Anyone here know anything about kayaks?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by annk, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #1
    We have a vacation home on a big lake in Sweden. The lake is a five-minute walk from the house, and I would really like to get a kayak to get out on the water.

    We have a rec sit-up-on kayak for two, which is great when we're two and the weather is very warm, but I'd like to get something small and light that I can use by myself (including wheeling it over the hill by myself to the lake on the canoe wheels we have - the kayak we have is HEAVY).

    I would only be using it in calm weather, and for short trips of between a couple hours and a day. I'd prefer something that gives me the option to keep dry, so that I can use it into the fall when the temperatures drop. I'd like it to be reasonably stable, but I don't know how stability affects other aspects of the boat. I'd like to be able to pack food, drink, camera, an extra jacket etc.

    What should I be aware of when I choose it? I'm assuming that a knowledgeable salesperson will steer me right, but I'd like to have some advice from kayakers as well. I might try to find one used, with no salesperson to discuss with.

    I know there are rec, touring, expedition kayaks, and that expedition is way more than I need. How limited is rec? What's the user-experience difference between rec and touring?

    At the moment I'm not thinking a specific price range. I'd like to first figure out what type/combination of features would be best in my situation. After that, I can start to think price within that category.

    Thank you in advance! :)
     
  2. rpg51 macrumors 6502

    rpg51

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    #2
    Suggest to visit Paddling.net discussion forum

    Nice people and very helpful. You will get some good advice.
     
  3. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #3
    Thanks, I'll check it out. :cool:
     
  4. rpg51 macrumors 6502

    rpg51

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    #4
    I will say this much -

    I am assuming you have some but not a lot of kayaking and canoeing experience. If I am wrong on that accept my apologies.

    Kayaking can actually be very dangerous at times and the dangers are often not perceived even by careful and thoughtful people which compounds the risks. Cold, even just cool, water can and does kill. People have died in 60 degree water when immersed for a long period of time. If you are in a lake and you stay right near shore and the weather is such that you can get out of the water quickly then the risks are low. But if you are crossing a lake alone and you capsize and you are unable to get back into your boat you are in trouble. You may lose the ability to function before you are able to get to shore. So if you leave shore you really do need to be with other people and you should learn self rescue skills including getting back into your kayak after a capsize. So keep all this in mind and BE VERY CAREFUL and CAUTIOUS.

    Also, wide kayaks are stable for new paddlers and perfectly fine for calm protected water. But if you are going to be exposed to any windy and rough conditions or if you want to have some more hull speed some version of a narrower and longer sea kayak will probably work well for you. It will feel tippy at first but it will force you to gain some skills - bracing - that will eliminate that concern quickly.

    Check out paddling.net. Lots of more specific advice there.
     
  5. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #5
    I have very limited experience, so no apology necessary. I am in general very safety-minded. When alone, I would be wearing a vest and stay near the shore, and as I mentioned I would only be out in calm weather. But I appreciate the safety comments - you can ever emphasise that stuff too much IMO.

    The balance between stability and speed/the opportunity to challenge myself in relation to balance skills is one of the things I'm interested in learning more about. I will check out the forum you linked to, thanks.

    If anyone can share their own experiences looking back on when they were new to paddling and the mistakes/good choices they made in relation to equipment, that would be great.
     
  6. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #6
    You might also be wise to take a few lessons, on how to right a capsized kayak, with you inside. :eek:

    It takes some focus, and confidence.
     
  7. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #7
    I saw a lesson on that one summer in Banff. I was up in the bar, looking down on the pool where the lesson was taking place. After the instructor left, the students practiced a bit before getting out of the pool. One woman had trouble righting herself again, and started pounding on the bottom of the upturned kayak. Scared us to death. :eek: We were two floors above her with lots of stairs in between us and the pool, and the other students who were trying to paddle over to her to help were also novices.

    (She managed in the end, thank goodness.)

    There are classes available in the area I'd be using it. and I was planning to check that out, either by enrolling or by contacting someone affiliated to give me a few private lessons. :cool:
     
  8. soloer macrumors 6502a

    soloer

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    #8
    As mentioned, paddling.net is a great resource. I myself have a Pungo 100, an older recreational kayak from Wilderness Systems. I have gotten some great use out of it, but things I wish for in my next kayak are:

    Thinner
    Not veer right and left so much while paddling
    Lighter

    I'm not sure how thin kayaks in the rec class get. I suspect my second wish would be solved by getting something closer to a sea kayak that's much longer. However, the length of the kayak played a part in picking this and I couldn't have gotten much longer than the 10' that this is. I don't know for sure, but the last wish could probably be resolved by spending a lot more money than mine cost.

    They also make much smaller ones, used for water games like water polo. I've seen people zip around in them and they look like a lot of fun.
     
  9. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #9
    Thanks to those of you who suggested I take a look at paddling.net!

    After an intense week of reading articles for beginners, reviews, talking to staff in a couple stores, and discussing this particular model with an experienced kayaker who is aware of my ambition level and where/how I'm going to use it, I've decided on this one.

    [​IMG]

    I'll be picking it up in a couple days, and can start using it in a couple weeks. :D

    I just can't believe it took me all of seven years to discover what an amazing recreational resource the lake (Laxsjön) here is. I've never been a big water person, but getting dragged out on the lake by my insistent husband has really opened my eyes. I loved it from the first minute.
     
  10. rpg51 macrumors 6502

    rpg51

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    #10
    Terrific!

    Enjoy!!!!!

    Did you go with poly or thermaform?
     
  11. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #11
    Some day when my wife and I retire we'll get kayaks or a canoe. Neither travel well internationally, unfortunately. :(
     
  12. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #12
    I don't know. :p

    I'm planning to get it here, near where I live, and there's nothing in the ad that can help me answer your question. I purposely found an ad for it in English to post here.

    I should also say that although this is the one I'm going into the shop with the intention of getting, I'll also make a point of talking to the staff there to make sure they agree it's a good choice. I reserve the right to walk out with something else, if they point me in another direction.

    The area where I'll be using it has a great milieu for canoeing and kayaking, so I'm also looking forward to doing a class/joining a group of some sort. :cool:
     
  13. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #13
    Got my kayak this morning. Foolish me, it didn't occur to me that they might be sold out of the model I finally picked, :( but this late in the season I guess that's not so strange.

    They won't get it in again until next season, so I talked to the guy about my second choice. While it doesn't have as much bang for the buck as he put it, I think it actually might be better for me. Shorter and therefore easier for me to handle rolling it the 10 minutes from the house to the water, easier to steer since it's shorter etc.

    [​IMG]

    I'm happy with what I ended up with. I got a paddling PFD, a good light paddle, and a sprayskirt, as well as some basic safety equipment (paddle leash and float, whistle etc). My first time out is going to be in part spent by jumping out and practicing getting back in while my husband sits in his fishing boat and observes/laughs. :eek: I look forward to getting into a class/group.

    I talked to the guy about how to dress appropriately for safety and comfort during the autumn, and was a bit stunned to learn how much dry suits cost. :eek: But that's next on the list.
     
  14. rpg51 macrumors 6502

    rpg51

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    #14
    Suggest wait on cold water paddling

    until you have some experience under your belt in warm water and stay close to shore so you can swim in warm water a few feet and be safe if you tip.
    Please - be careful if the water is cold.
     
  15. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    Isla Nublar
    #15
    The Hurricane Santee Sport kayaks are very nice and very light. They track very well too in the water. I love mine. You will pay a little more (mine was around $900 U.S.) but it was well worth the money in my opinion. It has lots of storage.

    As for the difference between rec and touring, touring are usually longer with more storage. Rec is fine for most people.
     
  16. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #16
    Don't worry, I'm VERY safety oriented. I take no chances, and have a very humble attitude toward my lack of experience.

    But thanks for the reminder - those things can't be said too often. :cool:
     

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