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Discussion Starter #1
Hope you guys can help,

My wife and I just got into kayaking at the end of last season. We're trying to get into it on the cheaper side, and we've been scouring craigslist and the buzz swap looking for deals.

We got her an old Pyranha Micro 230 creekboat off craigslist, which seemed to fit her just fine on land. However, we just did a pool session, and she had a really hard time reaching over the side to get her paddle out of the water for a roll. The boat also sits REALLY high on the water with her in it.

Any suggestions on a good beginner river running boat? She's looking for something stable and easy to roll. We're also trying to do it on the cheap, so less than $300 would be preferable. From reading previous posts, maybe an Inazone would be a good choice?

Her stats: 5'4, 125, wears size medium or small on just about everything. tiny feet too.

Thanks!
 

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One problem I've seen with my female kayaking buddies, is their first boat is a used playboat.

Haven't seen a single success story out of that. Well, not without lots of bruises at least. Playboats aren't bad, but older designs of playboats are low on comfort and harder to roll. Newer playboats, they at least have the comfort going for them, but that's going to cost you.

This of course will eventually change when you finally start to see the current Jackson Stars and Project Xs used for $200-300.

We got her an old Pyranha Micro 230 creekboat off craigslist, which seemed to fit her just fine on land. However, we just did a pool session, and she had a really hard time reaching over the side to get her paddle out of the water for a roll. The boat also sits REALLY high on the water with her in it.
My recommendation is stick with that boat. Sounds more like c-to-c roll just isn't her thing. I know that's the popular roll to teach, but it's not 100% necessary. I don't have the flexibility for a true c-to-c in most boats, but I can still hand roll, and do rough c-to-c (the roll I set up for is a sweep though). Heck, you can be really sloppy with your paddle and still roll, if you have a good hipsnap.

I'd recommend EJ's Rolling and Bracing DVD. What I learned there eventually translated into being a combat roll machine, regardless of the boat.
 

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One problem I've seen with my female kayaking buddies, is their first boat is a used playboat.

Haven't seen a single success story out of that.
Well let me help you out there; Devon Barker, Cira Wing, and Lisa Peria. Are a couple gals that rip it and started in hardcore playboat in my neck of the woods. were talkin XXX and sirens.

Anyway.

Sitting high on the water should be a good thing up-side-down cuz your arms would be closer to the surface.

EZ, Big EZ, EZG, old fun, Disco, maybe in that price range??

I have a short torso and long arms, and many females have the same. I have a 1 1/2" of pad under my seat and I dont wait for my paddle to reach the surface to start a roll. The roll should be one continous motion without steps or stopping points that starts the moment you go down. If she learns to feather the blade, it will bring her up just fine. The motion of the hip snap doesn't require that your blade is on the surface. The fact is that the paddle works best in the water and its easier to roll w/out a paddle in your hands. I would have her try other boats at roll practice and see if that ups her confidance level. Sometimes a PFD will bring her to the surface. Practice relaxing and floating with a PFD on and see what happens to positioning.

Be extra supportive and she'll rip it in a year.

PS: It does not matter what boat she is in, but if she doesn't like the boat its a bad boat! If she likes the boat its a great boat, if ya know what I mean..
 

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Liquid Logic Lil' Joe

I have a lil joe I'm trying to sell. It's a stable and play friendly river runner for the smaller paddler. The hull is in great shape, and I put my own custom hip pads in to make it more snug. I'll let it go for 150.
 

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Next time your at the pool, ask other paddlers if your wife can try out their boats. If she can demo enough boats in the pool she'll likely find one that fits her well and is easier to roll. The improved ergonomics, better fit, better comfort of the newer boats, as well as many being more roll friendly than older boats, may make a big difference as your wife as she is learning to roll and as she spends time on the river this summer.

Anyway can learn how to roll any kayak out there, but there are definitely some kayaks that are easier to learn to roll in.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you to everyone for your help. She's convinced herself that she needs a new boat, especiallysince she had her c to c roll down during a class in a rented Mamba, but couldn't even get close to the same in her Micro. Even if it's a technique or learning issue, I sense that she'll psych herself out from now on in that boat.

I'm looking at maybe smauk's lil joe or a pyranha Inazone 220 that may be a good fit for her. If anyone wants a good deal on Micro 230, hit me up PM.
 

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Have her try out as many boats in the pool as possible until she finds one she likes the best. There aren't many used boats to choose from right now but come spring a good selection should pop up. The InaZone 220 and Little Joe are decent boats, but there are newer ones with better outfitting and similar prices that may work out better for her in the long run.
 

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She's convinced herself that she needs a new boat,

She is right! :rolleyes:


I'm looking at maybe smauk's lil joe or a pyranha Inazone 220 that may be a good fit for her. If anyone wants a good deal on Micro 230, hit me up PM


I vote for the lil joe
 

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If she's looking for a challenge to start off with a Jackson fun series is easy to roll and comes in smaller sizes for women and kids. They are great for building skills in but are less stable than a bigger boat.

If she wants some extra confidence on the river get her a Pyranha burn or a WS Diesel, she'll get chundered less when learning and won't have to deal with her stern getting sucked under when hitting holes.

Also, like FatmanZ said older boats are WAY less comfortable and less ergonomic than new boats. The micro is pretty old and not very comfy compared to newer boats.
 

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I am also 5'4" and 115 lbs, and of the 20+ boats I've paddled, the micro 230 is by far the easiest to roll I've ever tried. It is narrow, and round, and the thing just wants to roll! Having that knowledge, I think it it her technique and another roll clinic with a good instructor will probably be the best bet. Otherwise, have her try a bunch (demo or borrow) and buy whatever she likes. I regularly paddle a Fun, siren, salto, EZ, XXX, zwo, and a glass race boat. The micro beats them all in the rolling department. Once I boated a small dagger GT and it was very easy to roll. If you can find one, she should try it. Good luck!
 
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