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Old 10-23-2015   #1
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 2
New to kayaks

So I am new to kayaking and want to get some information on what kayaks are recommended for beginners. I'm interested in WW kayaking to be more specific. I am somewhere around 5' 10" weighing in at roughly 200lbs (that number is decreasing). Some things I have heard to start with: Jackson 4Fun, perception phat, dagger outlaw. Any information is appreciated. If anyone is in the Boulder, CO area and has some tips on where to start or shops for outfitting that would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 10-23-2015   #2
Pleasant Valley, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 95
I would highly encourage you to some lessons from Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures near Salida/BV. RMOC has some of the best instructors in the state. i. You can try a lot of different boats and and gain the basics of safety. CKS in Buena Vista is a good place to start looking for gear. Have fun, be safe.

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Old 10-26-2015   #3
Roseburg, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2015
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 86
You should test run the mamba 8.1,8.6. I started back in april in a mamba 8.6 (I'm 6ft 155lb) It has been a great boat. Rolls easy super stable and if you find yourself in a hole it does a danm good job at surfing out.
The Jackson Karma would be another boat to take for a ride. I have little xp with it but know a lot of people like it. It is a forgiving boat from what I gather.
Best of luck in your search for your first boat.
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Old 10-26-2015   #4
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,031
Taking a class isn't a bad idea. Over the winter you can do pool classes which I think is a great environment to get started in. RA guides does classes in Golden, which is probably the most convenient thing. Unfortunately the city of Boulder won't authorize kayak sessions in any of their pools. Like everything else in Boulder, we're the great outdoor sports city, but we don't want to actually let you do things in the city - it might inconvenience someone.

Anyway, rant aside, a lesson will also give you an opportunity to check out a few different boats first hand and get an idea of what they're about. Also Confluence Kayaks in Denver is a great shop and does lessons, but farther away at DU. I'd recommend going there to shop for boats/gear though.

In my opinion, if you're reasonably athletic, start in a more playboat oriented boat like a Jackson Fun/Star or equivalent rather than a higher volume creekboat/river runner. CKS (also a good shop) has a nice description of the taxonomy of whitewater kayaks: Kayaking Educational Articles
Grabbing an older boat like a Phat or Dagger Outlaw is fine as long as you're getting it dirt cheap. Otherwise don't bother.
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Old 10-26-2015   #5
Breckenridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 23
Just got my first boat about 6 weeks ago (Jackson Rocker.) Got my flat water rolls down on my 2nd solo lake session (brrr) about 3 weeks ago. The guys at 10-mile creek kayaks helped me a ton as far as paddle size and making sure I have everything I need. Matti even offered to do a private roll class with me. Definitely worth checking them out for questions on sizing and materials needed.
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Old 10-27-2015   #6
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 582
Just curious if you're looking for new or used (seems from your list used) or if there's a price range you're going for? Are you wanting to playboat right away? I started in a tiny playboat (Dagger G Force) and then switched to a Pyranha Burn. I'm more comfortable fit-wise in my boat, plus more comfortable in the water. It's easier to push myself and test my skills, try new things. Plus the things a tank. In some ways I'm glad I started in a playboat, it forced me to be a stronger boater, but I honestly have so much more fun in my Burn.
Anyway, there's a bunch of boats on Craigslist right now. You'll learn how to paddle any boat once you get used to it. Just kinda asking because the Phat and the Outlaw are a far cry from the Fun.
Dagger Mamba 8.5 <good price, good boat

Pyranha H3 Kayak <bad price, good boat (seriously, this guys fuckin' high, but it is a really good boat--- offer him $200)

When I was looking for a step up from my tiny playboat, I pretty much came to the decision that I either wanted a Burn or a Remix... found a Burn for $350, bought it, fucking love it. You'll figure it out though in pretty much any boat you get.
It's a good day to be a duck....
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Old 10-27-2015   #7
UWC Kayak's Avatar
Colorado Springs, CO, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 33
Feel free to give me us a call 719-599-3483. Ask for Scott. We have an indoor heated pool and can tailor a class to fit your schedule. Days, nights and weekends are usually no problem.

We also have a large retail facility co-located with our pool and we can talk about what boat might best fit your paddling objective.
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Old 10-27-2015   #8
Sacramento, California
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 232
Unless you never plan to go past class 3, I personally would recommend your first boat be a river runner or creak boat. Everyone needs one when you step up past class 3. You don't need a playboat. And while I hear a lot of people recommend starting on a playboat, all those I've seen progress the fastest, started on creak boats/river runners.

Playboats do push you to have better posture, but river runners force you to have better paddle strokes and be more precise with ferrying and surfing. And you'll feel more comfortable as you start out.
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Old 10-29-2015   #9
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 2
Alot to consider

Thanks for all the replies. Now to answer some of your questions.

-I've considered lessons. The only issue is they all seem so expensive. You see I'm a nursing student working part time. I plan to look into the classes/companies people have listed though.

-I'm looking at used for my first boat. I would hate to spend the money on a new boat and come to find out I don't enjoy kayaking. I doubt that's the way it's going to go though. I love being on the water. I have a lot of experience WW rafting. I just want to make the plunge and be able to go solo in my own boat.

-When it comes to jumping right into a playboat, river runner, or creek boat, I'm not sure which I want to start with. I've been told each style of boat is unique in it's own way and hones certain skills. I would like to start with the most well rounded style boat. From what I read here, my best bet would be to jump into a river runner. I'll look into the specific boats everyone here mentioned.

Thanks again for all the info and help you guys are awesome. Please continue to reply. The more info I get the better.
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Old 10-29-2015   #10
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
My .02 cents...

Playboats will improve your skills faster and force you to develop your brace and balance quicker. This will make the learning curve steeper, and you will get frustrated, but you will develop your mandatory basic skills more effectively.

A river runner/creeker sits higher in the water and rides over most features. You will not have to work as hard to balance, brace or dig through waves/holes. This will allow you to advance the difficulty of your runs faster, but will also increase the chance of getting in over your head before your ready.

My suggestion would be to start in a playboat and work it until your comfortable running most class 3 water, then step up both your equipment and destinations. Don't rush it either. I have known people who run their first V in their first season, but most paddlers will take a couple years to develop solid paddling skills.

GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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