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Old 10-08-2008   #1
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 30
Looking for First WW Kayak...taking suggestions!

Hello...First Time Poster Here!

6'2" 230lbs Size 12 Shoe; Looking for first WW Kayak, and have no experience until a Winter roll clinic in a couple of weeks. Looking to Buy New or Used, hoping to gain suggestions on kayaks for my skill (none) and size, and also would like direction on best places to buy either local Western PA, or online...

My friends and I (3 of us) in recent discussions have decided that for next Spring we are going to learn and try out WW Kayaking. Originally we thought...we'd just run down to Dicks get the $300 OT Otter or whatever grab a paddle and have at it.

After a quick glance at what is involved in WW Kayaking we realized that we needed to do some research, get the right gear, take a rolling class, and perhaps an actual WW class. Since this thought is only 2-3 weeks old we still have a lot to learn. We have done some online research, reading, and have made contact either in person or via email with quite a few of the local kayak dealers in an attempt to gain as much information about what we will need to have, and what training is necessary before we get involved next season.

First off, and probably most important...what kind of kayak is right for us? The 3 of us are 200 - 240...6'0" - 6'2" needless to say we are not little boys. We originally set out thinking the Dagger Approach 10.0 or the Liquid Logic Remix XP10 were the right boats for us. Then after our trip to a local dealer last week we were leaning more towards the creeker/river running boats like the Habitat 80, Mamba 8.5 or even the Pyranha Everest or Large Burn. The Jeffe, Diesel and a few others were also brought into consideration.

At this point we have thrown out the thought that we can get anywhere with the $300 original investment, and are more in the $1000+ ballpark. What I am hoping to gain here is a little insight towards what kayak I need to be looking for, what experience the community has had with the boats, and what suggestions anyone would have for me based on your experience.

My size, which I am most concerned about is 6'2" 230lbs Size 12 Shoe. Semi Athletic build...or at least at one point it was.

What Creeking Kayaks would you suggest? Buy New? Used? If new, what place gives the best price on a kayak, or even a package? Any help is appreciated.


Bob McClune

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Old 10-08-2008   #2
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
This site needs an FAQ with an answer to this question. On kayaks here's my opinion:

Ask yourself 2 questions:
(1) Are you likely to really get into and stick with the sport? If yes, then go ahead and throw down ($1000+) on some new gear. If the answer is not sure, or I've tried lots of sports and some stick some don't, then shop around and get some older cheap gear. The swap pages on this site are a great resource for that and you can absolutely get a setup that will give you a decent trial without dropping as much money. Btw, like cars, buying a used kayak can often be a good deal -will often save you a lot of $ and there are lots of good, modern designs out there on the used market.

(2) Are you an aggressive learner, unlikely to be intimidated by some rough experiences, who will be out boating a lot and trying hard to progress, or are you more interested ingetting outside with your friends and just checking out some new places, focusing more on casual fun without pushing too hard? If you are aggressive, look for a river running/playboat design like the Jackson Fun, Wavesport EZG (or I think the new one is the Fuse), Liquid Logic CR#, Dagger Kingpin, etc. If are less aggressive, then look the river running/creekboat category you were talking about would work well. I would stay away from pure creekboats like the Wavesport Habitat as they tend to be harder to control. Your list was pretty good - boats like: Wavesport Diesel, LL Remix, Jackson Superhero, Pyranha Burn, etc.

Oh, and since you are all tall and 200+ lbs, you're going to want to get the large size in whatever boat you get. Most manufacturers have weight specifications on their boats and I would say, generally speaking if you think you're in between sizes, size up. I wouldn't like to be at the bottom of the weight range for a boat.

Hope that helps, good luck. Not sure where you're from but if in Colorado, Confluence kayaks in Denver and CKS in Buena Vista have always treated me well. CKS is mail order as well and tends to have good stock, and does sell some full packages of boats + gear. They also have some good informational pages on their website (Kayaks, Kayak Accessories, Gear, Fishing Equipment, Kayaking Accessory). Uh, I sound like an advertisement, but I assure you I'm not affiliated.

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Old 10-09-2008   #3
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 30
What is a good price for the Diesel 75...? and anyone at 230 6'2'' SIZE 12 ride this boat? Have not sat in it...and wanted to know if I would fit.
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Old 10-09-2008   #4
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 30
Okay...sorry for the back to back post. I managed to grab a 2008 Diesel 75 for $699.99 shipped. I figured I would not be getting another deal like that...Thanks to KSC for the CKS referral.

I am now looking for the remainder of the gear to go with this yak now. I need...helmet, paddle, skirt, pfd and whatever else...dry bag, floats...etc...

Since I am still ignorant when it comes to kayaks your added support is appreciated.


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Old 10-10-2008   #5
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 30
I am looking at a nunch of items that may fit the bill...looking for reviews or comparisons of the werner rio v desperado. Also looking at protec helmet preferences and the lowball sprayskirt i attached. Let me know what your opinions are...


$55 -
$55 -
$90 -

Spray Skirt
$120 -
$100 -
$69 - 9QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

$40 -
$40 -
$70 -

$60 -

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Old 10-10-2008   #6
freexbiker's Avatar
B.F.E., Wyoming
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 907
That Navideck skirt is a touring skirt...It might work for a while but if you ever get into some bigger water you might want something more durable... Also for the pfd you might look into something a little bit more streamlined... like
Kayak and Paddling Gear Sales at Outdoorplay - Free Shipping on Kayaks and No Sales Tax
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Old 10-12-2008   #7
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 30
Okay...I completed my selections and I am going to most likely go with the following...

Stohlquist Brik PFD -
Werner Desperado Standard Shaft
Protec Ace Water Helmet -
Spray Skirt -
Diesel 75 -

Let me know if there is anything on the list that absolutely stinks...


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Old 10-12-2008   #8
freexbiker's Avatar
B.F.E., Wyoming
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 907
Looks good to me for a beginner set up
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Old 10-12-2008   #9
Telluride, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1492
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 207
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I gotta agree with KSC about adding a FAQ to the buzz for this question. And other than updating his answer every few years to change product names etc., I haven't seen a more clear, concise & informative answer yet.

Everything looks pretty good on the list.
Personally I'd go with a better helmet. I don't know what the rivers are like in PA but they're pretty rocky here and the more protection the better. I think WRSI has put more time and thought into their design for the purposes of protection and safety than any other (whitewater) company out there. The cool thing is, if you eventually get into creeking they make a full face add-on so you don't have to buy another helmet. CKS sells 'em for about $80 which seems to be the average price:
WRSI Current Helmet
You can learn more about the background behind the company and the design of the helmet here:
Whitewater Research and Safety Institute

I personally feel that Astral makes the best PFD's out there but that's more of a personal choice.

I was going to recommend the desperado for your paddle but you already threw that on there. It's a good beginner paddle. Not the bottom of the line but not too expensive if you break it or lose it (both are somewhat likely). I still have my Desperado as a backup.

One thing you don't have on there but might consider either right away or fairly soon after starting is a Drytop or at least a splash jacket. I'm sure PA's rivers aren't quite as cold as CO, but you're still gonna get cold if you're getting soaked the whole time. (Other Buzzards, feel free to weigh-in on this one.) Immersion Research and Kokatat are two great companies for drytops but to save some money check NRS and CKS often sells last years tops for cheaper.

Never paddled the Diesel but I've heard some pretty good things. The other boat I'd really recommend trying, if you have the chance, is Jackson's SuperHero.

I would definitely start with some instruction if you can. Both a roll class and a whitewater class will increase the chances that your first experiences on the water will be fun and you'll want to keep coming back for more.
There's also some good videos out there that might help as well.

Good luck and see ya on the water!
I was going to be vague but then I decided to do this other thing.
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Old 10-12-2008   #10
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 30
Thanks everyone for the info...I have taken everything in to consideration regarding price and quality. Since I am new to the sport my friends and I are going to a winter roll clinic within the next few weeks. Then in the spring we are looking to do a more structured class. We will most likely do that after a short touring run on slow flatwater...just so we are a little more confident when we show up for class.

I managed to get a really good deal on all my my gear from CKS (Colorado Kayak Supply)...nothing but great things to say about these guys and gals down there. I made calls, emails, worked with them via chat to get the right equipment for my size, budget and skill level. They come highly recommended in my book, and I will repeat purchase from them in the future.

Ace, as for the helmet...I have actually considered a better helmet with ear protection. I figure this one will get me wet...then I can find one that is perfect for me, and sell this one via forum or ebay, or just hand it down to a newer paddler...probably more likely the latter considering it's a used helmet...A friend would be more likely to adopt it then a stranger to buy it...haha! I was looking at the similar Protec Ace...I think it is called the Wake...basically seems like the same thing, only had ear protection. Anywho? I will find something, and pass this one along to a good home.

I have tried on the Astrals, and they are nice PFDs. I bought this one for the color, and the cost. Plus it is not the bottom of the line...! And certainly not the top. It should get me wet, and prevent drowning...everything I need to get started....haha!

The snapdragon came highly recommended. Outside of that, I really have no clue on the long as it works and will last some time...

All signs pointed to the Desperado. Every website, every person I spoke to all said it was a great paddle...and will serve as a perfect backup, or a buddy paddle down the road.

My plan here is to get all the gear needed to learn the sport. Once I am a season or two in I will know if I want to continue to push the envelope for harder waters and a greater challenge. If that is the case I won't mind spending $2000 or so on an outfit...and then I will have a backup set of gear and boat. I thank you guys for all of your input, assistance, recommendations and whatnot.

Now...last question...float bags, drybags, dry-suit/pants and jacket....throw them at me...what do you got?

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