Buying My First Kayak! Need Advice

I got into kayaking with my friends and I love it.

Im currently looking at buying my own kayak.

Im 6"1 and I weigh about 225 lbs.

I want to spend about $500 or less on just the kayak.

I want a sit-in kayak thats good at class 2 and 3 rapids and thats also good for just cruising down streams and one thats also good on flat water. Maybe even to do some fishing on every now and then.

The only place in my area that has kayaks is Dicks but I dont want to buy anything that I outgrow with experience in less than a year etc…

Is there any models that you guys recommend? What about length and Width sizes?

Thanks for any Advice in Advance.

I look in my area and others within 100 miles

You’ll have to find
a used kayak for that price.

Try craigslist.

Sorry Joseph but starting up gets a little expersive but then you can enjoy your purchases for as long as you want. I have a few friends who I’llcall and check with. How far are you from Atlanta and are you willing to drive that far?

Paddlin’ on


I looked there and Atlanta has allot for sale but I just need to know a type that best suites my needs

Yeah Im willing to drive.

I live in Columbus only about 100 miles away…

define "good"
A boat that’s good for playing in Class 3 whitewater probably won’t make you happy on flatwater, and vice versa.

Consider used
It’s going to be very hard to get anything that you won’t outgrow at that price point except for noble but well-used WW boats that won’t do anything else you descibe well.

Sort out your paddling environment first. And mayhaps some lessons - you have to be a class 3 WW paddler before worrying about whether the boat can do it.

class 3
well class 3 rapids might not be that often…

But I do want a kayak that can take some little rapids without going under…

craigslist for Atlanta

How about never?

– Last Updated: Apr-14-08 6:04 PM EST –

Really, there just isn't a kayak out there that is designed for Class III and is also good for flatwater paddling. Someone interested in selling you what you want might tell you otherwise, but they are lying.

My advice is to decide whether you are more interested in flatwater or whitewater, and buy the best boat you can afford for that use. If you really become hooked on kayaking, you are eventually going to buy more boats down the road.

The Dagger Approach MIGHT meet your needs, as it has a skeg allowing it to go straight and a whitewater hull. But it is slow in flatwater, and a compromise in whitewater. Certainly not the boat I'd want to take on my first Class III.

And also, you won't find ANY new boat for under $500 that you won't quickly outgrow if you stick with kayaking. But the other reality is most kayakers buy and sell boats all the time. If you buy used, you'll get more boat, and can often turn around and sell that boat for close to what you paid for it a few years down the road.

Water Conditions
50% of my time on the water will be in creeks/rivers with usually slow to possibly moderate water speeds. The other 50% will be on a lake which some days can be smooth and other days windy and rough.

That’s more realistic. A lot of boats can run through class 1-2 whitewater and be decent on flatwater. If you want to stay and play in the whitewater then you’d want a whitewater boat.

For whitewater, most folks want a boat that turns easily. For flatwater, most folks want a boat that likes to go straight. For fishing, lots of people like big open cockpits, but they’re a bad idea if you may have water dumping in your lap.

"A lot of boats can run through class 1-2 whitewater and be decent on flatwater"

Ok can you name one of these boats that close to my price range and is also a good fit for my size?

You are asking a lot

– Last Updated: Apr-14-08 7:59 PM EST –

from a boat Class II & III plus flat water.

I have used a WS Pungo, a WS Tsunami and my CD Kestrel 120 on these but I paddle allof the time. Most people will tell you that you need 2 different boats but it will depend on your ability.

One of my friends has a Liquid Logic (Yellow) 16' boat for sale for $800.00. This is a good boat but it is a discontinued model and definitely not what you would want for a class III. A 6'1" friend paddled it and loved it on flat water although it has good secondary stability.

I'll let you know what else I find.

Paddlin' on

There are no new boats
that will do what you want in your price range.

A used boat will depend on the seller.

Brand Names?
Any Brand Names that I need to be looking for? Any that I should stay away from?

Whats a goof length for my size?

Kayak Demo
You should try a few models and see what you like. Once you have some idea as to what you’re comfortabe with, buy used.

Try these
WS Pungo 120

CD Kestrel 120 HV

Necky Manitou Sport

They turn and track pretty well.

Try the America Angler
I bought my America Angler from Dick’s 2 1/2 years ago and I love it. For me it has several things going for it.

  1. Cost. If you keep your eye on dick’s you can find them for under $400,
  2. Tracking. For me it tracks very well. It has a small built in skeg.
  3. Weight. Even though not lite, it is more than manageable. I have had 3 back surgeries and it is well within my capabilities to lift by myself.
  4. Built in rod holders. I do ALOT of fishing and the rod holders come in handy. Of course you can add these to any boat, but not having to buy and install them is a plus.
  5. Capacity. Not sure of the exact weight capacity but it will definatly hold you. My buddy weighs 275 and he has no problems in my yak.

    There are a couple of cons though.
  6. Storage. The foam floats installed in the front and back of the yak does take up space. But the yak does come with a rear deck hatch that has alot of room in it for storage. I am some what liter than you so I removed the foam and now have ALOT of storage.
  7. No Bulkheads. There are no sealed bulkheads in this yak. So if you get water in your yak it will get into your storage area. Since I use frybags for everything I haul, this is not a problem for me.

    Check out the reviews for this yak. THey are in two places under the review section here. They are listed under perception america 11.0 and under islander kayaks.

    By no means is this a sea kayak, but I have been on lake erie in 4’ waves and the yak worked well.

    If you are close to Pittsburgh I would be more than glad to let you give it a try.

    MonRiver JOE

Pungo 120
This is a rec boat with a large cockpit but performs well on lakes,rivers and as a fishing platform,i know cause i paddle one.

It was the perfect choice for me as i favor fishing the local lakes and rivers over covering alot of water in a day.

This may be a good place to start and would be in your price range “new” but if you see yourself as a serious kayaker seeking optimal speed and efficiency then a 12ft rec boat will be quickly replaced.