Newbie Boat Choice - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-20-2018   #1
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 3
Newbie Boat Choice

I took a whitewater kayaking course several years ago with a buddy and walked away with a roll and a Pyranha Ammo which has just sat for the last few years.

Fast forward and I’m determined to get back into kayaking.

The Pyranha Ammo is still in the garage but I’ve been eyeing a used Dagger Nomad Medium or other forgiving creek boat.

So the questions are:
- is modern boat geometry significantly different than a boat that is probably 10+ yrs old?
- will i quickly advance into wanting a more modern boat?
-will a modern creeker help soften/shorten the learning curve?

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Old 04-20-2018   #2
Pocatello, Idaho
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 4
In my humble opinion, for a beginner who is just trying to get experience, the boat is not that important. Since you already have a boat, I would say put your money into a quality paddle, and clothes that will keep you warm and comfortable. I am assuming money is somewhat of a limiting factor, otherwise you'd just buy whatever you wanted. Here are the questions I recommend thinking about when looking for a boat, along with some partial answers. At the heart of the questions, is what you want to do.

1. What is the water like that I will be boating on the most? Big waves, lean towards a larger volume creek boat, local play wave you can hit every day after work, get something more play oriented.
2. Why do I want to kayak in the first place?
a. I saw some guys doing really cool tricks on this wave downtown! - play boat
b. I had a great time with my family on a day long tourist oriented raft trip and the kayakers looked like they were having more fun than us. - down river play/river runner
c. I'm an adrenaline junky who wants to go over waterfalls. - creek boat
3. Am I the type who wants one boat to do everything, or do I like the perfect boat for every situation? If you envision yourself with a multi-boat quiver, buy the Nomad now, as it sounds like a good deal, and you'll buy a creek boat eventually anyway.
4. Do I want to camp out of my kayak? creek boat
5. Do I like to get scared, or do I just want to enjoy the river?

Other couple of thoughts: Most people who get serious about kayaking, go through multiple boats. I think the best thing is just to get out on the water as much as possible, try different boats if you can, and you'll find what you like. I don't have any experience with the Ammo, but it looks like a good boat for gaining experience. It should serve you well in the first part of the learning curve.

I think generally, our culture tends to put too much emphasis on the gear we buy. Good gear is important, but the boat is arguably the most flexible piece of gear. If you just plain want a new boat, that's one thing, but unless you think you're going to jump right into really scary creeking (which would be kind of dumb) you probably don't NEED to buy the Nomad. If big, cold water is in your immediate future, a nice dry suit would probably be a better investment. As a general rule, I would say don't buy a new boat until you feel and understand and recognize the limitations caused by your current boat. As you improve, you'll learn what your boat does well, or not, and that will give you a good understanding of what kind of new boat you want to get. Experience is always a better investment than gear.

Having said all of that, when I got back into skiing after a 15 year break, new ski technology did make a huge difference in my ability to learn Tele. Rocker and NTN made a huge difference. I don't think you'll have this experience with the Ammo and Nomad, unless you're spending a lot of time in really big, boily water, but it's worth thinking about.
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Old 04-20-2018   #3
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 3
Super helpful reply. Really appreciate it. Nice amd reasonable and helps temper the gear lust.

I have the drysuit so maybe I’ll just spend some time in this boat to get a sense of what I want in a new boat.
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Old 04-20-2018   #4
Pocatello, Idaho
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 4
Ha ha. Glad it was helpful. I'm glad to help someone else with a gear addiction if I can! I'm always looking for ways to spend money . . .
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Old 04-21-2018   #5
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Longmont, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 60
Some additional thoughts. I'm in my second year ww kayaking. I come from 30 yrs of bike racing at the elite level. I appreciate good quality gear, and learned every piece of equipment has it's place. I also train hard. With that said, like contscot said, what kind of kayaking do you think you'll be spending the most time at? Including my 10 yo son who does flatwater and whitewater, we own 11 boats. Firstly, each boat has its own personality. Secondly, what is your personality? Mine? I'm a control freak, so I like boats I can dial into micro eddys and not be at the mercy of the river, and are easy to roll. All my boats overlap in what they do well, but I don't own a pure playboat because that's not my thing. What's your thing?

Since you have the Ammo, you've got a boat. Get on the river, get use to it, and have fun with it. Then, rent or borrow a boat you think you'd like to own. Most shops have a good demo fleet. You'll notice (once you get your positioning dialed in) what the boat is about. Renting or borrowing a boat will leave you better informed before your next boat purchase. If you buy a boat, later feels like it's the wrong boat for you, sell it and get another. Going slightly used will save you several hundred dollars. Then, there is the paddle thing. Another conversation for later...My take is this, it's good to have a good creeker, and something a little more playful like a 4Fun or even an Axtix (brand unimportant).

Anyways, the goal is have a positive experience on the water and staying with the sport long term. It's worth spending a little time and money getting it right, than doing it all wrong and you end up hating the sport. I did it right with my 10 yo son, and he has been in the pool and creek 2-3 times a week all winter & spring doing stern squirts, rolls, surfing, whatever and enjoying it.
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