Kayakers' Alliance Message Board › New to the area, need advice on buying a kayak, and where to keep it

New to the area, need advice on buying a kayak, and where to keep it

A former member
Post #: 5
Hi everyone, just moved to the SF Bay area, and am probably going to buy a kayak within the next month or 2. My experience is with a closed sea kayak on the hudson in NYC, but have only been out a dozen times or so. I was hoping to get a few pieces of advice:

1) I will be moving to the city soon. What neighborhoods are good to live in such that I can go kayaking without making a huge trip? Similarly, what areas that are in driving distance have the best settings for kayakers? Am I allowed to go anywhere in the Bay, or are there a lot of rules on where/when you can kayak?

2) Where can I store my kayak, besides my home?

3) Where should I be looking for a used kayak? Forums? Internet? Local stores?

4) What should I be looking for in a used kayak? I like the closed feel, and am more interested in final stability, single rider, probably fiberglass (?). What kind of things can be wrong with any given kayak that I should be wary of before buying? Is it weird to do a 'test drive'?
Ted H.
user 7007795
Crockett, CA
Post #: 14
Hi - welcome to the Bay Area.

1) Get on the Kayaks Unlimited mailing list (http://ca.groups.yaho...­. I think they could be a big help with choosing a location, and I think they can provide kayaks for members to use (but don't quote me on that), and might be able to provide storage for your boat (don't quote me on that either).

I think you are allowed to paddle almost wherever you want to. Oil terminals (at Conoco Phillips, Valero, Tesoro, Shell, and Chevron in my area) and military places (the Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay, for instance) are off limits, and probably other places that I can't think of offhand. You'll want to avoid deep water channels and be careful around other places with lots of commercial traffic (the Oakland Estuary, Carquinez Strait, etc).

1,3) If you haven't already, check out BASK (Bay Area Sea Kayakers) at http://www.bask.org/...­. They ought to have lots of SF locals, and have a classified page at their web site . They sometimes have a swap meet before meetings, so be sure to get to one of those if you want gear. Get to one of their meetings if you can.

Bookmark the BASK Trip Planner and the SF Bay wind map--these provide essential info for paddling trips around the bay.

3) Be sure to follow craigslist, there are kayaks listed for sale all the time. Occasionally I see a kayak on ebay being sold by someone locally--for local pickup only, so these sometimes sell without many bids.

I can't really advise you on #4--my choice of kayak and gear is always determined by my budget, which is very small lately.

A former member
Post #: 50
Hi Ryan,

Welcome to the Bay Area. First - where to go... You'll find three great kayaking types of venues here including Sea, Lake, and River kayaking. You'll also find MeetUp groups that explore them. I agree with the suggestion to look at BASK since you'll be in the City, but look also at North Bay Kayakers, and the two Meetup groups in Sacramento. Eventually you'll get a taste of some great kayaking trips with them. Also, there are a couple of kayak stores to look at including California Canoe and Kayak, CCK, in Oakland, two up in Tomales Bay, a couple in Sacramento, and San Jose....Google, visit, look and lust! All of the stores will welcome you with open arms and give plenty of advice on getting started around here.

The question of which kayak to purchase is Very personal and there are so many styles, you pretty much have to try them out, chat with people about the boats they have, and then put your money down. Used kayaks are a good way to go since owners often take good care of them and they are built to last. But, I would play the field and rent for awhile so you can be sure to get one you like. Myself, I have two...one is a sit on top I use for ocean swim escorts, and one is a sit inside I use for play in the lakes and Bay. The sit on top isn't as much fun, but immensely practical and a no-brainer for self-rescue in the ocean, but the sit inside is way more fun.

Where to live...there's a question! You'll discover SF has micro climates, and work proximity is important too. If you want storage that's another issue. Start with Craigslist and a map and drive the neighborhoods, of which there are many nice ones to choose from. You'll find storage more difficult in an apartment building, but flats and houses will be more costly. As an alternative to owning and storing your own boat you can join the South End Rowing Club, or Dolphin Club, use their boats, and find an instant social group. I swim and kayak with those guys in addition to this and two other Meetup groups.

Good luck. Again, Welcome! See you out there!

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