Buying Advice

I’m new to kayaking, and want something to get started that could also take me into an intermediate level. I’m tall and heavy, and need something comfortable. I’d like to pay in the $500 or less range for the kayak… suggestions?

buying a kayak
whitewater or sea kayak?

Sorry, wasn’t detailed enough! Just something to get around on calm lakes and creeks.

I’m not sure there really are “levels” when it comes to rec (recreational) boating.

For rec boaters, its not so much the boat as it is the knowledge of the user. There are people who have no clue, then there are people who know a thing or two, like how to get back into their kayak if the tip over, what clothing to wear so they don’t go hypothermic, etc.

The boats are so wide, and so stable, that there isn’t really any skill to paddling them. The flip side is, the boats really don’t let you learn any skills in them. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a rec boater learn to roll, edge a turn, pull a bow rudder, surf a standing wave…you get the picture.

This isn’t to disuade you. The point is, any boat you get is going to be fine for what you want to do. Just be sure to put air bags in it if it doesn’t have bulkheads, and take a class to learn how to rescue yourself.

Pungo 120
That’s very helpful, thank you. I’m looking at the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 at REI, the message boards on this site seem to be favorable. At this point I’d like something of decent quality, but for a beginner like me, so that’s looking appealing.

The pungo
Is great for lakes and bays and not so great for creeks. It is harder to turn, easier to keep straight and faster than the pamlico made by the same company. If most of your paddling will be in shallow or rocky creeks or twisty rivers I’d get the Pamlico instead of the Pungo. If you want a but that will do more I’d look at the Necky Manitous they come in two sizes but they cost more.

I had that one
well really it was a Dick’s special “Classic 12” now the “Navigator” Now discontinued again…but it was an old Pungo mold. Got to say I liked it. It was fun. I learned in it. and if you try REALLY hard you can force it to help you toward bette skills, but don’t go thinking you will jump into a sea kayak and go navigating the globe…or even stay upright.

It is a fun boat to start out with. It also tells you if your second boat (around season 2 or 3) should be longer or shorter. You can keep that Pungo to loan to friends after it has taught you what it is you like. I mean look in the classified, there are often times rec yaks for sale, but not NEARLY as many as are sold. THey are durable and easy-fun. I used to leave mine straped to the ladder rack of my truck Just incase the urge would hit after work.

Pungo is a nice boat, expect to get ALOT of use out of it, alot of fun, alot of abuse, alot of stregth in muscles you never knew about, but dont expect to have super cool skills and be rolling though turbulent waves.

Have fun and paddle till hurts!


Also look at the Heritage site

For $500 or less, go to craigslist. You will find the best deals. Right now, you are doing the right thing by surfing this site. Surf the manufacturer’s sites and check out new prices. When you find a used one, cut the price close to half. A $900 poly kayak should run about $500 used.

My first was a used Dagger Blackwater 10.5 rec boat for $300. Like you, I just wanted to tool the water on camping trips and such but am now upgrading to a new 14’ and plan on classes to get more “into” the sport and aquire skills. Now is the perfect time of year.

Also, if the boat is priced right it will go fast so check daily.