I’m looking to buy my first kayak, and have been doing plenty of research. That doesn’t beat actual personal experience, though, so I figured I’d ask for suggestions.
My background: I’m in my late 40s, and suffer from arthritis and nerve pain in major muscles. This means that fatigue can hit me pretty hard, on some days, but I’m also more capable at working through pain than most (from pure necessity). I’m otherwise in pretty good condition. 5’11", 175 lbs clean on the hook.
Prior experience: Years of sailing smaller craft (square-rigged sloops mainly, but basically anything 25’. I’ve sailed on some larger craft as well, including a few races, but that’s probably not relevant. I have rowed aforementioned sloops, skiffs and other waterborne affairs, but never kayaks and seldom canoes.
Goals: recreational paddling and getting some more exercise on my frame while I still can. Health is an ongoing concern, and I want to enjoy the water again and use it to build myself up a little once more. Wouldn’t mind planning on weekend trips once I’m back in the swing of things, but that’s more something for 6 months down the road or so. My spouse is an avid fisherman, and bought a fishing kayak (a Sundolphin Kingsport 12), and although I don’t fish, i want to be able to enjoy myself out on the water with him, whether that’s enjoying scenery, reading a book while coasting, or getting exercise in on lakes and milder rivers. Note, please, that my spouse isn’t a sporty watercrafter, but that I personally enjoy pushing myself a bit more. We have Yakima roofracks for the SUV, and since I expect to be on the water with my partner, the ability to handle it on my own is less important.
Estimates: I’m looking at a sit-in with a 12’-13’ hull. I’m not too afraid of initial stability, and I like the better tracking and stability under muscle power, plus the roomier hull. I don’t expect a skeg to be necessary at first, but being able to grow into one would be good, once I migrate from placid lakes to flowing rivers. I expect I may need to replace a seat, or add a gel pillow, but that’s not as important at getting the hull right. So far, the Perception Conduit 13 looks appealing for the price. I’m prefer not to go a ton higher (let’s call $650 my price limit for now).
Does anyone have offered advice or critique? Anything is welcome and will be considered.