Newbie Question(s)

Wife and I recently spent some time kayaking in FL…down around Boca Grande…absoulutely love kayaking… We’ve hiked and boated for a long time and love both very much.

We live in Delaware…relatively close to all types of water…from the Ocean to lakes. I’d like to start investigating kayak purchase…I’ve read a ton of information but was wondering if anyone could recomend a type/brand that might be a good place to start looking. Looks like no Demo days in my area at this time… …Wife is of avg size…5’8" 125lbs I’m kinda big 5’10" 220 lbs…Interested in single and for some reason sit in vs SOT…

I’d really appreciate any guidance…and Thanks in advance

Tought question to answer

– Last Updated: Aug-08-07 6:35 PM EST –

If you want to just go out and paddle around for leisure Wilderness Systems has a great Tsunami and Pungo line. The kayaks are competetively priced and vary in style.
I would recommend that you purchase both kayaks equal in length. Weight vs strength will balance the kayaks for a good time on the water.

Happy hunting then kayaking

You need to supply more information
such as: your price range, and your skill level.

What type or make boat did you paddle while in Florida?

Even if there are no demo days around you, surely there are paddle sport shops ( not the Dicks , but a true paddle shop that just deals in canoes and kayaks) where you can go and pick the salesmans brains, and then come back here with some names of kayaks that people here can critique.



newbie questions
Richard and Jack:

Thanks for the information. Pungo 12 is surely on my list of boats to check…certainly in price range. I like everything I’ve read about them. Tsunami I especially like too…upper end of price range. I would expect some end of season clearances?? (We buy all of our hiking gear end of season)

Skill level, very beginner…The boats we used in FL. were Wilderness, but not sure of the length or model. My guess around 14’…They were great although there was a slight, slight bit of a tracking issue in the wind…

There are a number of shops in the area…well withing driving distance… We’ll be checking them out. I was just trying to narrow the choices…

Thanks again


Contact a shop or shops
on or very near the water. Preferrably one that carries several different manufacturers boats. Set up day to visit when you can paddle as many different boats as possible. Try everything from the Pungo type recreational kayaks to sea kayaks. Paddle at least ten different models from a variety of manufacturers. This is a start and you will begin to have some feel for differences between boats and manufacturers. Then, pick a few that you liked and rent them for longer periods of time such as two hours to a half day. Try to demo these in places and conditions you expect to paddle in. Do this right away. If you find something you like ask the shop about purchasing the demo at the end of the season. Your budget will go a little farther if you can find a demo that is going to be sold.

Or …

find a local club with an internet site and message board. Say you are new and interested in researching kayaks that would be good for the type of paddling you hope to do. Ask if they sponsor any group paddles and/or skill sessions where you might be able to test paddle some of the members boats. You might luck out and get to try a variety of boats. You might even find that some previously enjoyed ones are for sale.

ood luck!



…or do what I did and buy a boat and then trade it in on a different model 8 months later. I only wish I knew what I know now back then.

Second wetzool

– Last Updated: Aug-09-07 8:18 AM EST –

If you are within reach of ocean, something like the Pungo that seems like a deal now will work for, oh, probably almost 4 weeks if you have a hard time making it to the big water. Or if you want to go for more advanced skills.

Find clubs and look around for chances to rent near you - if you have fairly convenient access to the ocean I'm hard pressed to believe that you aren't within a rational driving run of some more serious kayak rental and demo opportunities. We did the same - went for 13' boats that seemed like a plan at first, and were looking around for more boat within a few weeks of actually taking them on the ocean. Or if you must buy, go used and don't get too attached the first one. It'll likely not last long if you really like the activity.

Newbie question
Thanks Wetzool and Ceila…I plan on demoing a good bit before I buy…but your suggestion and caution about boat type and size is well taken…(and the tip about purchasing the demo is filed away for sure) I love a bargain…This Kayaking thing all started when a friend of ours bought an ll bean tandem, with all the bells and whistles for $200…

The type of water is my dilema…nice lakes 5min…small rivers 10 min…DEl bay 15 minutes Ocean 45min(spend a ton of time in OC Maryland in off season") …quick moving “river” 1/2 hour…and to add to the confusion…we love to camp…

Used is definately in the mix…I’ve been watching paddling. net since early July…craigs list, ebay and the local paper.

I’ll keep you posted…abd probably as some more questions if that’s ok

Thanks again for all the advice…

To think about
If you love to camp you’ll likely end up wanting to camp out of the kayak, somewhere. If you are within an hour of something like ocean bays, and are in the area of long rivers running down into the bay you’ll likely want to be able to travel some distance. If you spend time on the ocean at all you’ll want to be able to go out in minor swells.

If you are talking about those long rivers that run down to the bay (we’ve paddled the lower bit of St Mary’s), you need to treat them with a good bit of respect. We’ve seen rec boats out there, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. Apparently the death that occurred one time when we were visiting my husband’s family there is not unusual.

The one kind of boat I’d take off the list is whitewater. It’s a real different approach and environment, and what serves in WW will not work for the ocean and long rivers. It’ll also be less than perfect on small lakes until you get a pretty straight paddle stroke. Best to do lessons and rent if you do want to take a stab at it.

So right off the rip, I’d say that you have some criteria to think about. You will likely end up wanting a boat with sealed storage front and back for camping. You’ll want decent speed and tracking so that you can go some distance in wind without killing yourself, and a boat that is capable of supporting some basic skills for handling either minor moving or ocean water.

The good news is that you can get into a used plastic boat towards the 16 ft range that’ll do all of the above fine. I suspect that if you point the car towards the ocean and start finding outfitters around there to rent from, you’ll end up with a boat that can get you going well in their end of season sales. With two of your paddling together, the weight thing for cartopping isn’t a huge issue.

Hope this helps!

Whee exactly do you live? Some p.netters may be able to direct you to layak outfitters and shops.

Seda swift
A Seda swift might be a boat to try–it’s a good touring boat, capable of oceans and bays, but also a good boat to learn on. Most importantly, someone in Maryland has a fiberglass one for $950 ($2770 new, so that’s a great deal). The ad is on the classified listings to the left.