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Discussion Starter #1
I'm fairly new to boating and am looking for suggestions on a good boat to start out with for a smaller (5'4") person. I've just about got the roll down in flat water, but not on the river. I want something that is good for river-running but is also playful and easy to roll...something that I can 'grow' into, but is not too aggressive. I have been looking at the Dagger Outlaw, but I am not sure if there is anything else out there that might be better. Any suggestions?
 

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Starter kayak

The shape of the Outlaw is perfect for starting. The size of the boat may be wrong for your size frame. Think about the Showdown insted. Other boats to check out would include the Wavesport EZ, Dagger GT 7.5 or G-Ride 6.2, Perception Blaze (smallest size), Pyrahna Inazone 222 or I-3 221, or small Riot Booster.

The things you should look for in a beginner style kayak. 1) a flat bottom (it's a must- don't fall into the old school trap.), 2) overhanging side walls, and 3) a convex top deck.
 

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smaller boat

Also look at something like one of the smaller Wavesport Aces or a smaller perception playboat. The Ace was an aggressive boat for its time but now suits smaller beginner playboaters and will take you further
 

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Go out and buy a used Dagger Infrared. They are selling for about $300 right now on the Mountainbuzz gearswap pages. You cannot go wrong with this boat for a beginner.
 

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Dagger displacments

DO NOT GO WITH A DAGGER INFRARED!!!!

Thisn is the same old school way or thinking that will only come back to hurt you. Your boating will suffer for making a mistake like this. Buy a boat with a modern planning hull (flat on the bottom). Flattening out the bottom of the kayak is the single most important advance in modern kayak design. A flat bottom sits you higher on the water, allows you to see farther down stream, and allows you to turn in a heart beat. This ablitiy to turn gives you more control and slows the pace of the river.

You will become a better kayaker and inprove 3X faster in a modern kayak.

Are you still skiing 200cm straight skinny skis? No, you switched to a shaped, wider, short ski... just like everyone else. Why be they make the sport easier and give you more control. This is what a flat hull has done for the sport of kayaking. It makes it easier.
 

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Don, I must disagree - the Infrared does have a flat bottom on it and not the old school displacement hull like an RPM. The Infrared has a soft chine - no edges but the bottom is still flat. It's a pretty stable boat. For running rivers, it works great. After she gets used to running rivers and learning some boat control, then she should definately go to a flat hull with some edges.

We all have our opinions but you of all people should know that the Infrared does not have a displacement hull. Did I miss something here?
 

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It's not quite there

The Infared is a step in the right direction, but it's still not there. There were a few boats the all came out at the same time that were a hybred style kayak. The Dagger Redline / Infared, and Wavesport Godzilla and Kennetic. They kind of have a flat bottom, but they are missing one of the key parts... a release chime. Without having that drop edge, they fail to spin. It's close but not the same thing.

Besides who wants to waste their time with a boat that is almost there. Go with what works. There is a reason that I will not teach in the older style boats. Ask yourself if you want to spend a few months getting down the basics or do you want to spend a couple of years doing the same thing.

Plus, she already has a better boat than the Infared with the Outlaw. Why would she want to take two steps backward, when all she really needs is a boat her size.

I'm sure if you re-read the above posts you'll start to pick-up the points you missed. Things are not always a good deal just because they're cheap.
 

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Don… I know you know your stuff and I think I know some stuff too. I would just like to re-state that I think she should start with an Infrared really, really cheap. That’s just an opinion. Learn to run rivers in that boat and make lots of rapids making eddy turns and ferries and such. Then when she knows more of what to look for in performance and maneuverability, check out a newer boat that has those edges that we all know and love.

A few of us former instructors happen to think that the Infrared is still a good learning boat. We all have an opinion and that is what she asked for – just an opinion. You have one, I have one. Why did you have to slam mine? I didn’t slam yours. I posted an opinion and then you followed my post with a “DO NOT BUY AN INFRARED – WHAT ARE YOU, NUTS?” type of post. If she came to your shop, then you could dazzle her with just your opinion and that would be cool but she asked on the buzz as to what the buzzards thought. That’s all I did was give her what I thought. You gave her what you thought. I never said put her in an RPM… that would give you something to yell about. Hell there are posts on the Gear Swap for “beginner boats” where people are pushing Corsicas, Outbursts and the like… do you go out and rip on them too?

Hell, if I worked at Confluence with all those nice selections and she came into the store, I would simply put her in a Pyranha I:3 221 because it has some user friendly edges and it is “playful” like she wants – not a real play boat. Surfs great and is very easy to pop a stern squirt. It has user friendly release edges and won’t be flipping her all over the river when she forgets to lean properly. As for the Outlaw/Showdown, there are better boats on your list than those for a beginner. They don’t surf all that well and you always get a face full of water when you go through waves.

Truce?
 

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Nuts

I didn't say you were NUTS. I just think you missed the boat. Really, I think you picked the wrong boat for her. She already has an Outlaw. If she came in and said I want make this boat work for me I'd say. "Let's start by raising the seat then we'll adjust the hip pads..." I would not say go out and buy this old hybred boat because you can get it cheap. She can sell the boat she's in and buy anything on the list that I gave for no extra cash.

Why not put her in a kayak that makes river running easier, ferries well, adds control, has modern outfitting, is her size, and will lead to some basic play boating?

Yes, I have an opinion. It's a strong one, and it's be reenforced time and time again by customers that wished someone would tell them the real story. Guess what- your buying something that your going to out grow by the end of the summer. Do you feel that you got your moneys worth?

Sorry, you felt like I was pissing in your pool. Some time down the road I might have to clean up the mess created by somebody on the internet. This is just one more time that it can be fixed before it happens.
 

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Uh...I don't mean to step on any toes, but, Don, Christine said she's "looking at" an Outlaw, not that she has one already. Other than that, I'm not going to get into this debate, as both you and Geezer have much more experience than I.
 

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Ok, stepping out on thin ice here but I respect both Don's and Geezer opinion and I would base the decision on how aggressive the paddler is. I recommended a boat to a friend this spring and he had the chance to get an RPM for cheap. I told him to go ahead and buy it for 350 sell for 250 or 300. I figure no matter what boat you buy, that you will be in a different by the end of the year but that may just be me. I trade boats wayyyyy to much. If pressed I would tell her to go with the showdown or a small gride.
 
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