just getting started

I’ve been looking around at hybrids for the last few weeks and have narrowed it down to the Axis 12 or the Pyranha Fusion. From what I’ve read either of these will let me learn as I go, flatwater on up to mild ww.

Anyone out there with experience on either of these?


No, but the Fusion has received
favorable reviews from the whitewater crowd, and of the two, it would be my choice.

no experience, but…

– Last Updated: Aug-22-11 5:26 PM EST –

that doesn't seem to stop folks from commenting! I'd echoe g2d that the Fusion is a fully capable whitewater boat (from reviews, trip reports and looking at its shape). The Axis has a V bow and will cut through flatwater better -- but won't be as maneuverable for WW -- just not a WW boat. I have paddled an XP10 that is similar to the Fusion, it pushes through flatwater. So, if you can't demo these, you could base your selection on the type of paddling you are hoping to do. (I must say that I did enjoy the XP10 on flat MOVING water because of its maneuverability, but I was going at a leisurely pace -- I don't think I would be happy with it (or Fusion) on a lake -- I'm spoiled by one of those longer, skinnier kayaks!) Both boats you mention could use some extra floatation in the bow.

Edited: To get better input from folks here, it would probably be useful for you to say more about things such as why you narrowed it to those two boats, where you plan to paddle (Florida? Alaska?), what type of water (small lakes/ponds, large lakes, slow moving rivers, class III whitewater?). Often your size is a factor especially if you are significantly smaller, taller, lighter, heavier than average. Birth order does not seem to matter.

extra info
I can do that.

Truthfully I’ve never been in a kayak yet. It seems like a great way to see the rivers and lakes of Iowa.

I originally chose the dagger for it’s load limits. I’m around 225 6ft and wanted enough leeway to pack for a weeks trip if I could. A kayak that could transition from flat water to something a little faster seemed a good choice. It just looked to be a good way to start out.

Friends of mine have commented that I’d need more flotation in the front but I didn’t think that would be any real issue using dry bags.

You’re right…
kayaking is a great way to see the lakes and rivers of your home state. (Canoeing is even better, but that’s my bias) But you might want to reconsider getting a hybrid if you’ve never paddled before. Although they sound like versitile all-rounders with wide appeal, they are actually very specialized craft for the niche of paddlers who do long river trips that include both WW and flatwater. For the day trips that the 99% of the rest of us do, its better to have a WW kayak for WW and a flatwater kayak for flatwater.

If I was you, I’d go get some kayaking experience before buying a boat. Especially a new boat. Especially a high specialized boat like a hybrid. See if any of your local/county/regional/state parks do kayak tours and, if so, sign up for one. They are usually cheap and a great, SAFE, way to get introduced to kayaks. And if you get the bug, you might want to sign up for a skills class - you’ll learn great things and get more seat time in different boats. And if you still love it and want to progress to whitewater, go do a WW class. Learn some WW skills - eskimo rolls, etc - and get seat time in THOSE boats. And at that point you should be fairly sure if you would prefer a boat that’s more on the WW side of things or the flatwater side of things. And, of course, used boats are much cheaper than new. Used WW kayaks can be had for just a couple hundred bucks. Or you could still get that hybrid if you want, but then it will be informed decision.

Your profile
says that you are a beginner interested in flat water and slow moving rivers. You will not likely be as happy with a hybrid as a regular sea kayak.

Since you haven’t paddled before, you don’t understand how much harder it will be to do long flat water trips in a WW kayak. Recently, I was a leader (sweep) on a 12 mi trip on a slow river. Since many of the paddlers were in rec boats, I decided to get a work out by taking my WW Burn. I worked very hard to keep up with the slower paddlers. I was amazed at how tired I was - but I was using my Burn for an unintended purpose. So you might want to try out some different boats before you buy. If your profile is accurate, you will be happier in a sea kayak.

Great advice, thanks everyone!

I’ve already found a few places that do beginner lake/river tours and lessons. Some talked about certifications and such from basics to advanced and ww, so I’ll do more checking on those.

Better to have some personal experience before making any decisions.