First time kayaking advice?

hello everyone, i love this forum. i apologize if i post this in a wrong place or wrong format. my buddy gave me a perception method air kayak for free and i so wanted to get into this hobby. i was so excited to put it in the water today. however, i launched the boat and immediately got soaked. it is my first time in a kayak but not my first time paddling such as a canoe. but when i launched i could not keep myself upright and the slightest movement i mad the kayak wanted to roll over on either side. the sides were so low in the water that water came over the top of the opening. i read that this perception method air was recommended for 170 lbs. i am 220 lbs and 6 foot 3 inches tall. could being over weight cause these problems that i am experiencing or is it just my lack of experience? i want to break into this sport or hobby but i hate to spend the money on a bigger yak if it isnt my cup of tea. thats why i was so disappointed at my experience today. anyone have any thoughts?

I thought you were talking about “air kayak” like an “air guitar”. Then I googled it.

It seems with your 6 ft 220 pounds you’ve found a white water play boat less than 8 ft long. I’m your size a little shorter and heavier and I don’t do well in anything less than 14 ft. The review on seems to alude to it being a play boat which kinda leads me to think that your first time experience is about right. It would be a tippy boat.
Method Air Reviews - Perception | Buyers' Guide |

So, yes you are at the manufactures max weight in a whitewater playboat. Whitewater boats are mostly made to move with you so stability is based on you. Also, a spray skirt is almost a must but first you need to have practiced and be comfortable with exiting the kayak while upside down (wet exit) with out the skirt before then practicing wet exits with the skirt on. You was a fairly trusted person by your side in the water while you practice.

Oh, also if you are not planning to take up whitewater paddling then this kayak is, shall I say, an less than optimal choice to start with. Especially since you are at max weight.


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So, even though this kayak was free, it’s a bad choice for me all the way around. I don’t plan on ever doing white water. I guess I got excited for nothing. Thanks for the replies.

Correct… that is not the boat for you. I suspect (from the OBX clue) that you would enjoy a kayak in the 14 to 17 foot range. The rule of thumb is that longer boats are for getting from here to there efficiently on big bodies of water and short boats do well on moving creeks and rivers.


You need to change a couple of things from that first start.

First, as above you need a boat suited to your weight and size. If you are too big for a kayak, it sits below its desired water line and becomes quite unstable.

You also need to do some reading about kinds of kayaks. Had you not capsized that boat you would have found yourself unable to paddle it straight and going in circles. That is the correct behavior for a kayak intended to be used in white water, the characteristics that are not helpful in flat water are very helpful in white water.

Look at the various topics under “LEARN” on the top line menu for this web site. There are articles in there that talk about the kinds of kayaks - roughly whitewater, recreational and touring - and the aspects of each.

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Thanks everyone. I guess I can always sell this kayak and start over

Don’t get discouraged, since you have paddled a canoe successfully in the past you can handle a kayak.

Look on Craigslist (and Facebook Marketplace) to find out what the kayak you have is worth and sell it. Then you will have some cash to buy something that will do what you want.

Meanwhile, use the Learn link that @Celia mentioned to help you decide what kind of kayaking (or canoeing) you want to do. Ask for advice here and elsewhere. It helps you get good advice if you can state what you want to do and where you plan to paddle. There are many sea kayakers and canoers here, along with some whitewater and recreational kayakers. Keep in mind that the advice you get will depend on where the person giving it is coming from.

Start looking on Craigslist for the type of kayak that is fit for what you want to do and will fit you. Right now, many people are selling their kayaks because they decided they did not like the sport or just did not have the right type of kayak, or maybe they are ready to move up to a more expensive kayak.

Anyway, for your first kayak used is the way to go. It will save you money and you can frequently resell it for about what you paid for it.

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We live near a calm wide river that gets tons of recreational kayak use. We also live close to dozens of inland lakes of all sizes and shapes. This year like you we wanted to get into paddling and didn’t know what we didn’t know. We had borrowed friends kayaks and started getting some idea of what we wanted. The rec-kayaks were not for me and I found what I wanted in a 14’7” canoe and she wanted a 10’ rec-kayak.

The boat has to both fit your needs and also fit with what waters you will be in and also what your plans are in that water.

Even though our 2 boats are quite a bit different they both work best individually and work well together.

Don’t give up there is someone out there that wants the boat you have and someone else has for sale what you need. :canoe:

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I appreciate all the advice. I’m on the north carolina coast of the outer banks. I don’t plan on going into the ocean but we have alot of sound waters around here as well as alot of wildlife padding trails, marshes, etc. I don’t plan on paddling during a gail but we get white cap waves in the sound here if the wind changes to the wrong direction. Eventually,when I get more confidant I would possibly like to get a fishing kayak. But I just want to paddle around, check out the views and nature for now.

These two kayaks for sale in eastern North Carolina on Craigslist would probably suit your intended use. They are well regarded models so you would probably be able to sell them for a decent amount if you wanted something else. The Tsunamii 145 (royal blue) is designed for the larger guy and very stable – the Tsunamis are one of the most popular models of plastic touring kayak in the US. It is a bit overpriced at $950 (should be more like $700) but they are including a paddle.

The Current Designs Storm (blue green kayak ) is a boat you could even take out into the coastal areas once you have some training and experience. . That is actually quite a good deal at $480 – it’s an older model but these are very tough and it’s a tried and true hull design and also proportioned for a larger paddler. It has a rudder, which can be handy if you are paddling along the sea coast to keep wind and currents from keeping the kayak on track. (You keep it flipped out of the water when you don’t need it because it creates drag.) A new kayak like that would be around $2000 now. They are throwing in some extra gear that you need like a paddle, a bilge pump and a cockpit cover (to keep the spiders and raccoons out of the boat when you are storing it). You would likely want a spray skirt too, and, of course, with any boat, a good PFD (life vest).

An advantage you have being in NC is that whitewater paddling is very popular in the state so the demand for used play boats like the one you have now should be good. Check your local Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to see what kind of prices those short whitewater boats are posted for. You would likely be more apt to sell for the best price in the Spring. But since folks in the South can do whitewater year round there may be a steady market for them.

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Find a new boat that suits you.
Wear a lifejacket.
Dress for immersion.
Learn to wet exit. Make sure your cockpit is big enough to slide out of easily.
Don’t paddle alone.
Practice rescues.

It looks like that one with the rudder has a fairly tight cockpit. I’m 6’3. Either way, I guess I am going to have to wait. I don’t have that kind of money to blow on myself. My wife would kill me. That’s why I was so excited to get the free one😄. I will hold on to these recommendations though.

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The CD Storm cockpit (32.5 x 17.5) is a bit smaller than the Perception Method Air cockpit (33.5 x 19) but you can only tell the fit for certain by trying it out.

Having said that, I hear you about the money, many of us are in that same boat (pun intended.)

One thing you could try, is as part of a vacation or weekend trip, renting both you and your wife a canoe or a kayak, maybe she will enjoy the water also. The pros to renting is the outfitter can make sure you know what is what, no maintenance and you can try out several types of boats. The downside is that renting can be expensive… so shop around for the best deals. There are lots of outfitters available, some are better deals than others.

My wife was surprisingly interested in river trips (she likes to watch the wildlife and see the plants, etc.) We usually go in a canoe or tandem kayak, because she does not like the actual paddling part as much… but that’s ok, I get more exercise that way (which I need.)

I have been with the same woman for 24 years. We have separate finances. That is why I have 4 boats. When I find a good one she says “Go ahead its your money.”

did that with motorcycles. my wife really liked my attitude after several hours of riding.
one happy thing about kayaking is I get a similar attitude after several hours on the water.


:zipper_mouth_face: :zipper_mouth_face: :zipper_mouth_face: :zipper_mouth_face: :zipper_mouth_face:


Pepsimnobx, I was 260 lbs and am now 230 lbs at 6 ft 1 inch. I started in a 9 ft rec boat, and soon realized it wouldn’t take me where I wanted to go. So I bought a 12 ft boat, then a 140 Pungo, a 125 Tsunami, a 145 Tsunami and a 175 Tsunami. I enjoyed them all, but settled on the 145 Tsunami, because it fits my feet and carries my weight well. It’s a very stable, dry and forgiving boat. One day I might get a faster, more nimble boat, but it has taken me all over the upper Chesapeake Bay.

Good advice above. As you grow in your kayaking adventures, whatever you buy can be traded or kept as a loaner for friends. Its best to test paddle the boat before you buy it. Be patient and you’ll be rewarded.

I’m surprised that nobody suggested looking for a local canoe club. That’s a perfect way to try different boats before you need to buy one of your own.

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I agree with everyone who says you need to find the right boat for you and that the freebie your friend gave you isn’t it. Are there rental places near you? That can be a good way to try out different kayaks and see what fits you without spending a lot of money. A dedicated kayak shop with water access is another good resource–they usually have demo kayaks and someone who can help you select the right boat and gear. Rental places and kayak shops often have used boats for sale at good prices, and offer intro to paddling courses so you can get tips on launching, paddling, self rescue–all that good stuff.