I want to buy a kayak for flat water and possible white water kayaking. I live in Texas, but due to recent rains, I expect the rivers to be flowing a bit better and offer a more challenging kayak experience. Will probably have to travel for the whitewater, but there are a few class 2 or 3 rapids in south Texas I would like to try. I am 140 lbs, 5ft 8in, and would like to keep the kayak package (kayak,paddles,seat,etc.) under $400; however, if the kayak is worth it, don’t mind going over a bit. Would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
used for ww
Your only option with such a small budget is to keep checking Craigslist or other sources for used boats and you are really pushing it. You might luck out – I sold an older Dagger RPM plus paddle, PFD, skirt and helmet last year for $450 (a boat that would have been good for your size). WW paddlers do tend to sell their boats fairly frequently, but it is rare to find a deal like that. You will find nothing new for that little money that would be safe for whitewater.
You probably ought to seek an outfitter who can give you some basic training and instruction in whitewater. Besides technique there are safety things you need to learn about the water itself and how to read and navigate it. Lessons would also give you a chance to try some different boat models and get a sense of what fits you and the performance features you want.
Be VERY careful about paddling any waters in a zone that has experienced heavy flooding as your state has. Channels will have changed, there will be lots of snags and strainers and obstacles under the water that could cause entrapment and fast waters are dangerous, whether white water or just a high cubic feet per second flow on a wide deep river. We just lost someone here in my city two months ago in a rain swollen river, when he capsized his kayak, fell out and the flow (which was more than 4 times normal due to recent storms) swept him under a barge near shore and drowned him.
Thanks for the input! I will look into that kayak you mentioned. Might also join a local kayaking group for the experience. Take it easy!