Down here it's the SOTS that look like trawlers and have at least 25 lbs of rod holders on them. We have low end canoes under 500 pretty frequently and if you are looking for a workout I would think that would be better than a more expensive boat. But I travel around for work and always look at local Craigslist and have found the market varies widely from place to place. That and used boats are more available from about October to end of March. My first boat was a 14'ft poly canoe from Dick's new for $400. I hesitate to recommend it, it's heavy, wide, slow, a dog to paddle, a beast to load and became hog backed the first year but it's still in the stable and I paddle it from time to time.
Don't limit yourself to an 8 footer, I can easily handle 14 and 15 foot solo.
If I sit in a puddle the boat makes bubbles when I try to go fast.
Recreational Kayak Paddle
The Kayak Wing
Kindle / iPad Cases
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