OC1 for a beginner with ocean experience

Hi Paddlers,

I'm trying to get into OC1 and think about getting a boat but there are so many choices and essentially most have good reviews. I'm 5,8 and 165 pounds (unfortunately 54 years old). I've been racing/surfing SUP in ocean conditions for the past 6 years and did OC-6 many years ago. There are a good number of deals for a Huki VX1, Scorpius XS and a Pegasus.

Any advice of which boat I should think about getting? Or any other boats that you think are good for a beginner like me who has paddling experience.

Thanks so much,

Submitted by kkwongusc on Wed, 08/28/2019 - 5:13pm


Here’s my 2 cents, for what it’s worth.

You don’t say where you are. Ocean conditions vary depending on where you live. A canoe that suits you well in Hawaii may not do as well in California.

You also don’t say what your budget is or whether you want a new or used canoe.

Given all that, and your experience in SUP, I’d say you probably want the best canoe you can afford. I don’t think you would want a “beginners” canoe, so to speak, that being an older heavier canoe. With your SUP experience, you would probably quickly outgrow one and want something newer and more advanced. Of course, that may be all you can afford. If so, find the newest, most advanced canoe in your price range.

As far as particular canoes, the two most popular brands at the moment are Kai Wa’a, by Kai Bartlett, and Puakea, by Johnny Puakea. For paddlers of your size, the Ares by Kai Wa’a, and the Kahele by Puakea are the most popular. Puakea is also set to release a new canoe, the Volare, very soon, that also might be a good fit. Kamanu Composites is another popular canoe maker. They offer the Pueo and Pueo X, each in a couple of configurations for different body types. Which is best canoe is often a matter of personal preference, paddling style, and ability.

All that said, if you are in the market for a new canoe, I would suggest trying out the various models before buying. Most dealers can arrange a demo, and there are usually demo days in various places during the season. Although, with the current coronavirus situation, I doubt there will be any demo events in the near future. But, your local dealer should be able arrange something. See the websites below to find a local dealer.

If you’re in the market for a used canoe, both the Ares and the Kahele can be found if you are patient and/or a willing to travel to pick up the canoe. I’ve also seen a lot of used Pueos for sale. This canoe has been on the market for over ten years and gone through several iterations. So, I would try and find a newer version. There are a lot of other very good used older models by Kai Wa’a, Puakea and Kamanu Composites to be found:

Kai Wa’a Canoes
Antares (for larger paddlers)
Scorpius (for larger paddlers)
Scorpius XM (for medium-size paddlers)
Scorpius XS (for smaller-size paddlers)

Puakea Canoes
Kahe Kai

Kamanu Composites
Pueo (with or without forward footwell)
Pueo X (with and without forward footwell)

So, try as many of these as you can. The larger canoes may serve you well too. Visit the various websites for more information:

outriggerzone.com (manufacturer of Kai Wa’a and Puakea canoes)

Also search YouTube. Both Kai Bartlett and Johnny Puakea have videos discussing their canoes and canoe selection.

You might also reach out to and speak with local clubs and paddlers in your area for their opinions and experiences with the various canoes. Although that may be opening a can of worms, as there can be strong opinions about which is the best canoe. But, most paddlers are generous and more than willing to share their experience and advice. Good luck!

#1 Sun, 05/24/2020 - 8:43am

Can't beat CHR15PY's detailed answer but I'll just emphasize "try it before you buy it".

#2 Thu, 05/28/2020 - 9:00am

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