Your intentions are to paddle the great lakes of our fair homeland, I would also add to your list something less sea kayak. If you really like paddling and think you would get into it, a club version of an epic 18x, or stellars 18 would be a great option. These boats are aimed at a little more straight ahead distance paddling. East Tennessee is a bit of a wasteland for paddlecraft. You can demo at riversports, I just wish they would add more choices in the long boat category.
If you can get the tempest used or demoed for a good price, then it wouldn't be a bad way at all to get going. Good luck, no matter what you do it will be great. Message me if you want to paddle when you get going.
Canoe / Kayak Anchors
Gedi Convertible Helmet
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