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Sparky Description

The Sparky is a kayak brought to you by Perception. Read Sparky reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other kayak recommendations below or explore all kayaks to find the perfect one for you!

Sparky Reviews

Read reviews for the Sparky by Perception as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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I bought a used Perception…

Submitted by: paddler818788 on 7/9/2020
I bought a used Perception Sparky off of Craigslist last year, and I couldn't be happier with it as recreational boat. It tracks straight, is stable, has footpegs, and has plenty of room inside to stow a small cooler and bag. It has a drainplug that is easy to remove to drain the kayak if needed. I also like that it has a cupholder right in front of the seat. The seat folds down easily, which is handy for transportation and storage (unlike some of the Pelican kayak seats that stick out and don't fold down).

I moved to Vermont in 2003…

Submitted by: lynnb on 7/5/2016

I moved to Vermont in 2003 was quickly introduced to kayaking. The group I was a part of had several different kayaks to use and none seemed right. As a novice I had trouble going straight. As I practiced my paddling, I got better, but the kayaks weren't quite right for me.

THEN I used my friend's Sparky, and loved it. What a difference! I felt very much at home in my little blue kayak. I loved paddling the ponds of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont! Sparky was small enough to fit into my old Honda CRV, poking out the back window. My next car WILL have a rack on it!

Now I'm in Western North Carolina and still use my Perception Sparky. I have no complaints! Love it!


The Perception "Sparky" model…

Submitted by: paddler233501 on 3/15/2010
The Perception "Sparky" model kayaks are just right for us. We have loved going on the lake in them. We are not "into" speeding on the lake and just lumber along in them, enjoying the scenery and the ducks and loons.

They are SO STABLE with their wide beams, and not too hard to get into. We noticed that LL Bean had the perception model called the Manatee. Really the same as the Sparky . A great kayak too.

Hats off to Perception. They are a good competitor to Old Town here in Maine, which also makes nice kayaks.


I love my Sparky! My only…

Submitted by: paddler232539 on 4/23/2008
I love my Sparky! My only complaint is that it's not FAST enough. I guess you can't expect to get a sea kayak out of plastic boat... It's nice and light, easy to throw on top of the car, and I love that it has the foot peddles.

My mom won it for me from her canoe club, but knowing how fun it is now, I'd easily part with $250 for a used one. (rarely buy things new here). I saw a brand new one online for $399 and that included a paddle.

I LOVE my Sparky!! Did I say that already?


This is my first kayak. I…

Submitted by: paddler230704 on 8/2/2005
This is my first kayak. I bought my Sparky for $287, and I couldn't be happier. My wife tried it once, and declared that she wants one of her own. It's very stable, comfortable, fits in my pickup bed, and tracks nicely.

I have owned a Sparky for…

Submitted by: paddler231026 on 4/7/2005
I have owned a Sparky for three years. I just love it! It takes me all kinds of adventures on lakes and rivers. A stable, fun, relaxing boat. Highly recommended for all ages!

I am an experienced sailor,…

Submitted by: paddler230080 on 12/31/2004
I am an experienced sailor, seaman, aviator, etc. My EMS Perception Sparky led me to traverse spots on the planet, well, thrilling...and stop for a swim too. And I thought I knew every millimeter of, say, Fishers Island Sound. How wrong I was. I paid less than $400 I recall. Perception, I feel like a remorseful adolescent shoplifter. Please send me an invoice...

I wanted an in expensive…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 11/11/2004
I wanted an in expensive starter / recreation kayak. Have had the Sparky for 3 summers and it is perfect for me. Great for protected bays, lakes, mild rivers. Adjustable foot pegs great for hours of paddling. You can move them up or back to change leg and sitting position. If your are old and creaky like me you will appreciate the large opening and the great adjustable seat. I find myself getting uncomfortable after awhile so I change the seat and/or foot peg position and it helps. Not for riding ocean waves or big rapids but great for almost everything else. Great job Perception!

I bought a Galyan's Explorer…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/26/2004
I bought a Galyan's Explorer 9.5, which is a Sparky 9.5 with a different label. In the water, it is a real joy, stable, surprizingly good tracking given its length, and much more useable in wind and waves than I expected. I also find it comfortable. I have tried a number of small rec kayaks such as the Pelican Wave, Liquid Logic Sapphire, Mainstream Streak, Old Town Otter, and Wilderness Systems Critter, and they just do not match the Sparky/Explorer, especially when you factor in the price. I can even take my 4 1/2 year old son with me, although it is a bit constrained, and for that reason have also purchased a tandem kayak, a Mainstream Prowler/Cruiser Sport. If you want a small kayak that is light enough to carry places away from roads and to easily load onto a roof rack, this boat is definitely worth a look.

My wife and I purchased to…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/12/2004
My wife and I purchased to red Sparkys this summer and have just had a blast. We have paddled our local lakes and have even taken them down to Cape Cod in the rivers and ponds. They are very well made and trimed out for such inexpensive yaks. Very stable and quicker than people think for short boats. I love to fish with these.There is plenty of room for me and my stuff.I may go for a longer touring boat next, but I'll still keep Sparky.

We purchased two of these…

Submitted by: paddler230714 on 7/29/2004
We purchased two of these earlier this summer. Great little kayaks these things are stable as can be and are blast to paddle around on. We have had these on slow moving rivers as well as large lakes. We even had them out on a windy day on the lake and they handled the large swells just fine, actually that was probably the most fun I've had. We plan on purchasing another one for my eight year son. Great kayaks!

We sold 2 Old Town 160T's…

Submitted by: paddler230645 on 6/24/2004
We sold 2 Old Town 160T's (tandems) last fall because they were just too big (16') and heavy (85#) and dificult to store. This spring we purchased 4 yellow Sparky's (we call ourselves the "Banana Bunch!), and thoroughly love them for both their performance and size. The drain hole makes them a snap to clean out also!

I am a 60 year retiree who…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/18/2003
I am a 60 year retiree who has never owned a kayak. I thought I would like to try an entry level recreation kayak. I purchased the Sparky 9.5 from EMS in Newington N.H. I chose the Sparky solely for looks (and color--Aqua) and not necessarily for performance (don't forget I knew nothing about kayaking). Having used the kayak all summer on a lake in Maine, I am thoroughly pleased with it's performance for quiet water kayaking. I liked the Sparky so much that I purchased another one for my home in Florida. I am looking forward to paddling the Florida Everglades. I would definately recommend the Sparky for maneuverability,stability, and ease of transporting as it only weighs 38 pounds.

This is my first kayak... I…

Submitted by: paddler230235 on 7/7/2003
This is my first kayak... I absolutly love it! Right now it is only being used on the lake, but it has been great to help me learn the basics of kayaking and hopefully soon i'll be able to move up to whitewater! If you're looking for a first kayak to learn with this is a great choice... its really hard to flip unless you're just trying to. My father who has lots of problems with hips and knees found them very stable to get in and out of... HIGHLY RECOMMENEDED!!!!!!

Last spring I purchased an…

Submitted by: paddler230081 on 3/31/2003
Last spring I purchased an Otter and a Sparky. After one outing the Otter was returned and a second Sparky was purchased, mostly due to the lack of foot pegs. I have used the Sparky in both small rivers and inland lakes and it performed nicely. The boat is so stable I even tried duck hunting out of it once, this proved to be a bit cramped. In my group of friends, a few have 12' Loons, and if I let them, they will gladly swap for the day.

Hi! This is my first kayak…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/7/2002
Hi! This is my first kayak (have been canoeing for many years) This is a very stable little boat which tracks well and will float in less than a foot of water. I did manage to tip it on my second day out -entirely MY FAULT not the boat's! (see, there was this tackle box on the bottom that I thought I could reach...) the boat is very forgiving, but push it too far, and it is hard to recover. I have since ridden class 1-2 rapids (without a skirt) battled smallmouth bass and caught a 12 pound catfish (after a ten minute fight - being dragged all around the river...) without a problem. My 9 and 6 year old daughters love it - the 6 year old can go out by herself (in still water with a pfd) or sit in front of me and paddle. This is not a white water boat, but is GREAT rec. boat and when pushed to its limits can handle small rapids - don't go higher than class 2 without a skirt!

I bought a Sparky a little…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/26/2002
I bought a Sparky a little over a week ago. As a rec boat, it's fine, tracks well, and is incredibly stable and forgiving. This past weekend, I took it down the Fife Brook section of the Deerfield (Class I-II), and found that it has its limitations as a whitewater boat. It tracks too well, and doesn't exactly turn on a dime. I probably did twice the work of everyone else, but it was fun, nevertheless. The Sparky blew right over or through most anything I encountered. I wouldn't recommend it as a whitewater boat, but the fact that it could go there at all was impressive.

I bought 2 boats the other…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/28/2002
I bought 2 boats the other day. One was the Sparky and the other was the Old Town Solitude. The Sparky was for my son (11) and the other was for me. The Sparky did great. My son was paddling circles around me. The solitude was a little bit unstable and didn't maneuver as well as the Sparky. The Solitude also sit lower in the water. Even though I weigh about 210 it was still unstable when my son got in it. We took the Solitude back the next day and exchanged it for another Sparky. We now have 2 of them and took them about 4 miles the first day. They were great. On small rivers they are easy to maneuver and you can float across most shoal with only about 3 inches of water. These are our first kayaks and we plan on using them about 3-4 times a week all summer. At 38lbs they are easy to load on the car and put in. I am very impressed.

My 1st kayak and it is…

Submitted by: paddler229617 on 3/19/2002
My 1st kayak and it is everything I wanted in a kayak. I am 63 years old and can put it on my car with no trouble. Have ran Juniper Springs run , twisting and winding for 5 1/2 hours with no problems. It has great stability and I find it tracks well. Have had it in the Halafax river and with the waves of huge yachts it just bobbed around like a cork and did not feel tippy. It even did well with a 15mph headwind. Great little Yak.

This is my first kayak and I…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/17/2001
This is my first kayak and I love it. At $251 (after Perceptions $50 mail-in rebate) it's the best fun-per-dollar investment I ever made. I used the savings to buy an upgraded paddle (Seaquel).