I want to buy and become an active kayaker with my wife, I am a complete novice (although a bit more experience with a canoe but still recreationally via short trip rentals). We rented kayaks from a local recreational outfitter for a 4 mile slow moving, shallow river outing. The rental kayaks were some kind of sit in Old Town Loon (no bulkheads or dry storage just a big open cockpit). The outfitter dropped us off 4 miles up river with the kayaks on land and drove off.
Wife and adult son had zero problems (both smaller in stature). I on the other hand (6’ 275lbs) capsized on launch, capsized again around the first bend after second launch, and a third time near the end of the 4 miles. There were several other near capsize moments navigating submerged trees and other obstacles in between.
I felt unstable throughout, Certainly the inauspicious start made me embarrassed and tense which surely contributed to the second capsize and the general unease. I settled in a bit but frankly never felt comfortable or relaxed. I was dejected and wondered whether I am incapable of kayaking as a more active hobby (we now live on a tidal river and near marshes and bays to the Atlantic Ocean in Southern New Jersey) because of my inability to remain balanced and or my size.
I had assumed that a recreational kayak from a rental organization that services every conceivable skill set (presumably mostly complete novices) that the kayaks provided would be very stable and as compared to the others in my party who had no difficulties and are also novices that my problem must lie between the seat and the paddle (me)).
My wife is convinced that the issue is not some kind of innate inability to balance myself but rather the equipment. Is my assumption about this rental Loon kayak being wildly stable for the average novice wrong? Perhaps my weight renders this kayak more unstable for me? Or is it possible that I’m just a terrible kayaker that would require significantly more training/instruction/practice/sense of balance?
Embarrassment aside, my visions of paddling the wider, deeper, tidal sections of.our nearby river in a newly purchased kayak were dashed as I envisioned a constant state of peril and capsizing in deep water without a bank as conveniently near by (and me a weak swimmer floating in my pfd).
Should I hang up my paddle before I buy one?
Is the rental equipment the problem and with the right kayak for my weight I won’t experience the unsteadiness?
Do I need more practice and instruction and the equipment isn’t the issue?
Is it possible my balance is the problem (every beginner kayak guide seems to suggest how very rare it is to capsize in calm slow moving water)?
Thoughts? Advice? Next steps?