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.
Classic Freestanding Rack
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