pool sessions - yes!
the suggestion to attend pool sessions is a great one. I don't know what happens around the fort, but in the north metro area, CWWA has pool sessions every sunday. check out the CWWA website for more info and location. I know that Confluence will often bring demos to the pool, and it is a good opportunity to try different boats out. Also, CWWA does offer a basic learn to kayak class that includes equipment (boat, skirt, paddle, etc), which is typically provided by Confluence as well.
BTW, I would like to disclose that I am a member of CWWA, and as such the views represented above are biased toward the promotion of that club. I also own three wavesport boats, and would personally recommend you try one of the EZ's (choose your size). I know quite a few people who have learned and advanced in EZ's, and use them for most river conditions, including river running CL III & IV as well as park n play. spend less than $400 because you will want something new in 2 years anyways if you stick with it.
cdork, your comment is total BS. A diesel will have a much different feel than an RPM, even to a beginner. The flat hull of a diesel will have a more stable feel, and the shorter length will make a newbie feel more in control when turning and catching eddies. The hard chine design of a diesel also closely matches most if not all other boats being developed and sold now, while the round hull design of an RPM is not duplicated in any current boats. as always, your input is well thought out and oh so insightful.
CWWA member, wavesport enthusiast, and LP supporter,