Reply To: Might try a kayak

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Sheldon Dale
  • Total Posts: 51

I’d say it depends on what you want to do on the water. For example, I used to paddle a MegaRocker but after I got past the beginner stage, it drove me crazy, because it had no edges which made it extremely hard to ferry and peel out. On the other hand, No Eddy Freddie loved his MegaRocker because he just wanted to go down river.

I think the Karma is a step up from the MegaRocker, but it’s far from perfect. Chris Gagnon described the Karma well by saying it will carve … but you have to touch your ear to the water to make it do it.  On the other hand, I think it is very comfortable.  I have a large Karma and I call it the LazyBoy recliner of kayaks. But with relatively little edge it’s harder to  make it stay on a surf wave. It requires a lot more paddle work.  I checked Jackson’s website and it looks like they are no longer making the Karma. But the large Zen 3 is the same volume as the Karma at 103 gallons and is rated up to 280 lbs.  And their large Nirvana is around 97 gallons, but haven’t padded either of those boats.

I also have an extra large Pyranha Burn, which comes in at 90 gallons, but I’m at the upper end of the weight range for that boat. The last few times I paddled it I noticed that I was catching an edge more  than I should. But if I were 20 or 30blbs lighter it would be my favorite boat because of those edges.  Surfing, carving into an eddy, ferrying, and peeling out are really fun in that boat.  Pyranha also has the Machno which is 98 gallons, but I haven’t padded it.

If I were looking for a brand new kayak, I’d be interested in the Machno or the Zen.  You’d be welcome to paddle my Karma or Burn, but I don’t know when I’ll be over that way again.

ON THE OTHER HAND, why ditch the canoe? I have actually been thinking about trying one because 1) I’m not crazy about paddling a kayak at the upper end of its weight range and most of the canoes are huge so it wouldn’t be an issue; and 2) I don’t paddle much in cold weather anymore. Stuffing myself into a spray skirt and closed cockpit in 90° weather is miserable. An open boat just sounds a lot more comfortable to me from that standpoint.

If I want to try out an open boat, what would you recommend?

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