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North Shore Kayak leasing program


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Hi all - I recently attended the NSPN "beginner's meeting", and this is my first post here. I'm a longtime hiker looking to get into sea kayaking, and I'm considering leasing a boat for the season from North Shore Kayak in Rockport. Has anybody used their leasing program? Did you have a good experience?

I'm also looking into a rack for my Subaru Outback. The Thule website has a frankly dizzying array of options. If anyone has a rack that they really like, I wouldn't mind hearing about that too. As far as I can tell, I'll be loading a 16+ foot boat by myself.


Kevin Fredette

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Welcome to the message board!

I've never leased a boat from North Shore and their website doesn't give much information beyond the price and what you get for that price. I would say like any lease to look at the fine print for damage policy, lost equipment, etc. As for the racks, I have a J cradle system on my Jeep but I know many people find the the saddle system to be quite easy for solo loading. I primarily use the J cradle system to save space on my roof for multiple boats. Both Thule and Yakima sell the saddle system (I believe Malone does as well) and the systems are generally interchangeable, even with factory roof rails.

Looking foward to seeing you out on the water,

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I have a Subaru Outback and I use the Yakima adapters and round bar on the factory rack. The factory bars are weak and are not good to use without a crossbar.

When loading boats alone, I can load either of my boats using the Malones but can not load alone on my Thule J-Bars. (I own the heaviest Explorer around so if I can load that...) The front edge is just that much higher. I own a couple of sets of the Yakima hully rollers/front holder things (with something shark like in the name) but I don't like how tight you need to strap to them in order to get them to ride right.

As to leasing a boat - probably good if you want to start but don't know what you want or are just testing the waters. On the otherhand, if you buy a good used boat, they hold their value and you could sell at the end of the year w/o anything out of pocket.


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Hi there,

When I first decided I needed my own boat (after renting on an hourly basis the previous summer) I leased a boat from NSKOC. It was an easy and convenient thing for me to do and I ended up purchasing my first boat for the used price at the end of the lease. It's nice because if you decide that that boat is not for you, you just give it back at the end of the summer (September) - no over-the-winter storage issues, either. If you do like it, you can keep it for a fairly reasonable price. I would say this would be a pretty good solution for new kayakers.

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I have a Suburu Forester with J racks on the factory rack. I can get my boat on/off the car by myself from the back-put the bow up first, then slide it forward (although it can be a bit tippy on it's side until it's in place). I put a floor mat on the edge of the roof in back so as to not scratch the roof since I'm kind of short. (I have lost several floor mats this way though from driving of with them still on the roof.) It is possible to fit 3 boats on my car with this system. If I move the racks as close to the edges as possible, a third boat just fits between the racks.

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Welcome!!!! Hey once you get your boat give me a buzz . . . a few of us in the North Shore area paddle locally and a couple of us, myself included, are also pretty new to the sport . . . NSPN has some great level 2 and 3 trips scheduled on the calendar, but if you want to get out for a day with us just shoot me an email :)

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Hi Kevin-

When I decided I wanted to get a 'yak, I tried the leasing program, and also ended up buying my boat and gear at the end of the lease. I'd been paddling a few times before, and rented different boats from different locations, and learned that there was a big difference in how a boat felt after five minutes versus an hour or more. I wanted to be sure that the boat I got would really fit me for all conditions, and the only way to know was to really spend some time in it. I also wanted to make sure that I would use it as much as I hoped in order to justify the expense, and be able to do the practical things like move it, store it, etc. Renting was an ideal way for me to check all of these things out before buying.

As for North Shore Kayak, they were extremely helpful all the way through and a pleasure to deal with. Their advice was sound, and always available. I have since recommended them to many others.

Good luck and have fun-

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Hi Kevin

Welcome! In addition to leasing be sure to take advantage of the weeknight practice sessions offered at various locations hosted by NSPN volunteers. Not only is this great for improving skills but it's a chance to talk shop and try other boats.

Racks really depend on your skills and ability to load/lift/haul. I have an Outback and use only foam blocks and rope (truckers hitch is a great knot to know) I've hauled up to 3 boats on the Outback rack with rope for the tie down with no problems. On long hauls I add a line to the bow and tie it to the tow hooks under the front bumper.

I'm not dissing Thule or Yakima or straps; this is just what works for me....and my cheap yankee ways.


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I have a Subaru Legacy wagon and I have two sets of racks on it, one set is J racks, which are super easy to strap the boat in, but I am not strong or tall enough to easily put a plastic Avocet up in them. So, the other set of components on the other side are saddles and the back set is slighty more slippery than the front. I use these when I'm putting the kayak up myself. I put the blanket I keep in my car over the top of the hatch back, lean the kayak on it and then can shove the boat up onto the back saddles and to the front without much trouble and without scratching the car. It might be possible for me to get the Avocet on the car in other ways but I got in this habit when I owned a barge-like Chinook that was given to me as my first boat and it's easy.

We actually have a second set of J racks on the other car, which we switch to one car if we are both going on a trip since we like the way the boats secure in them better. (We got a good deal on them at an LL Bean outlet.)

Whatever you get, make sure you check that the racks themselves are tight on your car every time you're about to drive somewhere with your boat. And double check that you really did tighten the boat down before you leave too.

I've never leased but I was looking into it when I got given that Chinook. It seems like a nice way to start. And don't be shy to ask people on NSPN trips if you can try their boat/paddle/pfd for a minute or two at the end of a trip or at lunch or whatever. Pool and pond sessions are really great for that too.


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>Whatever you get, make sure you check that the racks

>themselves are tight on your car every time you're about to

>drive somewhere with your boat. And double check that you

>really did tighten the boat down before you leave too.

Yes! I do both by grabbing the stern of the -- hopefully -- secured boat and giving it a vigorous churn in all directions.

I've never had a boat fail that test, but once one did come loose in the straps while travelling. Luckily I was keeping an eye on it, and saw the bow slowly switch from short twitching motion to long circular motion, and realized what was happening.


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