Jump to content

first time buyer needs advice

Guest guest

Recommended Posts

Guest guest


I am an athletic 49-year old, 6', 160# male, comfortable on the water, who has done a fair amount of canoeing and recreational kayaking, but with no real experience sea kayaking.

I am in the market to buy a plastic sea kayak, but am not sure what to do. I have checked out a 16 X 22 Valley Avocet, and a 16.5 X 21.5 Wildnerness Systems Tempest 165. Both seem reasonably comfortable, put neither has really been put to the test. I live on Narragansett Bay in RI, and am interested in a comfortable, easy-to-paddle boat that I can explore the Bay with, and perhaps venture into day-long trips with the RI Canoe & Kayak Association.

Can anyone offer me advice/opinions about these or similar boats. I hope to purchase within the next week or two.


Rick Brooks

Warwick, RI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...as the "demo season" is coming soon. Usually, most dealers have their annual demo days in early May. It would be a perfect opportunity for you to try a bunch of boats before making your decision. In your area, check with The Kayak Centre and Sakonnet Boat House.

Barring that, the boats you're looking at are high quality products that will perform well for you. It seems to be rare that someone's first boat is the only one they ever buy, so don't get too worried about finding THE boat the first time out. Buying a good boat and getting out on the water should be your priority, as it takes time to discover what suits you best.

I would also suggest that you consider purchasing a used boat. There are many available on the local market and through national classified ads such as those on Paddling.net (shipping a kayak is cheaper than you might expect). You can save a lot of money and often find composite boats for the same or lower cost than new plastic boats. Used composite boats tend to hold their value well, so you can often resell them for what you paid for them (or even a bit more if you get an especially good deal). Buying used has allowed me to have a small "fleet" for the price of couple of new boats and also to try several for extended periods before reselling them for what I paid for them.

Canoe and Kayak magazine publishes an annual gear guide that has helpful listings of kayaks. It allows you to quickly search out candidates based on size criteria, amoung other things. Paddling.net has an electronic buyer's guide that does the same thing at:


There are also reviews on many boats on Paddling.net, but I find most of them to be in the "I bought a new boat and love it!" category, long on enthusiasm, but short on useful information. Still, you can glean a few useful nuggets from some of the reviews.

Whatever you decide to do, have fun and welcome aboard!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest guest

The Avocet is a great all round day boat: lively, great handling in conditions, reasonably fast, classic British outfitting. It has moderate initial stability and great secondary stability, so while some newbies would feel a bit uncomfortable, with your background you should be fine after a day or two.

I paddle one myself. It would be a good first boat that you wouldn't grow out of any time soon.

Don't know anybody who has paddled the Tempest.

If you're looking for an Avocet, MIKCO has has two used ones on sale for $1100 (and a used Explorer for $1250). See the Commercial board.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest guest

Hi Scott,

Thanks for your response. What is MICKO and how do I contact them about the two used Avocets that they have for sale?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...