I have used 10' and 12' NuCanoes for slow-river paddling, including upriver paddles, cruising thru rocks, river cleanups in faster water, etc. They handle Class I rapids like a raft. They are very maneuverable, ridiculously stable and quite unsinkable. I had a 12' out on a whitewater section of the French Broad and while it got stuck a lot (and got completely full of water once), it did not flip or go under.
They're wider than any other kayak, so get the NuCanoe paddles.
PFD's (Life Jackets)
Touring Kayak Paddles