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Submitted: 09-23-2002 by dk883

My Critieria, (1)I started out looking for a small kayak to fit in the back of my mini pickup. Reason being I figured if it were easy enough to transport I would use it more often. (2) I have a bad back so weight was important. And (3) Excercise. I knew I'd be paddling alone alot so I wanted to be able to paddle upstream turn around and then down so speed for that reason only, was a factor. I researched, Demo'd, and did a lot of talking, only to be further confused. Everyone has an opinion and recomends what they want. That's understanable and well, I asked. I found the more you ask the more you ask.. Most said "buy longer." I tried everything from 9'-13', & $300-$650 and was so at the piont of confusion that I had convinced myself I really needed 13' and touring/camping abilities in order to have fun. Just as I was about to make my 13' $500 purchase I thought of my original reason for buying a kayak. Went back and bought the Basic Walden Naturalist. 27" wide 10' long. This makes it faster but a little less stable than 9'long 30" wide boats. Light 37lbs. Smaller cockpit than most beginner boats 35x18" = less water in boat = better chance of hitting class 2 & 3 rivers. Trade off less comfort entry/exit. $269.99. I am thrilled! I've been up and down the Charles River in Ma and am impressed with its tracking and up river into the wind paddleing ease. I did have a $2000+or- fiberglass 16' something or other fly by me one day that made me realize, I'm here to relax have fun and paddle. I have however installed a 10" hatch in the rear.(easier than it sounds), deck rigging and foot braces. Still less money than an Experience. Why a nine? Seatback does'nt fold. Everything's a compromise. We want it all! Don't we?
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