Summer 2012 I was cycling along the east side of Overholser, watching kayakers headed up the river. I'd been riding quite a bit which is great for overall fitness and specifically helped my legs, but my upper body was really lacking. Hm, that might be a good way to get some upper body exercise...
It took a while to actually give it a try, but once I was on the water I knew I wanted more of this! I quickly wound up buying a Jackson Coosa and rode it the rest of the summer.
This year I've been expanding the fleet! First I wanted something faster / easier for big lakes. The Coosa is a comfy ride, but gets turned every which way by the slightest breeze and takes a lot of continuous effort to keep going. I spent a couple of demo days trying various models, then rented a couple more to verify. Wound up buying a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125 with rudder. Ooh, such a sweet ride! Effortless to move across the water, nice and straight even with wind and waves thanks to the rudder. Even gone wave-hopping in it, getting nicely drenched!
More recently I picked up a Pungo 140. Easier glide through the water like the Tsunami, but with a wide open cockpit so much easier to get in and out of, and I can move my legs around more for comfort. Or just hang them over the side! :) The only downside is the Pungo isn't designed for a rudder. I sure miss that in crosswinds.
Fourth is a Hobie Outback. Picked it up on sale as a former rental / demo model. I do love bicycling, and this thing kind of merges the two together! I had to make some minor modifications. The stock seat is nice enough, but only has a 14" back. That ends a bit over mid-back for me, and kills my back after a while. I don't sit up straight when riding my recumbent, and I want to recline on the kayak like I do on the bike. I found a replacement seat with 20" back, but it needed more support to accomodate my preferred recline angle so I built a PVC support frame that sits in the well behind the seat. Now it's perfect!