Brand new to Kayaking, first boat

Hi, everyone and thanks for reading this and for any help.

I’m new to Kayaking and have been wanting to do it for years, well, I’m tired of NOT doing it, so this summer I decided that I AM doing it. I found a Perception Conduit which is a longer rec boat that is suppose to be better tracking and faster, edges better and can help build skills where to a rec kayak you can’t.

I know I can get a better boat used or save more money, but for 550.00 the Conduit sounds like all I need to get going and then some. Nothing but good reviews so far with the only complaint/s is no cup holder and for some…an uncomfortable seat. Easy fixes IMO, so I’m not worried about that. I haven’t seen any Kayak with seat that looks comfortable anyways.

I’m also 5’ 6" and 180 pounds I have a short torso and longer legs…I’m not a big guy by any means, but not the smallest…I’d say average and I probably am not the strongest paddler either. My main concer is that the Conduit I see in Dicks seems to look heavy and large for me. I haven’t sat in it yet, but it just looks like it would be too big for me… It does have a large cockpit for an assortment of paddlers, because it is a beginner Kayak, but I’m just to afraid I will feel like I’m trying to paddle the Titanic in this thing and afraid my knuckles are going to hit the sides when I paddle.

This is going to run counter to a lot of opinions you are going to get here.

Buy the boat and go paddling. Figure out the rest later.

It will get you on he water and next year when you know more if you decide you want something different sell it on craigslist for $450

Reviews are mostly written by people like yourself who have owned a boat for 10 days and aren’t worth the time it takes to read them. Everybody loves the boat they just bought.

I have 10 kayaks and 6 canoes. The only one that was a cup holder we are thinking of hanging in a tree for the grandkids to play on. It was the first boat I bought and is a cheap POS but I paddled the hell out of it for two years instead of reading about paddling on the Internet.

Its kinda wide
I forget how wide it is but I think around 26 or 27 inches wide. Were a boat like a Necky Manitou 13 is 24.75 wide. The one good thing is you could buy the kayak take it out and if its just to big return it. Yes Dicks would take it back if your carful and don’t scratch it up. The one bad thing about the Conduit is no perimeter deck line BUT you could ad some its rather easy to do.

I know a couple of people who have the conduit 13 and for what they do its fine. Manly down slow creeks and small lakes and a little of the Niagara River.

While checking on the Necky I see a blemished one a 14 footer on sale for $869 free shipping at Austin kayak. Might fit you better.

upstate? Here are options…
You say you are in upstate NY – that covers a lot of ground but if you can do a day trip to Lake George, Lake George kayak is a great outfitter that has a variety of rental boats plus a good stock of boats for sale so you can check out different styles. IF you are farther west, there are excellent outfitters in that region too, farther North you can cross over the river to Kingston, Ontario and visit Frontenac Outfitters up in the park there. Really, Dick’s is NOT the best place to get outfitted or learn about kayaks and kayaking. There are real outfitters and dealers throughout the region who will be better resources for you.

Yes, a cheap boat tends to be “one size fits all” and will tend to be wide and heavy. I am about your height and also have long legs – you will likely fit in the boat fine but may have to experiment with different paddle lengths and paddling style to avoid banging your knuckles on the Conduit’s gunwales. Take an intro paddling course while you are at Lake George – even just a couple of hours will be invaluable both in technique and safety knowledge.

And I admit that I don’t disagree with the previous response. You could go ahead and buy the Conduit to get you out on the water. Most all of us end up upgrading our first boat quickly if we really get into it and kayaks have excellent resale value. Don’t sweat your first boat – the Conduit will be easy to sell and after using it a while you will have a good idea of exactly what to look for in your next boat.

Perception Sport

– Last Updated: Apr-14-14 12:01 PM EST –

Perception Sport is Confluence Watersports (Dagger, Perception, Wilderness Systems, etc) bargin/big box sporting good store line. Lots of the Perception Sport models are either discontinued or older models from their other lines that are rebranded and renamed. Some of the outfitting (seats, handles, skegs, etc) is either removed or of a cheaper quality. It also seems that the plastic may be thinner but not completely sure. They make it cost less to produce to hit a cheaper price point for the big box store customers who won't drop close to $1k on a kayak.

The Conduit is a rebranded Dagger Catalyst:

A bit closer is Old Forge

– Last Updated: Apr-14-14 1:35 PM EST –

Mountainman has an excellent selection within two hours of you.

Paddlefest will be soon too.

I noticed you paddle the Black River. I used to live there. Its a bit of a haul all the way across the Adirondacks to Lake George. There are a couple of shops in Saranc Lake though.

Get to Mountain Man/ Paddlefest or…
Lake George Kayak or in Saranac Lake. Or Adirondack Paddle n’ Pole on Central Ave just west of Schenectady if you are using upstate as in the capital district. And there are good outfitters to be had out towards Rochester if that is what you mean.

You can do better than a big box store with not a lot of driving from most of upstate NY. If your post had not mentioned the idea of gaining skills it’d be one thing - but it did and you can likely do better going with a used or demo boat once you have spent time with a decent outfitter.

Check out the kayak dealers and visit demo days this spring and actually try out boats. then you will have a much better idea of what you want. If you are on a tight budget also check on craigslist. You can usually find a starter boat around ~350; those who have given up or upgraded usually throw in the paddles, and sometimes other goodies.

It’s not worth paying $550 for a big box store tub.

I live in Watertown, NY near the Black River where I see a lot of Kayakers about. I myself am a Cyclist that wants to mix my routine and go camping via Kayak, it looks fun and I know I’ll like it. Hmmm I see that he Conduit is re-branded and made cheaper for a box store. Good price and good rig to start I would suppose. Re-sale is good, so I could possibly try it out this way to make sure with not much money or go to an outfitter and test out some different Kayaks. I just did my taxes and I’m getting a return of 1,304.00 so my budget has increased slightly…like 700.00 tops.

I may want to take al the suggestions and go to an actual outfitter and get a better ship, but I know I want a longer, better tracking boat with storage. If I really get into this I will be doing some overnight camping out on lake islands and things.

The specs on the Dicks Kayak say it’s 26 inches wide.

Well something to decide here… either get the conduit cheap and get into the water(I can always return it if I really hate it) or go to an outfitter, test out some rigs, take lessons and get a better fit for more money.

Season is early I am getting a great tax refund and can now spend more for a kayak, so I guess I can take more time and get a pro to help me out…

Thanks for the suggestions…I think I better take some time and get the right rig and get some proper lessons, mainly to get upright if I tip over.

Thanks again…this has really helped.


Cheaper Dagger?
So I take it the Conduit is a cheaper Dagger, Catalyst. Same boat, but some stuff taken off, cheaper seat ect ect to make it box store cheap. So if I take an original Catalyst and put it side by side with a Conduit, it will appear to be the better ship, even though it’ the same ship? I did hear from a guy last year when I mentioned getting a Kayak, to not get one from Dicks if I am seriously wanting to paddle.

Got to give Dicks credit though…not everyone can afford 1,200 for a little kayak and Dicks makes it affordable to get in the water…they aren’t necessarily junk as they are built by good companies.

I’m still thinking I’ll be happier to spend more time and get a kayak that is optimum for my size. I just have this feeling the Conduit will be too heavy and big for me.

26 inches is wiiiiide
If you have cycling background, you should be able to handle a narrower boat that will actually get you into some skills as well. You are likely to have pretty good balance and could find too little of a boat downright frustrating.

I checked and Old Forge is showing as an hour and a half driving time from Watertown. If you want, you could check out some overnight options. Off season rates weren’t bad around there last I checked.

Don’t skimp too much on the paddle - try to get to something better than a log.

Any plastic kayak of reasonable length will be pretty heavy, but you can probably shave a few pounds off the weight if you get one that’s a bit narrower. That will make a noticeable difference, even if it’s a long way from being a miracle. For example, one slightly narrower boat that was already mentioned, the Necky Manitou 13, is about 45 pounds if I recall. I can heft that one up over my head onto a pair of J-hooks without too much trouble. Based on how much harder that is when there’s a bit of water in the cockpit, I’m not sure I’d want to do that with one that weighs 51 pounds like the Conduit.

Current Designs Breeze
I found a Current designs Breeze 14’ Kayak for 550. Nice lookin boat.

I also found a 16’ Perception Captiva 16’ with rudder for 750.00

I love those boats…they look skinny and fast.

you are ALREADY upgrading!

Hard move
I understand the Conduit is not a 16 foot sea rig and it’s more of a hybrid from what they say…Basically a Recreation rig that tracks a little better and has bulkheads/storage for a day trip. Overall a one up from a little rec rig. It’s 500.00 bucks…I can afford that and feel comfortable for my first rig. I have 0 experience and the Conduit offers ‘beginner like’ Primary stability, but can edge pretty good.

Also I just want to get in the damn water lol…I could spend about 5 more weeks testing and researching, but I’m tired of it… I think for the price it’s a good enough boat to get going in this sport, plus a season with this I’ll have more money and experience to decide if I want something faster/sleeker. Right now I have no idea and I like the idea said in here of just getting the Conduit, get paddling and go from there.

I think I’ll have fun anyways even if it’s a cheaper made, box store version…but it doesn’t seem like a total piece of junk from what I have read and the plastic is very thick, looks well built IMO.

I think I’ll just get this, a real good, correct paddle(as said by Celcia) and focus this season on paddling technique and how to recover from a tip over, plus just ring it out and see what I can do.

Next season I’ll have a better idea and more money…I’ll sell the Conduit and get something more awesome.

Right now I just want to stuff my tent in the back and go lake, island camping.

I did sit in it today(the guy got it down for me) and I feel as if I can paddle it well…I felt fairly tall in it and it isn’t one of those really snug cockpits…it has room…I think that would be a good idea in case I flip…lots of room to swim out from underneath.

So I guess that’s it… if it really feels like crap to paddle…I’ll just sell it off and start over. However I already feel pretty good in it.

Its not a bad kayak
I think you will enjoy it. Like I said I know a couple of people who have them and they like them. The one guy I know did do a camping trip with his for I think 2 or 3 days. If you do some camping don’t forget to get a few dry bags. Better to get a few smaller ones that one BIG one. Even though it has hatches some water might get in so get a few drybags for at least your sleeping bag for sure. No fun with a wet sleeping bag.

Pull the Trigger
It is not a bad choice at all for your first kayak and probably one of the few good choices at a Dick’s.

Just buy a good paddle and spend the time to get a comfortable PDF – you might outgrow that kayak (and you might not) – but the paddle and PDF are going to be with you a lot longer. You will have to go somewhere else for a good paddle and PDF – REIs and EMSs have better selections, if you have them near you.

Do it

– Last Updated: Apr-15-14 2:17 AM EST –

The thing about shopping Craigslist is you don't know enough about what you really want/need. By the time you research it, if it's a good deal it will be gone. You've already made some comments that you will do a 180 on by the end of the summer if you just get on the water.
I went to one demo day, 350 people waiting to paddle about 12 kayaks. Everyone's experiences are different, there's mine.

You could have went paddling today if you listened to me the first time