My first Kayak

Hi, I have been Kayaking slow rivers on my friends Otter. Very basic. I want to purchase my own Kayak. Under 1000.00. Seat needs to be comfortable. I want to be able to Kayak rivers, lakes, maybe a calm ocean by the beach. Maybe someday WW, but I would need to start easy. I like rapids, but not real dangerous ones…yet.

I am 51, in good shape, about 165 lbs, 5’7 (woman).

What would be a good boat with some storage, something I could handle by myself, put on the roof of my car and be versatile with nice handling? My friends Kayak nose goes left to right a lot when I am paddling “mowing?”

I can only afford one boat for now, and don’t want to be limited to ponds. I love rivers. I want to be able to just go off by myself…until I meet some more folks to Kayak with. :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the advice ahead of time!


You will gets lots of advice and

– Last Updated: May-21-10 2:10 PM EST –

few answers. You are in the heart of paddling,and especially, canoe country.Find an outfitter or 2 and sit in and paddle some boats.
Look at something at least 14' long,like a Pungo 140 which I think comes in Duralite.

Where in upstate?

– Last Updated: May-21-10 2:06 PM EST –

I am asking because there is a very active paddling group associated with the Albany chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club. We go out on evening paddles once a week, after work, where you could rent a boat from a local guy and basically get some seat time in boats to start to figure this out. There are also smaller bunches that you might be able to meet up with for more informal chances to try out a boat or get some tips. I'd say the majority of the regular women paddlers are late 40's/50's and then some.

Wed site for the Albany chapter outings is here:

Your friend's Otter that goes back and forth is challenged by being so short, but the problem going straight is primarily about your paddle stroke. You can find a boat that is more fault tolerant, but it is likely you are cruising for an injury if you don't get some time in to fix that stroke anyway. So it's worth dealing with that.

Also, sorry to String, but the Hudson River thru Albany, Lake George and Lake Champlain are not places for rec boats on many days - or most. The Hudson is tidal up to the Troy dam, and those two lakes can get interesting enough that a rec boat out from shore is a really lousy idea. Depending on how far north and west upstate, these are likely paddling venues. If the OPer is west enough, we are talking about Lake Erie.

The Adirondacks chains of lakes, with portages involved, are still canoe country. But I am not sure if this represents the OPer's paddling interest.

Near Oneonta, NY
Hey Thanks Celia,

I am about 20 minutes from Oneonta or about 1hr 45 to the Albany International Airport. The closest bigger river I haven’t yet been on is The Susquehanna. I am also very near the West Branch of the Delaware. Thanks for the stroking tip. I have a lot to learn.

I’ve been researching and a lot of people seem to like the Fusion. Or the one the fellow suggested in the other post.

kayak …
have you tried looking on craigslist for a used boat? should be plenty of them this time of year. would a boat like the Old town dirigo in the link interest you ?

Adirondack Paddlefest
Take the drive, it’s a nice day today.

versatile kayaks
Remember to leave some of the money you have budgeted for a good sprayskirt.

I think looking for a decent used boat is the best advice. Don’t overlook the possibility of a used “old-school” whitewater boat. These can make excellent river day touring boats, although they lack hatches for easy access. A significant amount of gear can be carried in dry backs stored behind the saddle, however. These older boats are typically longer than 10’ in length and have much better hull speed than todays short playboats, and can often be found for a few hundred dollars.

If you are interested in a new boat, your budget will limit you to polyethylene, which is fine. Some really nice versatile designs are the new “cross-over kayaks”. Two nice examples are the Liquid Logic Remix XP-10 and the Pyranha Fusion. These boats are roughly 10" in length, equipt with retractable skegs, and have stern storage with bulkheads and hatches. They are tolerable on flat water, and are more than river capable and even whitewater capable.

More thoughts
Hopefully you are up at Paddlefest today. Good catch above - I’d forgotten it was going on.

FYI, a boat that behaves well in whitewater can be an entirely different boat than you’d want to live with for long paddles on flat water. WW demands a lot of maneuverability and the boats are more about that than speed. The crossovers like the ones mentioned in this thread try to do both by adding a bit more tracking and a skeg to tame it, but it is still not going to be the same paddling experience as a go-straight touring boat. They shine however, at allowing you to start figuring out some WW while still handling the lakes and quiet rivers. Or surf on an ocean beach… which is what you are actually often dealing with near shore.

WW is a different environment - there are good safety reasons for the WW folks tending to press rolling and very solid paddle skills very early on compared to flat water paddling. I’d suggest that you consider trying a class for that part.

I sent you some email suggesting that I catch up to you with a couple of boats on the car so you can get your seat into a sea kayak to get a sense of those boats. You are at a decent distance to try and do this. Did you get it?

rivers & creeks

– Last Updated: May-22-10 9:51 AM EST –

are where I prefer to paddle, have done a lot of them and my river touring boat of choice is the Tsunami 120. Enough storage for overnighters, maneuverable enough for the twisty parts, versatile for lakes and long flatwater sections; handles Class II+ rapids easily. I added hip pads and use a neoprene skirt.

If you want something more whitewater-oriented I would suggest looking at the Pyranha Fusion or the Liquidlogic XP9 (the XP10 will probably feel too big to you). I went with a Liquidlogic Coupe, but for those 20-mile days or for being able to go upstream, the Tsunami still wins out.

This weekend
is paddlefest at Mountainman. There is no better time to visit!

but I am working at the Artisans Guild in Margaretville today, where I have a space for my metaphysical hand made jewelry. So…next time. And you are right it is a nice day!

I see it’s Sunday too. I will have to try and go!

I found my boat!
Thanks for the Paddlefest suggestion. I went today and tried on some kayaks and fell in love…

I bought a Native Watercraft, Inuit 12.5’.

Given that I have not done any WW and that I will more than likely paddle on slower rivers and lakes, ocean. This boat was wonderful. Fast and turned really well.

So I am back home and can’t wait to get out. Memorial day weekend I have 4 days off. I will definitely find some water…

Thanks everyone! If anybody knows of something fun, not too far, please write. Happy to be a part of the paddling community.

Otsego Lake
You say you’re 20 minutes from Oneonta - have you thought about Otsego Lake?


Glad to hear
Two bulkheads and perimeter rigging all around… great choice. No cockpit sizes listed on their site for this series (still), but I’d guess it’d take a nylon skirt OK as long as you didn’t expect it to do more than keep a little rain out of the cockpit. (After you’ve done a practice capsize and exit. :slight_smile:

As it sounds like they indicated at Paddlefest, not intended for WW boat. But you can find WW boats used if you want to go there, for usually less money than it’ll cost to get you to where you’ll be safe in moving water in terms of your own prep.

One of the things that makes a boat do moving water well is to have a reinforced bow that won’t twist or collapse if it gets pinned against the rock. This is not exactly an every day event in lesser class WW, but it is possible even in class II depending on the boat and specific water forces. This is often an invisible diff between touring and WW boats, because it is accomplished via thickened plastic layers and a pillar that are all inside the boat.

Have fun !

ut oh !!..but now!

– Last Updated: May-24-10 10:36 AM EST –

Congrats ......but now the real probs start.....U'll be looking for new waters every weekend......put miles on the keep the oil changed and the gas CC handy...Oh ..btw..U'll never be able to pass a kayak shop again w/o stopping in to see if ther's any new toys available for kayaks. next , you'll be buying kayak/canoe maps looking for fresh water to paddle. Have fun and don't ferget the sunscreen and bug spray,camera, whistle ( warning device or SOS for help), PFD, paddle. I once drove 2.5 hrs to friends camp b4 i realized i had forgotten my paddle !!!!! Do buy yourself a little waterproof bag or pelican case to store keys/wallet/etc in while you paddle. Losing the keys overboard is a bad feeling.
PS: don't be surprised if you go out and stare at the boat mid-winter and pray for a early spring.We all do it

You forgot
roof rack, splash jacket and pants, maybe a drytop or drysuit, waterproof digital camera, maybe a helmet some day … and one boat is never enough.

Otsego Lake
most definitely. Glimmerglass State park was also a suggestion. After my PM bus run I think I will run over and paddle for an hour on Spring lake, near Treadwell off 14. Maiden Vogage!!

very cool
i’ve heard great things about the Native boats…only seen the fishing SOTs so far…

enjoy… paddle safe & have fun.