Even if you're shopping for a used boat (an excellent choice for a first kayak), I highly recommend the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium, which is coming soon. The beach will be lined with vendors and several boats representing each model they offer. There are boats made of all kinds of materials - wood, fiberglass, Kevlar, plastic. You can demo paddle any of them. (There are also on-the-water classes you can sign up for, although you'll need to bring a boat for the classes to my knowledge.)
September 25, 26 & 27, 2009
Fort Worden State Park
Port Townsend, WA
Here's a link to their website:
And here's the best part: this kind of event attracts experienced kayakers who are passionate about this sport. I get so much information just chatting with a seasoned kayaker, asking her/him anything from what kind of boat I ought to consider for the types of paddling I enjoy, to the pros and cons of a skeg versus a rudder, to the pros and cons of plastic vs. another material. And they're not selling boats, so they are thinking more broadly.
If you can, bring a wetsuit or drysuit (or rent one from a vendor there at the beach). The vendor will lend you a paddle and PFD, and you can take a boat out for up to roughly 30 minutes. (These are not day paddle opportunities, but chances for many people to try out different boats.) Ideally, if you can bring a PFD and paddle, you'll have that consistency and convenience.
The WCSKS is even offering a shuttle from Seattle to the event and back. They offer lodging and some meals for a fee, including camping for those seeking to cut corners.
If you come, say hello to me at the Washington Kayak Club table, where I'll be volunteering part-time.
She who laughs, lasts.
From: Saul <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, September 2,[masked]:38:17 AM
Subject: [seakayaking-35] Learning what model kayak works best for you
A lot of the group members have purchased kayaks so far in 2009 and quite a few have not been satisfied. Many liked the stability when they first got their boat, but after a few months got tired of being slow. For those that are willing to buy their kayaks new, the sea kayak expos work well. For those looking for a 5~10 year old used kayak, it's tougher to get a good comparison. For those with good balance a narrower boat is usually faster, while those with poorer balance typically need to compromise a bit so they are comfortable paddling hard instead of bracing
To help people understand what older kayaks work best for them, I will post a few time trial paddles where you paddle a set course for time, switch boats and do it again. We'll record the data and I'll analyse it statistically so we can adjust for factors such as tiredness and wind variation. I'm thinking that each person will paddle 5 kayaks in a 2 hour period on a 10~15 minute long course.
I'll post the first one later today.
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