First kayak

I recently finished my first kayak experience. I liked it a great deal, except for the drenching I took on the rocks (I hit a rock on the Chattahoochee at Cochran Shoals).

My question is: I am looking at purchasing a Pungo 120 as a beginner kayak. I feel it would be a good kayak for lakes, ponds and slow rivers and would help me improve my kayaking skills. Would it be appropriate for bays, harbors and salt marshes or is there a better all-around boat for this type of use?

Just my $0.02
If you are looking at the Pungo, you might consider the Pungo 140. The extra length will help you out a lot on lakes, ponds etc…

I think the Pungo 140 is an excellent beginer’s kayak (that’s what I bought), but I’ve only been kayaking for

Another two cents…
A good beginner kayak is usually on the wide side (28" to 30"). This gives it extra stability for a beginner to learn to paddle.

BUT,… the extra width makes it more unstable on rough water, as a wide boat is easier for a large wave to tip it over, if the wave hits from the side. So is best on flat calm water.

A narrow boat (18" to 22") is more tippy feeling, but will allow a larger wave to wash under it, and not tip it over as quickly.

So what I am saying is learn on a wider kayak, and then progress to the narrowest kayak you feel comfortable in if you want to paddle on open, possibly rough water.

Test Paddle as many Boats as you can as you learn, this will help you understand what I wrote above.

I have tested about 15-20 or more kayaks over time, and I now own my 4th one as I learned and progressed to narrower and more challenging kayaks.

What skills?

– Last Updated: May-16-07 5:05 PM EST –

Rolling? The Pungo or its kin ain't it (unless you like real uphill climbs). Bays with waves, not it either.
But quiet water, marshes and overall floating around in flat stuff and stretching out all over the boat to snap shots of birds, great boat. As above longer may be more satisfactory.

My 1.5 cents

I just started last year and own a Pungo 140

It is stable, comfortable, and while it takes some/more then some effort, I keep up with the group of experienced people I paddle with. I have had a lot of fun in it. That said, I have already outgrown it. I will always use it to paddle with my wife who likes to mosey around, but the other stuff I want to do, roll, open water, surf, distance, its not the boat for it. I rushed in and got it because it fit my size, weight, and was very stable. I didn’t know how fast I would out grow it. Best thing is to take your time, try lots of boats.

Following the rule “now” of trying boats I can say that while I have no idea what I want next, I can tell you that if you try and like a Pungo140 you should also try the Tsunami. I did this weekend and with the rudder up it felt just like my Pungo, maybe a shade faster when the rudder was down. I should have started with that, it would have lasted me a couple of seasons before the new boat itch began.

Good luck, be safe, have fun


First boat
Look at the current designs Pachena DX. I use mine for lakes,rivers, bays ect. It’s a good all round boat and it’s not a dog to paddle. Vaughn Fulton

I’ve only been kayaking…
… about a month and a half and have already outgrown my wide “beginner” boat. Granted, in that 45 day period I did go out about 25 times, but I’m already on my 3rd boat. Started with a 14’ by 28" Old Town Dirigo, returned it, then got an Eddyline Skylark (12’ x 27"), a nice boat, but now it’s for sale. I’m currently paddling a [used] WS Tempest 165 (16’6" x 21.5") and I love it. This is the boat that I’ll learn real skills on. My outings so far have been on inland rivers and ponds and the boat is NOT too big for these. However, I also now have the option of going on big water which I would not have really had with the first two boats. Bottom line – if you plan to advance in your skills, don’t get a boat you’ll outgrow too quickly.

Ah, Cochrane Shoals… My home
training venue for 33 years. Because, in north Georgia, scenery is somewhat correlated with whitewater, you might want to talk to a dealer about a good cruising whitewater kayak, or even a canoe! I’m totally cool about Pungos and Pamlicos, but you can’t do a lot even on the metro Chattahoochee except float through Cochrane Shoals. There is so much more you can do in a whitewater craft, and some of them have basic lake and swamp capability too.

Tsunami 140

– Last Updated: May-16-07 4:15 PM EST –

My wife and I started with (and still have) our Tsunami 140's. Good all-around boat for what you want to use it for.

We may outgrow them in a few years, but not yet.

AND as "WJLATSHA" states:
"A good beginner kayak is usually on the wide side (28" to 30"). This gives it extra stability for a beginner to learn to paddle."

"A narrow boat (18" to 22") is more tippy feeling, but will allow a larger wave to wash under it, and not tip it over as quickly."

the Tsunami is at 24" wide, making it fairly stable for a beginner, and also somewhat not feeling so tippy, either. I was fairly new with it when wind and motor-boaters on a bsy lake made some tough going and waves, and was able to stay dry - and it did not take long to feel stable in a boat that initially fely a little tippy.

A lot of older boats / boat designs sacrificed to some degree or another initial stability for secondary stability or vice versa.

After a lot of research, an paddling a few boats - it turns out the Tsunami is a multi-extruded hull design, with very good secondary stablity without sacrificing a lot of initial stability!

After we purchased ours, as newbies and research, I found out the manager of a local paddling shop who was quite experienced in white-water, switched to quiet/flat water - owns and uses a Tsunami 140, as well as a couple I met at work, who have been Kayaking for quite a while, and in some rough windy and high waves off protected coastal waters ff of maine, (and while 7 months pregnant) - all in a non-ruddered Tsunami 140.

Great all-around flat water you won't soon outgrow.