Beginner kayak suggestions?

Hey! I was wondering if anyone could help me out a bit. I’m a 15 year old boy, 5’7". I’ve been out a few times already with my uncle, who owns a couple of Pelican’s. As I’d already been on them and rather enjoyed it, I was looking at getting myself a Pelican of some sort. In the process, I found the Summit 100x Angler that I thought looked pretty decent. Sadly, I couldn’t find many reviews, and the few I did find didn’t seem to be too fond of it. As I looked, the more I discovered that many people don’t seem too fond of Pelican as a whole. I was wondering if anyone could shoot me some suggestions. I want a sit-in, and I would like it to be able to move at a fair speed without exhausting me in an hour. I would also like an angler but it isn’t necessary, as I can install my own rod holders. Most importantly, however, is the price. I can’t spend more than $500. Any recommendations? Thanks for the help!


Are you looking for just a boat or boat and paddle for $500? There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of quality boats in that price range. To be honest you’ll probably going to get a lot more value for your money if you keep an eye on Craigslist and look for a nice used boat.

That’s what I would do.

It will be easier for folks to help you out if you give an idea of your location. Makes it easier to search Craigslist. Or, you can search it yourself and if you find anything of interest, ask about it here.

Some options:
First - inexpensive kayaks like the pelican series have their uses. You can get out paddling in the at low cost. Their appropriate uses are in small lakes, ponds, & small quiet streams. You won’t go fast, they aren’t too comfortable for most, and they don’t have any really useful flotation should you swamp or flip.

Second, any way that you go be sure to budget for a decent PFD and paddle (or make one).

Third, for a somewhat better kayak, look used.

Finally, think about building one. You can build a SOF (Skin On Frame) kayak for well less that $500 in materials. You might even be able to do a Yost folder for a little less $500.

Yost Kayaks

Jeff @ Kudzucraft will be happy to sell you a kit. These might push the $500 by the time you skin them.

If you are going to build a SOF you might as well make your paddle too for the cost of a good 2X6: You could use a GP with a wide Rec boat as well however, you will probably want to make it rather longer than the standard.

What ever you do enjoy it.


– Last Updated: Jan-19-15 8:11 PM EST –

I am from Western Kentucky. I've been searching Craigslist for awhile now, but I haven't been very lucky. Everything I've found seems to be a little big, a sit on top, or a little small.

I was wanting a kayak that is $400 max by itself, not counting the paddle.

another suggestion
You might be able to find a deal on the Perception Sport Conduit 13 which is a decent inexpensive kayak with bow and stern bulkheads and narrow enough to be a reasonable boat to paddle for a distance. In fact it is the lowest price new kayak with those features. Last Fall the usual price of around $600 was discounted in some places for as little as $450. Of course, Spring usually brings higher prices than Fall but you never know. If there is a Dick’s Sports near you they sometimes have sales on that model – watch their ad inserts in the Sunday paper.

Got to be a bit patient

– Last Updated: Jan-19-15 9:14 PM EST –

Not what you want to hear, but there may be more kayaks listed for sale come spring. CL kayak listings are really slim in my area right now. Don't forget to check out eBay, too. And Amazon.

In the interim, can you borrow one of your uncle's boats just so you can keep paddling during your search?

yes, patience

– Last Updated: Jan-20-15 12:19 PM EST –

I checked your local CL listings and there is a decent selection even now, not bad for an inland location. So that bodes well for an upsurge in listings as Spring approaches.

But I do have a question. You mention both fishing and a sit inside. Fisherman usually prefer sit on tops. With that in mind, there is a guy selling an Field and Stream Eagle Talon 12 for around $400 in your area. You can read reviews of it under the "reviews" tab on here. Does it sound like something that would suit you?

Consider Building Your Own!

– Last Updated: Jan-20-15 4:42 PM EST –

It isn't rocket science. Rival51, who posted above, is a man after my own heart. If you are willing to learn a few basic skills, buy some simple tools, and find a place to work, you can put yourself in one heck of a kayak for $500.

I build and paddle stitch-and-glue ply/epoxy 17' sea kayaks - very well designed and capable salt-water coastal cruising boats - takes about 50 hours and >$500 in materials to do one. And remember this - once you build one, you'll never ever have to buy one, because you'll have the self-confidence to simply build whatever you want.

Ditto for paddles - an excellent first project, by the way - free internet plans, a cedar 2x6, a small plane, some sandpaper and an afternoon or two with the smell of cedar shavings, and you've made yourself a light, strong greenland paddle. Around here, we call this approach "...paddling as if money mattered...".

Above all, tho, enjoy paddling, and stay safe - wear that PFD!

Pamlico 140
No longer made but it is an awesome kayak, very popular with teenagers…

Poorly Quoted Responses
@Rookie (not sure how to quote… or if you can.)

I was already planning on waiting and watching Craigslist for awhile. I’m hoping that things will start popping up once the weather starts warming up. After all, I still have a couple of months before I can get out anyway. Who knows what I can find in that timeframe?? :stuck_out_tongue:

In response to your question, however, I can’t actually borrow my uncle’s yak. My mom actually tried it out last summer and decided she wanted to get into it as well, and he is giving it to her.


I’ll look into it some, thanks!

I also looked a few minutes ago to see if I could find the selection, or even the Field and Streams you were talking about. When I pulled up the page, I only saw two yaks, neither of which were a Field and Streams. I reduced the search criteria down to only boats, as I got tired of looking at Jeeps and things in that nature. Didn’t really figure it would take many results out… Could that be my problem? I’m going to go try that now…

links to the ad and reviews
Sorry, I neglected to send you the link to the ad on the Western Kentucky Craigslist:

And here are the reviews from paddlers on here on the model:

On craigslist just search "kayak"
Under all for sale. You get a little bit of weird stuff but it’s 95% boats

search on CL
Look on the upper left on the Craigslist page. There is a field where you type in a search term. There are also CL auto search sites where you can get an automatic email any time a kayak is posted on your local CL.

Keep your eyes open
Some chains like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro, etc are trying to make room for new stock this time of year so you may be able to find some deals in store if you look. Fall is another great time to find deals, if you have a place that rents kayaks near you I know some of the ones local to myself sell their fleet every year to buy new.

I have an Eagle Run 12’ which is a solid platform for fishing, I’ve taken it on multi-day trips, and is a good well rounder. Fishing kayaks aren’t as nice for covering long distance but it’s doable where as I don’t suggest trying to fish from a touring kayak.

Also at your size bigger fishing kayaks with high capacity will probably handle better if you put some weight in with you. You can get collapsible 5 gallon water jugs at Wal*Mart for around $8 which are great for ballast.