New member - my story and my questions

Another newbie to this forum and of course I came with a hell of alot of questions that I was hoping some of the seasoned veterans on here could help me with. First I figure I should tell my short paddling history:

I grew up along the coast in California and as kayaks appeared and began to gain popularity, I gained an interest in the late 90’s. I took a basic class and decided I liked it, so I picked up an Ocean kayak Scrambler and took it out just about every weekend, primarily in the pacific ocean around San Diego and North up to Ventura and Santa Barbara. I joined the Army in 2002 and couldn’t keep it with all the traveling I was doing so I sold the scrambler. Fast forward to 2010, I now live in Austin TX after loving the city so much while I was stationed at Ft. Hood. I’m now out of the Army and renting canoes and kayaks at a couple of the lakes around here has renewed my interest in it. I took a month-long road trip last year, camping all over the country and I was kicking myself for not having a kayak with me as I visited some really remote and beatuful lakes that would have been awesome to paddle in.

So now’s the part where I tell you I need help. I’ve visited some sites and stores and I can see the paddling world has changed quite a bit since the days of my old Scrambler. I basically need to start from scratch. I need advice on roof racks and the best attachments for my car (2002 Accord), I need advice on a kayak and paddle of course, and I need some good tips on cool places to take it. I’d consider myself an intermediate paddler, in shape, not too concerned about speed but it is nice, and I probably don’t need anything for whitewater or rough currents because I plan on finding a kayak or canoe that will be suitable for me and my 25 pound dog. I’d like to bring her on most or all of my paddling trips, so finding a compatible boat in that sense is a must.

Thanks to all who took the time to read my long winded post, and any help is appreciated.

Being in Austin
You are right in the middle of plenty of great places to paddle. Besides the lakes right in town, there are huge stretches of the Colorado, San Gabriel, Pedrenales, Concho, Blanco, Guadalupe and San Marcos all within an hour or so of downtown Austin.

Descriptions of these and more can be found at

There are also several paddling groups down there who you can hook up with that know most of these areas very well.

the rack part is easy
Watch ebay or criagslist for used thule and yakima rack components. A 2002 Accord is pretty common so there should be a good number of them for sale.

The paddling thing? Maybe identify the type of paddling - streams, rivers, ocean, surf - and then repost with the subject header referencing texas.

Also try the “getting together and going paddling” forum.

Good luck!

canoe better for a dog
People do take dogs out in sit on top (SOT) kayaks or recreational kayaks with huge cockpits, but a canoe is generally a lot more practical if you are taking your dog.

I would look for a solo canoe of fairly good size, to accommodate your animal, with a sliding seat so that you can adjust the trim of the canoe to make up for your dog’s weight.

Thanks all
Thanks for the responses. I have been out on the Colorado, and it was enjoyable. I’m going to look into some of the others mentioned.

As far as racks, I guess the concern is that I’ll be often alone so getting an easy lift-off attachment is probably a good idea. I’ve spent a bit of time at Thule and Yakima websites for that.

Any ideas on where to start researching a good canoe? I tried a bit and wasn’t able to find a whole lot of good information on them. Most people say solo canoeing is tough due to the weight distribution…they suggested putting any carried weight at the front of the canoe and sitting in the rear to try to balance it as much as possible and avoid tipping…I haven’t been able to find any canoes yet that were designed for solo paddlers.

There are many good solo models
I would look at what is available in good composite solo canoes in your area. This website has a classified section, and you can check craigslist for the major cities that are within a radius of your location that you are willing to drive to.

Take a glance through the online catalog for Wenonah Canoes to get an idea. They have many good solo models.

Austin retailer
Austin Kayaks is a good retailer there…they carry kayaks and canoes. I think they have demo days where you can try out different models. They have good customer service and good sports equipment sales.

Native watercraft
Has anyone seen or tried out any of the Native Watercraft “Ultimate” boats? They kind of look like a cross between a kayak and a canoe…seems interesting. I’m hoping a store nearby has one that I can demo in the future.

Hi Josh

I have a Native Manta 14’6" and its a SOT. The only complaint I have about it is the weight. My brother recently named it HAB. Heavy A-- Boat. Otherwise its a great boat. It has a large front hatch that you could take the cover off and let your pooch sit there or there’s an open section behind the seat with cords for storage. You could undo the cords and let your dog sit there.

Hi Kathy

Yeah, I noticed that from reading the specs, the boats did seem heavy with some of the longer ones I was looking at weighing in at about 75 lbs. That would be an issue if I ever had to portage it anywhere.

Given the size of my dog though, these boats look nice for the two of us. She’s a 25-30 pound blue heeler who is fairly mild mannered and will usually sit still in the boat but can get a bit skittish and want to jump out if she feels like theres a chance for capsizing. Some of the sit on tops I’ve rented were just too small and while the tandem ones were large enough, I was hoping a canoe would help with the effect of her not being as nervous because she isn’t right at the water’s edge.