Free diver looking for the right kayak

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SuperheroRobot
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Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by SuperheroRobot »

Hi,

I enjoy free diving in Monterey Bay California. I'm interested in getting a kayak but I do not have the storage space for it. I would primarily use this kayak in the ocean, and would need to get in and out in the water. I've used non foldable kayaks before for free diving, so I have some experience.

These are my interest or needs...
- I'm not too concerned with assembly time or complexity. I have a VW westfalia, so I could put it on top. I just don't have a place to stow a non foldable.
- Probably wouldn't take it on a plane, so size and weight aren't a concern.
- Something that's reasonably stable in the water and somewhat open so I can get in and out in the water.
- Performs well, something comparable to a non foldable kayak used for diving, like a sit on top.
- Something that can handle mild waves, not flat, but some small waves.
- Reasonably repairable.
- Gear space. As a free diver I don't cary much gear and I don't hunt, but some space to cary gear would be nice.

Thank you for any advice.

voyageur
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by voyageur »

I think you're going to have to look for some kind of outrigger system to make it easy enough to get back in, but once you add that then any good folder should work for you.
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SuperheroRobot
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by SuperheroRobot »

Hi, thank you for your response. I've used non foldable sit on top kayaks for free diving without an outrigger. However an outrigger would be nice :)

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

If you could find a Feathercraft Java, an inflatable sit on top with a partial frame to add rigidity, in good shape that could be an option. The company closed 4 or 5 years ago but they made high end boats that are very durable and seaworthy. I've owned 3 Feathercrafts -- my first was made in 1995 and the guy I sold it to was still using it the last I heard a year ago. The one I still have is 16 years old and still in perfectly functional condition. They do occasionally come up for sale -- I have seen two for sale this year. The Feathercraft catalog is still up -- here's the link to the spec sheet and image: http://feathercraft.com/sit-on-tops/java/

I expect you would need a fairly long boat like this to be able to reliably move it through rough water and shoreline currents and wind. Shorter inflatable sit on tops can prove very difficult to get back to the beach in even moderate conditions. And having the reinforcement frame means it will stay rigid as you are climbing back aboard.

There is also the Kokopeli Moki, though technically classified as a "pack raft" at 13' it is longer than most, also has a tracking skeg and they do describe it as suitable for open water and coastal conditions. Not as much gear space as a Java and the larger sponson tubes may make remounting in the water more challenging, but the price is right at $800. Used Javas are usually between $1000 and $2000 (they cost nearly $4000 when new).

https://www.airkayaks.com/kokopelli-202 ... 64QAvD_BwE

Video of the Moki. I notice they are a little more conservative about intended usage than the Airkayaks site:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wgq-TVit_3c
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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

This guy made a 20 minute video on the types of inflatable kayaks that offers some good guidelines and shows a number of models. You have to tolerate or skip through a bunch of paid ads and put up with his meandering (about dating advantages of kayaking) but there is good info here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U8u_rkNTSY
Current:
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Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
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Previous:
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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Innova has a new inflatable called the Rush, made with a drop-stitch floor (for a more rigid platform). Might be a viable option as it also includes a skeg and is designed for better tracking.

The problem with ANY of these boats is that you are unlikely to be able to get one shipped before next year due to the current run on watercraft due to people being off work and also unable to travel for vacations and seeking recreational options close to home.

https://www.theboatpeople.com/solo-tour ... ble-kayak/
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

Jake
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by Jake »

The Rush might serve well as a dive boat if you use a simple paddle float to clamber back into the boat. Also check out the Innova Safari. It’s self-bailing and might be more difficult to re-enter from the water but, if you do a lot of free diving you’re likely in good physical shape and a paddle float re-entry should be easy enough. The last time I spoke with Lee at The Boat People, he was selling the Safari for $649 including shipping. Can’t beat that price. Don’t know about availability but I’d guess that casual buyers with a lot of time on their hands these days are shopping for cheap rubber ducky pool toys and not the boats that Lee sells.

kayakspearo
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by kayakspearo »

Hi,
I have a Feathercraft Java and I do it all the time. Here is a couple of videos I made (you will need the password : kayak) :
https://vimeo.com/217246750 (in Panama)
https://vimeo.com/161579508 (in Australia)

I use the Java for air travel. It is inflatable and very durable but still an inflatable. You can't leave it in the sun for too long when you are not on the water so leaving it on you VW is out of the question. I have cartopped it for short distances though. Javas are not made anymore unfortunately. The main problem with inflatables that you will find on the market is that they are NOT self-bailing. The Java IS self-bailing. In the ocean, it's a must. You simply CANNOT go on the ocean on a sit-on-top that will not empty itself when (not if : when) waves dump into it. Good hunting!
Feathercraft Java and K2
Homemade sectional hardshell
Homemade inflatable surfski
Rigid surfski (Epic V10sport)

Rob
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by Rob »

I'm a freediver too, know the area well, having dived in Monterey and Carmel regularly since 1978, for a couple of decades, before moving from the Bay Area.

I've done a lot of kayaking there too. Took lessons from Monterey Bay Kayaks back in the day to learn to perform self and group rescues. They're great people to do business with.

Given your posted parameters, I'd just buy a single or double, plastic, sit-on-top kayak like MBK rents, or used to, back in the day. I suspect they still do. Nice and beamy - not great for paddling fast, but very stable as a diving and/or spearfishing platform, with a low side profile, so easy to get back in. Reasonably "shark-proof" too, on the very rare chance some big toothy fish comes along looking for a meal. I suspect it'd be a lot more survivable than a skinned, folding kayak in that eventuality, which though, while extremely rare, does happen - see footage of a guy in Monterey after an attack, and read the two reports on the BASK.org site under Trip Reports. I think ALL were using plastics, and survived. Not sure about the SoCal events.

Anyway, look on Craiglist, or other sites, and see if you can find a used one for sale to save you some money. If not, check with MBK too, since they might be able to make you a deal.

No, I haven't forgotten about the storage issue. MBK will be happy to keep your new (and/or "new-used") kayak there for you, on the premises, for a small monthly, or annual fee (don't know if they give a discount for an annual deal, but it never hurts to ask). It'll be there waiting for you, at the water's edge, whenever you want it, and no issues with transporting, etc., unless you decide to cart it away on an excursion somewhere else in the state.

If you change your mind, and decide you want to buy a folding boat to keep at home, or carry to far-flung places, I'd look at buying a Folbot first, and Klepper second. Both are nice and beamy, so more stable than others when getting in and out, appear to have a fairly low freeboard, and the Folbots are less expensive. Kleppers are very similar, though more expensive. Both should get the job done, if you decide you want one your can store under the bed, or in the closet at home.

Almost forgot, Royaks are still a thing, and you can occasionally find them on-line, used, as well. They're a purpose-built, diving kayak, primarily made for spearfishermen and guys going for abalone, etc.. You mention you don't hunt, but you could still use the storage compartment for a camera, lunch, a cooler with ice cold drinks, and other gear, as desired.

I hope that helps. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. I'll be happy to assist.

SuperheroRobot
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by SuperheroRobot »

Thank you for the advice. What about the Pakboat Quest 150? Would anyone recommend this kayak?

Rob
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by Rob »

I've seen one listed for sale, used, fairly recently.

Don't know anything about it, but I'd check the Pakboat file, since IIRC, there are a number of comments about it there. From what I recall, it seems like a decent design, and some people liked it/them.

I'd never even heard of it, or many others listed here, until I joined the group.

More beamy folders would be easier to climb in and out of, I suspect, like the Folbots, Kleppers, and Long Hauls.

squirtdad
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by squirtdad »

pakboat xt-17 sorta close to OP Stockton https://sacramento.craigslist.org/spo/d ... 67878.html
Work keeps getting in the way of kayaking, SUP, windsurf, bike and fiddling in the garage activity.

squirtdad
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Re: Free diver looking for the right kayak

Post by squirtdad »

Work keeps getting in the way of kayaking, SUP, windsurf, bike and fiddling in the garage activity.

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