Next step???

So I’ve been canoeing, kayaking and rafting on and off for over 15 years. Always having to rent. This summer while on vacation in Virginia with the kids we went rafting on the shanendoaha river with my kids. We were able to run a class 2 rapid and after this decided it was time for my own boat. Most of my friends have one so why not join them. I ended up buying a pelican Liberty 100. I absolutely love this thing. I’ve had it out every weekend for the last month since buying it. I’m really wanting to start upping my game. Im no way wanting to go takle class 3+, but want more fast moving water. Where is the limit of my boat? Can this boat be capable of say running class 2 at places like north fork south branch of the Potomac in WV? Living in Ohio im kind of limited on my river options. I Am willing to travel for a weekend or 2 during the summer to get to better paddling locations. Any and all advice is appriciated and welcome.

rec boat
The pelican Liberty 100 is a recreational class boat. These boats are made for protected, non-moving flat waters. As such, even class II is a stretch for it, and likely wold involve a lot of swimming.

To do Class II or beyond, you really should use a white water capable boat. Most are short boats you wear a skirt with, but there are also inflatable and sit on top white water boats. For skirted boats, you really want to learn to roll early on in your career.

no, no, no

– Last Updated: Sep-10-15 10:06 AM EST –

Your Liberty has none of the features that are needed for performance or safety in whitewater. It would be like taking a golf cart off-roading. It has no hull reinforcement which means if you got pinned against a rock the deck could collapse and trap your legs. It has zero bulkheads or flotation so when it swamps it will fill with water and impossible to empty and reenter without dragging it to shore ( notice I said "when" not "if" because it is guaranteed to swamp in fast water.). The flat wide hull will make it impossible to control and easier to capsize when caught by side flow. The oversized cockpit is too vast to support a spray skirt and it dioes not have a competent coaming to hold a whitewater skirt on anyway. These are not minor points. People die taking this type of rec boats into rapids - I can think of several just in my area in the past few years. And whatever paddle you likely bought with it is no doubt too long and not feathered enough or strong enough fir fast water.

For what you paid at the big box store for it you could have picked up a real whitewater used boat. If fast water is what you plan to paddle I suggest ditching this on Craigslist, or keeping it just for pond and lazy river outings and look for a real whitewater kayak. WW paddlers often sell their boats to uograde models. I picked up a Dagger RPM some years ago and the seller threw in a PFD, paddle, spray skirt , float bags and helmet all for $375. The RPM is a great beginner WW boat if you can find one. Also, old school long pointy WW boats like Perception Dancers and Pirouettes are common and often $200 or less. They need to have float bags installed but those run around $40 or $50 a set.

The right tool for the job is not just more fun, it is actually a matter of life and death in this case.

good deal in Ohio
There is a new listing on Ohio Craigslist, a guy in Sharon Center has a nice Perception Piroutte he is selling complete with skirt, float bags, paddle and helmet for $350. I can’t copy the link using my IPad but I spotted it on the Youngstoen area listings - just search on “pirouette”. That’s an excellent deal. You coukd do any whitewater with that provided you get dome instruction in technique and safety.

If you really love WW
Get a whitewater boat. And learn to roll. It is not only safer but night and day more fun than a rec boat once you get the basics down.

As willowleaf said, if you are in a decent WW area you can pick up a used boat for a couple of hundred. WW boaters turn these things around like candy, much faster than long boaters. It’ll probably look pretty beat up and scratched, but these things have thick and reinforced enough plastic that is not a problem unless it is has gotten really brittle.

What is your height and weight, so people can suggest a good boat for you to get started?

Why not?

– Last Updated: Sep-10-15 12:09 PM EST –

Keep paddling it until you find it limits you. While the Pelican is not suitable for serious white water, it is not going to make a real difference to you if you are in it vs. if you are in a WW boat for running easy class II waters. You will likely swim in either boat, occasionally, assuming you have no roll. If anything, the Pelican will be easier for a beginner vs. a WW boat. I see folks in similar boats all the time in class II and they have no issues.

But, you have little control of the kayak compared to a good fitting WW kayak, probably no sprays skirt, and it won't help you build more advanced whitewater skills.

And as said, you should not take it in difficult waters as it does not offer the protective features and sturdiness of dedicated WW kayaks. And it likely is not maneuverable enough for technical whitewater for a novice to avoid obstacles easy.

At the end though, if you are after a lot of moving water paddling, in the log run you may be better off with something a bit sturdier, perhaps one of the "hybrid" designs such as the Piranha Fusion.

More important than the boat, find out about the dangers of moving water. Get a few DVDs from you library at least, that teache basic WW skills and explains reading the river. And paddle with folks who know the river and know what they are doing. As you "up your game" so do the potential consequences of mistakes, equipment failure, and freak accidents.

Hear what your saying
I appreciate all the responses. I full understand the need for a ww boat. Also since I spend 99% of my time in Ohio the need isn’t there for a ww boat. Although after spending a few hours last night searching paddling spots I have found quite a few places in Ohio that have some better places to go. They are claiming class 2, but again after searching youtube and watching some videos of people running them in rec boats I have doubts they are truely class 2. Better than your avarage lazy river float ripples that most places have. Also you’ll paddle 5 miles for one good set. Again it’s hard for me to justify a ww boat for these runs. I also did however find some way more technical runs up around Cleveland. Now I’m starting to feel like adding a ww boat to my quiver for these runs.

Rolling is for sure on my to do list and having the added bonus of having a pond behind the house to practice in helps. I honestly didn’t realize Ohio actually had some decent paddling. From my digging seems a rec boat will do me for a few months.

As far as weight and size I’m a bigger guy(not huge), but still bigger. I’m 6’ 270. While I’ve seen in the gym and paddling a lot lately I am slowly shrinking. I still fear finding a ww boat is going to be hard. Any info on boats to look for would be helpful.

Typ of paddling

– Last Updated: Sep-10-15 9:24 PM EST –

There are several kinds of WW boats. Depends on what you want to do, you pick a specialized boat. Or something in-between categories. There are many that will accommodate your size. Some examples:
- Playboats: Jackson Monstar
- River runner (what I think you need, if not the longer crossovers): Jackson Zen 75, LiquidLogic Remix 79
- Long boats/crossovers: LiquidLogic Stinger XP, Wavesport Ethos 10, LiquidLogic Remix XP 10
- Creek boats: I don't mention specific ones of these as they are more boat than needed for anything but serious creeking.

Correct you are
From the reading I’ve done I would agree that A) it’s more what I’m looking for and B) it seems to be about the smallest style that are made for us bigguns.