Possible upcoming new purchase for mostly area lakes, & a river or two... I`m 6` 4", 185 lbs.

Hi everyone! At a local State Park recently, i began thinking that kayaking might be fun. So; i began doing some online reading, watched some videos, and sat in a couple; a 10’ sit in model by Pelican, and a 12’ sit on model by Jackson. I plan on renting at Wolf River east of Memphis, and at one or two of the local lakes in the area to see if this is something i want to pursue.
If i decide to buy a kayak, it probably won’t be until next spring, and my budget will be around $600.
So far at this point, I`m thinking maybe a 12’ model might be the best fit. My inseam is 36". Even with the footrests extended all the way in the Pelican, it felt like i needed a little more legroom.
I won’t be using it for fishing, And, besides some mild rapids on a river, as I am told the Wolf River has some areas that do feature rapids, I will probably be on mild water.
Any comments or suggestions are appreciated! Thanks!

  • Greg

My inseam is just a bit less than yours. I have to remove the foot braces in most boats to get enough leg room
In both of mine, I glued minicell in to get a proper leg length fit.
You do not want a boat less than 14’ at your size.

Greg, if you are saying that your total kayaking budget come next spring will be about $600, you are going to need to find a real good deal on a used outfit, or you’re going to come up short. You might find a used boat to suit you for $600, but then you are going to need about half again as much to get you outfitted properly to get out on the water.

Meanwhile if there is any way that you can try out a sea kayak, or transitional that is around15’ to 17’–do it. This will give you an idea of what it should feel like. Batter yet, go to YouTube and watch as many instructional kayaking videos as you can find–especially about the forward stroke and maneuvering strokes. Sit on the floor with your knees bent a bit and practice torso rotation with a broomstick in your hands. Sit up straight with no backrest. When you can do this exercise for an extended period of time, you might be more ready to demo prospective boats as to their suitability.

Thanks everyone!
Okay… is there any reason not to consider an inflatable kayak?

Inflatables are very much impacted by wind, as they float above the water (bot in the water). And they are slower to paddle. And there are inflatables that are pool toys and inflatables that are closer to being a real kayak. The latter are above the budget you mentioned.

Re; inflatables, I was thinking along the lines of a Sea Eagle or Saturn as mentioned in another thread here.
Spending around $700+ or so on a good inflatable set-up wouldn’t be bad since that would eliminate the need for an additional kayak later for my wife since she would just be happy riding along, paddling, then being in her own. And, I can solo an inflatable, as well. Not to mention I would not need to buy a roof rack for my car. I’m exploring all options.

Why not get a used 16 foot tandem canoe? Set up properly & with some instruction (you tube is great) you can paddle it solo and use tandem when your wife wants to go along.

@cannonball said:
Why not get a used 16 foot tandem canoe? Set up properly & with some instruction (you tube is great) you can paddle it solo and use tandem when your wife wants to go along.

Good option with the canoe! I saw this Old Town Saranac list at Dick’s Sporting goods last week for $499. which looks to be very good value and reviews are strong. https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/old-town-canoe-saranac-146-canoe-15otousrnc146xxxxpsc/15otousrnc146xxxxpsc

I recently add this Perception Triumph 13’ sit on to my fleet and I’m impressed with it. Very good speed, glide, tracking, weight is decent at 54lbs and priced well at $599. (on sale often at West Marine where I paid $500.) . At one of their stores in East Bay (I’m in California), I saw the Ocean Kayak Malibu tandem on closeout at $319…that’s a sweet deal. Craigslist is a crap shoot with some people unloading leaky or broken kayaks. If going rotomold plastic, take a good look to see how much sun damage, inspect the hull for damage, and paddle if possible. Pic of the Perception

Another great sit on (my favorite) is the Malibu X-13…excellent paddler. It has a long waterline to give it speed.

Yesterday, a friend and I went over to Wolf River to have a look around. First; we stopped at the exit point for Ghost River Outfitters, & talked to a couple who had just finished the trip. This is just east of Moscow. Then; we drove further east to Lagrange to the section where you put in. The river trip is 8.5 miles. I think we are going to make reservations for next Saturday. They offer sit on and sit in kayaks, and canoes.
We left Lagrange, drove over to Chickasaw State Park, and rented 11’4" Jackson Riviera sit on top kayak’s. Neither of us had ever been on a kayak. An hour for $7.00. It was fantastic! The seats in these kayak’s are molded w/ no padding. Pretty decent for being on the water for an hour. I was comfortable. The foot rests are molded. And, I removed my flip flops, & was using the last foot rests. My legs were slightly bent. Comfortable!
For the most part, I was being conscious of using good technique from the videos that I’ve watched, turning my torso as I paddled. The paddles we got did not have the rubber rings on the ends to prevent water from running down. But; I hardly had any water coming in whereas my buddy was getting quite a bit of water in his kayak. The paddles were 7’ in length, & he mentioned he would like to have had a longer paddle. I mentioned to him that adjustable 2 piece paddles are available that might be offered longer. For me; that length was okay until he mentioned that! Ha! Like him, I was striking the edges of the kayak while paddling once in a while.
It was a really fun time! Looking forward to getting back out!
As far as buying a kayak; and after reading some more of your posts, I’m quite interested in the Perception Triumph 13.0 now. I know, I want a sit on model. I really appreciate all of you that have commented here! :smile:

Paddles are typically measured in centimeters so 7’ would be 213cm. The paddles you used were probably actually 210cm which does seem a little short for a 29" wide kayak. 220cm is the next size up, although as you say adjustables are available.

Make sure your buddy is finishing his stroke as the paddle gets to his hip. Leaving the paddle in the water too long is a common beginner mistake. After the paddle passes your hip you’re really just lifting water and the usual sign of this is a wet cockpit!

:slight_smile: I measured my torso (31.5"), & it appears a 230-240cm paddle might be a good fit. I’ll mention that to have him about the stroke, too!
Next time out, I want to really practice the technique.
I’m thinking now that I might to go ahead and buy a decent paddle before buying the kayak. Something under $150.

Read up on high-angle versus low-angle paddling before you decide on paddle length. And look at as many Greg Barton (and other) forward stroke youtubes as you can find.

I’m 6’ 0" with a 32" inseam and I paddle high angle on a 24" wide SIN kayak with a 210cm paddle.

I think it would be more prudent to get the boat first and then get the paddle to fit you and the boat.

Indeed look into different paddling techniques. It has taken me years to finely tune my paddling to what works best for me. Most of my paddling is long distance at a relatively fast pace (not racing) and it has gone from a high angle to somewhat less high, but probably not what some would call low angle.

One observation I have about a lower angle is that it does allow a bit more extension of the stroke without lifting water at the end. I haven’t used a wing paddle much, but my paddling style seems to work about right with a wing. The cadence is less than a high angle cadence but the boat speed is roughly the same and for long distance the lower number of strokes really add up. Additionally, I have better natural torso rotation by lengthening the stroke a little.

Anyway, all I’m saying is that it doesn’t hurt to try little tweaks to see what works and feels best for you and keep it a “work-in-progress.”

I agree – hold off on the paddle until you settle on a boat. I have 4 kayaks and use different length and styles of paddles with them based on hull width and depth.

Please keep in mind that you can move the seat back in some sit-in kayaks and your long legs WILL fit.

Thanks everyone!
Speaking of sit-in models, I’ve been reading up on the Conduit 13. Looks nice!
I believe I will wait on the paddle as you all suggest. Makes sense!

Been doing quite a bit of research, & have gone out again on the rental Jackson Riviera. I’m pretty much set on the Hobie Quest 11.
There is a dealer 16 miles from home, & I’m going to go look at one after work.
The Vantage seat looks really good, for one thing. I like the length for portage, the foot braces, & all that storage. Just looks like a really nice boat to me! Fishing isn’t something I have done in many years. But; with this kayak, I might be tempted! Lol!
I also really like the optional cart system. That is very nice, & convenient.

Agree with a previous comment that you’ll be happier with a good used boat than a cheap new one. If you’re open to a sit-in, the Old Town Camden 120 (discontinued) or Dirigo 120 would provide room for legs and gear. You’re also more likely to find one of these in really good shape for $600 than you are a Hobie 11. After you’ve decided on the boat, check out the Cannon Nokomis Hybrid paddles - Carbon shaft, 31 oz, USA made, less than $150 new.

Again; i really appreciate everyone’s input.
One of the things that I’ve noticed so far is that in my area (east of Memphis), I haven’t seen much on the used market that interests me.
If i decide to go with a Hobie, it may be until later next year before I buy. I still need to get over to that dealer near me, and have a look.