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Old 08-27-2007   #1
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 37
How do I choose a boat?

So I had my first taste of a serious addiction today - I moved from guiding a raft - to getting wet in a kayak! Now comes the mission of how to find a boat! I am 5'2" and that has caused so many issues. I wan't to start with a boat that I am not going to outgrow in skill right away... mostly because when I get a new addiction I treat it like oxygen! Any advice on a boat & skirt - even paddles would be greatly appriceated!
(I only have a month to learn how to roll & go down Shoshone!) lol

Just hit it straight & hit it hard ~
'Cuz that which doesn't kill us - makes us stronger...
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Old 08-27-2007   #2
DIllon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 109
Demo Demo Demo Go to your local shop and demo as many boats as you can. Try a Jackson 2 Fun if you want to play some or a Liquid logic Triger if you are looking for a river runner. I had not boated in 10 years due to a bad car accident. I got in my Fun and it was easier than any boat I have ever paddled. AT makes good paddles I use an At3. Skirts Mt Surf or IR. Good luck

2 Trailer Park Girls Go Round The Out Side!! "M"
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Old 08-28-2007   #3
Oopps's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 85
Demo as many as possible, Jackson 2 Fun, Wavesport Siren (if you're looking for something older/cheaper), Dagger Mamba 7.5 (just a river runner, no play), Dagger GT, G-ride... keep trying boats till you find one you like.

Skirts, IR makes some good ones, as does WildWasser. The Harmony skirts aren't great, though. I like the SnapDragon skirts as well. The kind of skirt you get is not really as important as the boat and paddle.

As far as paddles go, I would say get a good one from the start. I started with a cheapo one, thinking it would get lost or broken pretty quickly, then got a good one and couldn't believe how much difference it made. I have a Blue Pool paddle, which I love, but they can be kinda hard to find. AT makes some good paddles as well.

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Old 08-28-2007   #4
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
Werner paddles
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 08-28-2007   #5
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 390
Demo boats until you find the one that works for you, buy a reinforced skirt and a Werner
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Old 08-28-2007   #6
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 127
I'll be honest when I first started kayaking, I would demo a boat but since I had no experience I had no clue. Very hard to figure out what feels right other than do you fit? As far as turning, edges, boofing, rolling etc it is going to be tough for you to judge. Get the size right, then find options in those sizes get as many people's opinions on those boats and then look for a used boat of your choice. Looks like you've already got lots of good suggestions on types of boats for your size. If you want to buy a new boat do it down the road after you've got more experience. IMO
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Old 08-28-2007   #7
Oopps's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 85
True, it's hard to decide what boat you like when you don't know what you should be looking for. But try a few, and you will find some you just like and some you don't, though you probably wont know the reason. When I was new, I was lucky enough to be able to try out a lot of different boats. Some (Pyhrana s6f, Dagger Juice and Kingpin) I found I liked a lot more than others (GT, Rx, EZ). The ones I didn't like were still good boats, and recommended to me by far more experienced paddlers, I just didn't like them.

So try as many as you can, when you find one that you like, then get some feedback from other paddlers as to why or why not you should get that one, then try to find it second-hand.

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Old 08-28-2007   #8
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2
I am also 5'2" and am a new kayaker as of this season. I highly recommend the Pyranha Ammo. I did demo a few boats, sat in a few others of friends and the Ammo seemed to work best with my size. It also has been a great all around boat that I can take in bigger water or play with at the play park. I tried a Jackson Fun but because of how short I am, I couldn't make the new happy feet packaging fit right. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-28-2007   #9
spartankayaker's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 70
Demo... Demo... Demo

I concur with everyone's sentiments on demoing... I'm only about 18 months removed from my first taste of this addiction and how I wish I would have demoed more boats early on. I'm on boat #4 (2007 Jackson 4Fun and I can't say enough good things about them) and boy would it have been easier to start with this than my first few boats. That said, I do agree that you might not know what you are feeling at first, but you will really know what you don't like (I still can't sit in a Necky without feeling fear).

Paddles... get a good one. I'm using a AT4 and like it... economical and hard wearing (I'm pretty hard on my paddles).

Skirts... I like Mountain Surf, but that's just me.

Good luck and SYOTR.


Growing old is mandatory... growing up is optional
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