any brand/model suggestions for newbie?

am 5’6" 175 mid 40s guy who just joined the sea kayaking assoc of bc (skabc)…looking forward to exploring this sport.

i’ve been reading how important it is to demo things before you buy…this said, if you’re looking for a relatively easy to track, stable fast and fun kayak I can keep and grow into over the next 2 years before I upgrade, can you kindly toss me a few specific models to look at?

I’ll be mostly canoeing regionally here in lovely BC (host city 2010 winter olympics, btw) along the coast and over on island probably.

I’m jealous. Look at Wilderness
Systems Tempests.

Nice place to paddle
I am extremely happy with my Kruger Seawind. QCC’s 700x is an excellent kayak and very fast.

a few
What brands do you have access to where you are in BC?

There aren’t many "bad’ sea kayaks – it’s just finding one that fits you and that you enjoy.

Given your size, you’ll be more stable than the “average” paddler.

in poly:

Valley Aquanaut LV

P&H Capella 160 or 166

WS Tempest 165 or 170

A used composite boat can be a good value – resale doesn’t drop much after the first owner.

NDK Explorer

VSK Aquanaut or Aquanaut LV

P&H Capella

Impex Montauk or Currituck

Western Canoe and Kayak

– Last Updated: Jul-03-09 9:22 AM EST –

How far are you from Abbotsford?

Western Canoeing and Kayaking has a lot of nice boats to drool over and has demo days July 11, August 8 and August 22 on Mill Lake in Abbotsford BC. That would be a great chance for you to try out some different boats and get a feel for what you like.

I've spoken to some of the folks at Western and they seem very helpful and knowledgable.

If you haven't done a lot of kayaking, as yet, don't necessarily turn away from a boat that feels a little "tippy" initially. In a very short time that sense of instability will likely pass.

Interested in maybe building a kit boat? Pygmy kayak has some great kit designs (if you have the space and time to build). They are located in Port Townsend WA. I believe they have their various models available to demo at their facility. By building a kit boat you could have a very nice kayak that costs half (or less) of what you would pay for a composite boat of comparable size and weight.

There are so many great sea kayak designs available that is is hard to make a specific recommendation because it is impossible to know what your preferences are. Sort of like giving your waist size and inseam length and asking what pair of pants I should buy. Best bet is to paddle a couple of dozen different boats to get a feel for your wants and needs and see what is out there to choose from.

You’re lucky enough to live in one of the premier SK’ing areas in the world, with a number of top outfitters in the area. If I was you, I’d start off by taking lessons and then a few novice rental-boat trips with some of the outfitters, thus giving you a chance to use their boats for several hours at a time. Then I would hit the demos hard, after I know what to look for, and try a couple dozen boats before deciding on one. A good SK is pretty expensive so it’s worthwhile to go slowly, if money is an object. (If it’s not, then just buy the QCC or WS you can get your hands on soonest, and budget to buy another one every 6-9 months to build yourself a nice fleet.)

A different plan
I agree that taking lessons early will help a lot. But, I think you should go ahead and buy any 15 to 17 foot plastic used boat you can sit in comfortably. Use it for a year while you try every other boat you can until you decide what type of paddling you like best. Then you can but the new boat of your dreams with more knowledge in mind. After that sell the used plastic for $100 less than you bought it for on craigslist.

It basically works out that you get a very inexpensive rental for a year and get paddling right away.

One thing I would buy new is a pfd from a good local outfitter.