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Discussion Starter #1
I am just beginning to think about starting a new physical activity, Kayaking.
I already am into mountain biking and would like to start Kayaking, to get a good upper body workout ( especially since biking is lower ) and to enjoy being on a body of water.

I am not great in the water, certainly not much of a swimmer, but with a vest very willing to get out there.

I have been reading up on line and have learned some of the basic types of Kayak's but I am unsure if I should focus on a sit in or sit on type of Kayak ?

I would appreciate some advice from someone who knows, thanks.
 

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Look for kayaking clubs in your area (Google is your friend). They are always glad to help out beginners and can recommend equipment for people new to kayaking.
 

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REI has a demo day where they bring every type of yak out to a local lake and let everyone take them for a paddle. There is no shortage of experienced paddlers to get advice from either.
 

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What is your goal?

Paddling complements cycling, so if your current objective is exercise and you are not a water rat, you are a good candidate for a sit-on-top.

But, first read all the articles that interest you on Paddling.net => http://www.paddling.net/guidelines/ then visit one or more shops. Most shops have demo days (where the weather cooperates, like in the lower Chesapeake, one in the spring and a second this time of year). I tried 4 different brand kayaks before we bought our touring kayaks.

My initial goal was complementary upper body exercise, and we got a pair of 9 foot Ocean Kayak SOTs from Bass Pro. They were inexpensive, but not a good choice for someone wanting to spend 3-5 hours on the water. Fun for an hour or less, but can be very cold and wet.

The next year we upgraded to some 14 foot rec kayaks and the following year to 17 1/2 and 16 1/2 foot touring kayaks. The upgrades came after getting to know the two local shops and the different paddling opportunities in the local area.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
My Goal

Basically, my main objective would be to bike one day and then Kayak the next day, this way my legs rest while I get an upper body workout with a whole bunch of scenery and outdoor air.

Just as you have noted, I am not a water rat, but do enjoy being on the water in a boat, of some sort. We live in New York state, so we all know the water does not ever get warm. We are less than 10 miles from the Hudson River where we have some bike trails but Kayaking in the river might be a little much for me. Thinking of getting two Kayaks, one for the wife and one for me and maybe relatively calm streams or lakes, maybe the river at certain locations ?

You bring up an interesting point with the sit on type, you get wet and cold, so maybe I am better suited for the sit in type.

I really appreciate all of your advice and will use it all in beginning with the entire learning experience.

Also, a very good point about REI and the local Kayaking clubs as well, plenty of great thoughts out there from our members!
 

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We, too, toyed with this for some time, and started with some 10' sit-in kayaks from Costco.

We quickly realized this was not the right setup for us, and decided to research further, and found (being in the Tampa Bay area) there was no shortage of qualified help to be found at the local outdoor sports stores, and decided to visit a local favorite, Bill Jackson's Shop For Adventure.

The staff was smart, patient, and not at all pushy. After several visits, during which they allowed us to test-paddle just about every make and model they had, we decided to take a basic ocean kayak class, which is partially in their indoor pool, partially in their classroom, and lastly, in the adjacent lake.

We learned basic safety, including self- and assisted-rescue, as well as entry and exit styles, and got to test out more gear than we ever thought possible, all while never leaving the store property, and with direct supervision and assistance from real professionals.

I can't say enough about the quality of staff at this store; I highly recommend them to anyone in the Tampa area. We have a half-hour drive each way, and it's well worth the travel time.

We finally decided on two Native Watercraft 14' Manta Ray sit-ons, and have had them for just over a month, and have had them on the water every weekend. They're a great compliment to our mountain bikes, and they look super-cool when mounted to the E.

I also agree that finding local kayaking clubs in your area is a great idea, and we've done a few trips already with some of the folks we've met. None of them has an E, but they can't all be perfect.
 

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Bill Jackson's Shop For Adventure

Second the thumbs up for Bill Jackson's. Whenever I was in the TB area visiting the in-laws and later when my son was a student at USF, it was a compulsory visit. First learned of the local water and bike trails from them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The best Kayak

You are all coming up with the same advice, one needs to search and try in order to determine which type of Kayak is best. There are a few good sporting stores in this area, REI, Cabelas and Eastern Mountain Sports, so I need to get there as well as getting into one, in the water.

Thanks again for all of your advice and in sharing your experiences !
 
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