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I can only afford one kayak, "for at least a couple of years anyway". Ive gotten the basic gear -helmet, top, pfd. So here is the question to start the opinoins; What kayak is the best to start with? Creeker, River Runner, Fun Boat - Jackson, Pyranha, Dagger, Wave Sport, ect..? Please take into account that I can barely roll "in a pool". I just dont want to waste money on a boat that I wont want in a year. Also any recommendations on a paddle are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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Don't go for the ridiculously expensive paddle right off the bat. Newbies have a tendancy to lose em in a swim. And put your name and phone # on everything. Helps if you put 'reward' on it too.

But then you gotta make with the reward.....
 

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The only thing I can suggest is demo boats till you find the one you like. For instance I started last year with a LL Hoss and hated it at first. I was told by a lot of people that it was a great beginner boat but I spent most of my time upside down. I switched to a Wavesport Diesel and was able to learn a lot easier. Now I’m back in the Hoss and like it just fine but for learning it sucked. On the other side of that I know a lot of people that learned in little ass play boats and feel it made them stronger paddlers. So it just depends on how your learning process works. As far as getting a boat that you’ll be happy with for the next couple of years that all depends on what type of boating your wanting to do and how often you’ll be in it. If you want to surf waves and do rodeo tricks don’t by a big creeker but look for more of a playboat river runner combo. If you’re in it every weekend throughout the season then you’ll advance much faster than if you’re only going out once or twice.

For me, if I were to do it again I would buy the Wavesport Diesel.

On the Paddle I second what BarryDingle said.
 

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I agree with what the previous posts have said. This will be my 3rd season and I started with a creeker (Wave Sport Habitat) and I'm glad I started that way due to the large volume and times I've slipped into holes it's been more forgiving and progressively allowing me to learn how to handle them. I also have no desire to surf. If you think you're going to want to surf, a free runner may be the way to go since it covers both worlds a little better.
 

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I also agree with all of the above posts.

I too am like Birdog up there, this will be my 3rd season also. I also started off in a nice, big, and very stable boat, a Jackson Hero. Like he said, very forgiving and allowed me to figure out reading the river much quicker being that I was upright more often, but don't get me wrong, I still definately swam MANY, MANY times, which is a learning expereience all in it's own. I own a playboat too, a pyranaha 420, I don't do much surfing/tricks and all that, but I do take it down river on occasion which has helped re-enforce and improve some of my exsisting skill set, as well as develope some skills that I was missing from always being in a big, forgiving boat.

Like it has already been said, and will most likely continue to be told to ya; Demo different boats in the pool now during the 'off-season'. I learned in a LL 'Lil Joe (For my actual Kayak Lessons/ 3 day Fast track class: Pool, Lake, River), and I hated that boat. Now, when I decide to mess around in one when somebody brings one to the pool sessions, I feel completely comfortble in it.

** In my opinion, If I had to choose only 1 type of boat to have for the next couple of years, I would go with a full-on River Runner (Hero, Burn, Diesel, Remix,...) or a full-on Creeker (Nomad, Jefe, Burn, Habitat...). I think that it would allow you to run more sections of river, be more confident on the river as the flows get higher and as you begin to hit it at Big Water, and it'll be a boat that you'll be able to progessively hit harder and steeper runs with if you so choose to enter that realm. *** Then again, I personally don't really do a lot of play-boating.*** Figure out your preferance of the type of boating that you want to concentrate on for these next couple of years, and then purchase that kind of boat based off of your answer/decision.

Good Luck!

- Alex
 

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I'll offer a slightly different opinion. The type of boat you get will depend on a couple of factors.

1. Are you naturally aggressive or passive?
If you are aggressive and buy a river runner you'll be watching people surf and wish you had a different boat.
If you are passive and buy a crossover you'll get munched, and not like it very much.

2. What is going to be the river (and section of river) you'll get on the most?
If you're home has a lot of play features and you are in a tank you'll be hating life.
If you're home has a lot of munchy holes and is pretty consistent you'll want the protection.

My buddy and I both progressed on the same stretch of river. I'm more timid that he is, I was in a playboat and should have been in a river runner, I swam a lot and it increased my timidness. Once I moved into a creek boat (and got a solid roll) I learned a lot faster and had a lot more fun.
He is more aggressive and started in a crossover. He progressed much faster than I did. Had he been in a river runner to begin with he would have been bored.
 

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You got some good advice here. The only thing I would add, if you are a large-ish person, spend some time in whatever you are going to buy and make sure the outfitting is comfortable. If you are a smallish person, make sure you can get a tight fit.
 

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My buddy and I both progressed on the same stretch of river. I'm more timid that he is, I was in a playboat and should have been in a river runner, I swam a lot and it increased my timidness. Once I moved into a creek boat (and got a solid roll) I learned a lot faster and had a lot more fun.
He is more aggressive and started in a crossover. He progressed much faster than I did. Had he been in a river runner to begin with he would have been bored.
I learned in a very similar situation, and think beginning in a playboat helped my technical manuevering skills, but also made me a little more timid because I got destroyed by some big holes early...
 

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Only thoughts I could reinforce: demo demo demo. Use your friends boat. rent boats, borrow other ppl's boats. Look at the used gear section. Whatever boat you end up in, you're going to learn from it, but try absolutely every boat possible.

An equally important note is to take it easy on what ever rivers you chose to get into. Many beginners tend to jump into a stretch of river that is above their skill level. After a nasty, negative experience some never kayaking again, or at least don't enjoy it as much.

Great to hear you're getting into paddling!
 

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I can only afford one kayak, "for at least a couple of years anyway". Ive gotten the basic gear -helmet, top, pfd. So here is the question to start the opinoins; What kayak is the best to start with? Creeker, River Runner, Fun Boat - Jackson, Pyranha, Dagger, Wave Sport, ect..? Please take into account that I can barely roll "in a pool". I just dont want to waste money on a boat that I wont want in a year. Also any recommendations on a paddle are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
What is your height and weight? Specific boat recommendations can then be offered.
Cheers!
k
 

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Don't mess around with any of those training kayaks and double bladed paddles. Go right to a good C1 or OC1 and a single blade.:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm 5'8 180lbs. I have been barrowing a friends Hero and so far I like it. He said that it's a boat that I will be able to paddle in any river that I can handle for some time to come, and also learn to surf in as well. As for how much time I'll spend in the water this season; Hopefully at least twice a month or more if my schedule allows. I will be in the pool every weekend until I go into the river in the spring.
This past summer I went once in Salida and made it down the boat shoot by the dam (and was still above the water at the bottom). I've been hooked ever since.

Thanks again for all the comments and any more are welcome!
 

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I'd get a cheap used riverrunner. A playboat is tough to handle at first, and a creekboat will be too much of a barge (boring). A riverrunner is right in the middle. After you get better you will need a playboat and a creekboat. Add thos 2 to your riverruner and you will have a complete quiver.

I would splurge for a real paddle, though. I know someone said get a cheap one but I don't know... I can't stand to use a crappy paddle. It's just as important as the boat.

You are going to be learning to make your roll bombproof and you might was well train yourself with a good paddle. The feel of the paddle makes a big difference in your roll. For example, switching from a straight shaft to a bent shaft (and vice versa) can be hell on your roll. Start out with a top of the line bent shaft paddle. That's what I'd do. Straight shaft paddles are obsolete, in my opinion. I know a lot of people use them but I doubt very many of them started with a bent shaft and changed to straight. Bent is the only way to go.
 

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tchaires,

I assume you are shopping for used boats. A few great recommended boats for your size and purpose are:

Wave Sport Y
Wave Sport Diesel 75
Wave Sport Habitat
Pyranha Burn medium
Jackson Hero

There are, of course, many dozens of other designs that some may suggest (and anything does probably get you down the river). However, those listed above are perhaps the best for your investment and enjoyment if you can find them.

Keep checking the Mtn Buzz Swap and at retail stores, their websites, and spring boat swaps for used or demo inventory.

Happy boating!
K
 
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