What you need to know before you buy your first kayak


I found an article written for anyone who is a kayaking beginner and who is thinking about buying their very first kayak. The author Scott Edwards is describing a “good ´all around´ kayak affording the paddler a plethora of paddling opportunities.”. I thought that this could be an interesting article to many of our awesome followers so I decided to share it with all of you. However I had Mike Pennefather – one of our very experienced and knowledgeable kayak instructors comment on the article to give you all an even better understanding of the ins and out when buying your first kayak. To complement the article I also asked Mike to give you his advice on what to think about when you know you want a kayak better suited for a more specific water condition – such as sea kayaking or white water kayaking.  The article and Mikes comments should give you a very good and broad understanding of what you need to look for when buying your very own kayak.

To read the ThePaddlerezine article by Scott Edwards click here







Buying a second-hand  kayak first is a good idea. Additionally, learning how to deal with a capsize is also a good idea. When buying a white water kayak it is important to think about what sort of kayaking you will be doing. If you want to paddle at your local play park, do not invest in an enormous creeker, but rather, a freestyle kayak. If you are going to go run some big water and have a good time paddling some rapids, then don’t buy a freestyle kayak to begin with, simply because you won’t learn as much.  What you want is instead a river runner or a creek boat. You should always try it out before you buy it. Get it fitted by your local kayak salesmen and have them  help you set it up so that hip pads, foot braces, etc. are fitted for your personal comfort. If it is not a good fit you will have a hard time paddling it.

Learning a wet exit

The article recommends learning how to execute a wet exit which is very important but don’t stop there! You should learn how to roll right side up again without exiting the kayak- a crucial skill if you’re going to improve in kayaking.

A Bulk Head

If you’re into white water kayaking, then using a bulkhead is not such a good idea – use air bags instead.

Bungees & Hard Lines

The article recommends that you buy a kayak with bungees; I would not recommend a kayak with bungees on the deck for white water kayaking. The bungees create unnecessary snag potential and the same goes for hard lines. Instead, remember to always keep your deck nice and clean – that’s a health tip, folks.

The Handles

The next thing I’d like to comment on in this article are handles. They suggest T-grip handles, however  I would not suggest t-grip toggles on a white water kayak since it is yet again another snag hazard. The author does mention that your hands risk getting stuck in the luggage type handles and he’s right about that, but most modern white water kayaks actually have small enough luggage handles that a hand cannot get caught. They are solid and are good attachment points for extracting your kayak after having  wrapped it around a rock or a tree.  In short, I definitely recommend using nice solid handles rather than the t-toggles for your white water kayak.

The Paddle

Get as strong and light of a paddle as you can afford. This will make your paddling much more fun and enjoyable than if you were using a big heavy aluminum paddle. It is well worth the investment.





For sea kayaking you should go as long as you can afford. The longer the boat and as little rocker as possible means the more distance you’ll be able to cover effortlessly. Room for storage is important just make sure it’s got a good waterproof seal. The weight of the boat does not matter as much as the rigidity of it. Transporting  a light boat to and from the water might be easier but it’s also going to be flexible which means it will flex in the water and this will cause you to lose momentum. If it’s slightly heavier but more rigid it’s going to cut through the water like a knife through hot butter.

Bungees & Hard Lines

As I said earlier deck lines on white water kayaks needs to stay clean, but on sea kayaks you do want a couple of bungees. They should be placed right in front of you as they will offer easy accessible storing for things like your pump, your paddle float, and your water bottle. On the back you want the same kind of set up. You should also have a rigid line all the way around the outside of your kayak. This so that if you end up taking a swim you’ve got something to grab onto to stop your kayak from being swept away from you out in the ocean – which, if it happened, would suck!

A Bulk Head

I said not to get a bulk head for white water, but for sea kayaking it’s crucial. A solid bulk head is the way of the future and it will improve your kayaking experience.

The Handles

Handles aren’t as dangerous on a sea kayak as they are on a white water boat. However bear in mind that you will have to carry your kayak, so make sure they feel comfortable in your hand.

The Paddle

Sea kayak paddles are longer than white water paddles. Strength isn’t as important  when sea kayaking therefore I recommend a nice light paddle. There are various paddle blade shapes and sizes – so try before you buy. A general rule is to figure out your size (small, medium or large) and try a corresponding paddle size. For example a small person will find a big paddle blade difficult to use to pull the kayak through the water. It is important that you are able keep a good and consistent cadence (paddle stroke speed) for a long time.


#DVK #DVKEXP #DVORAKEXPEDITIONS #KAYAK #EskimoRoll #KayakRoll #KayakInstruction


If you want to learn how to kayak in the river then there is no better place than Dvorak´s Kayak & Rafting Expeditions where you’ve got some good internationally experienced instructors to teach you the wet exit, the roll and all other important ins and out of paddling a kayak, in the most enjoyable manner. We will teach you to paddle a kayak in white water or flat water. We will also give you the opportunity to try out a few different boats before you go out and buy a kayak, that may not be the right fit for you. Rather make mistakes with our boats and we’ll help steer you in the right direction. We will show you what to look for and teach you how to use the features that are most fitting for you. In other words we can teach you ham rolls, salmon rolls, chicken rolls, oriental rolls,  sashimi rolls and even vegetarian rolls. We’ll get you rolling in no time, don’t you worry!


No matter where you go kayaking remember to ALWAYS wear a PFD (personal flotation device) and learn to roll before you take on any trips without an instructor. White water in Colorado can be very cold, so to prevent hypothermia (or just feeling miserable) you should also consider getting yourself a dry suite.


// We, at Dvorak’s Kayak & Rafting Expeditions,  hope you’ve found this information useful! The only thing left now is to wish you endless fun on the water during all your future kayak endeavors. We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!

#DVK #DVKEXP #DvorakExpeditions #Rafting #whitewater #Colorado #USA


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Choose an evening of rafting including; music, tasting, workshops, coffee, more..

Browns Canyon Evenings: A scenic whitewater rafting trip with a stop on Arkansas River; a relaxing break with the entertainment, including beer & spirits tasting, delicious bites and organic delights.

• Local Musicians
• Local Brewery’s & Distillery’s
• Salida Winery’s, Fruits & Goat Cheese Factory tasting
• Dutch Oven cooking Desserts & Coffee Roastery delights
• Mini workshops with local Artist’s

Sundown evening Trips will feature surprise guests & events.

Click here for information: An evening of rafting Browns Canyon, Arkansas River, Colorado Rafting

Bluegrass Music Rafting Trip 2014, Green River, Dvorak Expeditions Whitewater Rafting, Booking Now!

Bill Dvorak Raft – Kayak – Fishing Expeditions
Invites ‘The Hayward Strangers’
To the 2014 Green River Roustabout
September 13 – 18, 2014 | (6 days 5 nights)
Yep that’s Banjo Music…… And yes we are on the Green River deep in the Canyons of Desolation and Gray in the wilderness!

For more details, go to: Book This Trip Here

Musical river rafting trip, 2014 Multi Day ExpeditionTHE BAND: Come on out to the finest bluegrass rafting trip this side of the South Platte River, It’s Dvorak’s six day ‘Premier Bluegrass Roustabout’. The Strangers are Keenan Copple, Alex Daue, Phil Hanceford, Josh Hicks, John Murret and Scott Powers. They are a rowdy group of folks with roots from North Carolina, Nebraska, Tennessee, Louisiana, Maryland and Montana who play high energy acoustic Americana.

THE DVORAK’S: A fifth generation cousin of the famous composer, Anton Dvorak, Bill Dvorak has been running rivers commercially longer than anyone else in Colorado established in 1969. Having offered the Classical music journeys for more than 25 years the Dvorak’s are stepping it up this year! Continue reading

Help Us Save Our Rivers!

#River #petition #eco #Sustainability #rafting #DVK #DVKEXP #DVORAKEXPEDITIONS

Hello Fellow River Friend!

“The planet’s river systems are under threat from dams and hydro schemes, …time to fight back! /…/ As paddlers, we have a vested interest in ensuring the world’s arteries remain free from these clogging dangers, so please sign the petitions to help the cause.”.

/ThePaddler ezine

Click here for Petitions 

Thank You for Your Support!

#DVK #DVKEXP #DvorakExpeditions #Rafting #whitewater #Colorado #USA

Exciting Season for Rafting


Bill Dvorak Rafting, Kayak & Fishing Expeditions

A good winter and ski season in #Leadville means a good rafting season for us on #TheArkansasRiver. For those of you who didn’t know – Leadville had a great winter… The snow pack melting and the runoff water is giving us a high water season, that is shaping up to be one of the best in many years. #ScienceDaily explains: “Surface runoff is water, from rain, snowmelt, or other sources, that flows over the land surface, and is a major component of the water cycle.” 
Our Senior Guides #BrotherLove & #Ivan lets us know why raft guides are so excited about this high water: “Big water boating is exciting because there are less exposed rocks in the river and the rapids are more fun. In other words because the waves are bigger yet we have lower risk rapids.”. This is a season you don’t want to miss! Visit http://www.dvorakexpeditions.com to book your white water rafting Colorado trip today!Rafting whitewater DVKEXP

DVKEXP Dvorak Expeditions, DVK, Rafting, whitewater

#Rafting #Whitewater #whitewaterrafting  #Dvorakexpeditions  #Exciting  #Snow #Snowelt #Runoff  #season #2014 #water  

Bill Dvorak Awarded River Champion by American Rivers


Bill Dvorak
Dvorak Expeditions Inc.

Nick Jurney, The Mountain Mail Staff Writer 

Bill Dvorak, a resident of Nathrop since 1984, was recently nominated and recognized by American Rivers as a “River Champion.”

American Rivers, an organization of more than 200,000 members, activists and volunteers, has existed for 40 years and works to protect and restore rivers across the country as the “leading voice for rivers,” according to its website.

This year, Dvorak was named along with 19 other activists and members as reader-nominated River Champions for their work in protecting and maintaining rivers throughout the country.

Dvorak said it was an honor to be included in the same list as well-known river activist Martin Litton.

“To be honest, it’s great to see my name listed with Martin, who’s always been one of my heroes,” Dvorak said. “I’ll never forget when I first had to cut him off at a meeting early in my career. It was intimidating, but he smiled at me and even bought me a drink after.”

Litton is known for heading campaigns against the construction of dams on the Colorado River, including one campaign that halted a proposed damming in Grand Canyon National Park.

Along with owning and operating his own business along with his wife, Dvorak Expeditions, as rafting and fishing guide, Dvorak works as a Colorado public lands organizer for the National Wildlife Federation.

He has been instrumental in developing and carrying out many sportsman and recreation management plans, resource management and helped to pass 2007’s Wildlife Habitat Protection Bill.

Dvorak was involved in setting up the agreement between the Bureau of Land Management and Colorado State Parks to work together to successfully manage areas of the Arkansas River in the mid-1980s.

In addition, Dvorak helped pass HB 1341, to reconfigure the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee to diversify membership of the regulatory oil and gas body in Colorado.

“We wanted to get a broader committee and have three members within the industry,” Dvorak said. “I’ve worked a lot with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee, and now with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.”

One of Dvorak’s most recent projects has been as president of the Friends of Brown’s Canyon, which backs a proposed bill to designate the area as a national monument.

“I’ve lived in the area for around 30 years and have been involved with preserving it for well over 15 years,” Dvorak said. “We’ve had several attempts at permanent protection but have never crossed the finish line for whatever reason.”

Dvorak said he hopes this time will be different, and he thinks it is necessary to designate the canyon a national monument to protect it from any alterations.

“It really is a spectacular area that’s unique to Colorado,” Dvorak said. “I’d like to see it protected from any possible change to the makeup – whether it be through mining or things like that.”

Dvorak enjoys the outdoors in his free time, noting that elk hunting season is one of his favorite times of the year. He also enjoys hiking, skiing, fishing and mountain biking.

Arkansas River Fishermen Get Gold


Arkansas River Fishermen Get Gold   –     February 22, 2014  deliciousday.com 

Fishing in the Arkansas River

Bill Dvorak arrived in Arkansas River Valley in the late 1970s. At the time, the river was heavily contaminated with metals coming from mining areas. Through the enormous efforts of Bill and many others like him, the Arkansas is now, not only clean, but revitalized.

Bill makes his living via Dvorak Expeditions, a rafting, fishing and specialty trip company with adventures along the Arkansas and other major U.S. rivers. He was also instrumental in obtaining Gold Medal Fishing Status for the Arkansas which effectively doubled the amount of Gold Medal fishing waters in Colorado. He is currently working towards Brown’s Canyon receiving National Monument status.

I chatted with Bill the other day about how far the river has come and where it is going. Here is a bit of what he had to say:

How have you seen the Arkansas River change since your arrived in the 1970s?The biggest difference is that back in those days there were a lot of heavy metals coming out of the Leadville, CO California Gulch area. These metals would affect a fish’s liver. Very few of them lived to be over three or four years old because their livers failed – so most only grew to be nine, 10 or 11 inches long.

Sometime back in the 80s, the California Gulch area got designated as an EPA Superfund Site, and they spent 10 years cleaning that area up. They got rid of all the heavy metals.

There were a couple of big spills in that time period as well. Once the river actually turned orange and wiped out most of the fish. Another time they were cleaning up Twin Lakes, misjudged, released all of the water, and killed the fish again.

We had the qualifications to be Gold Medal Status for the last 6 or maybe even 10 years, but the DOW did not want to do it because they were worried something might happen again. Finally, they were comfortable.

Where does the Arkansas River stand today?
It is the best it has ever been. The Gold Medal status for 10 years tells you the quality of the water is exceptional right now.

The other thing that has really helped is we have a voluntary flow program which does not let the river go below certain flows levels during the year and doing so protects the breeding areas of the fish – so they do not dry out.

They also try to limit when the spring release comes as far as run off. If they hold it off until May or the third week in May, this lets the Rainbows spawn in the spring without the risk of them being washed away. The flow program also benefits us from the recreational rafting side as from the first of July through the middle of August they try to keep the flow at 700 cfs – to help river rafting.

What kinds of fish are found in the river?    Browns and Rainbows.

 Now that Arkansas River is clean, how big are the fish?
To be Gold Medal status, fish you have to have 60 pounds of fish per acre or 12 to 14 fish over 14” per acre, and we have three times that biomass. We have 170 pounds of fish per designated area.

How does the fish population change throughout the year?
The two strains of fish spawn at different times. The Browns spawn in the fall. What used to happen with the fluctuations of the water is the eggs would dry out or the high water would wash them away – now that there is consistent flow that does not happen, and the Browns have really proliferated.  The Rainbows hatch in the spring. We have had a number of years where we have not had a good snowpack, so we have not had a big runoff which has helped the Rainbow population grow naturally. When I was first here, it was really unusual to catch a Rainbow and now about every three out of eight fish are Rainbows.

What would it mean if Brown’s Canyon received National Monument status?
We have been working on some kind of permanent protection for this area for about 15 years. There were originally 124,000 acres identified as wilderness quality in the 80s, and it is has been whittled down to 22,000 acres.

The National Monument would create permanent protection. It would also add 1050 acres of wilderness area. The permanent protection is the big thing. For example, recently the BLM let their mineral withdrawal for the area expire and five mining claims came in. This means they could go in with small mechanical dredges and start tearing up the bottom. Those are the kind of things we are trying to avoid.

You never know what will happen. They claim we are not in an oil and gas area but who knows. We just want to make sure it stays as is.

Where would the National Monument be to and from?
It would start about 5 or 6 miles south of Buena Vista to about 10 miles north of Salida. There are a couple of access points – Ruby Mountain and Hecla Junction – that would be included in the monument.

What about books or resources where people could learn more?
Trout Unlimited puts out a lot of information about the state. Collegiate Peaks Anglers puts out a great map on fishing access points.

Do you have any recommendations on places to eat or stay in the area?
Mt Princeton Hot Springs Resort is a real attraction because of the hot springs and as is the San Isabel Bed and Breakfast. The other thing that is cool about this area is that when we first came here we were very used to Bed and Breakfasts and there weren’t any of them and now there are 23 of them. We also try to encourage people to do an overnight river trip. Currents in Salida is run by an ex-guide of mine, The Asian Palette in Buena Vista, Laughing Ladies. The Patio Pancake is known far and wide for its breakfasts.

What is left to do for Brown’s Canyon to receive National Monument status?Senator Udall has been working on a community process for the last 18 months to two years trying to get input from everyone on the best way to do it. He introduced his bill about two months ago, and it has to go through the legislation process. The big deal is that it is very unusual, almost impossible, to get legislation passed if you do not have a house sponsor, and it is usually the representative from the area you are in. Right now the local representative is Doug Lamborn out of Colorado Springs, and he has consistently been voted the most conservative representative in all of Congress for the last six years. He is not keen on any sort of government designation of land. We have been working with him to try and to see if we can get him turned around. I don’t know if we will ever get him turned around. A back-up is that the President could use the Antiquities Act and make it a National Monument that way.