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i would like learn and start kayaking.  I am not sure what is the best style to start with.  I want to eventually do several types if not all styes, but would like the easiest to start off with that would not discourage me from trying others..


any suggestions on which to try first?  Please tell me your reasons why if you have any suggestions.


P.S.  I am 50 years of age and not a small woman..I'm not a complete couch potatoe tho and would like to find an activity that will assist me in getting back into shape as well as enjoy for the recreation of it.  how does weight factor in on this activity..


Thank you,


Debra in Florida

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Best type of kayaking? Well, kayak fishing of course!

Seriously though, that's a personal decision you'd have to make. I would tend to think that some sort of recreational kayaking with a sit-on-top might be the best way to start. It's a good way to get out there and see the sights and you can bring along a rod and reel for one of those Florida snook, but it really all depends on your interests.

Fishing is definately going to be in the realm that i am interested in. But i want to learn to maneuver the kayak before i throw a line out and throw myself out in the process :) And from the sound of what i am seeing..i will probably try all aspects of kayaking eventually..even white water...i am so looking forward to this new venture. Thanks for your input..hope to see you in our water ways one day too!

Looks for a good local shop, and call them and see if they have some kind of rental program or demo days. Some good shops will let you rent boats a few times, and then apply your rental cost to the price of the boat. This allows you to try some different boats and see what you like best. You might want to take a basic paddling class too, you'll learn to paddle far more efficiently.

Weight does play a role in what boats will work best for you. Some designs are more sensitive to weight than others, but there are boats out there to fit just about anyone.

Thanks Geoff..that's what I was hoping you would say (about the weight).. i am already looking up places to take lessons and rent from..i appreciate all help from you seasoned paddlers and am very excited about learning this myself:)
Debra, there are many fine ways to enjoy the watery world in a kayak. As for which one is best for a beginner, I would suggest that they are all somewhat unique, and to look into which ever types interest you most (and/or which ever ones are most readily available in your area). Most kayaking does not require a lot of athletic ability, and often what counts for most is one's enthusiasm to learn and patience to suffer through the clumsiness of being a beginner.

Classes are a great way to get into any new activity, especially if you're a bit uncertain as to what you're stepping into. In kayaking there are many aspects that can be somewhat counter-intuitive to most beginners so a few lessons from a good instructor will likely make your initial strokes much more enjoyable and productive. Don't be discouraged if one type doesn't quite work out right for you, and don't expect that things will be "easy" right away the first day or so on the water.

My own bias is that I'm a whitewater kayaking instructor, which may not seem to be one of the "easiest" of choices to some. I can say that I have witnessed lots of folks of all ages learn quickly and enjoy themselves immensely in the process, and the fitness levels have also been of a wide range. Often those who are particularly out of shape will move a bit slower in the very beginning, but in my experience this has not typically been as much of an issue as most would think.

I say follow your interests and have a blast, I am most certain that you can do any type of kayaking that you put your heart into.
Enjoy, JB
Thanks JB..I have no doubt i will..I am not easily overcome by things that are within my reach..just hoping to find the best path to learn first so i can move up to the next step.. i think eventually i would like to learn all aspects of kayaking. I will definately be checking into some lessons to get me started..but I will slap the first instructor that laughs before I do (just kidding).
I look forward to one day talking with you about white water kayaking :)

I learned from Jason up at Otter Bar and then through Current Adventures. I am a fairly decent class IV paddler now and kayak all the time living on the South Fork American. If you can get a class with him on the SFA that is the best possible way to get into the sport. He is the greatest!
Thanks Lee..i'll check into Current Adventures...good info!
Hi Debra,
I just started kayaking late last year and have been having a blast. Locally we have lots of lakes, but oddly, only two stores that carried anything to do with kayaks. (Still thinking I should open my own store...hmmm... thoughts for another day.) I did a whole LOT of research online, asking questions of more experienced people like the fine folks on this website, in addition to checking out what the differences were between kayaks based on various websites that offer such comparisons. Also READ people's reviews of the various kayak models & styles. You'll find most people have something positive and/or negative to say, but you can determine from their experience if their opinion has any bearing on your personal needs in a kayak.

I knew to start that I wanted a recreational style to learn with but originally thought I wanted a sit-on style because I wanted to bring my dog too and thought it would be easiest. Ultimately, for me, I ended up with a sit-in style with a larger cockpit (Manatee DLX 10') and have been extremely pleased with it. I also knew that there would be times I would be loading the kayak myself, so I wanted to make sure I could lift the weight to the top of my car or carry it to the water's edge (but there are carts available for this too). If you have friends you will be going with regularly, the weight of your kayak may not be a factor as you will have assistance.

Mostly, just determine where you will be using the kayak. Lakes, slow moving rivers, white water, open water, etc. and that will help you narrow a large percentage of kayaks right there. Then determine what features or factors may be important to your particular needs (like for me I needed to fit my dog in the cockpit, but not everyone needs that much space), and narrow down the kayaks again based on your needs for the style you've determined.

Don't know how much this will help, but thought I'd throw out my 2 shiny pennies worth. :-) Oh and just in case you ARE ready to buy a kayak or gear, I did get an email today from the company I bought my Manatee DLX from (L.L. Bean) and they are having a 20% off on all kayaks, canoes, and boat related items (carts, lifevests, etc.). The sale is for orders placed Fri. June 11th-13th. My husband ordered his kayak from them during their last sale and we saved a lot of money on his kayak, especially since they offer free shipping on most things and only charge $25 shipping for the oversized items like a kayak.

Hope you have an awesome time once you get your kayak. Be safe and enjoy!!!

Thanks TJ, that wa more than 2 cents worth. and I appreciate every bit of it.. i'm leaning towards lake/river to start..nothing to challenging..hope to run into you one day :)
You are welcome Debra.

I thought of something else to mention that might be helpful...at least it was to me...if you want, there are lots of free online videos to watch about "how to load a kayak", "how to paddle a kayak", "how to...[fill in the blank]...a kayak". I went to google and typed in (for example), "How to paddle a kayak video" and several options came up. Since I did not have any local shops offering classes or much in the way of professional help, I found these videos invaluable to help me get started. Since I am paddling quiet lakes, I felt comfortable that I could attempt kayaking based on watching these videos. Of course, if you have classes available near you, that would be the very best option, but that's not available in everyone's area.

Anyway, just thought that might be helpful to you, if you wanted to check out the videos to help grow your knowledge of kayaking "do's and don't's" -- Happy kayaking! TJ
I just happened to do that the other night..and found some very interesting ones. I'm going to be taking lessons..but wanted to make sure i had a bit of an understanding on what to expect going into it. i want to take the safest approach to this as possible and there is never too much i can learn about this i am sure.
Thanks again TJ..everyone here is so willing to help and is giving me great advice!




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