just starting out

My family and I went to western Maryland and we went on a kayak trip to a local resevoir. I had never kayaked before. MY wife and i were in a tandem and had a great time. I got hooked fast. Looking for a single kayak for a beginner, but I am somewhat overwhelmed by all of the models on the market. I am 6’2" and weigh about 240 lbs. I am 47 and have old knees and hips from too many years of playing football. I find the open cockpit type of kayak the most comfortable to get in and out of. would appreciate any suggestions you have on a kayak that may suite my needs. I will be doing recreational day trips on ponds and lakes and maybe an occasional slow moving river. Would appreciate your input on brands and models. Look forward to you replies!!! thanks Tom

where do you live?
Where do you live? I can probably give you a couple of good places to go check out some boats. If you’ll mainly be doing recreational type paddling, it’s just a matter of finding a boat that you’re comfortable fitting into.

Enjoy…great sport!



– Last Updated: Jun-04-06 10:02 AM EST –

1st, I'll plug the idea that canoes offer the most versitility, most number of paddler positions, carry the most gear, and if you get the right one, you can paddle either solo or tandem with your wife.

That said, if you want a kayak, have a look at the Old Town 138 Loon. It's an open cockpit kayak that would seem to be well suited to your stated needs and pursuits.


Well it looks like my attempt to use tinyurl to link you to LLBean didn't work. Just go to http://www.llbean.com and look for Loon Classic 138 in kayaks.

Another alternative, is to get a tandem kayak. I know a few folks who paddle theirs either solo or tandem. The Wilderness Systems Pamilico in either the 135T or 145T offer very large cockpits, good Phase 3 adjustable seating, and the option of solo or tandem use. (Warning, tandem kayaks are sometimes called marraige killers, because some find it hard to coordinate their paddling with their spouse. But, that aspect is perhaps overrated from what I've seen.)

Another option are the various sit-on-top, or SOT kayaks. Easy on, easy off, but with the caveat that the ride is significantly wetter than in sit inside kayaks, (SINKS).

Your best bet is to try several very different designs and just see what you like. Renting a canoe shouldn't be too difficult in most areas of the country. I'd start with that, and then list what you don't like about it, and approach it that way.

2 recommendations . . .
Two boats I would highly rcommend for your type of paddling are:

1]Dagger Catalyst 13’-- my wife have been padling a pair of these for about a year now and are very happy with them. Comfortable,easy access {cockpit is about 3’long},with large front and rear storage compartments; they track well, handle up to 2’wind induced waves with no problems, and are overall just good paddling boats.Though I don’t take photos, I am sure this boat is stable enough to do so.

2]Perception America 13’-- my buddy has had his for nearly 2 years and is just as happy with it.Very similar in handling characteristics to the Dagger.Plus if you need the extra entry room, the cockpit on this one is close to 4’long.This eliminates the front storage hatch but makes getting in and out a snap.

These two boats should definitely be on your list of possibilities to try out.Whatever you chose best of luck and welcome to paddling.

The Wilderness Systems Pungo 140 is a good flatwater rec boat for large folks. The 120 may also work for your size.

The fourteen foot one has two hatch storage areas and only weighs about four pounds more.

I’ve used both the fourteen foot and the twelve foot and found them to be very stable in the water.

The longer one might glide more smoothly across open water. Make sure you center your body in the seat though. I find the seat width has room to spare and I’m heavier than you.

My left knee works but has no strength in it. I have no problems getting in, plenty of room to baby that knee, but I have a heck of a time making a dry exit in anything but very shallow water.

With your weight you are not as limited in choices as I am. Best of luck and have fun.

I second the idea of checking out…
…a canoe. I can’t sit with my legs straight out in front, as a kayak requires (my wife and grandkids can), and the 6" or so of elevation a canoe seat gives really helps. No reason you and your wife couldn’t have separate solo craft, either.