New to paddling. A lot of questions.

-- Last Updated: Jun-27-09 6:32 PM EST --

Im new to paddling. From Cocoa Beach Fl. Im looking to buy my first kayak. Recreational use. Will be paddling in wide open slow river with little traffic. Whats the best kayak to use???
What do i look for when buying a used kayak???
Will be paddling alone. Is this ok???
Do I have to worry about gators bothering me???

Any other advice for a newbie would be appreciated. Thanks
Also if anyone knows of any paddling clubs around the Cocoa Beach area.

Cocoa Beach
I used to spend a lot of time on the Banana and Indian rivers when I lived in the area. The gators never bothered me, but I’d try not to swim or spearfish with them nearby.

SINK or SOT wouldn’t matter much, but I would go for a touring length.

You might want to check this place out:

do I
need to use sunscreen???


How deep is the water???

go take some lessons and it will all make sense.



– Last Updated: Jun-28-09 11:59 AM EST –

I started out on a friends Wilderness Pungo 120 which has a huge cockpit and is ultra stable. My first boat was a wilderness tsunami 125 (I love the wilderness phase 3 seats) and I now paddle a tsunami 165, all of which are SINKs. Before I bought any of them I checked with a local outfitter/outdoor store to see if they had any "try before you buy" days. Typically they host these events at ponds or lakes in the spring/summer. They bring all different models and that's were you can match yourself with the best boat and talk to other kayakers.

What was mentioned earlier about lessons is right too. If you get serious in to paddling, and get used to using the incorrect stroke on longer trips you'll end up tiring yourself out.

As far as used boats go, if it's a resin boat roll it over and look for cracks, deep scrapes (any used boat will have some scrapes), check the rudder or skeg for smooth operation. If the boat has bulkheads, check the caulking around the seals. Make sure you get a paddle that's good for your style and height. Most vendors have online paddle tools that tell you what they recommend.

the “Articles” header above, and then to the “Guidelines” drop-down on the menu list.

Read thru the kayaking section -it’s got a terrific array of good advice for newbies interested in getting started, and IMHO, should be required reading for all who come to the boards with inquiries like yours.

AFter you’ve done the reading, come back and get a little more specific, and we’ll be happy to help you refine your search to find a good boat to


-Frank in Miami

take a class!
i am also a newbie, and can say that the experience of taking a basic skills kayaking class right off the bat was super valuable. definitely do it before you buy a kayak, it is money and time well invested.

Winter Park isn’t far from Cocoa
and this meetup group is having a basic kayak instruction class on July 19. $40

I looked but didn’t see anything like this in Cocoa. You might ask around at some of the local shops.

Good luck.

jump right into paddling without any les
and if i just wanna jump right into paddling without any lessons is that ok?

CD Kestral S-O-T
I think the perfect boat (and length) for casual kayaking in Florida waters is the Current Designs Kestral Sit-on-top. Light weight, easy to use in rivers and bigger waters of the ICW, Indian River and Banana River.

My girlfriend will not trade hers for gold.

We kayak some in Brevard County with is about 80 miles north of us. I.M. if you want kayaking partners. We show lots of beginners the ropes - we are user friendly for beginners. Kayaking can be done alone but is a heap more fun in a group.

well, sure
but if you end up wasting money buying the wrong kayak, or you get eaten by an alligator because you don’t know how to do a self rescue, don’t say that we didn’t warn you!

Seriously, look at Sit on Tops.
Perfect for what you describe.Lots of choices from 10’ barges to rockets.

Alligators are afraid of you.

I’ve been paddling for a long time and have never had a lesson.Of course, that is the hard way.

The poster is asking for advice.
So what if those questions have been asked before. Touch of elitism from some here I think !!