First Kayak

Hi, I am an early 40’s 210lb 6ft male. I actually live on Kentucky lake at Land Between the Lakes and have decided to get into kayaking for excercise and exploration. I am very comfortable on the water and am a very good swimmer.

I am thinking that a perception carolina 12 or 14 would be a good starter kayak for me. I can get one locally. I would like something with storage for basic camping equipment.

I learn best from reading and video. Any advice on instructional websites, books or videos would be great.

Congratulations and welcome aboard!
This is a terrific activity. It’s exercise, exploration, outdoors, gentle if you want it so or exhaustive if you prefer that, meditative and beautiful. If you were a horse enthusiast, nothing could be better than to imagine the perspective of a centaur; this for boaters is the equivalent, the perspective of a duck - part man part marine animal. It’s great, and in some climates (I’m in N CA) you can do it all year too.

You have named 2 of many good choices. But don’t buy any boat without trying it out on water first. In fact, take a lesson and you’ll know just how much boat you are truly capable of handling - often much more than the starter boat.

12’ boats are more than enough for “flat” lake water. In fact, I go out on rougher stuff in my 10’ rec boat. But since you mention camping, longer boats give you more storage, and for trackikng and speed are better. So for the same manufacturer I’d suggest seriously going with the longer boat. Slightly heavier, maybe a tad less maneuverable, but I’ll bet those will be outweighed by other advantage.

River running is different, so different considerations.

Most of all, have fun. Don’t turn the experience into a trial by fire. And DO be safe using a PFD at all times, floatbags inside if you don’t have bulkheads, etc.

go bigger
It’s almost universally true that the longer boat is better, especially when its between a 12 and 14 footer for someone your size. I would start with the internet, and watch the many forward stroke videos and read about the many other strokes. Then get out and get comfortable, if you really want to go on then you can find classes and the like for more skills.

BTW, get a good pfd and decent paddle, it can really increase your enjoyment. Also, wear your pfd.

Ryan L.

It appears that…
…you live in a great location for self-propelled water craft.

In spite of your ability to learn from books and videos, that might not do it for kayaking. Taking a couple of classes will get you up to speed far faster than going it alone.

For example, I paddle by myself as I have yet to hook up with anyone in my area. Last October I went down to Tybee Island Georgia for a kayak symposium. I learned more there in a few days than I had learned over perhaps two summers on my own. One instructor managed to significantly improve my roll with only one sentence. The trip would have been worth it just for that.

Additionally there are rescue skills that take two people to practice. Even though I paddle alone, I always take a tow line. Last summer I was out by myself and ran into a paddler that needed a tow. You can’t learn towing techniques on your own.

Another point is that as it stands now, you would be picking out your first kayak without any way to reference it to other boats. Your chances of hitting the mark with your first kayak would be about as good as playing darts in the dark. I know as I’ve been there and done that… the boat, not the darts:)

Oh and btw, skip the twelve footer.

thanks for the help
I appreciate the great advice. I am spending as much time looking at the safety as I am looking at the thrill.

In the future, I will seek a class, but there just isn’t much locally that I can find. I am lucky in that I live within walking distance of the lakes and have a cove with beach, ramp, and dock access. A great place to practice. Realize, I’m not your average bear. I grew up a competitive swimmer, have a great deal of canoe and power boat experience. I know how easy it is to drown and have a great deal of respect for water.

Finding a number of kayaks to try out will also be problematic. Just not that much to pick from in the area, no outfitters, no clubs that I have found. On the other hand, I work hard for a living, and if what I get turns out to be not what I like, then I will just have to get something else (grin).

…trying to demo boats can be a problem. I drove three hours one way to demo my current kayak but I’m glad I did.

Anyhow your location looks fantastic for water activities. Keep us updated. :slight_smile:

I used to live in Lexington KY. If you
were to stay on open water like you plan now, I think a 14 foot kayak or even one a foot or two longer would be wise.

But Kentucky has such a wealth of easy rivers that a longer sea/touring kayak might be a bit of a nuisance for river maneuvers. (I have one, and as a whitewater paddler I can make it behave, but it’s not my favorite river kayak.)

I think the Carolina 14 might be a good start for you. It is short enough for rivers, but OK for lakes. Later, if you start doing a lot of rivers, you can pick up a used river cruiser, maybe a Liquid Logic XP10 or similar.

dagger kayaks
Check out what dagger has to offer. They have some really great bang for your buck stuff over competitors. I grabbed a dagger zydeco 11 and couldn’t be happier. I know they have longer boats and higher priced models like what you’re looking for.