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spec4life???..smh...
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Alright so I searched for a thread about kayaks I remembered seeing a while back and I found it but it is mainly about flat water. I am transferring in the fall to a college that is about 3 minutes from the cape fear river here in NC. I always wanted to kayak and I thought this would be a good time to start. The cape fear is a huge river for those not familiar and pretty fast flowing but with some good fishing. I also will only be about 2 hours from the coast so I figured I run down there on the weekend if the fish are biting and hit up the sounds and inlets with this Kayak.

I have no idea about Kayaks and not alot of money to spend...so any recommendations of what to look for in a kayak to do what I want or one in particular to look at would be appreciated....:thumbsup:
 

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http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=4

I've only done flatwater and some mild rapids on a kayak. I paddle in a canoe much more often. Indiana rivers are pretty forgiving, class II and easy III sections if I recall. I've seen some great threads on beginner friendly whitewater boats over there on TGR.

I've been contemplating building a plywood boat for flatwater myself.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Ok, you gotta pick one...whitewater OR coastal fishing. A whitewater boat will be a horrible boat for coastal fishing. Where will you put your gear? You need a bigger boat for that. A whitewater boat can be used on flatwater a bit (it will be tiring), but not really for anything but a short jaunt.

General rule: the shorter the boat, the quicker/easier it will turn. The longer the boat, the faster it will go and the slower it will turn.

Furthermore, when dealing with 'big water' (big lakes, bays, ocean) where the wind can blow unimpeded over long distances of open water, you need an especially seaworthy boat. That wind will also act on turning your boat. That's why many long boats have rudders or skegs...to keep the boat going straight in wind or currents. A little bitty whitewater boat would be toast in even a calm breeze. You may consider renting a longer boat for your coastal fishing if you won't go too often....or buy used to save some dough for two boats.
 

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spec4life???..smh...
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the input and I see that I may have not been clear in what I meant by a big fast river...

This isn't any whitewater it is just a huge...most likely the largest river in North Carolina...being over a mile wide at points...hope that helps
 

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ride the moment
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Check out topkayaker.net . Its a forum/website about sit-on-top kayaks. Very beginner friendly since if you fall off you just climb back on and many are set up for fishing/touring. However, like any other hobby, its a big hole to throw your money in. Boat, paddle, comfortable paddling specific life jacket, paddle leash, thigh straps, dry bags, helmet if your are gonna be in the surf or around rocks in swift water. It adds up quick just like mtb gear. Not trying to be a debbie downer, just saying gear costs money.
 

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You will be better off with a paddle, having its blades at right angle, rather than parallel. Many beginners start out with parallel blades and have trouble down the road learning to paddle with "real" paddle.
These paddles may be "left" or "right" ones. If you are a lefthander, you will probably need a "left" paddle. If you are a righthander, you never know for sure, before you try.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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A word of warning about sit-on-tops...they're HEAVY...much heavier than a sit-inside model. If you have to move the boat a lot...from house to car, car to water, and especially negotiating debris, a heavy boat is a huge disadvantage. My canoe is just over 50lbs, and I typically have another person to help move it. A SOT kayak can easily weigh as much as that to another 20+ lbs more, and usually it's only YOU who's there to move the thing. Load it up and get it stuck on a sandbar and have some fun. You won't go anywhere fast.

I don't know your river in particular, but as long as it's not full of debris like my local rivers, it sounds like there's room to handle a touring kayak if it's that wide. A rec kayak could probly handle it fine, but will get blown around in wind much worse...and SOT kayaks catch wind almost as bad as canoes. That will depend on how much wind you have to deal with. I do know you'll have a lot of sheltered coastal water to work with, which is ideal for SOT kayaks, as long as you're willing to deal with the extra weight and the wind-catching.
 

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ride the moment
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NateHawk speaks the truth. They are heavy. I had a 12' Wilderness Systems SOT and it weighed 60 lbs with no gear. No big deal in TN cause I'd just drive to boat ramp and pull it off the roof. However, I carried it the better part of a mile up the Oregon coast one time after the wind picked up(20-25 mph) and sent me on my way and that sucked. To be honest I had no business being out in the ocean that day and I'm lucky the Coast Guard didn't have to come pick me up. I decided that the north pacific had too high a penalty for failure compared that warm southern water I was used to and sold the boat.

The advantage to SOT is that you can mount them by yourself from the water, and its much easier to get away from if you flip it over and can't roll. If you get a sit-in kayak you will need to spend a good deal of time in a pool learning to roll, and also how to get out of it if you get stuck upside down. Even on flat water, a motorboat wake could flip you if it catches you off guard. Water can be very unforgiving.
 

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A lot of folks get by without learning to roll, but learning to wet exit and reenter (self-rescue) is an essential skill. It's good to learn assisted rescue techniques, too, because then you can help others out, and manage when someone is trying to help you.
 

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Hermit
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Might as well add my two cents...

I've been paddling, mostly whitewater but some flatwater, 80 days a year for about ten years. Not saying that I'm particularly skilled, but I do have that passion (the same is true for mtb come to think of it).

I think of sit on tops as boats for those who are afraid of being enclosed in a decked boat. They are stable, but heavy and hard to paddle. I've never been impressed. You could get a nice recreational kayak, say in the 12'+ size for the river and be happy with it. I'm a fan of Perception rec boats - I have a Caspia that I've been paddling for years. Check out their Prodigy 12 - nice boat, even has a dry hatch. They have the hard chines that give you excellent stability and the longitudinal grooves along the bottom that give you good straight line tracking. I've paddled mine in class II whitewater many times, so if you head a little west towards the mountains and check out some rivers with rapids you'd have something that would handle the basic stuff. And make sure you're buying from a BOAT manufacturer. There are so many johnny-come-lately rec boat makers in the last couple of years with half ass designs & service. For example, don't buy a Bic kayak.

I learned to paddle with a zero degree offset paddle. I switched over after five years. The main difference - lots more manufacturers sell good quality offset paddles - and that's about it. Either way is good.

Rolling is extremely helpful, but if you're not going to be in serious whitewater you can get away without it. Just get used to the idea of chasing your gear downstream everytime you swim.

And for Gods sake use some safety gear. ALWAYS wear the pfd. And wear a helmet when it's a good idea. Too many accidents...

Check out American Whitewater's site for info about rivers to paddle. Go to BoaterTalk for advice and abuse from expert paddlers.

I don't know squat about ocean paddling or fishing.

BTW Whitewater kayaking & mtb compliment each other really well. The balance & strength in each make the other better & easier.

Steve Z
 

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swampboy62 said:
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I learned to paddle with a zero degree offset paddle. I switched over after five years. The main difference - lots more manufacturers sell good quality offset paddles - and that's about it. Either way is good.

Steve Z
I disagree (I was into flatwater kayaking and also graduated from a whitewater kayaking instructors' course). Zero degree offset makes stroke much shorter. First thing you are taught, particularly on flatwater, is using muscles of your back, rather than arms, which is virtually impossible with parallel blades. Switching from parallel to offset blades is not always easy. It is, possibly, the reason why manufacturers produce more quality offset paddles.
 
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