Need help with first kayak purchase

Ive been kayaking about 2-3 times and used rental kayaks (Otter). I LOVE it but I want to get into it seriously but Im on a budget and may need to buy 2 kayaks. I have a budget of $300 or less (per kayak) and I want something that will get me going but that I can use for a while and will survive at least class II since the local club here seems to do class II stuff a lot. I dont plan to do anything seriously rough or crazy, just some lazy floating with some friends who canoe or some faster class I/II rivers in the AL/TN area.

24 hours ago I thought I wanted a sit on top but now Im not sure. Everyone seems to shy away from the “Big Store” boats. I have a 25% off coupon for Sports Authority and a store credit, that’s why I was going to buy new. There is a Victory Classic 12 for sale @ around $250 and it seems to have a lot of favorable reviews, Im trying to avoid getting something that Im going to grow out of in a month or 2 so that I can save for a while but it needs to be easy to handle and storage for camping would be a plus but not required.

I was sent to a website with classifieds for my area site and found quite a few used boats for sale, does anything here catch your eye?

For Sale Creek Boat Pyranha Micro 250

$150 Mentone AL USA

For Sale Playboat Dagger Ultrafuge

$165 Birmingham Alabama USA

For Sale Other Pyranha H:3 255

$200 Mentone AL

For Sale Creek Boat Riot Big Gun

$200 Huntsville Alabama USA

For Sale Creek Boat Perception Matrix

$200 Birmingham AL USA

For Sale River Runner Perception Pirouette S

$250 Birmingham AL USA

For Sale River Runner Pyranha InaZone 230

$250 Auburn AL USA

For Sale River Runner WaveSport X

$275 Arab AL USA

For Sale Playboat WaveSport XXX

$280 Birmingham Alabama USA

For Sale River Runner Dagger Id

$300 Birmingham AL US

For Sale Playboat Perception Blaze 7.1

$375 Tuscaloosa AL USA

These are the boats at SA that I was looking at (again they would be 25% off the price shown and a friend is buying it for me so I wont have to pay shipping). Plus I have a giftcard there for $100.

The coupon expires tomorrow so Im looking to make a decision soon and there is just so much information out there that it makes it hard.

For Class II-III

– Last Updated: Jul-22-06 7:11 PM EST –

The Pirouette S
$250 Birmingham AL USA sounds pretty good for a beginner to just paddle downriver. You want to make sure it has been stored inside and is not old and brittle. Also I am not sure how large a paddler it will hold, there a couple of models of the Pirouette. See if they will throw in a skirt or old paddle. Make sure you have a PFD and helmet for Class III. Some of the older longer whitewater boats are better for down river paddling speed on the flats and very forgiving for learning how to roll and negotiate moving water.

Message Board Problem
I responded to another thread, it placed the message in this thread below my first message. I deleted it but it seems to have taken another message with it. Sorry!

Two different things you are looking at
The Big Box boats you are looking at a pumpkinseed shaped rec boats. Big open cockpits, wide and stable. Good first boat for slow paddling on flat water and slow moving rivers. The boats you listed are almost all whitewater boats. Good for whitewater, lousy for flat water. As an inexperienced paddler, you’ll have trouble keeping it going straight.

My hunch is you would do better with the Big Box rec boat. Paddle it for a year, learn more about whitewater boats, what they do, and what you might want to do with one, and buy something else later. You will outgrow the rec boat if you stick with kayaking for any amount of time. But you will get much enjoyment out of it and learn over time more about different types of boats and what they are good for (and have a better idea of your own paddling goals.)

Also, remember you need to spend money on a decent paddle and PFD.

I don’t know anyone who has paddled for any length of time who hasn’t acquired more than one boat. Even the folks who start with expensive boats end up buying other boats.

Well I guess
Im going to end up buying one of the new ones since I can save 25% and use my giftcard (end result is me coming out of pocket with around $200)

I figure for $200 if I get something I dont like then I can sell it all for $100 and its not that expensive of a lesson.

In the end Ive narrowed it down to these 3. They all have adjustable back/foot rests so that I can make it somewhat more comfortable and they include a cheap paddle and some tie downs. Take 25% off and they are all under $300.

Pelican Pursuit 100 DLX Sit-inside Kayak - $247

Pelican Apex 116 DLX SOT Kayak - $262

Pelican Apex 116 DLX Sit-inside Kayak - $285

Any thoughts on SOT vs Sit-inside for a beginner and any thoughts on 10’ vs 11’6 for a first timer?

For class II
the Inazone 230 is the best choice on your list. The Wavesport X is a good second choice. Both of these boats are easy to paddle, easy to maneuver, stable, and will handle class III easily. They will be slower than a canoe on the flat sections but the tradeoff is that the rec boats you are looking at will be problematic in the white stuff and still be slower than a canoe.

Being the tightwad that I am, I got the Pelican Wave. It ended up being $238.49 out the door and includes a starter paddle.

From the reviews posted here on the site

It seems like it will be an ok starter kayak for both me and my fiance. I figure I can sell it used and get 50% of my $$ back when its time to upgrade.

OK well off you go then.
Make sure you wear the PFD and talk to experienced paddlers who know the rivers before running rapids. You might want to check some websites on safely paddling whitewater. Enjoy your new boat.

Read up on avoiding getting pinned on a rock or bridge post. I’m not sure the Pelicans have pillars to keep them from collapsing if you do get pinned in moving water. Remember the biggest danger you probably will encounter are things like strainers, low head dams, and getting a foot trapped during a swim.