As a demographic, we (paddlers) seem to be an aging group: young people are often too preoccupied with electronic doodads to get involved in outdoor activity, and young-to-middle-aged adults are often too busy with families and paying bills to take up a new sport(especially one that requires time and some initial financial outlay). But more and more empty nesters are finding that time on the water is a great way to unwind and experience the peaceful solitude of nature – or a great way to stay in shape and let that competitive side come out. Either way, there are some things none of us seem to fully escape: things like aging knees and a loss of strength over time. The good news is that a new generation of kayaks, like those sold by Stellar, can really help offset those challenges and renew the joy of being on the water.
One of the boats I picked up this year as a demo boat is an S16S in the Excel layup. This is a great boat for the recreational/touring paddler, but it’s also an excellent boat for the older paddler. At 16′ long x 22.9″ wide, with a somewhat flatter bottom, and weighing in at a feathery listed 27.6 lbs (and likely a slightly lower actual weight), this is a performance sit-on-top kayak that has it all while being far easier to handle and enter/exit than traditional kayaks. The S16S has excellent glide and handling, the stability is very comfortable for most paddlers, the hatch handles a large amount of gear, there are thoughtful features like a water bottle holder and leash attachment, and the cockpit is quite comfortable (along with being very ergonomic for paddling).
With a sit-on-top like this entering the boat is a simple matter of straddling the boat in the water, setting your rear in the seat, and bringing your legs over the side. No need to bend knees that don’t like to bend anymore, trying to contort your body to get your legs into a traditional kayak cockpit. Exiting is just as easy – a simple reversal of the steps mentioned. And while many expensive composite kayaks weigh 40 or more pounds, the 27 lbs or so of this boat make it dramatically easier to place on your car or trailer, or carry to the water. Handles on the side, bow, and stern of the boat significantly assist handling as well. For those who want a back band, it’s possible to purchase an after-market back band and attach it to the side handles.
Stellar makes a whole range of traditional kayaks (12′ – 18′) and sit-on-top (surf ski) kayaks (14′ – 21’2″) – as well as some tandems – in a variety of layups, all of which are lighter (and often dramatically so) than most of the comparable boats on the market. Contact me if you would like to check out the S16S or if you’re interested in one of our other boats. You can custom order our boats in a wide variety of colors and trim schemes, as well as layups, if you desire something extra special (at no extra cost for most items).
Keep paddling strong!