I want to Kayak,I have a few in mind?

I been kayaking one time at a park while camping,and I liked it but that was like 10yrs ago. I just sold my 27’ sea ray boat and am really missing the water,So thought this would be fun and get some exercise out of it!

I’ll start off by saying Im a bigger guy and not in the best shape, 6’ 250lbs. I plan on kayaking around my local river when its calm,and maybe some other places,but Im not looking for white water rafting or anything,Just some nice smooth water paddling. So more than likely I’ll just be cruising around,but I do like to camp so maybe a kayak camping trip might be possible for the future,but for now just some local day trips.

Im fairly certain I want a sit in style,with the bigger cockpit “not the real tight fitting sit in’s”

So far I have a few that I really like two of them are from Wilderness Systems,The 10’.5 Aspire and the 12’ Pungo and one I seen at a local Gander Mountain called the Perception Sound.

I think im leaning toward the Aspire,but the pungo is also nice,out of these two whats better for a beginner? The Sound one isnt bad,but I would like some dry storage,but then again its about half the price of the wilderness systems. What do you think?

I was also wondering if there is a good online place to order boats from,I was assume shipping would be crazy but im not sure on how many kayak stores are around me,I think I found one,I’ll give them a call or swing by to see what they got. But just wanted some feedback about the few that I have my eye on before I call asking about prices and stock of them. Thanks!

go for the longer one
You are kind of a big guy for a 10’ kayak so I would not recommend either the Aspire or the Sound. They have to be wide to give enough displacement to support a larger person which will make them slow and balky to paddle. I just did a 13 mile trip last week on a local flatwater river and one of the guys on the trip was paddling a Perception Sound, which he had bought for fishing. Though he was only about 190 lbs, I would judge, and in decent shape, he had trouble keeping up with us and was clearly exhausted by the effort. The rest of us were in 15’ kayaks and had a much easier time of it. though we were only paddling at a casual pace. I think you would find those boats very tedious and hard to propel because they push a lot of water and will ride low due to your size. Also very little cargo space.

OF the choices you are so far considering, the Pungo would probably be most satisfying but keep your options open if you are going to visit an outfitter. It would be best to find one who offers on the water demos so you can get a feel for what different lengths and widths feel like – and an intro class or two will greatly enhance your paddling enjoyment and safety (kayaking technique is NOT intuitive.)

Old Town Vapor
Have you checked out the Old Town Vapor 10 or 12? Academy Sports and Docks carries them in stock if you have one close by. The cockpit is really open. I was set on a sit on top cause it seems so easy to get in and out of but I was leaning toward the vapor and I might get the vapor 12 when the season is over if there is a sale.

Pungo 140

– Last Updated: Jul-02-15 8:34 AM EST –

I had a 12' Pungo for a couple of seasons and really liked it for use purely as a rec boat,but even unloaded, it was as deep in the water as I'd want it to be.

At your size I'd say look at the Pungo 140 which also has the added safety feature of both stern and bow hatches.


Better still, find a local paddle shop that will let you take both for test paddles.

I Used A 14’ Perception Illusion
To paddle 83 miles down the Escalante into Lake Powell. The technique needed wasn’t even developed at that time. I used what I learned taking classes on the ocean to develop a technique as I went.

My kayak handled a small desert technical class III river with surprising ease. There were probably over 100 sets of rapids along the way.

Online Kayak Purchase

– Last Updated: Jul-02-15 7:25 PM EST –

I just bought my kayak at a local shop, but was strongly considering an online purchase via http://www.ACK.com. The only reason I didn't was because the kayak I wanted became available locally at a lower price because it was "blemished."

ACK.com actually ships some kayaks FREE, but I don't know how they determine which. It may be that the smaller ones can be shipped free, while the larger ones (as you would probably want) have shipping costs. For instance, I looked just now at the Wilderness Systems Pungo 140 Kayak - 2015, and it does NOT ship free. But the Old Town Vapor 10 Kayak 2015 DOES ship free.

Still, might be worth a look. To see if a kayak ships for free, drop down the "Ship Location Options" list for the kayak. If they ship it for free, it will have an option of "Residential FREE." If not, it will just say "Residential."

They also have competitively priced, pre-selected kayak packages as well as a "build your own package" option. This latter one allows you to choose your kayak, paddle, PFD from their entire inventory at a package discount price.

Finally, they offer a 15% discount on any other kayak equipment you purchase when you purchase the kayak from them. They have live chat available, too, so you can ask specific questions about the equipment you are considering.

As I said, I did not go this route, so I can't say how well the kayaks ship or how good their customer service is, but my impression from reviews is that they are very reputable.

Bow & Stern Hatches are Safety Equipment

– Last Updated: Jul-02-15 7:22 PM EST –

Hi, kfbrady,
I'm new to kayaking and wondered why bow and stern hatches are considered safety equipment? Can you explain? Thanks!

Hatches usually indicate bulkheads
If you have front and rear bulkheads (sealed chambers inside boat) they will create air pockets so your boat will still float horizontally in water if flooded.

Without bulkheads, a kayak will either sink slightly below surface, or stand vertically in the water based on wherever the air bubble is trapped. In either case, self-rescue is impossible in deeper water and you will have to swim your kayak to shore to dump out the water.

With bulkheads, you flip the kayak upright and re-enter. You can drain the rest of the water with a handheld pump. There are several ways to do this, and it is part of most kayaking classes beyond the most basic introduction.

Many paddling clubs insist on front and rear bulkheads so that they can help rescue a paddler in the water in case of accident. Again, flipping over without bulkheads is at least a major pain, and can be deadly in cold water or if far from shore.

More thoughts…
Thanks for all the replies,Im bummed to hear that I probably would not do to well in the aspire,But I rather find this out before I buy!

The Pungo is still on my list,But im concerned about the 13" deck height. Im worried with my weight that I will make it ride low and wet,Should I make it a point to look for a boat with at least a 16" height?

Im not stuck on any particular brand,I seen a Old town vapor at dicks today,it seemed fairly decent but they only carried the shorter versions,So I will look into those. I was looking at the W/S Tsunami 145,but looks like im going up in price,Any thoughts on this boat to fit my needs and weight?

Im the type of guy who likes to jump into things, Most people say get something cheap to try it out and go from there. I usually jump in with both feet and go the opposite route and buy quality and spend more money. I think with this sporting activity,I might be doing myself a favor by getting a nice boat to start off with,rather that a cheaper run of the mill boat,Im guessing if I get nice longer boat and then find out I dont like it,To hard for me,etc. then I will know this is just not for me,rather than the boat was the issue.

Think I have any logic in my thinking,or should I just buy a cheaper boat like everyone usually tells me?

Deck Height

– Last Updated: Jul-03-15 12:05 PM EST –

How the boat sits in the water is not a simple function of deck height, it has more to do with the hull size and displacement.

The only way to really be sure is with a demo paddle.

A larger deck height does provide more room for larger feet though, with the trade-off that it may make the boat more liable to weather cocking.

buy the boat that fits
YOU. A cheap boat that doesn’t fit, that is uncomfortable and a PITA to paddle is not a cheap purchase because it is wasted $. That said, you need not go cadillac either.There are plenty of good used kayaks many of which can fit you. But you must be a wise consumer to find them.

With a sit in side kayak you are looking at:

Length: I agree with others, 14 feet at minimum

Deck height: depends on shoe size and how big your water shoes are. You can expect to angle your feet a litte, that is, they are not pointing straight up at the underside of the deck. People with say size 11s are generally fine with decks 13-14" high. 16" is pretty high and not that common.

Beam: if you carry a high center of gravity (big shoulders and chest) a kayak with a beam of 26" or more will probably feel good for you. You may even go up to 28 or 30 inches. For calm water paddling this is fine. They won’t be speed demons but for relaxed cruising you don’t need that.

There are lots of companies - Prijon, Necky, Wilderness Systems, Dagger, Current Designs, Perception, Old Town, Native, Eddyline, Lincoln, Impex Hurricane, Delta, Seaward, and many others who make boats for big guys. Some tilt more toward the recreational, some more toward the touring and some inbetween. the amount of models can be bewildering and tempt you to make a buy just to end the search.

Spend some time on company websites. Shoot them a few questions. Get the names of the dealers in your area. Stop by a paddling shop or outfitter and talk to them. Better yet rent a kayak or two from them You will soon figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Plus a good outfitter will make sure you have a pfd and a paddle that is sized right for YOU. You really need to try a kayak, try a paddle, try on a pfd. Esp. for someone new to the sport who is still figuring out what would be best for them.

You can also take a lesson or two with the outfitter/paddle shop that can give you a LOT of insight into what you should be looking for in a kayak and gear.

Many paddleshops will credit you the price of a rental or two towards a purchase. Many of them have good prices on slightly used rental or demo kayaks.

What about the
Perception Sport Conduit 13? It’s 13’6" long and 26" wide, though it has a longer waterline than other boats its size because of the bow angle. Front and rear bulkheads and a decent seat. I’m 5’9" and 170lb and it’s a little bit big for me.

Dick’s sells.them and they show up on Craigslist now and then.

Buy A SOT And Dress Appropriately
SINKs are a pain to get in and out of. As pointed out the cockpit can fill with water. If you like to enjoy the sights, get out and stretch your your legs or fish, SOTs rule.

And you are “advanced” ???

might be too small
The Conduit 13 might be a little small for you, but you might want to check out the Perception Cove 13.5 if you can find one. A little more expensive (around $700) but it has a larger cockpit and a higher weight range which will put you in the middle rather than the higher range in the boat and might make it easier to paddle.