Return to Boater Board

Source of unbiased info on purchasing used beginner boat.

Home Page Forums Boater Board Source of unbiased info on purchasing used beginner boat.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Author
  • #3608

    Anyone know of a website, DVD, book or other on purchasing used beginner boats?


    I don’t know of any source of published, printed or recorded info that doesn’t have some bias. Sponsorship, affiliation something drives almost every bit of advice you’ll find this way.

    Best bet is to read magazine reveiws from previous seasons, check out reveiws posted by regular joes on sites like or or try Boatertalk.

    Questions here can be useful, just beware of the "by the way I just happen to have" guys.

    Your own opinion is the best one and the effort to learn a little in order to develop this is worth it.

    That being said if you have no idea at all your not going to recognize the differences until you’ve developed some skills so almost any boat that gets you out there is good enough.

    Make a more informed and long term choice after spending a season finding out what kind of paddler your likely to become.

    You can pretty much sell any boat thats a few seasons old for what you pay for it, assuming you don’t damage it somehow.

    A point of reference would be that Planing Hull designs seem to bottom out around $400.00 Displacement Hulls that aren’t popular Creek boats tend to be below that, usually around $200.00. Very current designs tend to sell above $600.00 and commonly move pretty quickly at that level.

    New prices $1000.00ish up to $1500.00ish. Depreciation is rapid on brand new boats seeing them drop to as low as $750.00 after 1 season of use.

    Demo boats and rentals can tell you a lot.

    Remeber everybody is differnet in size, attitude and paddling style so advice can be nearly useless if it’s about a specific design.

    Most folks tend to find that one or 2 brands seem to make models that suit them. I have always had good luck with Dagger and Necky boats. I have never really found a Wavesport that works for me. Pyranha has been hit and miss for me. Others would tell you they have never sat in a Necky or a Dagger that is worth a dam.

    More confused now, I hope not, learn as much as you can about designs, find your paddling style and in the mean time get in whatever boats you can get your hands on. Your opinion is the most reliable.


    pyranah inazone is a great starter boat , I have a sub 7 for sale , but am recomending another boat , so you know i’m not "but I have a ….for sale " on you ,

    ask anyone thats started out in an inazone , there are 3 sizes depending on your weight,

    "khall":283xhat2 wrote:
    Anyone know of a website, DVD, book or other on purchasing used beginner boats?[/quote:283xhat2] Hipnazi has given grate advice, do some home work and spend some time trying out different boats before you spend your cash. Also ask someone that is experanced padler to go with you when you buy a used kayak. have fun and good luck.
    Capn Crunch

    someone to try their boat while you’re all sitting around having lunch. Just hop in, paddle around and presto — suddenly you have unbiased opinion. If you’re clever you’ll notice people who are shaped like you, same size, etc and you’ll ask them to borrow their boats — at least the outfitting will be closer than asking someone who is a giant or dwarf in comparison to you.

    You will hear, however, that some boats get generally bad reviews and combined with low resale value of those boats will give you an idea that those boats may be ones to stay away from.

    Good luck!



    There’s lots of people with lots of ideas on this board, but if you want advice you can trust, check out your local shop. Hipnazi’s advice is good, I think he used to work @ boatwerks.

    If you’re in the toronto-minden area you need to go to Boatwerks and talk to Jeff. If you’re in Eastern Ontario, the place to go for advice is the Paddle Shack and to a lesser degree Trailhead.

    As a former shop employee, I can tell you that most beginer’s who buy a boat without consulting someone in the industry purchase a boat that makes the learning process more difficult and less enjoyable then it needs to be. There are lots of different brands and types of kayaks out there. Tell your local shop what you want to do and where you plan to paddle and they can make the right recomendations for your needs.

    Most of the stores will tell you what used boats are good as well. If they don’t they’re not a good shop and you should go elsewhere.

    A few do’s and don’t if you’re buying a used boat and want to stick with the sport:

    Do: test any boat you’re interested in on the water and ask other paddlers what they think of the boat. you’ll know soon enough if you’re paddling a lemon.

    Don’t: buy a model that is 6 yrs or older (if you want a river runner or playboat.) The seating position and style of boating has changed so much in the last few years that a 5 or 6 yr old boat will not match what you want out of your experience. (translation: you will either quit kayaking or buy another boat within your 1st season) There are a few exceptions to this like the riot disco but for the most part old boats are way more difficult to use and way less fun.

    Do: Buy the right size boat for you. Many old school paddlers try to jam themselves into boats that are to small for them so they can do better flatwater moves. It’s a white water boat not a flat water boat, who cares how many cartwheels you can do or how long you can bow stall. If anything, buy your 1st boat a little on the big size. It will be way more comfotable and you’ll catch fewer edges. Volume is your freind.

    Don’t: buy anything longer than 6’9" if you’re looking for a play boat and you’re not a giant. Anything longer than that will pearl like crazy on a decent wave and make the learning process more diffficult. It’s way better to have a short fat boat than a long skinny boat.

    Do: Take a lesson with a known and trusted kayak school. look at the type of gear they outfit you with on your course and try to buy something similar. Recomendations: Liquid Skills, MKC or Ottawa Kayak School. Paddler coop has good instruction, but a lot of their gear is old and beat.

    Don’t: try to get into the same kayak as your favourite sponsored paddler. They have different needs than you do and a really highend playboat will just hold a beginner back.

    Some recomendations for a 1st river runner/playboat for the southern ontario/ottawa area: Jackson fun’s, wavesport EZG, Necky Chronic, wavesport ZG, Blissstick RAD, Fluid Flirt, Riot Orbit, pyranha stretch, Dagger RX or a liquid logic airhead-spacecadet.

    My two cents, sorry to all of you who are trying to sell your old long boats.



    Its hard not to be impulsive but you’ve all reminded me that common sense prevails. I was really close to wanting to buy an expensive boat without even trying it on a river. Hell, I’ve only just got my roll on flat water, and I’ve only just run the Champlain a few times last summer in my current boat (Dagger Crossfire). I’ve not been able to ‘surf’ it on anything other than the quieter water at Champlain, first set of ‘rapids’ just out from shore at late summer water level.

    Thanks for jointly reinforcing the fact that I should learn a bit before I decide on my next boat. That said, if you see a guy swimming with his white 11 1/2 foot Dagger Crossfire, please know that I have good bags in the stern and she doesn’t take on as much water as you might think.



    If you’re around 150 pounds…like me, and have a short inseem, then a good choice for river running playboat could be the Necky Chronic. It’s a little tight on the feet, I recommend Jackson’s happy feet system. At 6"6, with good rocker, it’s very loose, though it will pearl a bit on the very steep waves, you got to keep carving, has good speed on a wave, carves like a champ, has decent volume for running the Ottawa (if you’re about 150 pounds…), you can do flat water stuff. Rolling isn’t as easy as with the Jacson fun, because of the wider flat hull, but nothing impossible either, forces you to have good technique, and no, mine isn’t for sale, but if you find one at around 500-600 dollars and it’s not beat up, could be a good beginner combo boat for you. If you ‘re bigger, say 170 pounds, then the Necky Orbit Fish is also good, but a lot less forgiving, innitially because of the much sharper edges.



    Here is my sugestion

    I started out in a boat that everyone said would be a good BEGINNERS Boat. 3 Months Late, I purchased another one.

    I personally think that if you know you are going to like the sport and will commit yourself, get a boat you will be able to develop your skills in.

    I suggest an AIR 55 that is what I really started in.


    The Jackson Fun series are a great all-round boat, that you can’t go wrong with when starting out.

    They are pretty popular, so you’ll also have an easier time selling it when you start to get the itch to buy a different boat.

    One thing is for certain, once you’re hooked on paddling, you’ll allways be looking for that next boat, that lets you do just that much more…


    When I bought my first boat there were no rentals or demos. I lived in Niagara area so paddling opportunity was nil. This forum didn’t exist and all the boats looked the same.

    The advice I got was buy the most user freindly design that fits you. By fit they meant volume to weight ratio, not actually sit in and paddle the boat with comfort in mind.

    So I ordered a boat sight unseen. It was a Perception Matrix, part Creeker part River Runner and designed in part by Corran Addison. I didn’t know any of this then, I just did the deal on blind faith and learned to paddle the thing.

    When I sold it a couple seasons later it was to get a more "aggressive design", the Jive. Turns out the Jive was a pretty good choice and I still have it and paddle it very occasionally. Selling the Matrix on the other hand wasn’t so swift. A year or two later I wanted just that kind of boat again for running steeper more technical things. I didn’t really know the potential of the Matrix and never caught up to it skills wise before I sold it. Still it was a couple seasons later before I realized this "choice mistake" and designs had changed enough that the Matrix would have been outdated.

    This was in a time when only Jeff Totten and Brent Beck owned more than one boat, the rest of us still only owned one. The idea of hanging onto a boat for another purpose wasn’t common like it is now.

    Anyway the point of this, besides poking fun at Totten and Beck is that even after you’ve had a boat for a while you may not see all it’s qualities. You may change your approach, you might discover that your much different as a paddler than you envision yourself. As one previous poster pointed out, there are plenty of "old schoolers" (whatever that is?) in boats that don’t suit them. Thinking they are players when really they are appreciation paddlers. I’m guilty, my Chronic is a really fun boat but I don’t even come close to using this boat the way it was intended. It has even made me a more timid paddler.

    Moral of the story; even after you’ve done the research and tested boats you will still be faced with fast changing designs, new skills and your own path of changes. So don’t get to caught up in getting "the perfect boat". Truth is there isn’t one and likely never will be.

    You might want to avoid the MadDog! On the other hand you just might be the guy who can figure that boat out.


    So don’t get to caught up in getting "the perfect boat". Truth is there isn’t one and likely never will be.

    I applaud this phrase

    , coulden’t be more true, also , keep in mind if your having fun , your as good as any paddler ever was.

    also , how can I cut copy a quote so it is in a box (see greendragons above ) had no luck.


    Hard to find a completely unbiased opinion these days. It’s especially easy to get caught up in all of the hype of the newer boats and the huge drops and big air moves they can hit (key word can haha).

    You’ve already got off to a good start… reading the forums and ‘reviews’ will give you a rough idea of what boats might fit your body size and also goals for paddling – so you can arrange demos from there. Just keep asking questions. While its definitely nice to own your own boat at the beginning, if you can get away with borrowing or demoing for a season you’ll save yourself ALOT of money. I’ve wasted way too much money on boats that I bought without really paddling first, especially when I didn’t even get out enough or play on the features the boat was designed for haha.

    Your paddling style and boating needs are going to change the most drastically over the first season or two (depending on how much you paddle). Once you settle into things and know where you are going to spend the majority of your time on the river, that will be when you should buy. Just my 2 cents.

    If you do end up buying this season – buy something that fits well and is versatile. Used is a good route as new boats lose a lot of value right off the shelf while a good used boat (something that is rated highly) will save you not only cash upfront but will sustain value if you don’t abuse it too much.



    Boatwerks carries really great used and demo boats. You can get about three (maybe four) boats, no more than a few years old, from beginner boats to more advanced, edgy.. boats, for the price of a new one, not that I would know anything about that… Beware that as you accumulate boats you might start being reffered to as an boat slut, not that I would know anything about that either…

    Hell, if you’re a top notch action photographer, say like Ray, companies will give you boats, in exchange for the pics, but I think Ray’s got the market covered on that one… I always send great shots of my thumb and they never never my calls, go figure.

    Paul <img loading=” title=”Cool” />

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.