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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, everybody! So, I've come across this forum a lot by searching things on Google--everyone here seems so informative and friendly, so I figured I would benefit from joining!

So, I am completely new to kayaking. I have done some recreational kayaking before, but nothing serious. I am a complete adrenaline junkie and I love any kind of sport that requires intense progression. I'm usually scaling a building in NYC or bombing down hills skateboarding. This might sound strange, but the first videos I saw of white water kayaking really reminded me of the things I love to do--in a way, they are all kind of similar mentally and physically. I really can't tell you how eager and excited I am to get into this sport. Sometime mid summer, but gf and I want to plan a 3 week road trip where we kayak ( nothing too serious) a bunch of different rivers ( depending on if we are both ready).



So, right now I am looking all over craigslist and Ebay for something cheap. I am about 6 foot, and 160 pounds). From what I have read and observed, the boat I am looking for is most likely a river runner kayak, or a creek boat.

Can somebody kind of tell me the main difference between the two? Which kayak would be best for both intense rivers, and at times just some leisure kayaking on slow easy rivers?

How much should I spend on my first kayak, tops? Once I get one, I don't want to go through the whole ordeal of selling and buying another one later. I'd rather have one, and work with that one for a few years.

Any other advice or what to look out for would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks!
 

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Creek boats generally have what's called a displacement hull, which stays high on the water and resurfaces quickly. Usually has little or no edge. A river runner will usually be similar in length and volume, but have a planning hull which will have a primary and usually a secondary edge. Creek boats are generally faster, but take more effort to keep straight. River Runners are easier to crank in and out of eddies and will be more capable of holding a surf.

Personally I would recommend starting with a river runner like the Burn or Mamba.

Look for a boat that is a couple seasons old, but in good shape. You should be able to find one in the $600-700 range.

I would start with a relatively inexpensive paddle...they are easy to lose. On that note, put your name and contact info in/on ALL of your gear.

Get some good dry gear. It will make a huge difference in your comfort, and thus enjoyment.

Find some local like-minded individuals and watch each others backs. Take a lesson, and some kind of swift water safety course. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Creek boats generally have what's called a displacement hull, which stays high on the water and resurfaces quickly. Usually has little or no edge. A river runner will usually be similar in length and volume, but have a planning hull which will have a primary and usually a secondary edge. Creek boats are generally faster, but take more effort to keep straight. River Runners are easier to crank in and out of eddies and will be more capable of holding a surf.

Personally I would recommend starting with a river runner like the Burn or Mamba.

Look for a boat that is a couple seasons old, but in good shape. You should be able to find one in the $600-700 range.

I would start with a relatively inexpensive paddle...they are easy to lose. On that note, put your name and contact info in/on ALL of your gear.

Get some good dry gear. It will make a huge difference in your comfort, and thus enjoyment.

Find some local like-minded individuals and watch each others backs. Take a lesson, and some kind of swift water safety course. Good luck.


Thanks so much for the feedback, friend! Any particular Mamba or Burn I should look out for?
 

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Used river runner or creeker, whatever you turn up that fits and works for what you want to use it on and will last at least 2-3 seasons is going to be a good investment. But don't forget you will need a helmet, PFD, decent paddle, sprayskirt (may come with the boat), and at least a good paddle jacket if not drytop, plus throwbag and eventually, pin kit plus first aid. All these can be acquired for less than retail if you work local sources, boatertalk.com, and there used to be a pretty active list for northeast paddlers, don't remember the name but I'm sure google will. Figure $1000 to get started, if you become addicted that number will double quickly...
If you want to save time and money, consider taking a weekend course on the Deerfield (MA) or some other river in your backyard and see if the sport is really for you. You'll know pretty quickly if you're still stoked after your first long, cold, scary swim... with a 500# boat for company! (Hang on to your paddle...)
 

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Boater talk is a great place to find all sorts of gear. Remember to look here on the buzz in the classified section as well.
There are plenty of rivers out east that are really close to each other. I learned to Kayak in ohiopyle Pennsylvania on the Lower Yough, and I believe still to this day it's the best spot to learn how to boat.
Know your limits and don't let anybody bring you down with questions you may ask. I suggest as others have that a beginning course for kayaking or a swift water course should really be thought of.
Dry gear is an absolute must. Most people quit kayaking cause they are cold and wet. You will swim, it's part of the progression and staying dry or moderately dry will make you just want to continue more and more.
A dagger mamba is what you want to be looking for in a kayak. The models that they have go on how tall you are and how much you weigh, find your numbers and start looking for that boat. The 7.5 for old models and 7.6 for newer models are the smallest size, it goes up from there.
It can be overwhelming at first with all the gear you will eventually need, make a list and get after it! I hope this helps a little.

Victor


Woke up this morning at 10:13.
 

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Was there an issue with my post?
Well for one, you said people on this forum are friendly and well informed.

I'll throw in a twist to the advice above. For someone who's coming in with an aggressive attitude to pick up the sport, learn, and not afraid of falling down a few times, I think you're better served by getting a playboat for your first boat. Even if you think you don't want one, you actually do. After a couple years, get a creekboat/river runner. You don't really need the features of a creekboat early on unless you just want to make everything easier and more forgiving. In a playboat you'll learn better body position and edge control, which will serve you well through your entire paddling career.
 

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I will second the above. I started off with a Dagger G-force playboat for $200... pretty unstable little fucker but that just made me be a bit more choosy about my lines. I've been learning in that boat for the past 3 seasons, and I'm glad because it didn't make me rely on my boat for stability it made me rely on my own skills. Still can't roll very well but I've developed a good brace :)
I also just got into a Burn 2 for Christmas for a little over $300. I think it's going to be a good transition from my playboat because it still has good edges and I should be able to handle pretty well.
I guess all I'm saying, from one noob to another, is that the boat is really only part of the equation. So much of it depends on you. Find a boat that fits, or is at least semi-comfortable, and affordable and then learn to paddle the shit out of that boat... then be picky about what you buy.
 

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So far people have suggested creek boats, river runners, and playboats. I would suggest a river running playboat. Something that is shorter than a river runner, and decent for surfing, yet not quite as small and squirrely as a modern playboat. You can learn to surf, cartwheel, etc... and still maintain a little more speed and stability.

The Fun series of boats by Jackson is a good example of this. Another is the Dagger Prescription. Its not made any more but you could find a good deal on a used one.
 

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+1 for the play boat. Creeker or river runner will be fine, but you'll become a better paddler in a play boat and can then move on to a creeker when the level/type of the whitewater dictates the need.
 

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Hi

In this sport make a distinction between cheap and used good value.

Cheap = junk stay away

value = less expensive good quality. ..go for that

I suggest if you want to learn hard shell kayak you take lessions ...a good roll is very important.

why not goto to a kayak camp as part of your vacation ...use their gear....learn a lot ...then buy some gear.

Be advised ...this is dangerous sport ....a newbe is at great risk .....you do not understand the dangers. ......take swr class to help you learn.

paddle on

scott
 

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Hi

Also keep in mind the entry fee to this sport is more than cost of a boat and paddle.

I feel the following additional equipment should be used.

1 appropriate clothing....dry tops, booties, ect....

2 saftey equipment. ....throw bag......first aid kit .....helmet....z drag..ect

There are great times to be had in this sport...welcome


paddle on

scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks so much for the feedback, everyone! It really is appreciated and a great help! I'm going to make sure I get the proper equipment and see if there are any lessons near me.


I was interested in a playboat, but I have a feeling I will be doing a good amount of non-white water kayaking. I was told that playboats were horrible for rivers that aren't white water. Is that true? As fun as freestyle looks, I'm more trying to get into just booking down rivers.

When I find a boat, I'll be sure to post back on here for advice!

Thanks again, everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No there is nothing wrong with your post. There are just a bunch of smartasses on this site, me being one of them. Feel free to give it right back! Gotta have a sense of humor and not get butt hurt in the boating community.:wink:

Haha, okay, I gotcha! I wasn't butt hurt--I figured there would be a lot of trolling on forums.

Thanks for the advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
+1 for the play boat. Creeker or river runner will be fine, but you'll become a better paddler in a play boat and can then move on to a creeker when the level/type of the whitewater dictates the need.

Sorry for the noobie questions--but aren't playboats more for freestyle and such? I'm more interested in going down rivers, long kayak trips on less aggressive rivers at times. I know it's probably silly to look for an all around boat at this point--but I thought a river runner would be best for the style of white water kayaking I'm interested in. Am I wrong in this assumption?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I will second the above. I started off with a Dagger G-force playboat for $200... pretty unstable little fucker but that just made me be a bit more choosy about my lines. I've been learning in that boat for the past 3 seasons, and I'm glad because it didn't make me rely on my boat for stability it made me rely on my own skills. Still can't roll very well but I've developed a good brace :)
I also just got into a Burn 2 for Christmas for a little over $300. I think it's going to be a good transition from my playboat because it still has good edges and I should be able to handle pretty well.
I guess all I'm saying, from one noob to another, is that the boat is really only part of the equation. So much of it depends on you. Find a boat that fits, or is at least semi-comfortable, and affordable and then learn to paddle the shit out of that boat... then be picky about what you buy.



Thanks for the reply!

If you don't mind me asking, what kind of rivers have you been doing as a beginner in a playboat?
 

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Sorry for the noobie questions--but aren't playboats more for freestyle and such? I'm more interested in going down rivers, long kayak trips on less aggressive rivers at times.
Yes. And a river runner may be more suited for that on paper. But a playboat will make calm and easy rivers more fun for you. And as other people said, if you are interested in learning, it will develop your skills quicker than a river runner. In your first 1/2 seasons you probably won't ever notice a difference between a playboat or river runner except you will have more boat control and feel for the water if you start in a playboat.

2 saftey equipment. ....throw bag......first aid kit .....helmet....z drag..ect
I would disagree about the throw bag (maybe) and z drag. A new, first year kayaker should not be running anything requiring a throw bag, nor should they be setting safety for people which requires a throw bag. However I wouldn't totally say it is a bad idea to have a throw bag and rope handy so this point could be argued. But on to the z-drag. A new kayaker who never took a SWR course should not have a z-drag kit because they will not know how to properly use it, and they probably won't ever be in a situation or river requiring the use of one. They would most likely be in way over their head if they were. I would consider it as somewhat advanced rescue gear and technique. Imagine someone trying to free a pinned boat and trying to setup a zdrag, never using one or being in that type of situation. That has recipe for disaster written all over it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes. And a river runner may be more suited for that on paper. But a playboat will make calm and easy rivers more fun for you. And as other people said, if you are interested in learning, it will develop your skills quicker than a river runner. In your first 1/2 seasons you probably won't ever notice a difference between a playboat or river runner except you will have more boat control and feel for the water if you start in a playboat.


Okay, I understand. I will keep my eyes out for both.

What about the Jackson Fun Runner? It seems like a boat that would suit what I am looking for. Any feedback on if this is a good first boat?
 
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