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North Coast Paddle Sports Message Board › Beginner Advice

Beginner Advice

A former member
Post #: 3
Hi I just joined the group. Thanks :)

I am a beginner to kayaking. What advice do you have for me? I'd like to purchase a kayak of my own, what should I look for?
user 91050342
Painesville, OH
Post #: 3
Hi, Lisa. I'm new to kayaking, too. Yesterday, I rented the kayak shown here:
Four of us paddled them down the Cuyahoga for four miles. Three people in the party had zero experience. They all loved this kayak and did extremely well in it. It has really good stability and tracked well. It was also quite fast. As a first kayak, I'd highly recommend it. It's the only model that this livery uses - their choice is good enough for me!
A former member
Post #: 1
Hi Lisa,

Welcome to the group, we are glad to have you. About your first boat, my advice is to hold off for a while before making your purchase. Take the time to try different boats, rent from different liveries or from one you like that offers an assortment. (I like Camp Hi, 12274 Abbott Rd, Hiram, OH 44234). Come to the weekly group meets and talk to other members about their boats, what they like and what they don't like. Spend time on the internet. You will quickly find that there is a wide range of options and that not all boats are suited for all kinds of kayaking. While you are thinking about boats, think at least as much about what you will be using it for: do you want to paddle quietly down peaceful rivers while birdwatching, are you dying to go play in the waves on Lake Erie or are you thinking about packing up your boat for a two week camping trip in the wilderness?

When renting, keep in mind that liveries purchase boats with the knowledge that they must be safe for paddlers with no skills at all. That is probably not the best criteria for you. Your skills will develop and chances are that you will quickly become unhappy with a wide and stubby boat.

If you are itching to spend some of your hard-earned cash, I suggest that you buy yourself a nice paddle. They are not cheap but having one will increase your paddling pleasure. Here again, coming to meets will show you a wide range of options.

Unfortunately, we are limited when it comes to stores that sell kayaks and equipment in our area. You can find boats in all sorts of places but you need knowledgeable staff to guide you and that requires a specialty store. I bought my boat here (Backpackers Shoppe, 5128 Colorado Ave, Village of Sheffield, OH 44054). They have a decent selection and they are good people. Only problem is that you can't paddle the boats before you buy.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I pretty much disregarded all the fancy advice I just gave you when I bought my boatsmile. I was overwhelmed by the huge number of options available so I broke through and bought something pretty basic just to get on the water. My current boat will be the one I use on rocky rivers when I get the composite sea-kayak I really want. We can always dream, right?

Let me know if you would like to try my boat. The more use it gets, the happier I am so don't be shy about asking. Send me an email ( with "boats" in the subject line) and we'll set something up.

Good luck
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