Grandchildren and family who want to try kayaking resulted in additions to our kayak fleet this year. An Ocean Kayak Venus 11 Sit On Top and Cascadia Tandem, both from LLBean, joined our Wilderness System Tarpon 160is.
Advertised as a woman’s kayak easily loaded onto car racks the Venus 11 weighs 44 pounds. While it may be light enough to load, the length and width makes it awkward. At 5 ft. 3 inches I found it impossible to get a good grip to pick up the Venus. A kayak cart would have made loading quite manageable. Unfortunately, due to it’s short length the Venus widens quickly at the stern and wouldn’t fit into our standard cart. I’m debating whether to spend $100 to purchase a wider cart. Taller kayakers with longer arms could easily load this kayak individually.
Outside of the disappointment in loading difficulty everyone who has tried this kayak finds it fun. It’s light and glides quickly. For those use to paddling a longer kayak it doesn’t glide as straight. But it is perfectly usable for a full day trip.
A front hatch kit is available (purchased from Austin Kayak) and was easily installed following the detailed directions. Be aware it will take at least 2 sets of hands to install the neoprene cover the first time, and several times following until it stretches. The hatch kit gives the Venus some in hull storage. Use dry bags both here and in the small hatch in front of the paddler. They both tend to leak. All in all a good investment for what we wanted since it was purchased from LLBean on a 20% off weekend.
Our second addition was a Cascadia Tandem also from LLBean on 20% off. We refer to these two kayaks as Baby and the Beast. The Cascadia weighs 74 pounds. If you’re going to transport this kayak be sure you have the ability to lift and load. After several experiments we found the Thule Slide and Glide to be the best way to transport the Beast.
Following recent surgery my kayaking was limited to riding in the front of the tandem. I love it. The seat is comfortable, and sits in deep enough for an incredibly dry ride. This kayak has the flexibility to be used both as a tandem or a single. Both ways work well with the Cascadia.
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