Kayak Decision

My wife and I have been interested in getting involved with kayaking for some time now. We would like to enjoy some time out on nearby lakes and rivers with family as well as move into some whitewater as we progress in our skills.

We plan on getting a kayak for each of us, with hers being the first. For the first kayak, I have been looking into the Dagger Blackwater 10.5 and the Necky Manitou Sport. Do any of you have any recommendations between the two or any comparable kayaks I may be missing?

For the second kayak, the Dagger Approach is catching my eye as it claims to enable one to enjoy both flat water and whitewater equally well (if not excelling in either). Would I be better off getting a recreational kayak for now and adding a whitewater kayak later as my skills improve? Are there other options I may be missing?

My main fear is spending money on two boats which will wind up holding us back when we start yearning for more on the water. I don’t believe we would want anything over class III for quite some time but I know that I am the type of person, once I get into something, I tend to take it further.

Consider LiquidLogic
Since no one else replied, you might consider LiquidLogic. The Wilderness Systems Pungo and Tsumami series are very nice entry level boats. Don’t think you’ll have much luck at your price point outside of Dick’s sporting goods, however.

I haven’t seen the Approach
but i am sure while it could be used as a river runner whitewater boat it is something that an individual interested in improving their skills on white water would grow out of sooner than later.

The Approach could be handy for carrying gear, going straight and catching an upstream surf on the river but not probably not much good at any quick manoevers or even the basics of play boat moves that other boats would be better at. If your thinking of it as a recreation kayak which Dagger states it is, it is probably just fine at.

Rapid acceleration

– Last Updated: Sep-29-06 11:49 AM EST –

I'm similar in that once I get into something, I *really* get into it.

As such, I jumped into a LiquidLogic Stingray 12 at the beginning of July, my first boat and first time kayaking. With almost 3 months elapsed, I've had it out every weekend and have come to an interesting conclusion.

It's an okay rec boat that's passable at a lot of things, but not great at any one thing. I've done mostly flatwater in it with one Class I creek run, but I know I'm going to be buying at least two more boats - a day touring 14 footer and a dedicated whitewater boat.

So your post leads me to believe that you'll be happy with those boats ... for a while. But, sooner or later, you'll want to do something that a rec boat won't support well, and you'll find yourself wanting to add to your fleet. This can happen shockingly soon for those of us who want to build up skills and experience quickly.

Mind you, even though I'm looking to add two more boats, I'm never getting rid of the Stingray. It has enough stability and space in it to serve as a floating picnic barge for lazy days on small lakes, and it also serves as a great intro boat when folks invariably stop to ask me about kayaks when I'm unloading my gear for a put-in.

The short version is, go ahead and pick up a jack-of-all-trades boat and enjoy it. Just keep in mind that you'll probably want more specialized boats later just due to your (our) personality.

By the way, if you're looking for other PA paddlers, give this group a try:



– Last Updated: Sep-29-06 12:16 PM EST –

I'd be wary of buying compromise boats if you know you want to run whitewater and paddle flatwater. I'd suggest first taking a beginning whitewater class using the school's equipment. You'll be much better prepared to make a choice. Used whitwater boats are fairly inexpensive, and will be much more agile in moving water.

But it all depends -- if you just want to run through rapids instead of staying and playing, and you want to haul gear, the Approach might work well for you.

Prijon - Yukon Expedition or Combi



Remember a golf bag has more than one club in it

A quiver more than one arrow

With time, your garage will have more than one kayak.

It’s all good!

See you on the water,



Thank you everyone. All of your advice is very helpful.

I think our first course of action will be to buy a recreational kayak to get out on the water and begin enjoying ourselves. I have found a couple of local paddling clubs which I am interested in talking to as well.

I don’t know where in PA you are
but you might watch craigslist:


Especially the ones with pictures. You can often find a nice boat for a nice price, and you know what you’re getting because you go see it in person.

Great pics of that sail rigged kayak.



SAinPA, kayak club

– Last Updated: Sep-30-06 9:28 AM EST –

If you have a local kayak club, as you mention, and are bold enough to contact them and test paddle their boats--and like us, they all have plenty of boats as they generally started, as you are suggesting, with a heavy, wide rec kayak--you will make a better decision for your purchase. Most paddlers advance so quickly into something faster and more fitting that, I swear, there is a graveyard of rec kayaks out there that'd stack higher than all the mummies in Egypt.

People start with shorter (think Dagger 10.5), fatter and slower steeds, trying to a) save money over a sea kayak and b) stay less tippy.

If you are like me, and I think this is true for others on here, you will graduate from a rec kayak so fast it'll make your head spin faster than that puky chic on the Exorcist.

Think long -- 16-17 feet--and think thin, like 22 inches. The only exception would be if you plan plenty of creeking, in which case you could use a small, slower, weathercocking boat.

So, back to my opening, and your point SAinPA, if you test paddle twice with the kayak club, I assure you you will buy a different boat than you have your mind set on buying now. That is a guarantee. Erase your mind. Paddle with the club. Save money in the long run. And garage space.