Hi! I decided over the winter that 2020 would be the summer I got a kayak. I was hoping to take classes and explore options and all that… and then there was covid. I’ll give background, and then ask questions.
I’ve rented kayaks occasionally for decades, mostly for poking around Moss Landing when I lived in CA and the San Juans in WA. I have always enjoyed it. I was in a car accident almost three years ago that left me with strength issues in my upper body. My doctor and I think paddling could be an excellent way for me to regain strength and endurance in my shoulders & upper back.
I would eventually like to do some open water paddling, but I think that’s probably a second boat. Right now, I live five minutes from a launch point into Lake Washington, so would most likely be paddling near shore in relatively flat, very cold water. I grew up sailing, so I have a deep respect for how dangerous water and weather can be, particularly cold water.
I am 51 years old, fat, and most of my weight is in my butt and thighs. 280ish, and 5’7". I’m a size 26 on the bottom, and an 18 on the top. At least the ballast will be low in the water.
Should I put this off entirely until covid is better controlled and I can take classes? I haven’t learned to roll a boat. I can read and I have some friends who paddle, but they’re all pretty much novices. I wouldn’t want to take a sailboat out with the level of knowledge I have now, so I’m hesitant about going out in a kayak. I know how to right a capsized Sunfish and get myself back in it, but haven’t tried to actually perform that action in 30 years.
Do I need a wetsuit or drysuit to be safe on the water? Lake Washington is damned cold. I’m a good swimmer, but I know that doesn’t really matter unless I can get out of the water fast.
Kayak options. I know I like kayaks better than canoes. The kayaks I’ve used in the past have all been enclosed with skirts, but I have many friends who like sit-on-top kayaks. My instinct is that sitting lower and being more enclosed will feel better to me, but I also have to find one I can get my butt into.
What things am I not thinking about that I should be asking?
Thanks for any help!!!