most versatile type kayak for MI

I live in Michigan. No nearby white water. Lake Michigan is close to home. Pine and Pere Marquette rivers are within 2 hours. Going over logs and around obstacles are great fun.

I’m looking to get another kayak. Would a playboat work for me? Can you take that out on Lake MI? There isn’t any whitewater near by, so those wouldn’t work for me.

male 5’8" 165lbs. age 46. am in pretty good shape.

any advice etc… would be appreciated.

a playboat would work
for rivers, we use short rec. boats for log riding and rough river exploration. For larger water a sea yak is ideal, but expensive. You need to decide a crossover boat- ok for some lake and river paddling, a sea yak- good for lakes, or a playboat or rec. boat- good for tight rivers and day touring. Lots of options out there. I’m sure someone else will be along to help ya more too.

What is the difference between…
a playboat, rec boat, creek boat? right now, I am leaning towards a play boat. Wet Dog in Grandville, MI said that they might get a Riot playboat in for spring.

Whitewater in Michigan
Michigan is certainly not a mecca of whitewater but don’t sell it short. There is the Boardman River near Traverse City (nice class II). The Chippewa in Mount Pleasant has a decent play wave and a connected short class II run. The Huron has some class II rapids near the Dexter/Huron park. Its not that far to drive to South Bend, Indiana for the artificial rapids there (class III). There is lots of whitewater in the Upper Penninsula, some of it class IV and V in the Spring. Or you can do what I am doing this weekend – driving to Ohiopyle, PA Friday evening and boating the Lower Yough Saturday and Sunday, driving back Sunday evening. Its even shorter to Slippery Rock Creek. So, if you like WW and are willing to drive a bit, it is available.

the simple answer to your question is

– Last Updated: Aug-26-05 8:47 AM EST –

if someone asked you to suggest a car that got
40 mpg
was great offroad,
but also had a smooth highway ride,
a lot of storage space,
low to the ground,
but bigger than an SUV,
with enough room for 6 people,
but not too big because your garage is pretty small,

what would you suggest?

Simple answer is one kayak for each occassion, no such thing as one kayak really, you need a ww hull, and a touring hull. Unless you're really only interested in surfing lake michigan, and then you need a surf hull too.

All kidding aside, versatile is sort of tempting term to use, but truthfully it doesn't work with kayaks, a short planing hull with lots of rocker won't work well when you want to cover distance or surf, just as a long displacement hull won't work when you want maneuverabilty.

Where in michigan are you where is your local shop? I would do some demoing.

Playboats okay for big water
Among the boats that are playful dayboats also often used in big water are:

-Valley Avocet

-NDK Romany

-Necky Chatham 16

-Necky Elaho

All but the Romany are available in both poly and composite. The Romany is composite only.

A long hull can be very maneuverable
if designed for it. Go watch a slalom race, decked or open boats.

You said “versatile.” A playboat can be
used in lake surf, and if you find the right easy rapids, for playing there. But that doesn’t make it versatile. True WW PLAYBOATS are not versatile, because they are designed specifically for playing in holes, on waves, on eddylines, etc. There are also WW boats designed for agile river running, with some play capability. Dr. Disco may share his preferred list with you.

The most versatile WW kayak I have seen hitting the market recently is the Jackson Hero, and its big person alternative, the SuperHero.

I’m only down here for the jobs
I have decided to give up beer and the calories that go with it, in order to instead feed my gas tank for two more trips home to Michigan, where the lakes are clean enough.

My memory of the Pine River near Baldwin, from 1966, may be distorted by time but I remember lots of rocks and white water, trees down, sharp turns, quick decisions, and scratches on my arms and legs. Lots of fun though. Not sure that I have the confidence now though.

The water around Columbus, Ohio is opaque. I swear it is. The rivers in the area need rain.

Speaking of opaque water I understand folks are canoeing the Kalamazoo near Plainwell but I’m not planning on it.

opaque water
I too am a transplant to Columbus from Michigan, though I didn’t really start paddling until I moved here. Three quarters of the paddling we do is up north. I like to be able to see the end of my paddle when it is in the water. I have often read that Alum Creek Res. is the cleanest ‘lake’ in Ohio. How depressing.

thank you
for the replies and emails.

The Pine River in Michigan
is basically a canoeing river. I would not call it a WW river by any reasonable definition. It does have the occasional ripple and there is one spot where the old dam was removed which has some easy rapids. It does have fast current and, yes, there are downed trees here and there. But I would only paddle the Pine for the scenery. It is only a small notch above a float trip.