Shopped yesterday...more advice

-- Last Updated: May-27-06 7:59 AM EST --

Yeah, I know, I said I wouldn't be annoying...

So we went to Kayak Corral(my favorite) and Sun and Snow. I found the one I rode in my first trip, the one that made me want to take a pointy stick and jab it into my eye, it was the Old Town Otter. That may be a great kayak for some, but its definitely not for me.

There was a Spree, I think, that looked like it might work well for me although it's on the pricey side. I have to say it certainly was pretty! I wouldn't mind spending the money if I could use it for all my water needs. I also started to really like a "sit on top" by Hurricane, the Santee 100. Am I crazy for looking at a sit on top? I have not sat in it yet but it seems to have most of the things I want, even a spot to sit my dog :) Of course, I would splurge on an awesome seat. I have not heard anything good about the company(Hurricane) seems their service is bad. Has this changed and perhaps gotten any better?

I appreciate all your help. Tody we are going to look at REI and maybe Galyna's(Dick's). My husband is looking at a Pelican Pusuit 100. It's cheap and it looks to him like a good starter.

Where paddle?
If you want to only paddle on calm rivers and smaller lakes, when the water is warm, not try to keep up with a larger group where people may be in faster boats, and your skill goals are basically to be able to paddle the boat straight and turn it in calm conditons, you have a lot of options. A SOT may work for you, as well as a variety of rec/transition boats.

For what it’s worth, SOT’s tend to be a much less popular choice for day paddling in the north because people find that it requires so much clothing to stay warm on a chilly day, tends to really limit their season. You’ll see surf nuts use them, but those are very different boats and those guys are really dressed for it.

If you want to paddle one of the great lakes or any lower class WW, and/or when the water is still cold in spring or later fall, and/or want to join a larger group, or your skill goals are to be able to work towards things like a roll, you would do best to focus on sit inside boats with more capability.

Just to chime in
I paddle SOT’s and love them, all summer long. Kicked back enjoying the sun , wet from the knees down and on the butt. But, before the day is done, I will probably jump in the water anyway. Unless I am in a swamp. But I mostly solo paddle, or with other SOT’s because they are slower. I have seen the Pelicans, not paddled, but I would think twice about settling on a boat, be sure it is what he wants or by the end of summer, he will want another.

I will mostly being paddling the Huron River. I guess it has some class II but my brother does them in a canoe with no problem. We are vacationing in the UP this summer and want to do Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks. That can be a more daunting task. My biggest concern is being able to keep up with a group because I’m not very strong. My second is being able to carry the thing since, as I said, I’m not very strong. Weakling would be a pretty fitting description.

I’m 5’9" and 130 lbs and I guess the thought of having the freedom to move my legs around sounded really nice, and it didn’t hurt that it was a pretty boat and marked down $100.

Diff Environments
On a quick check, it looks like the Huron River is still quite canoe-intensive. But Lake Superior is a whole differnt ball of wax - from what little I’ve heard of the Picture Rocks area more daunting is an understatement.

It seems that you are going to end up wanting a more serious performance boat than you can make a good decision about right now. My suggestion would be to get a beater boat now, even used, to serve no other purpose to get on the water on warm days this summer. And use this season to drive to outfitters and kayak shops to take lessons that’ll get you to some more serious big water skills and into more serious boats. By the end of the season you should be able to make a decent decision about where to go next, and you’ll have the fall and winter to hunt up a higher end boat used.

Not to rain on your parade…
but the instructors at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium consider Pictured Rocks to be an intermediate/advanced paddle. And you really need a sea kayak to do it. By the way, Celia gives great advice! Hope you find what you’re looking for. Be sure to let us know!

You’re right
My other brother has a Kopaka, or something like that. His wife has an Otter, which I already know I dislike. So this weekend I am going to try his boat. He says it is usually one of the faster boats on the river and if you’re athletic, it is only tippy the first few minutes. That’s kind of what I think I want because if my whole group goes faster than me I know I’ll use it as a very expensive garage wall hanging. Hopefully that will help me in picking one out. As I’ve mentioned before, patience is not one of our strong suits but I’m really trying.

I really do appreaciate your advice and I’ve been reading all the messages and I can see that Celia knows her stuff. So we will look at some today, my husband will be buying one. If I have little patience, he has none, but I will test my brother’s and let you know how it feels.

I’m getting excited. I had major surgery a few months ago because I was in pain all the time. I never wanted to kayak because I knew I couldn’t. I’m so happy that the results from the surgery were good and I can start doing outdoor things again. Not to mention I need to get my old body back because I was recuperating for three months. Yaaaaay! I think I might love this sport. :o)

Former Huron Canoer turned Kayaker
I used to live in Ann Arbor many years ago when I was in graduate school and it was mostly Canoes at that time. If I lived there now I would get a old school longer whitewater boat that could paddle fairly well down river and could play in the rapids at Delhi. A boat like that will cost you about $200-$300 dollars used. You would need to learn some rolling skills and paddling skills. You could also use it on the great lakes but you would not want to be paddling more than 5-10 miles at a slow pace.

The cheap rec boat you husband is looking at is not really that great for rivers, if you fill it up with wate it is a royal pain to deal with, also it would not be suitable for Great Lakes paddling.

Never heard of the SOT you are looking at. I would suggest you look at the Ocean Kayak Scrambler. You will need wet suits for Spring or Fall paddling, but no matter what kind of kayak you buy you need to dress to swim in the cold water. I own all kinds of kayaks … sit in sides and sit on tops and if I was starting out and mostly paddling the River there I would go with the Scrambler unless you really want to spend more money for boats and training.

For better informaton go to the webpage, you’ll find kayakers who use SOTs in cold conditions.

Also check out the OceanKayak web page.

Take a few classes from
qualified instructors and learn all you can about kayaking before you buy a boat. Purchase a few sea kayaking how-to manuals and learn more about the joys and potential dangers of the sport. Find out why folks spend $3000+ on a sea kayak and not $100 on a rec boat before you buy if you considering going places like Lake Superior. If you get a rec boat, make sure you have secured flotation in both ends and immediately learn to wet exit and self rescue in the conditions you plan on paddling in. Learn to roll.

My SOT’s
Are Emotion’s and Cobra’s check their web sites.

The stars seem to still be aligned
Thanks to all for the nice comments. I really am just a white haired paddler with good physical skills but too much of a tendency to get disconcerted in certain situations and show truly poor responses. But that may be a lot of others on this board too…

I didn’t talk about upper body strength, which came up earlier in this thread and got dropped. And since I think that this protential paddler will get back around to that - I am really expecting another round of posts later this season with this paddler looking for good buys on something sleek in at least 16 feet. On that point, you’ll find two things. One is that you will get stronger from paddling. The other is that there are a number of ways to get around that issue when hefting a long boat on and off the roof of a car, albeit they tend to involve the purchase of a few more tools like carts, and wheels and stuff.