 18 might be a good choice.  I paddled one that a friend bult and found it to be quite fast and awfully stable for a boat that narrow.  The hull flares out above the waterline so the stability increases quickly as the boat is leaned.  If your teens are (soon to be) over 160# you will have to look at other boats.  Within the CLC stable, candidates are the Mystery, Pax 20, Razor Billed Auk and Night Heron.  With of LWL of just over 16’, the Night Heron would be the slowest of these four.  The Mystery is definitely the fastest, but I would not recommend it for a teen because it is such a hard boat to turn.  The Pax 20 does not enjoy a good reputation for either speed or maneuverability.  If you can live with the 19’ length, the RBA may be a good choice, but Nick mentions that it is not the most stable.

Another boat that you should seriously consider is the Yukon by Nick Schade.  It is not officially in the CLC catalog, but they have the CNC files and can cut the forms for you.  It is probably faster than the Pax 18 and has a higher payload capacity.  I recently completed one and think the world of how it performs.

Outside of the CLC family, look at the Wahoo FSK and Atka FSK by Clearstream Watercraft, and the Panthera by Bjorn Thomassen.

You may also want to read this post, which contains my thoughts on the Wahoo, Yukon and Mystery:   https://www.clcboats.com/forum/clcforum/thread/47316.html

Good luck and happy hunting.

Picture of my Wahoo next to my friend's Pax 18 at the USCA Touring Class Nationals several years ago.  Both oats won GOLD in their respective divisions.

The Mystery hitting the 100 yard sprint line at the end of the 31 mile Chattajack

Yukon on launch day

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