Total newbie gear ??

I’m new to all this. I’ve wanted to get a kayak for years and am finally pulling the trigger. I’ll be on lakes and reservoirs . . . 10,000 to 25,000 acre lakes mostly . . . for exercise, solitude, and getting outdoors.

What boat? My “list” right now is Kestrel 140, Manitou 140, Tsunami 125 or 145, and the CD Vision 135. All poly. All in the neighborhood of $1,000. I can’t find much info on the Vision 135 but it looks especially interesting to me.

I’ll be trying them out eventually . . . but any thoughts on what I might cross off this list . . . or add to it?


Add some details.
Age, height, weight, what shape you’re in for carrying. Fitness paddling is a good description of your planned usage. People here will help you better with more info on which to go.


I’d probably drop the
shorter Tsunami unless you’re going to be in small twisty areas a lot. The Manitou 14 is a very nice boat – good mix of comfort and performance, and the Kestrel may be most fun (and most temperamental of the bunch).

Consider buying used if you can find any of them near you. Spend the difference on a good paddle and PFD as you’ll likely keep those through multiple boats.


Tsunami 140

– Last Updated: Mar-03-09 4:40 PM EST –

if you fit in a Manitou 14 you will likely find the Tsunami 145 cavernous.

I eyeballed a Manitou 14 this past weekend after selling a Manitou 13, but ended up with a Tsunami 135 instead.

I’m 60 and generally good health . . . 6’ and 210 . . .

you won’t be a newbie for too long
And, if you can be patient (I wasn’t much) you might find

a used boat

a demo boat

a previous years model

I got a last year’s Tsunami 140 for 750.00. I was actually looking at a used sea kayak in the same price range, but it was a 17’ and wouldn’t have worked as well for local rivers.

So far I’ve had the Tsunami out on a large lake with some decent breeze, local rivers easy and up to class II last week, and we are going to the ocean in a couple of weeks. I’ve got another ocean trip planned in April and a few camp and kayak lake and river trips as well. I’m really happy. Its fast and rock solid. Hopefully I’ll learn how to roll it and self rescue at the end of the month.

My other boat (which shall not be named) was one of those horribly wide-as-it-is-long kayaks suitable for beginners. I outgrew it in the Augusta canal in about 5 minutes, as I’d paddled borrowed boats of a much higher caliber previously. My issue was, and is, I am still a beginner, but thats not a permanent condition!

they all sound good
for what you want to do

Agree with above, you won’t be a
newbe for long. Make sure you got a PFD and that you wear it. Paddling is a “Get Wet” sport. At first, it’s 80% boat and 20% paddler but that changes quick. You’ll be swapping boats in no time so just get out there and start having fun.

As I am also pushing 60 let me recommend that you give more than a little thought about weight. It is much easier to toss a 40+ lb thermoform boat like the Kestrel or better yet an Eddyline Equinox on top of a car than it is a 50+ lb rotomold boat. It is easier to do so you do it more often.


I’ve had my Tusnami 125
In large and small lakes, reservoirs, rivers large and small, and Class I/II rapids and would respectfully disagree with Jimyaker on leaving off this choice. The boat is rock solid and stable for a beginner, tracks well and paddles very quick with a nice payload. It also provides an excellent platform for skills growth without jumping into another boat. If you fit in the Tsunami140, go for that over the 125, but the 145 is a barge that you’ll probably not enjoy lugging around. I do agree with the advice regarding a good paddle and pfd. I’d add in a spray skirt and hand pump.

just a side note
I always say that PFDs are broken up in 10s and 20s. 10 bucks gets you a smalll convenience or do-dad, 20 Dollars gets you a design improvement.

You are going to buy a boat, you MIGHT buy a different one (due to actual vs. precived use) shortly. Your padde will PROBably go with you, your PFD sure as heck will.

What ever you thought you should spend on your PFD add 50%. You will be happier.


Yeah, PFDs are one of the easiest
things to evaluate beforehand, with a bit of help from someone who knows what to check. There really aren’t any good ones at low prices, but even at medium and high prices one can’t buy through the mail unless prepared to use the return privilege.

For a first-timer with no experience,
you hit the nail on the head. Your list consists of all top-quality kayaks from high end companies. And, on top of that, You want to demo them. This is most important. By demoing the kayaks, you can get a sense of which one you like the best, performance wise and styling wise.

If you really like the vision 130 dont hesitate to try it. It is beautiful, and since its current designs, we know the quality will be there. Think of it like the Toyota or Nissan of kayaks (the other companies you named- wilderness systems,necky are just as good). And, Current Designs usually recieve very high reviews and I have paddled many CD models myself, and they all performed beautifully.

The small cockpit means good for
large open waters.

Old Town
Add the Cayuga by Old Town to your list. Try the 14’6".

I have to agree
with the suggestion of the Cayuga. My husband and I are both newbies and we demoed several boats and went with the Cayuga 146 for him (though we both loved paddling it) and the Delta 12.10 for me. The Delta is not mentioned much, but the reviews have all been good and it’s just what I was after, a “jack of all trades” boat. We plan on mostly large lakes and quiet rivers with some occasional protected coastline kayaking and some class I, maybe II now and then. We also plan on some kayak camping. I also wanted something that I could chuck up on the car and head out to the nearest lake whenever I felt like it. If this sounds like you, then I would check out both boats. Good luck and Happy Paddling!!

If you have even an inkling of wanting
to paddle larger waters or rivers or ocean, forego a new “recreation” kayak. You’ll be selling it soon. Get something used. I would search Craigslist,want ads in your local paper, the classifieds here. You really do not need a specific model, you do not know enough about kayaking to be choosy yet. If you are comfortable in the boat, it will be ok.

I’m in Kansas
. . . so oceans are out. And the Missouri River is nearby but that river scares the heck out of me. I wouldn’t go near it unless and until my skill level was high. Its a fast-moving big river and more than a few around here have drowned.

So I’ll likely stick to lakes and reservoirs for the foreseeable future.

And I am a bit concerned about weight . . . however, my budget says “poly.” On my list above, the Manitou and Vision are allegedly 49 lbs . . . which is fairly light for plastic boats 13’ to 14’ . . .