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Post by zahannum » Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:49 am

What is the best all purpose kayak for a novice? I usually kayak on sea, lake, and gentle white water rivers and have been kayaking for years. I have always rented/borrowed but am now looking into getting my own kayak. I want a good priced or even used single, closed deck kayak that can be used in all those places. I'm tiny but tall (5'8", 110lb female) so I would like advice on size as well, in consideration of my own size and locations I intend to use the kayak. Thanks!
Last edited by zahannum on Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by PJohanson » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:51 am

I've got a friend about your height and weight. She fits into my Expedition with no trouble and lots of room left over for gear bags for overnight trips.
Another friend that height but heavier paddles both an Expedition and an AdvancedFrame 10.5. He fits splendidly into my Dragonfly, an older version of the model now called Lagoon.

These Advanced Elements kayaks are all good for novices. I would choose the one that you'll find most convenient to carry to the places you're most likely to use it.
The Lagoon is very light and easy to carry on hikes, or strap to a luggage roller to take on buses. It's good for quiet, relaxed outings on calm water, or playing in surf and Class 1 rivers if you're not afraid of getting wet or turning upside-down. I use mine at least once a week.
The AdvancedFrame 10.5 is a good weight to carry for short distances or on a luggage roller. It also glides farther per stroke than the Lagoon. If the Lagoon is just too slow for you, this model is worth the extra cost and weight.
Are you strong, and will you use a car? I can haul my Expedition on a luggage roller on the bus, or lift it into and out of a car trunk. I'm only 5'1" but strong for my size. The Expedition glides farther per stroke than he 10.5, and it is a match for any 12 to 14 foot hardshell kayak.
Consider the AirFusion -- it's slim and responsive and has a lot of glide. Be sure to adjust the footrest to suit your legs!

If at all possible, go to a local paddling store or Paddlefest and do some test rides. One of these kayaks may suit you more than the others.

The general rule for novice kayakers is what you've been doing: rent boats for a while so you can get an idea of what you like.
If you want a very light boat to carry on hikes along trails to lakes or quiet rivers, you'll like the Firefly or Lagoon.
If you like short, wide boats, you'll like the 10.5 or Lagoon.
If you like slim, long boats, you'll like the AirFusion.
If you want to go camping, you'll like the space in the Expedition. The Convertible is even better for carrying camping gear but it is heavy to carry from car to shore.

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