I am in the process of doing my research to decide on a kayak. I need any advice you have. I have demoed two boats so far, a Prodigy 10 and a Necky Manitou 13. I personally liked the ease of paddling and speed of the MAnitou, in comparison. Since I am a newbie I imagine that I will grow out of the first boat I buy. Therefore I do want to be a bit cost sensitive so I can get my second boat once I have more experience and understanding. I am mostly going to be using the kayak on open lakes and slow moving rivers. I will OCCASIONALLY take it to the intercoastal waterway. But like I said as a newbie and as I spend more time on the water I imagine my desire to go different places will also expand. That being said I want a reasonable priced kayak that can grow with me. A Prodigy, a Manitou or any other kayak you would recommend. Please help a newbie.
Buy what you like
Any of those choices sound fine. I like to purchase used and resell when I move up. If you buy new, see if the dealer will take the yak back as a trade-in.
How much paddling time do you have?
I rented rec boats for a summer or two, then for my first purchase I went straight for a sea kayak. Hopefully that will prevent the hassle of the frequent trade-ups that I’ve read about.
Demo as many as you can in any case. You will get used to your new boat pretty quickly if you paddle much.
Used - Check PNET Classified
Those shiney new kayaks get beat up fast if you really use them
The Manitous are great boats, well reviewed, and the 13 or 14 will serve you well. It would likely take you sometime to outgrow either one.
The Prodigy you will outgrow more quickly, and may not be the best choice for what you want.
Also look at the WS Tsunami line - 125 or maybe 145 if you want something longer. Some similar features with the Manitous, but a different design and handle differently. They have tighter fitting cockpits, harder chines, and more outfitting. Another good option that is a transition from rec to touring like the Manitous and Tsunamis are the Old Town Cayugas - look at the 130 or the 146. Both have been pretty well reviewed.
If you like the feel of a more open cockpit check out the WS Pungo line, a great boat, but more of a rec boat feel and fit then the Tsunami. Also a good option if you like the open cockpit feel would be the Old Town Dirigo line, or even an Old Town Loon.
Best advice - go demo as many boats as you can that look interesting, then narrow your search to 5, then demo those 5 extensively, then narrow to 2 or 3, and demo again.
The reviews here on Pnet can be very helpful, but keep in mind every boat fits everyone differently, and just because I love doesn’t mean it will be right for you.