Everglades Exploration Network

Dear paddlers,

I want to do a paddle from Everglades City to Flamingo sometime this coming winter, and I currently don’t have a kayak large enough for such a trip. Right now I am using a recreational 13’ kayak and it works great for day paddles or just camping out a night or so, but it won’t be able to hold myself, my gear, food, and the ton of WATER required for a longer trip.

Therefore, I am researching touring kayaks so I can add one to my collection and I want to make sure it will be a good fit for week long paddles through the Everglades.

I am 6’3’’, 30 years old and weigh 205 pounds.  I guess I would be considered a large guy, but not fat… so I’m going to need a boat better suited for tall/broad guys.

Kayak Fari, what kayak do you use? I see a yellow one in a lot of your photos, but can’t tell what it is and I couldn’t find the info on your website.

Anyone else who has done a solo thru trip in a sea kayak have suggestions or care to share what kayak they used or wished they had used?

Right now I am leaning towards an Epic 18x http://www.epickayaks.com/product/product/epic-18x

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Congratulations!

May she serve you well!

Awesome looking boat and one you wont see everyday down here. Congrats and best of luck!

I was going to question your weight for gear. Now, I understand. Congratulations, and good luck with your kayak.

Nice looking boat Jason! :)

Don't forget to practice and perfect your paddle float re-entry and work on your high bracing skills!!

Enjoy!

Yes Flex! Thank you for the practical advice. Considering you are the one who told me about the sandbar I was just camping on, you also know how strong the waves and currents can get around that area. There were definitely a couple times when my heart was racing, but you are correct. It is just a matter of practicing and getting the proper education. I am definitely not yet prepared for a solo thru trip, and I probably should not have gone out to that sandbar by myself. But at least I know my skills will only keep improving as I learn more with each trip I take.

I've been watching lots of videos on high and low bracing as well as edging for turns so I will probably go out and practice that tomorrow. Also I messaged the kayak instructor I have previously used and asked him to set up a lesson specifically around bracing and paddle float re-entry. 

There is a big difference between recreational kayaking and sea kayaking. On the plus side I have a lot of stamina from doing 15 miles days in a 32" inch wide kayak... but the sea kayak isn't quite as comfortable as the recreational one. And I do miss that extra room and comfort while I'm in my new kayak. I also feel like I'm going to capsize more in the sea kayak. My recreational kayak feels a lot more stable, but it's not nearly as fast. The 19ft sea kayak also stays in a straight line, especially if I use the skeg, whereas my 12.5ft rec kayak will veer off course very quickly in comparison.  

What about the weight? Too much or too little? 

Jeremy Clark said:

I was going to question your weight for gear. Now, I understand. Congratulations, and good luck with your kayak.

This is good Jason, you're getting some great experience dealing with wind, currents and waves! ;)

The difference between your two kayaks is that in your (comfy) sit on top .. you ride on top. This means that you're effectively an occupant on top of the craft, and the craft is simply responding to the conditions. If it's calm and flat, your sit on top will feel calm and steady. If you're in choppy waves, you'll conversely get tossed about on top because the boat has a flattened design and can only respond in a limited way.

In contrast, in your new sea kayak, you will need to actually wear the boat. This means that you and the boat become one unit, and it is now YOU, not the boat that should be directing things. So when you're in choppy conditions or want to ride waves, you can lean into and direct the kayak as needed, resulting in a smoother and more controlled ride. In a sea kayak, you don't just react to conditions after they occur - instead you can proactively direct your boat by reading ahead of the conditions. This way you can always optimize your angles so that you keep moving forward efficiently!

It's a different way of thinking about boats - you're not limited to just being an occupant, you ARE the boat! :)

To do this you'll need to practice and perfect your high brace. Actually you might even consider adding thigh straps to your sit on top and using it to practice with. You're gonna dump out repeatedly, it's a pain to have to pump out or empty your sea kayak all the time. With thigh braces, you can learn to put the boat on it's edge, maybe even go surfing which requires very quick responses, so an excellent way to learn quickly! Once you're comfortable playing on the sit on top you can transfer the skills to the sea kayak. Btw, the high brace with the addition of a "hip flick" is what makes rolling a kayak!

Not sure what kind of seat setup you have in your Baltic boat, but you can always customize with foam, backrest and a gel seat pad. I would spend some time and properly adjust everything like your footpegs, thigh braces and seat. The aim is to be "actively comfortable"!



Jason Jones said:

Yes Flex! Thank you for the practical advice. Considering you are the one who told me about the sandbar I was just camping on, you also know how strong the waves and currents can get around that area. There were definitely a couple times when my heart was racing, but you are correct. It is just a matter of practicing and getting the proper education. I am definitely not yet prepared for a solo thru trip, and I probably should not have gone out to that sandbar by myself. But at least I know my skills will only keep improving as I learn more with each trip I take.

I've been watching lots of videos on high and low bracing as well as edging for turns so I will probably go out and practice that tomorrow. Also I messaged the kayak instructor I have previously used and asked him to set up a lesson specifically around bracing and paddle float re-entry. 

There is a big difference between recreational kayaking and sea kayaking. On the plus side I have a lot of stamina from doing 15 miles days in a 32" inch wide kayak... but the sea kayak isn't quite as comfortable as the recreational one. And I do miss that extra room and comfort while I'm in my new kayak. I also feel like I'm going to capsize more in the sea kayak. My recreational kayak feels a lot more stable, but it's not nearly as fast. The 19ft sea kayak also stays in a straight line, especially if I use the skeg, whereas my 12.5ft rec kayak will veer off course very quickly in comparison.  

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