Getting my first kayak

Hello all! Ive been dreaming of getting my first kayak for 2 years and finally the opportunity has presented itself. As a college student my budget isn’t very high. However I did find the perception sport conduit 13 to be within my price range.

I will mainly be kayaking in the small lakes, creeks, and rivers around my town although I could definitely see myself wanting to tackle bigger bodies of water as I build confidence in my paddling abilities. Id like to go on day/weekend trips as well as get some fishing done and would like to make sure that this kayak would be well suited for what I am looking for.

Look into used, canoe/kayak club based in Cleveland has classifieds

What are your stats…
…weight & size?

Before you put down your coins for a boat, consider taking a sea kayaking 101 class from these guys:

LaDue would be an easy drive for you and by the time you’ve finished this class, you will be much better informed :slight_smile:

Used and what Byron said
You are slightly under 1 hour driving time from Lake Erie - part of the Great Lakes and your logical choice for more adventurous paddling. The Perception Conduit 13 is at best a poor match for those waters. Perception agrees - from their own web site - “A great boat for touring lazy rivers or doing some exploration on smaller lakes.” None of the Great Lakes is a “smaller lake”.

You don’t know why I am saying this, and you will be happier long term if you take a little time to find out why. You can get a very apt used boat for your purposes with the bucks you’ll spend on a boat like the Conduit. The worse that happens with taking Byron’s suggestion is that you can make a better informed decision to stay with a boat like the Conduit.

Perception Sport
Perception Sport is a brand owned by Confluence, which also makes Dagger, Perception, Wilderness Systems and Mad River. Perception Sports seems to be their value/bargain line and lots of their kayaks seem to be clones of older models with a different label. In some cases some of the parts maybe of a bit cheaper quality but overall the Perception Sports seems to be good quality for the cost.

The Conduit 13 seems to be a rebrand of the older Dagger Catalysis 13.0…

For all the things you mention a kayak like this wouldn’t be a bad choice for a first kayak but it is hard to find a kayak that does everything. My friends who fish either seem to prefer SOTs or SINKs with larger cockpits, like the Pungos or Dirigos. Touring kayakers would prefer a narrower, longer kayak with a smaller cockpit and less rec style seat.

This kayak is going to be considered a rec kayak with slight touring elements by most on here. Not bad for what it is and probably a better kayak for someone on the larger size. If you progress to do more challenging water you probably would want something else. But calm lakes or moving (not whitewater) streams/river this could be a decent choice for a starter kayak.

It seems for most people who enjoy kayaking your first kayak may not satisfy you for long. Buying used isn’t a bad idea as if you outgrow the kayak you can probably sell if for about what you paid for. But you may have to search awhile and drive a bit for a good used kayak – I see lots of people thinking their kayaks are worth 2x what they should be.

A lot really depends on your build. It would be good to try it out before buying but that can be hard for a kayak like this as it is probably not sold by kayak stores that let you demo kayaks.

If you are buying online, make sure you have at least sat in the kayak somewhere before buying…

Go used .
Check out craigslist. Take a paddling class first so you have an idea of a decent boat to buy. Used boats are usually 50% cost of new, especially in beginner boat models.

Model recommendations?

– Last Updated: May-03-13 9:04 PM EST –

5'6" 145lbs. And I planned on taking a course for my own safety. Thank you for that link. :)

I've been checking craigslist in all the nearby areas daily for like 2 weeks. Keeping a close eye out for something.

The problem with getting something better is simply the cost. I cant afford to shell out a 1k+ because I also have to get a paddle, pfd, car carrier, etc.

Are there any particular models of kayak that you would recommend?

edit: I don't really see myself looking to charge down rough whitewater or combating large swells in open water. The thought of that terrifies me. Maybe one day way down the road but not in the nearby future. I've been kayaking a few different times, once on a friends SOT on calm water, once at a relatives house in their pond with a 9ft SINK. And then once on a tandem SOT in a really small bay that was a little choppy. The chop wasn't really a problem and it was barely anything however it made the experience not as enjoyable as previous ones. That said lake Erie will probably be a long ways off for me, read a few of the "trip reports" on here and the thought of paddling in any kind of "surf" sounds awful lol. I liked the relaxing aspect of my previous paddling experiences.

some reading
There are a variety of articles in California Kayaker Magazine that may be interesting to read. All can be read online for free at

Specifically - in issue #10, there is a column about the different types of boats and what type of paddling they are meant for. If you don’t understand the differences, this could be worth reading.

In issue #8, there is a column on the importance of trying a boat before buying it (and taking a class, which you said you wanted to do, is one of the suggestions for getting this butt time).

Once you have the boat type set…
Might be worth looking over what these folks have around. Should be within driving distance.

Also, if you go up for a lesson to the place listed above, ask them. They may know of boats for sale.

I have one,
and I love it. I have not taken it on any body of water over 100 acres, but it has handled these with absolute ease. Though I cannot vouch for its performance on the Great Lakes or the ocean, it would definitely be unsafe for anyone who has not had a good deal of experience.

As long as one stays on smaller areas, this kayak is a fast, maneuverable, stable and SAFE choice!

One of the reviews that I read for the Dagger Catalyst 13, which is what this boat was before it was renamed, said it handled 15 foot waves, though the situation was most uncomfortable. This is almost certainly an exaggeration, but it can handle any beginning to intermediate paddling that you wish to do!

the Conduit shall work perfectly as long as you avoid the surf and large swells. I am decently certain that those are what the other commenters are referring to when they caution you against buying it.