I'll give you some reasons why the Pungo is not likely to work for you: no bow bulkhead, oversized cockpit, short and wide with relatively flat bottom. This is a recreational kayak, meaning it is for warm water floats in ponds and shallow slow streams. It will not handle chop or waves well (a large powerboat wake could flip it -- this is a drawback to wide flat boats that seem "stable" in still water). The lack of fore and aft bulkheads means if it capsizes it will sink with the stern in the air and be nearly impossible to re-enter. It does not have sufficient storage capacity for camping gear (I see from your profile that you are campers). The large cockpit doesn't support a spray skirt well which means paddle drip and spray will get water into the hull -- this means cool water paddling will be uncomfortable. NOT a boat for anywhere in Lake Erie or even Lake George or the Finger Lakes. Even a calm day on the Great Lakes can turn to heavy wind and waves in minutes. A father and young daughter drowned last month on Lake Erie after setting out on a "calm day" in similar boats. Putting a Pungo in the Great Lakes would be like driving a golf cart onto the Turnpike.
Plus these boats are slow due to width. Something a few feet longer and 4" to 6" narrower will perform much better in a range of conditions and be more fun and versatile. Your smaller girlfriend will likely bang her knuckles paddling a 29" wide kayak. I'm the same height as her and my kayaks are 21" to 23" wide. You really both need different sizes or even models -- kayaks should be tailored to the user. She would swim in a Tsunami 125. A 120 would fit better and a 140 would be more versatile. There are other lower volume kayaks that might be more suitable. Elie and Venture are both brands that make some decent lower volume models. You "wear" a kayak as much as you sit in it. You need decent body contact with the sides and not to be sitting too deep in the hull.
I agree with Celia that you should find a good local specialty outfitter and get a qualified salesperson to introduce you to the different types of boats. Better yet, take an intro course in kayaking -- well worth the money. Kayaking is NOT intuitive and getting the basics of paddling technique, entering and exiting and dealing with capsizes will greatly enhance your enjoyment and safety. Many outfitters have Spring "demo days" on local waterways where you can get the feel for different boats.
Be wary of reviews. Think about it: most people are reviewing their first and only kayak when they post these and have little to compare it with. And most people would not admit that they made a poor choice anyway. Everybody has the greatest dog, the smartest kids and the best kayak, after all.
Free Standing Boat Racks
|Table of Contents|