Hi @LurkingPedal - I figured I’d give you some different perspective as I am a beginner who uses a pedal kayak.
I understand there are plenty of good reasons against it - especially if the weeds and plants make it tough for the pedals, or if the weight is too much of a concern.
But I started kayaking last year with a very basic sit-on-top kayak…it was fine, but I wanted something that was a bit faster, and I was intrigued about using my legs instead of my arms for getting around (I don’t fish so that wasn’t a consideration for me).
So this year, I rented a couple sit-in kayaks as well as a Hobie Passport:
The sit-in ones felt way better than my original sit-on-top one, as I was able to get pretty good speeds without too much exertion from my arms. I did find the process of getting in and out to be a pain, and the seating + limited ability for bending or stretching legs wasn’t ideal.
The Passport felt like a great compromise for me. The speed I could build through pedaling was pretty impressive, I could go for a very long time without getting tired, the ease of the sit-on-top was nice, and you still can paddle with your arms if you want to give your legs a break (though it’s not that enjoyable - there aren’t spots to brace your legs to give yourself more leverage, like a more standard sit-on-top where there are slots or notches for your feet).
I ended up buying the 12ft Passport and have been very happy with the purchase. The more I’ve used it, the more I’ve enjoyed the hands-free aspect of it…taking pictures/videos more easily, drinking my water bottle without having to stop moving, etc. And I’ve been going longer distances with less soreness or discomfort as the legs really are great tools for getting around.
Happy to answer any questions you might have on it from a fellow beginner’s perspective. I’m sure the advice from the many more experienced kayakers here is great as well, but thought it would be helpful for some perspective from someone who does own a Passport (and is happy with it).