Boat for a newbie
I've dabbled in boating for many years, but now I'm looking to go for it with whitewater kayaking. I'm hoping to get some advice on a kayak to purchase, as well as thoughts on outfitting.
My goals: I live in Fort Collins, so I'll mostly be on the Poudre. My goal with this boat will be to take my time and become really solid with class II-III, and then see if a new purchase is needed at that point. I'm in no rush, and just want to be able to get out on the water as much as possible. I'll likely be doing Filter Plant runs and lots of flat water roll practice, and then try my hand at Bridges and go from there. Eventually I'll also be looking to spend some time on the Arkansas in Salida.
My Experience: I've done some recreational, sea and whitewater kayaking in the past. On the Poudre I've done Filter Plant runs in both whitewater and recreational boats. My sister is a rafter and I've spent a decent amount of time riding and paddling with her.
My Priorities: Comfort is important. I had an old Perception Whip-It that I used occasionally for a few years, but it was definitely not the boat for me, and it was so uncomfortable that it kept me from wanting to go a lot. Based on that experience, I really want to get something I will feel good in, that won't be a deterrent for getting out there. I know that outfitting technology has improved a lot so that newer boats have a lot adjustments available for comfort and performance, so that may be a consideration. I'm female, 5'8" and 130 lbs. I'm looking for something that will be easy to learn with - forgiving and easy to roll. I'm hoping for a boat that will help me become really solid in class II-III+. I'm okay if I need to upgrade after that, although long term usability would be great.
Price: Definitely hoping to buy used. I'd like to pick up everything I need for under $500. For that price I'd like to pick up a boat and have enough money left over for whatever outfitting and modifications are needed, as well as pick up some other used gear. I need a new (to me) pfd and some splash gear. Hopefully this is a realistic price range. I'm not opposed to spending more, or even buying new, if that's what I really need to do. If for some reason it doesn't work out, I don't want be able to use bad gear as an excuse.
Sorry for the long post, but hopefully with these details some experienced folks can point me in the right direction.
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