Newbie needs experienced help

Short Intro - Last month I borrowed a friends Old Town Loon [12’] kayak just to give paddling a try. I paddled the Loon around Nockamixon reservoir in NE PA for the past couple of weekends & decided that I needed to buy my own kayak & upgrade. The kayak that felt the best [at 2 different dealer demos] was the Old Town Cayuga 146 [cost approx. $1,000].

Question - Is it more advantagous to spend more and buy a MUCH better craft, and if so, would the difference on the water be that noticable?

If so, what kayaks would you recommend. [For flatwater day trips, Delaware river Class I]

Thank you in advance.

Oh yea!
It is not all about price though. It is about how you are going to use the boat. Try to be as realistic as possible about how and where you are going to paddle. Once you decide that you can narrow your choices down to a couple models of each brand. You can also talk to other paddlers in your immediate area to find out what type boat they prefer.

The long composite expedition sea kayak, while they may look cool, may not meet your needs. For a lot of people the plastic recreation boats in the 12-15 feet range is all they really need.

List the most likely places you will paddle, your size, what type boats your paddling partners have, trips you may take, days you will be camping, etc. Post the list here and I bet you will get about 5 boats people will recomend. Then shop for price.

Good luck!

Buy used…
There are lots of rec boats out there for sale.

You can find a good one for much less than $1000. Look on Craigslist. Check out local paddling clubs to try other boats. Post on the get together and going paddling forum to find other paddlers in your area. I used to live in Bucks County and paddle lakes and the Delaware River in Canoe. If you avoid the falls south of New Hope and near the I-95 freeway most boats will be fine on the Delaware in that area. You can also paddle down the river and up the canal in spots.

Get what you want
One of the things that the folks on this forum emphasize is demo, demo, demo. You have already done that and have identified a boat that you really like. I’d say go for it. It’s a fine boat for what you want to do, and there’s no need to go longer and/or more expensive. Sure, you could get cheaper used, but it doesn’t make much sense to demo and then buy something you may not like, unless you can find a used Cayuga!


You answered your question yourself !
If you are like the rest of us who get hooked real bad (bad is good) you will be getting another boat after that one any way.

My progression went from 9 foot wide rec kayak to 17 foot poly much narrower sea kayak to 18 foot even narrower light weight kevlar kayak.

Still have them all and each one gets used at various times

I think if you like that particular kayak go ahead and get it unless there is some opportunity to demo some others.



More advantageous to take lessons
Just going out and buying a new boat without taking a few basic lessons and going on some paid tours to get a feel for how the boat has to work for you is a pretty good way to end up replacing the boat within a season.

There is fancy stuff out there aplenty, but you need to take some time to learn more about how you want to use it. I agree with above - start out used until you figure that out.

being a “newbie”, it’s better to have…
a little more resistance…as in “a larger boat”, for initial-balance, more than anything…to allow you to relax, seperate upper from lower body functions in a watercraft…for achieving good final stability when water conditions become rough.