First Timer Help

Hello to all,

I have gotten the kayaking bug and looking to get into the sport. I was hoping to get some help here on what to look for when buying a used kayak? Thanks for help.

Terrific decision!
So many great opportunities in paddling: learning new skills, exploring new places, and meeting terrific people.

Here’s a good site to look through and perhaps bookmark for future reference:

Oh, if you state where you want to paddle (rivers, lakes, oceans) as well as your general regional location, it will be easier for folks to help you.

What type of kayak?
What type of kayaking are you looking to get into?

More on the what kind of kayaking
Different types of water bodies make for different features needed in a kayak. Skills on the paddler’s part as well, but as an analogy you don’t turn a rubber dinghy into a racing boat by putting a motor on it.

So - do you want to do smaller lakes and ponds, or big lakes, or the ocean, or rated white water?

Suggested reading
There is an article that I suggest you read on the basic types of kayaks and their uses. Can be read online for free from It is in issue 10.

Thank you for all the responses and great info. I live in Florida, but will be taking it back and forth between there and the family vacation home in Western North Carolina. So I plan on doing all types of kayaking with if from WW, river running, coastal play, and flat water. I was looking at a crossover to get started and then getting a more specific use boats as I got more into the sport.

Epic v5
Check out Epic’s v5. It will go everywhere you want to go. It’s not like a normal sit on top. It’s very fast for a 14ft kayak. Also if you fall off they are very easy to self rescue. Plus it surfs like a dream. Really fun kayak.

Off base
Ok - the OP said they want a crossover kayak which can be used for both white water and flat water. This Epic kayak suggestion, while a good kayak for what it is, is a plastic surf ski. It would NOT work at all for white water and for many is not what they want for flat water. Not a good suggestion for the OP.

An old-school response
When I started, I got some catalogs from manufacturers and read the descriptions obsessively. Then I read some magazines (over and over again) and got what I loved at first sight. There are fewer magazines now, but Canoe & Kayak and Rapid Media might be very helpful sources.