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I need some recommendations for two kayakers, both passionate novices. We have rented for a few years but want to get out several times a week. I live on the Crane River/Danvers River and will spend most of my time from here and eventually hugging the coast(tightly) up to Gloucester and cut into the Ipswich Bay. We can use a roll cart to put into the river a block away or mount on our Jeep. That is the 3 year plan, with some inland trips occasionally as well.
I am 5'8"(68" or 172cm for expats),180#, and have a back injury but can manage lifting and carting 50# without issue.
My wife is 5'3" and 125. She is slightly less confident but if she can scuba cert, I know she will quickly become comfortable in larger water. Her experiences are in canals and some small partially enclosed Gloucester bays.
Budget: under $3k for both before gearing up. $2k would be a dream, but we invest in good gear and use it hard for years.
So a handful of brands and models to consider would be great. Or if you have a general suggestion, I am open to that as well. Thank you for taking the time to read this and any suggestions you may have.
* additional background if helpful. Otherwise ignore.
*I would like to have a kayak that tracks well and modestly stable for photography and other activities, if possible. My wife wants to feel stable but not "fight against one of those Walmart kayaks just to keep up with a group".
Additional query: Does anyone recommend adding outrigger floats on my wife's kayak to build confidence initially? Or just ease her into the deep end(literally)?