Cate's Kayak and Gear Reviews

Kayak and Gear Reviews from a Small Paddler's Perspective

Here's a list of kayaks and equipment that I have used personally and professionally.  If I haven't written a review about something on the list, feel free to contact me for my thoughts and recommendations.

I find that size and sizing does matter.  I write from my perspective - which is that of a 5' 4" and 120 pound woman who wears size 8 shoe.  I write from a professional kayak instructor's perspective - how does the gear perform for me but also how it works for those with developing skills.

Here's my current Gear -

Sea Kayak (coastal play) - Dagger Stratos 14.5S - updated review coming Spring 2021

Rock Gardening aka Whitewater of the Sea - Pyranha Ripper

Whitewater Kayak (multiday) - I'm Shopping - Any suggestions?

Whitewater Kayak (river runner) - Jackson 2 Fun or Pyranha Ripper

Whitewater and Surf Play - Jackson 2 Fun or Pyranha Ripper

Surf Kayak - Mega Bullit Xs

Drysuit - Immersion Research Shawty

Drytop - Immersion Research Shawty

Sprayskirt - Immersion Research Kling on

Helmet - Shred Ready Zeta

Sunglasses - Maui Jim Pipiwai Trail

PFD - Astral Green Jacket

Footwear - Astral Hiyak

Wetsuit - O'neil D'Lux Mod 5/4

Kayak and Equipment REVIEWS -

Kayak Reviews

Dagger Stratos 14.5S (sea kayak)- My current sea kayak for long boat rock gardening and surfing.

Sterling Progression (sea kayak)

P&H Hammer (sea kayak)

Dagger Alchemy S (sea kayak)

Valley Gemini SP (sea kayak)

Valley Gemini SP - poly (sea kayak)

Dagger Katana 9.7 - multiday river runner and self support whitewater kayak

Jackson Kayak 2 Fun (whitewater kayak) - My "playboat" for low volume river running and playing int he surf.

Jackson Kayak Zen Small (whitewater kayak) - My current whitewater river runner and top pick for small paddlers looking for a great all around whitewater kayak.

Jackson Zen 55 (whitewater kayak)

Jackson Zen 65 (whitewater kayak)

Jackson Karma RG (whitewater expedition kayak)

Liquid Logic Remix 59 (whitewater kayak)

Necky Jive (whitewater kayak) - Great kayak for learning to surf kayak - Still my go to for teaching beginner and intermediate surf kayak classes.

Mega Bullit Xs (high performance surf kayak) - My current hp surf kayak.

Gear Reviews


Immersion Research Spray Decks

Immersion Research Shawty Drytop

Immersion Research Nano Drytop

Astral Green Jacket (pfd/life jacket) - my go to life jacket for whitewater and rock gardening

Astral SeaWolf (pfd/life jacket)

Shred Ready Zeta Helmet

Keen Gorgeous Boots

Astral Hiyak

Oneil Deluxe Mod 5/4 Wetsuit

Adventure Technology Samurai Paddle

Adventure Technology Hercules Paddle

Shred Ready Zeta Helmet

Kayak and Gear Picks for 2012


"Rainy Day Reading"  (summary of several books)


  1. Thanx for reviews of Gemeni Rm & comparing with avocet, helps to make a decision. Wonder why Gemeni is so much cheaper ? ...

  2. My condolences go to you and your family. Thank you for creating this blog. I too am 5"3 115 pds and small framed. After reading several Sea Kayaker magazines I became frustrated at the lack of kayak reviews reviewed by women. A few were reviewed by women but they were heavier/taller. I live in New Brunswick, Canada. Thinkin' of purchasing a sea kayak so I can accompany family. What do you think about the Perception "expression 14.5" for someone my size? It fits well and is comfortable with proper back support. Now I need to try it out on water to be sure it's for me.
    I also tried out a Wilderness Designs with skeg.

    1. Hi Traveling Turquoise Tortoise, Thanks for checking out my blog. I wish that I had access to more kayaks to demo and review. I have not tried the Perception Expression but have a good friend that thinks it is a great day touring boat for smaller paddlers. The best advice that I can give is to try before you buy . Please let me know what you think of the Expression when you try it. Cheers, Cate