Wanting a kayak

-- Last Updated: Jun-18-09 3:49 PM EST --

Summer is here in Wisconsin, and I am finding myself wanting a kayak. I have really know knowledge though. I just want a fun boat for using on some small lakes and a river system that runs a few miles from my house. I'm a collage student so $ is an issue. The most I'm willing to spend is about $300, but the cheaper the better. I was looking at the Potomac 100ES Kayak at Dick's for $200. What are your opinions on this boat? I've also been browsing craigslist daily. I'm about 40 miles from the twin cities and so far there are a few listings a day. Right now there is a used Victory Blast for $265, but its about an hour away. Any ideas or suggestions on what I should be looking for.

Oh yeah. I'm 5'8" and about 140.

get the knowledge before the boat
You will find many boats that will work very well for your size. Its only natural to want to jump right into it but take a little time to learn what feels right to you. Check into demo days in your area. Paddle lots, ask questions and have a blast. When you do - ask about used boats. Many places sell their rentals and will let you demo them. I think its a mistake to buy a boat from a big box store that you can’t demo just because its within your price range. You should be able to find a used boat that is better for the same price. There are some sellers who want to sell something quickly and price it (too) cheaply. I’ve done that and gotten over 100 calls easily. The early bird gets the boat (usually with the phone ringing with others interested)- but it helps to know that the boat will be one that would work for you. Lessons at this point would also be worthwhile - or check into a paddling club where members usually have boats to lend on group paddles. Invest in the knowledge first - then the boat. There are literally hundreds of models, current and discontinued, that will work for your size. Good luck and have fun.

used boats = your friend
esp. if on a budget.

But to buy any boat, and esp. a used one, you need the boat knowledge spoken of above (good post there). Even if you don’t take a lesson - if money is tight - get w. a club or some people who know how to paddle. There is usually an extra boat/paddle/PFD around clubs and casual paddling groups if you are sincere about learning… and willing to help unload/load '-)

you can also go to outfitter or paddleshop demo days.

Most are free or cost about as much as a sixpack of microbrews. They supply the paddle and PFD. Great way to try lots of boats and see what sings to you. Sometimes demos are sold at very good prices, too.

Water time: That’s the way you get to know what you like. Then do some online research. Help yourself to all the knowledge in good websites and real paddlers. You won’t get that from Dick’s, Cabela’s or similiar big box stores. They just aren’t set up for that. Why do you want to pay for their ignorance?

Kay so I sent a message to a lady here (http://www.river-ramblers.org/Ramblers09.html#ST%20CROIX) asking to tag along on the st. croix trip, which is the river that runs through my town. We’ll see what answer I get.

I’m well aware I’m not ready to really get a kayak. Even if I knew what kind of kayak to get. I’ve got no idea how to get it from point A to point B with my car… I like don’t want it to end up on the road or something…

if that doesn’t pan out, keep looking for club outings and demo days. And be upfront about your

newbyness… it’s no biggie, everybody was at one time,and people need to know that you want experience.

Florida water is warm so that makes falling in easier '-) and there are so many great places to paddle.

Lot of Floridians on this board can help you w. places to demo, easy paddling places, or give you a heads up on boats for sale. Try the paddling.net Classifieds… just look up boats that sound interesting, how they are built, what they are good for. No one kayak is a do-all boat, and some will be better suited for you than others. Then you will find that magic kayak…

Kayak transport is a whole 'nuther art in itself. Since you are female (like me) when you are considering a kayak, make sure you can raise at least

the front half of it so it lies against the back of your vehicle. (sometimes side loading is easier too so don’t take what I said too literally).

Main thing is you want a boat that handles as nicely on land as it does on the water. Take your time to find one and enjoy the ride. Budget for a paddle, a PFD, pump, paddle float and whistle, and some good water booties. A simple way to secure the boat on the car w. foam blocks and straps. Those are the basics along w. a water bottle, some sunscreen and a good container to pack a lunch!

Journey of 1000 miles begins w. one step.

Flordia sounds nice
I’m on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border ;P. Its nice up here too, but warm water isn’t one thing we have yet. I tried to go swimming in a trout river last week. It felt about 55* the snorkeling mask I use kept fogging up. It doesn’t help that most rivers are spring fed around here. The lake was a little warmer, but ten feet down it was so cold.

Then again I couldn’t live without snow…

Couple of Other Things…

– Last Updated: Jun-18-09 8:45 PM EST –

...re getting started.

I'd second the idea of a used boat - besides getting more boat for the buck, you can often get a paddle, spray skirt, and other knicks and knacks thrown into the deal. In costing out a new kayak, remember to allow a couple of hundred more for these items and a good PFD.

Going used for a 1st kayak is also a good idea from a resale point of view. If you get into the sport, it is likely that you will outgrow the first kayak fairly quickly; one can usually resell a used boat for something close to what you've paid for it, instead of taking the 30-50% hit you'll suffer when your 'new' boat becomes someone else's 'used' boat...

Not use to the acronyms around here… what is PFD?

Personal Floatation Device.

A Life Jacket.

Paddling Made Easy… Buy the book 1st
Get a book. Paddling made easy (Sold in the paddling.net store: http://www.paddling.net/store/showProduct.html?product=138) Is a good one. This is how I got started in the sport. I was a Mt Biker untill my doctor told me to put the bike up (multiple knee injuries). I wanted to know as much as possible before I got into it. In this book everything from kayak design, materials, properly transporting, paddle design, even proper attire is discussed. I was able to launch my boat, turn it, back it up, and stop. I even had an idea about rescues.

You really have to look at the total package before you go out and get a boat.

Kayak $200 - at least the one you where looking at

Paddle $100 - Dicks has one for $60. I wouldn’t use it. Carlsile has an entry level Magic Pluss (Glass Shaft) for around $100

PFD $30 - Wall-Mart Special Water Ski Vest

Car Rack for boat $300-$500

you are looking at at least $630 just to get started.

Buy the book, its less than $20. See if it is what you really want to get into before you shell out the green.

‘scuse that, was lookin’ at another profile and got conflabulated w. yours.

I’m in MI. We have fine paddling in the upper Midwest.

You’d prolly prefer a SINK (sit inside kayak)

with some sort of skirt - lengthens the paddling season by keeping you warmer. Just starting out you don’t need to go full ride neoprene skirt - you can

get a neo/nylon blend is a full skirt that covers the cockpit completely and snugs on your waist, or there

are semi-skirts avail that cover ~3/4 of the cockpit and are not worn on body.

OK, PFDs for women. Depending on your bust size it’s either pretty easy or for the very well endowed more

of a search. Here are some good PFDs for women: MTI PFDiva, Stolhquist Betsea, Astral Bella, Kokatat MsFit

(there is a MsFit Tour w. hella lotta pockets but cuz of that it’s bulkier IMO). Those all zip up the front. There are others of equal merit. Be sure to try before you buy. Put it on, grab a paddle and do some air paddling in shop.

I much prefer the pullover type PFDs that a lot of WW people wear. My go-to is the Palm Freestyle. It uses 6 side straps plus the usual 2 at the shoulders so I can customize the fit to me and the thickness of what I’m wearing (say, wetsuit vs. drysuit vs. light paddling clothes).

Most important in fit is that it is comfortable, doesn’t ride up,cut well so won’t interfere w. your stroke, and snug enough so if someone needs to assist you w. a rescue and pulls on the shoulder strap the PFD won’t slide off.

Email me anytime about female specific gear esp. for northern paddlers.

take a drive

– Last Updated: Jun-19-09 9:24 AM EST –

I would suggest taking an afternoon drive to Minneapolis and go talk to the folks at a couple of the specialty paddle shops, such as Hoigaards and Midwest Mountaineering. They can get you pointed in the right direction, far more than any of the chain stores.

rentals and clubs
I’d first look at rental kayaks and clubs. You can rent kayaks at most places for years before you’d pay for a small percentage of the price of a kayak/pfd/paddle/rack etc. Also look around for local paddling clubs where folks might let you borrow a boat on occasion and they’ll likely know which dealers are good and which to avoid.

Bill H.

rentals could be good sale source too
Excellent advice about rentals. In addition to learning the boat for longer than you would at a demo day, consider that businesses sell off their rental units - typically in late fall to early winter. If you rent a boat that you really like, ask if they sell their rentals. The sale prices are sometimes so good that you would forget all about craigslist ads.

I’ve never gone kayaking locally, I did find one place about 15 minuets away in my college town. They want $35 per kayak and its down a river, max time is 4 hours. IDK, but this sounds kinda steep to me. Usually the only time I go kayaking is when we vacation up north in Haward, WI. Its on a lake, $5 and hour/ $15 for half a day. Last time they let us take 3 kayaks for free.

Basically what is an average cost for renting a kayak?

Those rates
are right in line with the rates in my area (NC foothills). There are outfitters on two rivers within 30 minutes; both charge $30 - $35 for a 1/2 day, including shuttle. Neither have much selection, just a couple of different relatively short rec boats. There’s also a city park with a lake a bit further away that rents kayaks for $10 for a 1/2 day; they only have two types, a 10 foot rec boat and a 14.5 touring boat.

I’ve heard of another place on a different lake that rents kayaks, but I haven’t been able to them on-line.

rental prices
here at the place where my son works are $35 for 1/2 day (4 hours) and $45 for full day. Rentals include paddle and PFD. Those prices are for CD Breeze, Whistler, Squamish, Sirocco, Squall and Storm. A tandem is $45/$55.

Might of found a boat

What do you think of that kayak? I’m liking the price on it, but I doesn’t look like it comes with a paddle.

price is similar
to what I see on the left coast, for what that’s worth.

what we think is not as important
as what you think about how the boat does what you want it to do. Its not a boat that most on this board would be using - and its not because they are “boat snobs”, but because it would be outgrown very quickly.

The good part about the price is that there is very little risk to you. When you desire a faster boat, or one for more specific purposes, then you can resell this one without really losing anything. Not a problem that there is no paddle - maybe the seller forgot to list it. You can buy your own to fit your size. Looks like it was stored inside on its side which is nice. I would toss in the web hanger, but that’s just me - I tend to toss in PFD’s etc, without asking.

I still think you would be better off learning at demo days and by renting. That way, you would see how boat types differ and which are preferable to you. An alternate approach is the path you seem to be taking - buy a boat and use it and learn as you go. In this particular case, there is little financial risk, although you may miss out on a more rewarding paddling experience in a different boat. Please learn the limitations of the boat and yourself & be safe!