another newbie

I am a first time buyer who went with the big box store buy. I got me a Perception Swiftly 9.5. Mind you I enjoy it a lot. After my first time on the water. The kayak bug has bitten me. Already looking to upgrade, I have grand plans of kayaking. But would like not to keep having to upgrade. I see myself mostly on lakes, rivers(not whitewater), and intercoastal waterways. Possibly maybe ocean eventually. Day to weekend camping. I am a hair under 6’ and weight 190lbs. Looked at a hurricane tampico 140L and got all tingly in my special area…lol Asked if the place I was looking had a demo day. They said right before the season. So I assumed spring. I am in Charlotte NC. But have family around the state I could visit to kayak. Any suggestions if I should look differently in my upgrade and if anyone knows of demo days in NC/SC before spring. I don’t want to buy again before I try. Thanks all of you. I love reading the message boards.

The Large version of the Tampico would fit you and they are nicely made boats. But as you likely already know, you shouldn’t buy a kayak based on appearances.

Check with your local dealers as to when they are planning demo days (though most have them in the Spring). Most good independent kayak dealerships will usually have shop demo boats too and can arrange on the water test paddles at nearby waterways. If you have a choice of small indie shops rather than big box sporting goods stores you will get better information, product and services.

Don’t limit the size range of kayaks you test out – stay open-minded about the style and dimensions of the boats until you have a chance to feel what they are like in the water. Keep in mind where and how you may want to do most of your outings and discuss that with the salesperson. That will have the most impact on what hull shape and size you go for.

My opinion is you should, if at all possible, never buy a kayak until you have sat in it on the water AND have lifted and tried to carry it. Too often people buy boats that are so heavy and awkward to transport that it limits their usage of them. The Tampico is a decent 45 lbs – some kayaks in that length range are closer to 60 lbs.

Everyone must be on vacation
So I’ll give my opinion. I got bitten just over a year ago myself and am much poorer money wise but richer in life because of it. Great family sport. First off I have no experience with the model you are looking at but looking at it’s dimensions and yours it seems a little small unless you are talking narrow twisty rivers. But if its big lakes and flat wide rivers I’d consider looking at something like a WS Tempest 170. A good all around sea kayak you can grow your skills with. I’d look for 16 feet minimum and no more than 22 inches wide. That way you won’t have to upgrade again.

Major Demo day in Greensboro

– Last Updated: Aug-07-12 11:39 AM EST –

There will be a major demo day here in Greensboro on Aug 18 put on by Get:Outdoors and the City of Greensboro if you are interested in driving up here. They mostly handle Wilderness, Perception, and LiquidLogic brands but there is supposed to be a lot of boats available to test paddle. There will also be seminars during the day. Only cost is for parking at the marina.

Web link for more info is here:

I would go for longer
Since you mention lakes and even the ocean I would be thinking of something longer than 14 feet. I go with a group on tuesdays on lake Erie and the minumum length they want is 14. The discription of the Tampico says

Key to Ideal Use

1 = Quiet lakes and rivers

2 = Day touring quiet coastal waters and larger lakes

3 = Coastal waters, day trips, overnight tripping

Notice “quite” . Just saying to also consider something longer too. Like the other poster said most kayak stores will let you test paddle the kayak before you buy. One other note if a shop lets you test paddle it make sure they will let you test it in conditions you might actually end up in. I met a guy who bought a kayak but only test paddled it in some tiny little pond next to store. Then he went out into the lake and kept tipping over and really hated it.

I went through the upgrade path with a Dicks Sporting Goods 13 foot kayak then a little bigger then again and now iam in a 17’ 9" fiberglass kayak.

Much appreciated
I will look around for some places that more specialize in kayaks,and see if they have demo boats. Where I saw the Tampico was at an Outdoor Provision company. I did ask and they have a demo day in spring. Maybe it is good that most of them are in the spring so I do not rush into anything. Thanks again.

sent the link to the wife(boss). Can’t think of anything better to do that day…

Most shops…
at least in Ca. will let you rent and will take the rental cost off the boat you eventually buy. I rented several boats before making a selection and wish I’d done even more.

Also, this time of year, many rental fleets are refreshed and shops often have discounts available on used, but quite serviceable craft. You may be able to talk to the shop owner and get some personal consideration there as well.


I will concur with the previous poster. I have yet to buy my first kayak but I will be renting from a small store in GA. They rent by the day and you get money off if you purchase within a few months of the rental. I plan to take full advantage by paddling as many different environs as I can drive to in a day.

I will
I will look around my area and see about renting…