10 ft vs. 16 ft - HUGE difference
Posted by: Kocho on Dec-20-12 8:41 AM (EST)
If you are used to paddling a 10 footer, when you sit in a 16 footer that long boat will feel unresponsive and hard to turn and heavy. And it is! But, it is not meant to turn on a dime like the short boats, even the "well-tracking" recreational 10 footers are MUCH more maneuverable than the most maneuverable of 16 footers.
That said, I fully support what the others say. My first "real" kayak after a short recreational sit on top, was a WS Tsunami 145 - that thing felt tippy for the first few minutes. Then after a few weeks it was rock solid. Similarly, after I moved on from it to a 22" soft-chined (but still very stable, I now realized) 17 footer, I cursed myself for buying such an unstable boat - after a few months it was perfect for me.
I've owned the Zephyr 15.5 for a while and have paddle the 160 and the Tempests. Any of them is fine for a first-time paddler who wants to progress - very quickly that paddler will be comfortable in them. The alternative is to take a transitional boat like the Tsunami, then sell it after a few months like I did. Or stay with it if that's where your limit is - depends on the person.
I now own the P&H Delphin 155. It has more solid initial stability than the Tempests and the secondary is probably similar. So it is more beginner-friendly from that prospective. And is also more maneuverable, so it is also easier to turn. I prefer that in moving water over the Tempests, but for flat water or textured water touring the Tempests are nicer.
I had a chance to paddle an F1, the skin on frame that is touted by some as a great playful boat based on the Mariner. Guess what - it felt like it tracked on rails compared to my P&H Delphin, despite the Delphin being about a foot longer in the water.
So, you really need to have some experience in different boats to appreciate why they are designed the way they are and which kind of boat fits your needs best. Then you need to find one of that kind that fits you well... And be ready to sell it once your skills/tastes change ;)