I recently purchased an Elie Sound 100XE for my wife, and I also am interested in purchasing a boat for recreational kayaking, but am not certain of brands versus use. We will most likely be on slow moving water in WV, but would like to graduate to faster moving (no more than CLIII). I’ve been doing some research (I’m 5’9" 200lbs), and found a good deal on an Old Town Dirigo 106, and was wondering if anyone has experience w/ this boat, or has suggestions on an alternative. Thank you in advance for any advice, I really apreciate it.
Separate your goals
Class 3 is no place for a rec boat like the Dirigo 106, at least for most of us. Not safe. Those boats belong on the kind of water recommended by the manufacturer, which is NOT white stuff. If you really want to learn WW, get a WW boat. They are made to withstand bashes on rocks, maneuver well and are reinforced so that the bow can't get pinned between rocks and collapse (with your legs in it). In any area with good WW there are usually a lot used - WW folks tend to churn their boats more than long boaters.
The Elie Sound doesn't belong on white stuff like class 3 either - despite what someone motivated to sell the boat may have told you.
As to what would work for you on the flats, rec boats do what they are supposed to quite well. They get people out on quiet water and tend to stay upright fairly well, though you won't get great speed out of the 10 footers or find them the best boats for self-rescue or more advanced skills. But they aren't supposed to be used where these things would be critical.
So get on the water with the rec boats (just make sure you get some flotation into that bow). But if you both really want to do WW, I'd suggest that you look around for basic lessons to learn some skills - for example rolls are not optional if you really want to do WW - and used WW boats that would support those skills.
the above advice is good. There is no rec boat made that is a real class 3 boat. I am sure people have made it down class 3 stuff in rec boats, but many folks I have met think high class 1 is class 3.
A good way to go if you are really going to do class 3 stuff is to look into the crossover boats like the LL remix, dagger approach, and Jackson Rogue. Those boats are made for clasS 2 AND 3, but retain some aspects of rec boats.
Thanks Celia and Kebs, I really appreciate the advice. I definately didn’t mean to sound like I wanted to take a rec boat on CLIII…it was late when I typed the post, and wasn’t very clear w/ my question. Sorry for the confusion and thank you both again. As a beginner, I’ll take any / all advice I can get
I am not familiar with that boat. I have seen a number of them, but not paddled one. Wish I could be more of a help there.
With more info
It is certainly easy to see why the white stuff could lure you in your part of the country.
Seriously, whether you get to it by going straight into some whitewater work (I mean lessons with someone who will keep you safe while you learn the basics) or on top of flat water paddling, you will likely want a boat for the latter that will help you gain the skills you'll need later for WW. Rec boats, with their really big cockpits and beamy width, aren't going to be too helpful. For that eventual goal, you might as well start off with a boat that is narrower, maybe wants a little better paddling to go straight and has a well-fitting cockpit.
With WW boats as well as sea kayaks under the porch in various sizes, we obviously aren't people who are real picky about what boat can get you down that road. Altogether it has to be a little better fit to you in terms of volume than a go-straight barge, and has to have a well-fitting (tighter) cockpit.
If you haven't jumped to get a boat yet, and can afford it, the suggestion above to get a cross-over boat is an excellent one. Some of these can be found used at this point - for example the Dagger Approach has a few model years out by now, and they would be fine in terms of paddling with your wife in the Elie.
I really appreciate the advice on the cross overs, and will look around a bit. Unfortunately, our funding is pretty limited, and we’re getting a really good deal on the Old Town…not that the boat is a lock purchase. On another note I can’t believe the fast responses on here. I’ve posted on other different sites not related to kayaking and never a reply…seems like folks are really willing to give advice (at least two are:) Thanks again kebs
More info Re
Thanks to you as well Celia:) I really do appreciate the sound advice. My wife and I have breifly talked about taking some basic lessons and most likely will maybe a little later in the summer. I think ultimately it doesn’t really matter which boat we buy, as long as it’s safe for it’s intended use, and we’re on the water sharing experiences and enjoying the day.