Hello from a new kayaker-to-be.

My name is Jim; I will be moving to the Villages in Florida over the course of the next few months (I currently reside in Springfield, Virginia). One of the hobbies I hope to take up when I get there is kayaking - Central Florida seems to have a pretty vibrant kayaking / canoeing community; I hope to be able to join them.

I will be following this forum with interest. If anyone can help me get started, I’d appreciate it.


Welcome Jim.
You can find virtually any question you can ask answered here or in the archives.
You are moving to a great area to paddle, not that Virginia is a slouch.

Hey Jim. My aunt lives in the Villages. It’s a wonderful place. You’re going to love it.
Your question is very open-ended. As a born Floridian I’d say a few things.

  1. It’s HOT in central Florida so have plenty of water and a big silly hat.
  2. All freshwater has alligators and all saltwater has sharks so if your balance isn’t good make sure your kayak is stable. Humans are food.
  3. Make sure your kayak is as light as possible. Some of the plastic ones are way too heavy for one person to carry. If price is an issue then find a used one. Florida has no shortage of kayaks for sale.
  4. A light stiff paddle is worth every dime. Don’t scrimp on it.
  5. If you want speed and exercise go long and narrow. If you plan on taking pictures or fishing get a nice stable boat.
  6. Sea kayaks are great but be aware that if you wear a skirt in the summer the lower half of your body will feel like it’s sitting in an oven.
  7. If you don’t have a garage you may want to look into a good inflatable. Aire makes great kayaks as do other companies.
  8. If you have a wife to take with you I recommend two single kayaks over one tandem. Helps keep your marriage strong.
  9. Try your best to demo anything before buying. If not possible at least sit in it. Sometimes our hips are bigger than we think.
  10. Read this forum. You’re not the first one to ask about entering the sport. There is no fee for asking more questions. Many love giving their opinion so you’ll get a lot of advice.
  11. Have fun. This is a wide sport so there is a lot to learn.

Most of the paddling opportunities in central FL are rivers or creeks that start at a spring. The good news is you don’t need a very sophisticated boat for that. One of the things I have learned from living in SE Georgia is that the summers are often to hot to paddle unless you go early in the morning. Good luck with your move.

Thank you for your advice. I’m going to keep this thread bookmarked. I hope to meet up with other kayakers when I get to The Villages.

Thanks again,

Make sure you make it to Homosassa Springs. The water is incredible and the manatees come in during the winter months.

Villages Canoe and Kayak Club…https://www.vckc.net

A good we’ll organized club. Local knowledge is a good thing. They also are active.

Online reviews tend to be a waste since everyone seems to love their boat. Very few people give an objective review.

Not really. Most people purchase boats that they like and therefore give the reasons why. Many of us have been paddling for decades and have a lot of experience paddling different types and manufacturer of kayaks. As with any review or opinion, take it with a grain of salt but at least take it. Any help is good help even if it’s bad help.

@shiraz627 said:
Online reviews tend to be a waste since everyone seems to love their boat. Very few people give an objective review.

I would take this as a good warning. But I think you can learn how to read reviews. I find the best and most dispassionate reviews are usually given by experienced paddlers who have owned multiple boats somewhat similar to their current purchase (e.g. who can compare sea kayaks to sea kayaks). On the other hand, those who are new at paddling fall in love with their first boat rather like with a new child. Further, they don’t want to admit to a bad choice or, more likely, don’t even realize that they have made a mistake … until later.