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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been reading this site for years and finally signed up. Love it. Was big into whitewater canoeing in Virginia before I made it out west several years ago. Since then my whitewater career has grown exponentially. Mostly a fisherman out here (avoiding big rapids) in my 13 ft raft. Over the past few years I have become much more comfortable running rapids and with 2011 and this year I have been exposed to big water and am so stoked on it. I wish I had the opportunity to hit the water more often but living on the Front Range has its downsides in terms of hitting water in an oar frame. This brings me to the kayak thread.
I have played around in kayaks all my life. Never got serious or owned one, know how to roll in still and moving water, feel comfortable taking swims, and know a little about the ins and outs, do's and don'ts. I have got to get into paddling so I can play around in these play parks or hit some smaller water on the Front Range. I have no idea where to start. No I don't have 160 dollars for a class, I am a broke, student. Any easy waves or play park recommendations near Boulder or anywhere within an hour? I plan on demoing or renting different boats because i have no idea about any kayaks. Fluid looks like they have closeout deals. I am 6 ft 160 lbs and like to take my activities to the extreme so I would like a boat that is super playful, but still have the ability to run some bigger water. I am a novice but plan on growing into the boat so I don't want a beginner boat, but I still want some solid stability. If anyone has any suggestions, boat recommendations. Anyone who would take me out would obviously be traded whatever they want, including a day on my boat on the oar rig or some beers. Not looking for a babysitter, just another experienced person around to give me tips and what not. I am trying to get in the water pronto. SOrry for the long ramble I just need some concrete answers so I can get this going. I am a river junky, what can I say.
Cheers,
T
 

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It's kind of old school now, but an EZ, or maybe a Big EZ considering your height is a great all around boat that you can take on bigger water and get in some serious play. You can also find one used for relatively cheap. If you ever get to where you want to throw loops and aerial stuff, you'll want to upgrade... but an EZ will take you far. As will other boats, but the EZ I can speak to personally.

Check out the Colorado Whitewater Association. They have cruises that are free for members. Not instruction, but good place to meet other paddlers and start stepping up your game.

Hit the play parks. You'll make friends quick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks J. Appreciate the info. Any other boat recs similar to that would be greatly appreciated too. What size should I look for in the big ez for me (6ft 160)? What kind of paddle? Prefer used but don't mind dropping some coin on one. Any solid brands that are top notch like nrs is to inflatables? What play parks have some good fun waves nearby Boulder that you would reccomend for my first time out. Thanks agin
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I found a Big EZ for 300 that looks like it is in great condition. It does not come with anything. Would I be paying too much if I bought this boat? anyone know. I am just trying to get on the water ASAP, even by this evening
 

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300 is probably about market for a Big EZ in great shape. 250 would be better, since it is a pretty old-model boat.

Make sure that you fit tightly in the boat (But not so tight that it hurts). Your feet should be braced firmly against the foot block (or whatever they're using); there should be hip pads snug against your sides, and your thighs/knees should be snug so that you can move the boat from edge to edge. If it doesn't fit like that you'll need to purchase or find some mini-cell foam and contact cement and do some work.

I strongly recommend spending time in your boat in a lake or pond or flatwater river before jumping into whitewater. I bought a Big EZ a few years ago after taking a few years off of boating for my first kid, jumped right into Boulder Creek, the boat didn't fit me well, flipped in the second hole, clunked my head on a rock, swam, lost my paddle and ... yeah.

Best bet for getting some beginner-level practice within an hour of boulder are: Golden Play Park once high water goes away (give it a few weeks), South Platte Confluence ww park in Denver, C470 to Mineral Avenue (if self-shuttling) or to Union (but be careful in Union chutes--not a beginnner park), St. Vrain ww park in Lyons, Deckers run on South Platte, and once you're pretty comfortable on some of those, Boulder Creek through town (after Eben G. Fine, the "whitewater park" above there has sticky holes) once high water goes away. Find people to boat with on mtn buzz--don't boat alone.
 

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Go check out Boulder Outdoor Gear Recycler on the corner of Broadway and 36 in North Boulder.

I spent weeks surfing craigslist trying to find something good, which I think I eventually found, then went to BOGR afterward trying to find pieces of gear. Not only did that have most of the accessories that I needed but sure enough there were three decent boats, at least one that would have worked for me, significantly cheaper than I saw on craigslist.

Anyway, once you've got your gear, I'm a newbie and in Boulder too if you want some company.
 

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Golden is good and close(r) to Boulder. I know there is beginner stuff in Boulder Creek through town, but I've only been up there a few times and don't remember too much.

Confluence is OK, but intimidating for a beginner IMO because there isn't much of a recovery area except for the last drop... which is a boring drop anyhow. Union Chutes can be good for beginners if you want to learn how to work eddy lines, stern squirt, etc. As you get better, you can try the waves and holes there. Watch out of the last one though... It can trash you! C470 to Union is a great beginner run. Deckers run too.

Big EZ or EZ (whichever fits best) is a good boat, but not your only choice. If you can try out a few different ones, do that... I offered the EZs as I've had mine since it came out and had it on big water, small water, and everything in between and know it can take you far. But, that boat came out about 10 years ago and I know there are other great options too... I had kids and mostly raft now, so I'm kind of out of the loop (pun intended) on the newer stuff.

Good Luck!
 

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To the OP and other ex canoers / east coasters. Why does it seem like canoeing is so much more popular back in the east and SE where it is very rare out here? Haven't been able to figure that one out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yea I rarely see canoers out here. I ditched mine when I moved out west. Regret it to this day. Thanks for all the advice good people. What newer model boats should I be looking at? Like newer than the EZ we've been discussing with the same attitude. I am going to go check out the EZ and hopefully i'll fit into it then >still water practice> Whitewater park with flows that suit. I theoretically would like to just throw the kayak on the back of the raft and go find nice waves where I can anchor up and play around on them with the kayak. Anyone else do that? I of course will never be going alone. Stoke level is super high. Thanks again. Keep it coming
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Go check out Boulder Outdoor Gear Recycler on the corner of Broadway and 36 in North Boulder.

I spent weeks surfing craigslist trying to find something good, which I think I eventually found, then went to BOGR afterward trying to find pieces of gear. Not only did that have most of the accessories that I needed but sure enough there were three decent boats, at least one that would have worked for me, significantly cheaper than I saw on craigslist.

Anyway, once you've got your gear, I'm a newbie and in Boulder too if you want some company.
Awesome. Appreciate it. I forgot about that little place. Ill definitely hit you up when I am suited up. Thanks
 

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If you haven't looked into it a lot of colleges have whitewater kayak programs that have all the gear to borrow, lots of different boats to try and a paddling group that is typically set up for taking out beginners. Even if your school doesn't have a program it might be worth trying to look into other schools and see if you can take advantage of one. Being able to take different boats out on the water before purchasing is a VERY good thing. Some of the programs will make you take a class/test before getting access to gear but spending a couple bucks up front for a summer of access to cheap gear (and being able to buy gear on your own timeline) is huge. And get your ass in the pool as soon as you can. Pool sessions are typically every week, go every week till your roll is bomber then keep going, colorado sucks to swim in.
 

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As far as boats go, if you really want to focus on learning to surf and play around (e.g., something to strap on a raft), you should probably get a "river play" or "downriver playboat". Examples are Wavesport Fuse, EZG, EZ/BigEZ; Pyranha Varun, Stretch, Recoil, Inazone/Z-One; Dagger Axiom, Kingpin, Juice/Rx; Jackson Fun series; Fluid Spice. There are others that will work too, those are just a sampling of boats that are good downriver playboats and are good to learn in but are good for downriver play and surfing. Keep in mind that because of lower volume and sharper edges, you'll be upside down more often in these kinds of boats than you would in, for example, a Mamba or Diesel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
As far as boats go, if you really want to focus on learning to surf and play around (e.g., something to strap on a raft), you should probably get a "river play" or "downriver playboat". Examples are Wavesport Fuse, EZG, EZ/BigEZ; Pyranha Varun, Stretch, Recoil, Inazone/Z-One; Dagger Axiom, Kingpin, Juice/Rx; Jackson Fun series; Fluid Spice. There are others that will work too, those are just a sampling of boats that are good downriver playboats and are good to learn in but are good for downriver play and surfing. Keep in mind that because of lower volume and sharper edges, you'll be upside down more often in these kinds of boats than you would in, for example, a Mamba or Diesel.
Roberts. Sent you a PM thanks for the info. I fit pretty well into my buddies Jackson Allstar and it seems like jackson produces some top quality boats. If I can score this one on craigslist (same size) ill probably go for that but have a few EZ types to check out as well. This thread has been more than helpful. thanks.
 

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My vote is definitely Jackson 4fun for a great riverplay boat to progress with. more stable downriver then the star series, but you can still get after it in the park.
the fit, geometry, and rollability are night and day better then older boats, although most of us learned with those boats. I had a Wave sport EZG 60 (newer then the EZ...EZ front, ZG stern) it was a good boat but a bad fit for me and hard to roll consistently.
JK boats are really easy to roll. and stable, and yet still playful. exactly what a beginner wants, and still what I want as a 15 year intermediate paddler.... (Superstar & Superhero are my two boats. I really want a Zen river runner and a Rogue for Self support camping.... all JK boats... there is a trend with me....)

The Fun series is awesome all around playboat, but if you want to really feel safer on longer runs (Ark, Poudre, Lower CC, Rio Grande etc) .... might want to consider a Riverrunner /creeker like the Hero, Zen,Karma or LL Remix, Jefe, or dagger Mamba.

most folks eventually settle on a two boat quiver :playboat, and creeker or river runner. (until you can afford the specialty boats... i am not there yet either...lol)
 
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