Suggestions for first WW Kayak

I am looking for some advice regarding a purchase of a WW boat. I took my Dagger Element 11.2 down a Class II for the first time and learned that my danger junkie gene had not receded (unlike my hairline), but also learned that a smaller, quicker boat would probably be much easier to control with the proper technique. (Also learned that the water is VERY cold in January and that a kayak will flip over when only a third of the boat is lifted up by a rock).

So… am looking for a boat to run rivers, with rapids (up to Class III) and long stretches of flat water. Not too sure if I will spend the time “playing” , but love to spend the day paddling away…I am 6’1, 185 lbs, and almost 50.

Thank you in advance for all your suggestions!


Take a look at these posts…
There are numerous posts over at Boater Talk from people with this exact question. Here

is a link to one of them. They answer a lot

of questions. I hope this helps:

Am heavier,shorter and older
and paddle a Wavesport Big EZ for smaller volume stuff and harder walk outs and Pyranha I:3 223 model for bigger volume times. Many similarities in both including providing initial stability and a planing hull. If i was capble of it, both boats could play but i can’t.

Lots of options out there for you and certainly someone here is going to say this is the best and this is the worst and discussions will occur about speed. somewhere the word slalom will be mentioned. Choose by demo and research. Lots of used boats on the market too.

Throwing out some thoughts include: Pyranha Stretch, Bliss Stick - Flip Stick, Necky Mission, Wavesport Diesel and Big Ez, Jackson Fun. Liquid Logic will have options for you too. Review their purpose, weight, volume etc.

I find the Jackson boats a little lighter than others and light is good to carry.

Given the long slow stretches you mentionned, many of the new boats might drive you crazy because of their slow speed and lack of tracking ability. Instead you willhave an opportuntiy to practice stern squirts. See you downsteram. I will be on the Chemainus River in 2 hours, your welcome to join us.

Before the boat

– Last Updated: Jan-20-07 5:28 PM EST –

My suggestion would be to start with a beginning whitewater class. Not only will this give you skills and knowledge, but you'll get a chance to try several different boats.

One of the best schools in the country is not too far from you:

Another option is to find a local club. Most folks are happy to let you try their boats. And it never hurts to have experienced companons when you're running the bigger stuff.

As for boats, it sounds like you'd be looking on the river-running/creek end of the spectrum. Something like the Jackson Superhero might work for you. Unfortunately, most modern WW boats -- especially playboats -- are slugs on flatwater. When ads talk about "fast" they usually mean on a wave, not on the flats.

Whitewater boats are designed to fit snugly for maximum control. If you're an all-day paddler you'll want something you can easily adjust on the water for more wiggle room in the quiet stretches.

Fair warning: a lot of folks start out thinking thsat they don't want to 'play" -- until they get their first good surf. That's when the boat collection starts to grow...

If you paddle whitewater, you WILL capsize. Proper clothing and self-rescue skills are not to be ignored.

Have fun!

Here’s a good one on Pnet
Respond to #50412 (PA) I have a lightly used Bliss Stick Huka with gear that i would like to sell. I am asking $800 (O.B.O). – Submitted by: huntster

This is all the boat you will need for your size and conditions, a little far but a good price.

Very cold water can be deadly, dibilating after just 15 miniutes. Be sure to apportion your funds to cover good quality, well fitting cold water gear.

um…800 is well, a ripoff…

– Last Updated: Jan-20-07 8:27 PM EST –

That used creekboat is worth maybe a little more than half that....

Oh, and I am not dissing the boat... I paddle one and love it. but 800 bucks.... HA!

buy used and often :wink:
At your size, you won’t physically fit in many ww boats. I know, I’m 6’ 170+ pounds with size 11 feet. My feet and legs don’t fit in many ww boats.

I’m finding I’m liking old school boats better for some uses and they sell very cheap used. You can find servicable used ww boats starting at $150.

The most I’ve yet spent on a ww boat was $300 for a Pyranha Inazone in very good shape.

Never buy…
…a used creek boat from anyone crazier than yourself.

In truth the first one…
…in SOME respects isn’t all that important.

Any used, good condition boat suited to your size

is probably going to be OK.

I say that because whatever you buy, after you learn a bit, it won’t suit you and you’ll want to

upgrade–that’s part of the disease. You just have to take a couple of asprin and wait it out.

That’s why used is a good idea, less investment.

There is a great deal of controversy about a

displacement vs planing hull for beginners.

I started on a displacement ull and it was very

easy to roll. The downside was that it also

flipped easier. It made me tentative and

hesitant, like a flinch with a highpowered rifle.

That of course is counter-productive and I

flipped even more.

I’d suggest starting with a planing or semi-

planing hull.

The BIBLE on selecting a first kayak
The BIBLE on selecting a first whitewater kayak can be found here below. The best write-up I have seen and worth a thorough read:

I like the Dagger RPM

That was good.

Thank you southernskier
That is the best (clearest and most succinct) I’ve read - and I’ve read alot…

For beginners in ww this might be amongst the best advice:

“You will learn better if your feet aren’t in pain and your legs aren’t falling asleep.”

You’ll get some…
…argument on that.

Seems the stern of the RPM has a tendency to

catch and cause new people to do unintended

stern squirts.

It’s important for me to point out that I’ve never paddled an RPM and I am by no means any-

thing approaching an expert, so I am merely

passing along the opinions of expert paddlers

who have.

They can not make me like it less
For what I do with it, up to Class 3 running, a bit of park and play and surfing, it is a great for me. No expert here either. Just find it to be comfortable and fun.

A few stable options with good speed
Maybe try to find and try a used/ demo/ closeout:

  • Pyranha Burn Medium (or even Large?)
  • Dagger Mamba 8.0
  • Dagger GT 8.1
  • Wave Sport Diesel 75
  • Jackson Super Hero

    (and see Reviews at under Resources, and

Oh, don’t misunderstand…
…I was merely passing along more info to

the original poster.

Certainly not trying to change your mind. If

you like it, then it’s the boat for you.

No misunderstanding

– Last Updated: Jan-22-07 10:08 AM EST –

I really liked my Crossfire and Corsica too. Park and play for me is about getting thrashed and practicing for situations in a sea kayak so getting flipped is a good thing.
Comes with the territory of being a sea kayaker in a whitewater town :+)

Burn from Pyranha
The Burn has been hugely popular for just what you are asking - either medium or large.

Thank you!
For all the great suggestions and advice. I plan to “sit” in some boats this spring… and probably take a class… I still have that “danger gene”, but also haven’t lost that “be safe” one either!

I truly thought that I would not want to WW, but after doing it… WOW! Of course my wife is giving me that “you wanna buy ANOTHER boat” look!

Again, thanks for all the help.