First kayak

A place to answer questions from newcomers.

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Post by Alm »

Ecomarine sells (on consignment) all brands and models, but I very seldom saw them in store. I only saw hardshells (a lot of them) and Feathercrafts there. They won't allow (probably) assembling there, but will allow a test-paddling. The store is on Granville Island (which is in fact downtown area), with floating dock within 50 meters. Renting some hardshell and/or taking lessons would be better way to get the gist of this "sport". Deep Cove Kayaks or Jerricho Ecomarine branch are close to Vancouver downtown (if you can't find any rentals locally).


Post by gregn »

Heath, Dave is again 100% right. Take a weekend off, hit Granville Island in Vancouver and try a few kayaks there. Ecomarine is set up exactly for your situation. They carry perhaps ten different models, ready to go for a demo paddle right from the dock in the most pleasant and quiet False Creek. They carry full line of Feathercraft kayaks, and also the factory itself is two minutes on foot from the store. They might need a day or two notice for the folding kayaks, but in my case they just used the display ones from the store's ceiling. If you go there, I guarantee that you will be flying back to Calgary with two Kahunas. They are perfectly delicious for a smaller paddler.

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Post by krudave »

gregn wrote: If you go there, I guarantee that you will be flying back to Calgary with two Kahunas. They are perfectly delicious for a smaller paddler.
That would be my guess, also. Great boats.
Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


Post by Alm »

Perhaps already too much advice... Sometimes too much of this is worse than too little... So, to complicate the picture even more - another 2 cents. I don't know, Heath, whether you are subscribed to Paddlewise mail-list. There was quite honest opinion on Kahuna recently. It's a great boat (I own it too), - for a small or average paddler, light, fast, and yet suitable for 6-7 day self-supported wilderness trip (more if you don't carry fresh water for the whole trip). All feedbacks on quality, design and performance of these boats are always very positive. The guy that posted on Paddlewise, wrote of assembling, though. He lives in urban core of NYC and has to assemble it for each and every trip, even a day-trip - and this is not much fun. 25-30 minutes of significant efforts. I won't repeat there all his posting, and this is subjective, some people can do this in 20 minutes, or even like this as a part of the fun. But still something to consider. Not to scare you off - suffice to say that a weekend 2-day, 1-night trip would be the minimum trip duration to me, worth assembling and dissembling (dissembling is much faster and easier).

Also, - Kahuna is not for tall or heavy person. Tall could be OK, though, with not too large shoe size, and/or if he doesn't have to use a rudder.

Also, - you mentioned possible deals on used boats. Kahuna is priced reasonably, yet 2 new Kahunas will cost a bit.

Also, - if you are new to sport - as you mentioned - may be you should try this sport first - by renting hardshells, as Dave suggested. Kahuna will feel very close to typical 16 ft 24-25" expedition fiberglass sea kayak.

Ecomarine is a nice store, with huge selection of hardshells - but I don't remember ever seeing any other folder brand there, except for Feathercraft. Here is the website: . Gear menu is accessed through "Buy equipment" button - you don't have to buy, but click on this button. Very infrequently I buy anything there - only when can't find it in MEC or elsewhere. Their prices are usually higher than in MEC, which is 2 or 3 km away - on Broadway. But compare yourself - and don't forget FC factory-direct sales. Also, with today's exchange rate I won't be surprised to find FC boats cheaper in the USA, than in Canada.

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what boat for me

Post by john allsop »

when I came to ontario 30 years ago I saw that walking is not the same as in england but kayaking was better so before buying a car I decided to buy a boat. It had to be a foldup, after reading an article on folbots and kleppers I bought a klepper it,s lasted 30 years I,ve just replaced the skin, but to be honest I think the original skin might have lasted me the rest of my life, in the beginning I pushed it to the local conservation area on the klepper cart . I,m sure you will be able to see folbots in your area , triak are going to start making a foldup in calgary, and go along to auto-marine the klepper dealer in calgary (the aerius 11 is in my opinion is the better buy) then decide , top quality is not the most expensive, if after 20 years of use and patched you can sell it for what you paid for it or more then a bank loan was worth it.


Post by Alm »

Some things can be understood only if you try them. To me, 28" beam boats are a bit wide and notably slow. Some people can paddle AE1 (or MK1, or Kodiak) for long hours, at 4 nm/hr, without getting tired. I can do this with Kahuna or hardshell, - but not with 28" MK1 (that I also have), - which is said to be faster than AE1 due to better shape, but with 1 ft longer MK1 hull, i.e. longer waterline, this isn't a clear concept to me. The difference in top speed or efforts needed to maintain cruising speed between very slow and very fast folder is probalby no more than 30-35% - with Kahuna vs AE1/Kodiak it's about 20%. These numbers don't say much - but I can feel it a lot. And there will be a difference if you switch from AE1/Kodiak to Yukon. This should be tried - in person.

Price-wise, - for occasional paddler on lakes and ocean bays, with more freshwater than seawater paddling, Kodiak could be better solution than AE1. Assembling difficulties are comparable (both are easier than Kahuna), and with all the optional keelstrips and other upgrades Kodiak will cost (in the USA) much less than AE1 and weigh slightly less, with same hypalon hull, faster drying deck, and reasonably reliable frame. Not to rekindle again the debates of easy field repairs of wooden frames VS easy home repairs of aluminum frame - I think that Kodiak's frame is good enough for short trips on lakes and slow rivers (to say the least). Also, used Kodiaks are sold more often in the USA than used Kleppers - check --> section Buy/Sell. Buying a used kayak without seeing it is risky, but regular Folbot forum users can be trusted (speaking of boat condition, I mean; otherwise, everybody likes his boat, and would tell you that it is the best, the fastest, etc etc).

I am sceptical about lifespan of AE1/Kodiak hypalon skin (not to mention previous natural rubber of Kleppers). It doesn't automatically rebuild itself, replacing aged or damaged cells, as human skin does. Aging of natural rubber, or hypalon (or any current synthetic skin, for that matter) will destroy it in 25-30 years or less, even if the boat won't be used much.

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Post by chrstjrn »

Make sure you look at Folbots and Puffins-- far faster setup, far lower price, both are available in narrow models, and both have very good quality and excellent manufacturer support.
Chris T.
Klymit Packraft
In storage in the US:
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind
'64 Klepper T12
Early '90s Old Town Canoe
'04 Pakboat Puffin II
'05 Swift (prototype)
'84 Hobie 16.


Just buy a boat ...

Post by Franz »

Just buy a boat and start paddling. Of course do as much research as possible first. Two people can give two completely different opinions about the same boat. So really you need to see what works for you and what dosen't.

As for my opinion, i second what Chuck says about Innovas. I have a Solar 405 double which i paddle as a single. It is a great boat for many different occasions. I've had it out in the ocean in some strong head winds and was suprised how well it did. Its only draw back is that it's not fast. It can carry a lot of big bulky gear as long the gear fits in dry bags.
You can get a new one for $800.00 usd.

Kapitän von Klepper

Post by Kapitän von Klepper »

Alm wrote:Aging of natural rubber, or hypalon (or any current synthetic skin, for that matter) will destroy it in 25-30 years or less, even if the boat won't be used much.
I have to wonder if there are any accurate stats on aging of hypolon. The reason is that I recently saw a 30+ year old Klepper go for well more than US$2000. The owner claimed to have had the boat in the water once or twice in its first year and then well stored there after. I tried to negotiate according to what I believed a 30 year old boat in 9+ condition was worth but the seller insisted that it was just as good as a new second hand Klepper. I disagreed for essentially the same reason as Alex (besides the few modifications Klepper has actually presented), but they got their price from another buyer in the end.

We on the forum have already determined that the skin on my AE II can't possibly be the original (rubber vs. hypolon) but it has to be a minimum of 25 years, -20 years of hybernation and 5 years of hard use. It's flexibility seems to be fine, though the rubber bumpers are at the end of their road. The canvas seems fine. I don't treat this skin any more gingerly (perhaps harder) than a new skin, but I more or less expect to have to replace it in the next 5 - 6 years. Now that some of its water (and river) time will be shared with the AE I, I might get 2x that :?

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