Help with first kayak

-- Last Updated: Mar-17-10 11:35 PM EST --

I'm sure there have been posts on this topic before, and I have read quite a bit of the reviews on this site, but I could still use some help. A lot of the reviews I seem to read rate the boats 8s and 9s and 10s, but they can't all be equally as good :)

I'm a definitely a beginner, and won't be doing anything more than going on small lakes, bigger ones if they're on the calm side, and maybe some tame rivers. But, I'd still like to spend a few hours on the water each time, have some storage space to pack a few things, and have just an overall solid boat for a beginner, but nothing super fancy. Oh, and to make it more fun, I'm 6'4" and weigh around 265.

Two of the kayaks I've found for sale used in my area are the Pungo 120 and the Dirigo 120. Any advantage of one over the other? The Dirigo is new and includes a paddle for $800 obo, and the Pungo is $650 used, and I don't think includes a paddle. Are either of these boats good for what I want to do, or should I try to find something different? The used selection is pretty scarce in my area, but I can wait if I should. How are those prices? The Pungo seemed a bit high to me, but I don't know. Oh, and I also just found a Dagger Blackwater 12 foot kayak for $650. How does that stack up?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for the help!

Just a few thoughts
Most reviewers are happy with their choices at the time the write them up, and there is also a human tendency to support the view that they made a good choice. I read the text and ignore the number scale, and see if there are any gems contained in the text that might apply to my current needs/skill level/etc. These reviews are a quick way to get some info on a boat you see for sale but are not familiar with.

If you have few used choices you may have to jump on them quickly. I recently acquired a 2004-vintage 11.5 Blackwater for $250. It still had remnants of the factory barcode stickers on it, indicating not a ton of use. I check Craigslist every day and while there are many listed, there are few true deals available. I’ve bought two boats this way, over about a year of shopping.

Locally, shops sell last years demo boats for 50-60% of new list price. These can be a nice way to try something out before you buy, as well as to get a specific boat model that you have on your short list but don’t see sold used very often.

kayaks, first one
i to am above average in size, 6ft.4, 250 range,been paddleing canoes since 79. bought 1st. kayak in 99 a current design breeze,still heavlily use 2 day,have another kayak a pungo 140, big cockpit,very comfy seat,stable,i use it for fishing out of and taking friends out kayaking,rivers class I,II, them both!still paddle my 79 alumacraft on week long trips. test a bunch if you can,before u buy,kayaking is a blast!

Go for a 14 foot boat
I think your long legs will appreciate it, and it will sit a bit higher in the water than those 12 footers. And ignore the numbers on the ratings. Just read the text.

If Possible, Borrow or Rent …
before you make a decision to invest. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to determine what works best for you. And, of course, remember that your “wants” will become “needs” over time and you’re likely to want to trade “up” (or “down” or “sideways”) after a few months or years.

14 Foot Pungo
seriously, the 12 footers are too small for you.


definitely longer is better nm

At your weight
The more volume a kayak has the higher it will sit in the water, and less sluggish it will be. Personally I’d look in the 14 to 16 foot range leaning towards the 16. I was 264 lbs when I started paddling, 222 now.

Thanks for all of the feedback! I do tend to pay more attention to what someone says in a review than the actual number, just because someone might be a lot pickier than I am.

I think looking at 14 foot kayaks is a good idea. While I am working on losing weight, I’m not going to lose height. I found a Dirigo 140 for sale by me that looks to be in great shape, but the guy is asking $700 for it. When I see people on here saying they got one for $399 (with a spray skirt) and $469 (new @ Old Town tent sale) I’m thinking $700 is too much for it.

Would that possibly be a good option for me, or is there something else I should try to find instead? I’m not in a huge hurry, I’d rather wait and buy something I’ll be happy with than rush to buy something I’ll regret. If that would be a good choice, what would be a reasonable price? It’s used, but looks to be in really good shape.

Lots of people say they got a good deal

– Last Updated: Mar-20-10 8:12 AM EST –

Heck I even bought a new Ford Mustang back in 1968 for $2800.00. Does that mean I should pay no more than this today?

$969.00 new, you might get 20% off at a tent sale. You might not.

I was your weight
If I could I’d buy the Pungo 14. I had a Pungo 12 and that was OK but the 14 is a boat you may never grow out of. I have a friend who does marathons in his an is never at the pack of the pack, it is a suprisingly good long distance tripper while being short enough to turn without having to learn leaned turns.

I had a black water and it is a pig for folks our size. the bow pushed up a wake and it was very hard to make it go 3 miles and hour!