Total Clueless Newby

Hi all, as the title states, I am a totally clueless newb looking for some advice. First a bit of background.

I have been riding mountain bikes for about 8 years, and really enjoy getting exercise out in nature. I have been considering getting a kayak to add another dimension to my outdoor recreation. What I would like to find would meet these criteria:

  1. It should paddle well in calm waters. I live in ND, and we don’t have alot of fast moving streams and rivers with rapids to shoot here.

  2. I would like it to be capable of growing with me as I do progress in the sport. I would like to have the ability to hit class 3 rapids with the same kayak.

  3. I don’t want it to be more than $1,000 for the boat, and associated gear. (Outside of a padle, what else do I need?)

    Like I said, I am a totally clueless noob. So feel free to give me the very most basic primer on the sport.

boat: dagger aproach

~750$ or so…

what else do you need???

what kind of weather???where you going???


-Personal Flotation Device (Pfd)


-skirt -neoprene if you are going on a class 3 river…

other things:

spray jackets

dry bags to keep your stuff dry (keys etc)

water bottle

there is a list that could be written with about a 100 items…


– Last Updated: May-04-07 5:19 PM EST –

The do-everything boat is a myth. Speed on flat water requires something long and narrow. Modern whitewater playboats are short and wide and *really* slow on flat water. If you just want to run through rapids instead of playing in them a longer boat works, but everything is a compromise.

To hit your budget you should consider used boats.

How tall/heavy are you?

For a do-everything boat, you might want to look at a LiquidLogic Pisgah. It's a touring boat designed by folks who got started building whitewater boats.
When you watch the video of it running whitewater, remember that paddler skill makes a big difference...

Another take on the multipurpose boat by a whitewater company is the Pyranha Speeder: It looks like a plastic version of a downriver racing boat.

The Necky Manitou 13 is happy in a variety of conditions.

That said, used whitewater boats are very inexpensive, and a two-boat fleet would probably give you better performance on both ends.

If you want a flatwater boat to develop skills, you'll want a reasonably snug fit in the cockpit and a narrow enough beam that you can easily put the boat on edge when you want to.

Other than a paddle, you need a PFD and a spray skirt, and a helmet for whitewater.

a little experience
to start off with, I am a “buy a boat and get out” guy. No searching for demo days. No renting. no barrowing. You are never going to get experience to make an informed decission with 5 afternoons in 3 different boats over the course of a year. Granted it will tell you wich boat you may hate with a passion, but nothing teaches like experience.

Now then my friend has just bought her brand new Dagger Catalyst 12.8, an Aquabound paddle and PFD with a grand total of $1,000 maybe $1,200…I forget. (for those keeping score at home it was at Canoecopia…the money just flowed like a river), but I digress.

you NEED a life jacket. SPEND the money on. you will have this for years, and you will have it on all the time. make sure it is comfortable. I think that the prices go like this. 10 more dollars gets you a feature: pocket, lash tab, something of that sort. 20 dollars gets you more comfort and that small feature. SPEND THE MONEY!!

we can all tell you diffrently about clothing gear. That is such a personal thing. I don’t have extreme submersion gear and winter appearal because I am a pansy about the cold. Others say all their paddling/camping clothes are thrift store purchases, other spend 2K on thier clothes (T.J.Maxx is my store, get Under Armor for $20, Marmot rain gear, Coleman camping gear, heck I only paddle in R.L. Polo and Underarmor now)

****This site is the greatest tool. The combined knowlege and experience here in UNBEATABLE!!

Paddles, keep 'em short.

Your boat is a tool, don’t be afraid to make modifications. It isn’t art, it is a boat. A personal expression of you and your interest.

I think you should get a boat around 12 to 14 feet. Deffinatly no wider than 26 inches. Probably in a rotomolded plastic. It will last, and take a beating, and can be sold in a few years with no problems. Look for hatches and Deck lines/rigging.

You need a hat and good (but cost effective) sunglasses.


Sorry I am typing this up, my mind is wondering and I have alot of distractions, so I appologize that it is jumpy, I am just trying to give you as much as I can and get others to interject, or spark thier thoughts.

Make sure to have adjustable foot pegs.

Don’t be afraid to get wet. Oh yea and see if you can find classes to take (everyone will tel you to take classes) Once you become a “wet-footed” paddler, the world is at your door step.

buy two sizes of Dry Bags when you buy your boat.

well I have been writting for MUCH longer than you have been reading. so I am off.

ENJOY THESE SPORTS. they are great cross training and general exercize. you will see beautiful things and meet neat people.


Look in the classifieds here
Try to find folks near you and talk to them and try their boats. Even a beach cruiser of a boat would be better than nothing.

You can learn to ride and begin to get an idea of what you want to do.

Get an inexpensive used one and go now. Find a club and borrow one so you can go tomorrow.

When I’m on the water…
… I’m carrying this stuff on my body:

  • Neoprene long john 3mm (for divers, but it was cheap)
  • Neo socks
  • Neo shoes
  • Dry suit if it’s not hot outside
  • Neo gloves
  • Fleece shirt if cold
  • Helmet
  • Bathing trousers
  • Extra trousers if cold
  • Spray skirt
  • Sunglasses
  • Knife
  • Compass

    In the boat, I have 1 or 2 big plastic bottles of water, a throw bag and a drybag. Carabiners for the bags. The drybag contains…

  • 1st aid kit, Aspirin etc.
  • Money
  • Food
  • Mobile
  • River guide book
  • Fire lighter
  • Extra contact lenses
  • Car key
  • A “buff” for breaks

    This is for calm water up to WW3.

err, and PFD too (NT)

Good paddle, pfd, sponge, bilge pump, paddling jacket and pants for cool weather. flares and vhf radio. If you can’t afford the radio go anyway. Vaughn Fulton

Venture Orca 14
It is a great boat and should seriously be considered. It will punch through Class III rapids if you ever get to that point and does really well under normal flat water paddling conditions. Made by P&H kayaks so it is a quality boat, but at an economical cost.

Calm and ww?
Get an “old school” ww boat. Some old long plastic thing for about $150-$250.

liveoutside answered your question 100%
Well 99.5% only because I don’t wear sunglasses.

I use a 12 foot rec boat for everything from 850 mile trips to 8 foot waterfalls.

14 foot boats are faster on flat water but not any controllable on class III

I going to switch to a WS Tsunami 125 only because CD quit making the Kestrel 120HV in red which is my current kayak.