Purchasing our first Kayaks

Hi there,

We are new to Kayaking and have been shopping around at various local stores. I would prefer to shop local but I have a couple of questions.

  1. The local shop has a 2013 and 2014 Pungo 120 and they offered us a price for $1425.00 plus tax for both of them. I am new to this and am wondering if that is a fair price for a 2013.

  2. Is the Pungo 120 stable enough for someone just starting out kayaking?

    Thanks for your help.

It would probably be pretty difficult to
flip one by accident. Very stable boat.

A new kayak at a dealer’s shop isn’t going to depreciate just because it’s last year’s model.

Hello fellow Michigander
We just purchased a 2014 Old Town Camden at Franks Great Outdoors, just S of Pinconning for 675. Goos deal I think, they have a sale going on till the 4th. They also had Dirigo there for around the same price. I am not affiliated in any way FYI.

725 ish is about average for an older model rec. kayak. Buy something good so you only have to buy once. Dont forget paddles and PFDs. That can add 300+ easily to the price.

decent price
That seems to be a decent price. A quick check on Google shopping shows that $850 and up seems to be the going price for one boat.

You said this is a first kayak and didn’t ask about whether these are appropriate - so it is quite likely you have been through this thought process and know what you want. If so, feel free to stop reading.

Ok, you kept reading, so here goes. The Pungos are recreational class kayaks. As such, they are made for protected water, not wavy water or moving water in rivers. perfect for use on smaller lakes and ponds or lazy rivers. Not for white water rivers or unprotected areas on larger lakes. They are very stable, and as such are very hard to flip over. But if you did flip one over, they are very hard to get back in on the water, often requiring you to swim to shore to get back in. Bigger lakes require something of a more touring/sea kayak class or a sit on top kayak. Moving rivers require something that is a white water specific boat. There is an article in California Kayaker Magazine on different kayak categories that can be read for free online at http://www.calkayakermag.com/magazine.html. Issue #10.

Pungo ridiculously stable but
Your username is Michigan something. If you are talking about paddling on lake michigan, these are not at all appropriate boats.

I do know someone who flipped a pungo. He had to make an effort. But if capsizing is going to ruin kayaking for you should it occur, you may want to reconsider trying the sport. No paddle boat is impervious to a capsize.

We always advise people to decide
what type of paddling,(big water, white water, small streams) then try several very different styles of boat made for that water. It’s a very personal choice and what fits one may not interest another. Pungo’s are good for small lakes and quiet streams, maybe a little more as your skills improve.

My motto is try many, buy several!



I think they’re excellent boats.

Of course they have their limitations, but they are very stable, yet still track and glide very well for their size. The large cockpit makes it easy to get in and out, and there is also enough room in there for a small dog or child. They accommodate a wide range of paddler sizes and the quality of the fittings, the hatches and the seats is also very good.

My wife and I had two as our first kayaks and we kept them for a couple of years. If you want to learn to roll, go surfing, tour for a week or cross the Atlantic then obviously they wouldn’t be your first choice but for flat(ish) or slow moving water they are great.

The lack of a watertight bow compartment is easily addressed by adding a flotation bag, which is what we did when using the boats on more open water.

Later on you might want to further develop your paddling skills, but until then the Pungos are perfect.

More Re pungo
To be clear, for the right use they are perfect. For my friend who managed to flip his pungo and his spouse, who also has a pungo, they are ideal boats. But they only take them in smaller quiet ponds. When they come to visit me on the coast of mainr, we stay within swimming distance of the shore and don’t do windy or high wave days. The reason is that, should they capsize or swamp, both real possibilities when you take a rec boat out of its intended environment. I can’t empty the boat and get them back in. With a full sea kayak that would be possible.

So, yes they are great boats used in the right places. The unanswered question is whether your intended use is the right place.

Yes, they are. You’ll also have to consider conditions, these were not designed with rough water in mind. But if you’re just learning you shouldn’t be venturing into those conditions regardless of the boat.

A 29" wide boat is very stable
on flat water and even with some small waves. That’s how I started a year ago and discovered I loved paddling. A wide rec boat does take a lot of energy to paddle compared to a touring boat, but I think you’ll enjoy the boats so long as you stay off big water, such as any of the Great Lakes or large inland lakes in your area.

Just do yourself a few favors by buying good PFDs designed for paddlers, the lightest weight paddles you can afford, and take a lesson to learn the basic strokes (or watch a lot of videos on the forward stroke - there are some good ones here at Pnet). If you buy the Pungos, flotation bags for the bow would be a good safety factor.

BTW, I live on a Northern Michigan lake, but Lake Michigan and Lakes Charlevoix, Walloon, Torch, etc. beckoned and my first boat wasn’t safe on those lakes. Now am paddling a touring boat, but know it won’t be my last.

I hope your paddling experiences are good and lead you further into the sport. We spent a wonderful six hours Sunday on Lake Michigan (ACA touring class), paddling to an island where the water was a beautiful turquoise and crystal clear. Magical.

cool stuff
what island?

Power Island
a/k/a Bassett. Fabulous day.

Lots of TC boaters out. We provided some entertainment and interest when our instructor decided the pier there would be a good place to learn how to launch a kayak from high places. He had a crowd of kids gathered around him, asking lots of questions. It was pretty neat.

Wearing a tow belt attached to the boat, each paddler shoved their kayak off the pier into the water below, then leapt into the water and re-entered. My boat did a belly flop, landing deck down to add to the challenge. The water was cold. Really cold (yes, I was wearing a wetsuit). Would I try it again? You bet!

sounds like fun
I’ve tried all sorts of ways to get back in from a high pier or dock, but I think that way’s probably the most effective!

Yes, but
admittedly, I had some trepidation before going air kayaking.

On the other hand, that’s one facet about paddling I enjoy: it can get me out of my comfort zone. Learning new things is good.