New to Kayaking!

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Thetraveler, Sep 17, 2019.

Tags:
  1. Thetraveler

    Thetraveler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    I am just getting started in Kayaking and would like some advice. My desire at this point in time is to do Sea Kayaking touring and multi days trips (Both off shore, Maine Island Trail and the San Juans being good examples and some multi-way river trips such as the Green River.) I plan on taking advantage of classes with a company on the central coast of California near where I live. As part of this I am planing on demoing various Kayaks. Finally, my question. I watched a YouTube video that suggested a beginner making their first kayak a Rotomolded kayak. Their rational was that with the wear and tear of learning and practicing the Self-Rescue techniques that would hold up better that a Composite Kayak. I thought that this might be a bit extreme but decided to get some input from other individuals in the Sport.
     
  2. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    550
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    There are some pros to rotomolded plastic as a first kayak (or beyond). Cheap, rugged, etc. 2 big cons to plastic are weight (heaviest type of material) and even though they are hard to break, they are even harder to fix after you break one. The big expeditions away from civilization always use composite (fiberglass, kevlar, or carbon) boats because they are repairable. This all said, all of my boats are plastic.

    If by a trip on the Green River, you mean the stretch where they hold the Green River race, the boat required for that would be very different for Maine Island Trail or San Juans. For MIT and SJ, you want a sea kayak or touring kayak (these are different names for same thing). Probably 16 to 18 feet long and 22-24" wide. Can have a rudder or skeg. Some light packers, especially if they are doing surf or rock play on the coast, may use 14-16' long boats.

    The Green River is white water (advanced white water at that), and as such uses white water kayaks. For overnight trips, the white water kayaks are long for whitewater kayaks, but still very short as compared to sea kayaks. Usually 9 to 11 feet long, and always plastic. As you can imagine, how much you can carry is very different.

    Skills needed for green river type trip versus sea kayaking trip are also very different. For MIT or SJ, basic deep water rescue skills, efficient strokes, how to navigate, and tides and currents (last is more for SJs than MIT). For green river, efficient paddling, rolls, dealing with major rapids, etc. are needed.

    Which shop on the central coast are you going to? Central Coast Kayaks in Shell Beach? Monterey Bay Kayaks? None of the ones on the central coast really do much sea kayaking any more. They all might have a limited selection of plastic boats, and few (if any) composite boats. Last time I was at Central Coast Kayak, the longest sea kayak they had was the Jackson Journey at 14'. You might need to make a pilgrimage to California Canoe and Kayak in Bay Area to get a better selections. You can definitely do intro to kayaking with your local shop, but more advanced skills you might need to also look elsewhere.
     
    Thetraveler and JohnAbercrombie like this.
  3. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    550
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Just noticed in your profile that you are in Fresno. Another option would be Headwaters Kayaks in Lodi. Or California Canoe and Kayak has a shop near Sacramento.

    While it is similar to the other shops in having limited sea kayak options, there is a guy at Kayak Connection in Santa Cruz that teaches higher level classes. David Santorelli is his name.
     
  4. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,898
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Excellent info in your post Peter, but I think that Philip.AK uses a plastic boat (Nordkapp??) on some of his trips, and they are 'big' and 'far away' by most standards. He's posted here with some impressive trips in AK.
    I prefer composite boats myself, but I can do repairs and (more importantly) I don't venture far from 'the beaten track'. :)
     
  5. designer

    designer Paddler

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Messages:
    510
    Location:
    Bend OR USA
    Thetraveler - it was great to read your mention of "... making your first kayak ...", acknowledging that the gear you use your first year will be different from what you use your second and following years. I found that to be the case in kayaking, competitive archery, mountain climbing, etc. My first boat was plastic - a Dagger Vesper. It had no keel and I had to keep it out of the hot sun so the bottom wouldn't warp. It had a rudder - really spongy on the peddles and I began by paddling without using the rudder to learn control. As soon as I reached any speed, the boat would carve into a turn. But I got a lot of use out if it and kept it for years as a second boat/loaner.

    If you buy used and then resell when you are ready for the next boat, you can consider the dollar difference an education expense.

    Heed what Perer-CKM wrote. The two environments empathize different boat designs and skills. As with downhill skiing and cross country skilling, there is definitely an overlap. If, eventually, you can cover both kayaking bases, that would be great.

    As a sea kayaker, I'm envious of the reflexes and muscle memory the whitewater folk develop for bracing and rolls. But I prefer my "open water" environment more than "gravity assist" down streams/rivers.

    We all endeavor to keep the keel side in the water - except for greenland paddle/boat users who are keen on mastering the umpteen way to roll their boat.
     
    JohnAbercrombie likes this.
  6. AM

    AM Paddler

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    777
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Add to that roster Jon Turk and his incredible trip from Kamchatka to the Aleutians (in a Prijon Kodiak) and his circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island in a WS Tsunami. I've heard one guide say that Prijons are good for the arctic because they break ice well.;)

    I myself prefer composite.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  7. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    550
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Ok, Ok, I should have said "The big expeditions away from civilization ALMOST always use composite"

    With John Turk and Ellesmere, I seem to remember that the Tsumanis were the largest boats they could fit in the plane or something like that.
     
  8. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    Astoria, Oregon, USA
    Those Prijon Kodiaks are tough. Their polyethylene is a stiffer, tougher version of PE which is more durable than the usual PE. Details here: https://en.prijon.com/HTP.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  9. AM

    AM Paddler

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    777
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Except for the huge artic trips take by canoeists in their ABS boats...:)

    Sorry, Peter, we’re really ragging on you for what is otherwise an excellent post (as usual). Must be the mid-week blues!:(;)
     
  10. Thetraveler

    Thetraveler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Not really looking at the White Water portion of the Green. The Canyon Lands, is flat water. My primary areas will be
    NorCal Coast, maybe the Channel Islands, Washington and MIT.
     
  11. Thetraveler

    Thetraveler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    I am planning on as trip to California Canoe and Kayak. There store in Oakland is an easier trip for me as my son lives in the Bay Area. Is there much difference between the two stores? I am also planning on visiting Kayak connection. Will look for David when I’m ready for more advances classes, thanks. Do you know if there is much difference in there two locations (Santa Cruz oar Moss Landing0?
     
  12. Thetraveler

    Thetraveler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    What can you tell me about P&H’s Corelite>
     
  13. Thetraveler

    Thetraveler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Yeah designer I’m with you, I’m really not the type that wants the Whitewater experience.my desire for the Green is the lower Canyonland’s portion. It’s just a float trip my boys want to do. A Bucket List thing.
     
  14. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    Astoria, Oregon, USA
    My son and I did that, March 1999, in a Coleman canoe. Very scenic, and not demanding. Spring was a good time for us, though nippy. We rented the boat, the groover, some incidentals, but used our own tent, camping gear, etc.
     
  15. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    550
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Ah, I was thinking of a different green river (this one: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1080). Sorry about that. Ignore all the white water stuff mentioned above. The Green in Canyonlands is flattish water as far as I know, so sea kayak territory. Though likely moving water, so doing a tide & currents class or basic white water class could be useful. Tides and Currents knowledge would also be very useful in San Juans or for paddling in SF Bay.

    CCK's also has a Redwood City store, which I think is larger than Oakland, so if that is convenient might be worth a stop. Both RWC and Oak are on water (so on site demo possibility), where Sacramento is not. Sac store might also be more whitewater focused.

    I don't know if Kayak Connection in Moss Landing does much retail. But if you go there and they don't, Monterey Bay Kayak does have a small store next door. Moss Landing for both of them is mostly wildlife tours and rentals. Neither is as large a retailer as CCK.
     
  16. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    550
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Corelite is P&H's triple layer material. They use stiff outer layers of plastic that sandwich a foam inner layer. Trying to lower the weight and increase the stiffness of the plastic, 2 of the downsides of plastic. P&H has especially been known for beastly heavy plastic boats, as they often overbuild (IMHO) their boats, so getting a lighter material was long needed.

    Valley Sea Kayaks also uses a similar triple layer plastic (though I think the inner layer is another plastic not foam) for the same reason. The US made brands (Wilderness Systems, Dagger, Jackson, etc.) don't offer any triple layer plastic, as far as I know.

    Between the harder manufacturing process and shipping from UK, Valley & P&H boats are often a bit more expensive (like $1800 instead of $1200 for a comparable sized US brand boat).
     
  17. Thetraveler

    Thetraveler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Peter your a wealth of information, thanks. Pick you brain a bit more, what do you know about Prijon? I like what I read about the HTP material. The hatches look a bit quirky and it appears the only us dealer is in the East. Have you heard anything about them. I see your is San Francisco, we should get together sometime when I’m up in the city.
     
  18. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    550
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I don't know much about Prijon, so can't comment. I do thing there is a large benefit to sticking to kayaks available locally, so you can test out and see in advance (instead of ordering sight unseen).

    Once you get some time under belt and a class or two, here are some other options for more advanced education:

    Paddle Golden Gate (https://www.paddlegoldengate.com/) sea kayak symposium based out of SF area. For intermediate to advanced paddlers.

    River & Ocean (https://www.riverandocean.com/) classes by many of the same instructors you'd see at the symposium who do classes around Bay Area (and beyond). Also for intermediate and above skill level.

    Be good to meet live at some point.
     
  19. rider

    rider Paddler

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2005
    Messages:
    1,761
    Location:
    Coquitlam,BC
    My 2 cents is that if you are not a racer, don't make a habit of dragging the boat on it's tail over jagged rocks , don't store it in hot sun, and are ok lifting 5-15 extra pounds(depends if comparing to 'glass or carbon fiber), there's no reason not to go plastic and stay plastic. Aside from much lower initial cost, the toughness on impact is a tremendous advantage and there are plenty of excellent hull designs in plastic.
    My experience in California is limited to one day outing several years ago, but I still highly recommend Liquid Fusion Kayaking https://liquidfusionkayak.com/ it was one of the most fun days I've had on the water :)
     
  20. Thetraveler

    Thetraveler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Rider thanks, I have been out on the water with Liquid Fusion, the NOYO River paddle. In fact that 4 hours is what got me hooked on Kayaking. Jeff is the Greatest, he made my friend and I feel so relaxed we just soaked in the beauty and the peace of the area. He is a true Ambassador for the sport. I plan on taking some advanced classed from him when I’m ready.