I picked up my first kayak (an Old Town Heron 9XT) on Labor Day. I've been using the heck out of it and having a great time. But I wanted to do more. I knew I wanted a sea kayak.
I did a lot of reading online. Read lots of reviews. Decided I probably wanted a Wilderness Systems Tempest 170, but figured I would demo a bunch of them over the coming months and get one sometime early next year. Then I was browsing Craigslist today.
Long story short... I brought home a couple year old Tempest 165, a Werner all carbon paddle, a TON of gear including a wet suit, winter boots, waterproof pants, dry top, several under shirts, two pair of gloves, two spray skirts, a cockpit cover, deck bag, paddle float, bilge pump, and bunch of other stuff... for $600.
Now I have this fancy new (to me) kayak sitting outside begging to be used tomorrow after work. I fit in it perfectly. I Googled around and did all the measurements and I'm a perfect fit for this thing... 5'8, 175 lbs, 29" inseam.
So... given that my only kayak experience so far has been three weeks of paddling a little rec boat around, what should I pay attention to when I climb into this thing tomorrow?
I'll be doing this on the Willamette River here in Salem, Oregon. There's a nice.. dang, I wish I knew what it was called... slough? That doesn't quite fit because it's not that shallow, more like a reverse peninsula.. that's about a mile long by a couple hundred yards wide. It's separated from the river by a narrow little bit of water only about 18" deep by 10-12' wide that prevents anything with a motor, or bigger than an inflatable raft, from getting through. So it's perfect for paddling.
I have no desire to try to roll this thing until I take the rolling class, which won't be for at least a few weeks or more. I'm already signed up for Kayaking Essentials on the 6th, then Rescues on the 14th, and a more advanced Essentials class (this time with Nigel Foster) at the end of October. So after that, I'll do Rolls, and then take the Sea Paddling class, also with Nigel.
But in the meantime... any tips? Or should I just leave the thing alone and keep paddling the Rec boat until I've had training? If I go out, I'll gear up all the way in case I get wet, since the river water is probably in the high 50's now given the cooler weather we've been having.