Yesterday I snuck away for a few minutes to run through Academy. I try to go by once a week and check
on clearance type things, see if any new baits have made it into their rotation and just spend some time looking for treasures. As I strolled down the kayak aisle I saw a couple visiting about kayaks. I just couldn’t help myself.
I asked if they were looking at getting into kayaks and it turned into a half hour infomercial about what to look for. They had tons of great questions and expressed appreciation for the visit. It reminded me that the questions I asked years ago often go unheard by people who actually kayak. Just a few resources exist for folks who aren’t in the community yet. At least they don’t know they exist. Sometimes we stay in the bubble and assume people buying kayaks are hooked into all the networks that lots of folks reading this are connected to. Fact of the matter is, they aren’t.
As I mulled over the conversation last night, I started to build this article because of a question.
“If I had to tell a first time kayak buyer everything they need to know, in a very limited space and time, what would I tell them?”
Here is what has materialized:
In Texas you need two things to be legal during the day. You need a lifejacket and a whistle. If you paddle at night, you need a 360 degree light visible for up to two miles. Get a waterproof whistle and a lifejacket that has mesh on your lower back. It will be much more comfortable.
A sit on top kayak is more versatile than a sit in kayak. You might need to wear more clothes in the winter but if you fall in, you’ll be glad you have a sit on top.
Don’t spend all your money on accessories. For a first time paddler, you won’t appreciate the difference between a $50 paddle and a $500 paddle.
When you pick a paddle, hold it up beside you. You should be able to reach up and barely get your fingers over the edge of the blade. If you can’t reach it, it’s too long. If your hand goes over the top, too short.
Get the best kayak you can afford. Don’t stress over what other people will think. If it gets you on the water, you are in the club. Very few kayakers, especially fishing kayakers, will judge you by the type of boat you paddle.
Kayak with other people. If you are going by yourself, tell folks where you will be and what time you will be home.
The kayaking community is great! Almost every person you meet is friendly and will help however they can if you are in a bind.
Join a forum or two to ask for help and talk to folks who are kayaking and/or kayak fishing.
If you can, demo, demo, demo. Many shops have days each week set up for demos. Mariner-Sails in Dallas
has appointment days every Thursday and some Saturdays as well (weather permitting).
If you ever have questions, ask! I’d be happy for you to email me or leave a comment. firstname.lastname@example.org
I know the list could go on forever but as succinctly as I could, these are the things I would want to make sure I covered.
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