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Discussion Starter #1
So I am new to kayaking and want to get some information on what kayaks are recommended for beginners. I'm interested in WW kayaking to be more specific. I am somewhere around 5' 10" weighing in at roughly 200lbs (that number is decreasing). Some things I have heard to start with: Jackson 4Fun, perception phat, dagger outlaw. Any information is appreciated. If anyone is in the Boulder, CO area and has some tips on where to start or shops for outfitting that would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

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I would highly encourage you to some lessons from Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures near Salida/BV. RMOC has some of the best instructors in the state. i. You can try a lot of different boats and and gain the basics of safety. CKS in Buena Vista is a good place to start looking for gear. Have fun, be safe.
 

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You should test run the mamba 8.1,8.6. I started back in april in a mamba 8.6 (I'm 6ft 155lb) It has been a great boat. Rolls easy super stable and if you find yourself in a hole it does a danm good job at surfing out.
The Jackson Karma would be another boat to take for a ride. I have little xp with it but know a lot of people like it. It is a forgiving boat from what I gather.
Best of luck in your search for your first boat.
 

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Taking a class isn't a bad idea. Over the winter you can do pool classes which I think is a great environment to get started in. RA guides does classes in Golden, which is probably the most convenient thing. Unfortunately the city of Boulder won't authorize kayak sessions in any of their pools. Like everything else in Boulder, we're the great outdoor sports city, but we don't want to actually let you do things in the city - it might inconvenience someone.

Anyway, rant aside, a lesson will also give you an opportunity to check out a few different boats first hand and get an idea of what they're about. Also Confluence Kayaks in Denver is a great shop and does lessons, but farther away at DU. I'd recommend going there to shop for boats/gear though.

In my opinion, if you're reasonably athletic, start in a more playboat oriented boat like a Jackson Fun/Star or equivalent rather than a higher volume creekboat/river runner. CKS (also a good shop) has a nice description of the taxonomy of whitewater kayaks: Kayaking Educational Articles
Grabbing an older boat like a Phat or Dagger Outlaw is fine as long as you're getting it dirt cheap. Otherwise don't bother.
 

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Just got my first boat about 6 weeks ago (Jackson Rocker.) Got my flat water rolls down on my 2nd solo lake session (brrr) about 3 weeks ago. The guys at 10-mile creek kayaks helped me a ton as far as paddle size and making sure I have everything I need. Matti even offered to do a private roll class with me. Definitely worth checking them out for questions on sizing and materials needed.
 

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Just curious if you're looking for new or used (seems from your list used) or if there's a price range you're going for? Are you wanting to playboat right away? I started in a tiny playboat (Dagger G Force) and then switched to a Pyranha Burn. I'm more comfortable fit-wise in my boat, plus more comfortable in the water. It's easier to push myself and test my skills, try new things. Plus the things a tank. In some ways I'm glad I started in a playboat, it forced me to be a stronger boater, but I honestly have so much more fun in my Burn.
Anyway, there's a bunch of boats on Craigslist right now. You'll learn how to paddle any boat once you get used to it. Just kinda asking because the Phat and the Outlaw are a far cry from the Fun.
Dagger Mamba 8.5 <good price, good boat

Pyranha H3 Kayak <bad price, good boat (seriously, this guys fuckin' high, but it is a really good boat--- offer him $200)

When I was looking for a step up from my tiny playboat, I pretty much came to the decision that I either wanted a Burn or a Remix... found a Burn for $350, bought it, fucking love it. You'll figure it out though in pretty much any boat you get.
 

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Feel free to give me us a call 719-599-3483. Ask for Scott. We have an indoor heated pool and can tailor a class to fit your schedule. Days, nights and weekends are usually no problem.

We also have a large retail facility co-located with our pool and we can talk about what boat might best fit your paddling objective.
 

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Unless you never plan to go past class 3, I personally would recommend your first boat be a river runner or creak boat. Everyone needs one when you step up past class 3. You don't need a playboat. And while I hear a lot of people recommend starting on a playboat, all those I've seen progress the fastest, started on creak boats/river runners.


Playboats do push you to have better posture, but river runners force you to have better paddle strokes and be more precise with ferrying and surfing. And you'll feel more comfortable as you start out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Alot to consider

Thanks for all the replies. Now to answer some of your questions.

-I've considered lessons. The only issue is they all seem so expensive. You see I'm a nursing student working part time. I plan to look into the classes/companies people have listed though.

-I'm looking at used for my first boat. I would hate to spend the money on a new boat and come to find out I don't enjoy kayaking. I doubt that's the way it's going to go though. I love being on the water. I have a lot of experience WW rafting. I just want to make the plunge and be able to go solo in my own boat.

-When it comes to jumping right into a playboat, river runner, or creek boat, I'm not sure which I want to start with. I've been told each style of boat is unique in it's own way and hones certain skills. I would like to start with the most well rounded style boat. From what I read here, my best bet would be to jump into a river runner. I'll look into the specific boats everyone here mentioned.

Thanks again for all the info and help you guys are awesome. Please continue to reply. The more info I get the better.
 

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My .02 cents...

Playboats will improve your skills faster and force you to develop your brace and balance quicker. This will make the learning curve steeper, and you will get frustrated, but you will develop your mandatory basic skills more effectively.

A river runner/creeker sits higher in the water and rides over most features. You will not have to work as hard to balance, brace or dig through waves/holes. This will allow you to advance the difficulty of your runs faster, but will also increase the chance of getting in over your head before your ready.

My suggestion would be to start in a playboat and work it until your comfortable running most class 3 water, then step up both your equipment and destinations. Don't rush it either. I have known people who run their first V in their first season, but most paddlers will take a couple years to develop solid paddling skills.
 

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I personally would jump on this offer:
Kayak
Disclaimer:
I'm a girl, and though I don't like to shop for typical girl things, I certainly do like to shop for kayaks :) always lookin for that next boat... even though I have like 10 now.... :confused:
 

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No need for a river runner or creek boat, get yourself a river play boat like the 4 fun and you can do pretty much anything up to IV even V- really depending on the run. You want to be able to do a bit of everything and determine what you actually enjoy and where to spend the money. When I started I bought a big old creeky / big water piece of shit that I resold after some months.

I personally choose to teach myself how to kayak, classes are meh... but probably would get you up to speed quicker with less swimming.

Agree with the above poster ^^ jump on it.

On this list they call it a 'Freestyle River Runner' which is quite different from River Runner: http://www.sierrasouth.com/kayaks.htm
 

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First, take lessons. That way you will be sure if you want to continue with kayaking. My dad was deciding to purchase a boat, but took a two day lesson first. Made him realize WW kayaking isn't for him. If you are still into it, find a used boat for your first season or two. It's a lot cheaper. Look for a boat that you will be able to both surf in and river run in(pyranha varun, Jackson fun, etc.). Get really good in that boat then I would move up to a bigger boat for creeking or harder river running or a smaller boat for surfing. Cheers
 

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First, take lessons. That way you will be sure if you want to continue with kayaking. My dad was deciding to purchase a boat, but took a two day lesson first. Made him realize WW kayaking isn't for him. If you are still into it, find a used boat for your first season or two. It's a lot cheaper. Look for a boat that you will be able to both surf in and river run in(pyranha varun, Jackson fun, etc.). Get really good in that boat then I would move up to a bigger boat for creeking or harder river running or a smaller boat for surfing. Cheers
Check out downriver playboats. It's about half river runner and half playboat. They work great when first learning and give you the chance to progress fast without getting in over your head.
 

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A few considerations:

1. The Centennial pool in Longmont should be open on Sunday evenings for roll practice starting in January. Show up with a kayak, paddle, skirt, don't be afraid to ask for help and there should be some folks more than happy to help you learn the basics of a roll and strokes. Go to the pool all you can all winter to work on your skills. I know I benefit from the off season practice, and my kids do as well. Confluence Kayaks in Denver has an indoor pool for roll practice - that would also allow you to demo several newer kayaks.

2. Any kayak is better than no kayak to get you started. That said, the newer the kayak the better the ergonomics (comfort). At some point in the first year or couple years you are likely to upgrade the kayak anyway, or add a second or third kayak to the fleet.

3. I am a big fan of the Jackson Kayak "FUN" series, starting with 2nd generation (2007) through current. It's a good mix of a river runner / playboat. Comfortable, forgiving, easy to roll, etc. Each of my kids and several family members/friends all started out in the FUN series, and continue to paddle them. Similar kayaks are the WaveSport Fuse series and even the EZG series, some of which may be cheaper than a Jackson.
 
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