Beginner recreational kayak

We are looking for recreational kayaks for lake use. I tried a friend’s Hobie quest sit on and I think I’m spoiled. The first kayaks we bought were very difficult to paddle. Lots of weaving back and forth and impossible to get up any speed. These will be returned. We need to know what features and specifications to look for that would come close to the effortless paddling of the Hobie, but not as expensive if possible. Right now we need to keep the price under $500. I know that’s low, but it’s all we can do at this time and we can upgrade later.

From your description I’m guessing the first kayaks were short and wide.
Look for 12’ + and narrow.

Very basic rec boats and speed are not in the same category.
As String said, longer and narrower. Which may get you into boats called touring.

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Quest is good for your use. Look for a used one season for recs is nearly over. Had one like new sold for 750.

Or a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140.

Who makes the Quest? Aha Hobie!

If you can find one used, the original Old Town Loon 100 10-foot kayak performs better than other short kayaks I’ve used. It’s a little narrower at 28 inches, and not as flat-bottomed as the usual short kayak. So, it tracks nicely without that back and forth waggle. The weight capacity is lower than some at 225 lbs. I still have a Loon 100 and won’t let it go.

The old Casco 100 appears to be the same hull but with a smaller cockpit (but still pretty big) and a rear hatch.

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They were wider but the same length. However, the keel was much less pointed on the ones we bought.

Weaving also can be an indication of an inexperienced paddler.

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I don’t recall the OP listing a $500 preferred price before, but that opens up possibilities for a used day touring kayak. You have to watch the used kayak sources for a decent deal to come along.

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What were those first kayaks?

Yeah, I get that. I’ve had no problems prior to this on the same lake, but thank you.

I recommend the Pungo 140, not produced anymore but you can find them used.

Second Eric’s recommendation of the Pungo 140. Just got home from a morning paddle in mine.
For it’s class it is quick, agile, and stable. Tracks nicely, turns easily.

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And then you’ll be a goner, falling in love with your first touring boat … the first of many.