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Basic question on paddles and PFD's.

Howdy! I have a really really basic question on sea kayak paddles. After much deliberation and trying various kayaks, I just bought a Prijon Kodiak kayak! Yee haw! Now I need a good paddle and a good PFD. Regarding paddles, what length should I get? I'm 5'11", 200 lbs, and the Kodiak is a plastic 17' long kayak that is 24.5" wide. I will be using it on the Pacific Coast as well as inland lakes. Also I noticed the various paddle shapes, some have longer and thinner blades than others. I sure hope there are others who frequent this forum who are beginners as well and might gain use from this info because I know most of you are very experienced and are yawning while reading this! :^) And regarding PFD's... I'm flippin' through the Kokatat catalog and before I buy one I thought I'd ask what you guys use. Any preferences, or does it really not matter much? I guess my main concern is freedom of arm movement without rubbing the PFD in my arm pits. I hate that. Oh man, a couple more questions and I'm done. I bought the Wildwasser Spraydeck for my Kodiak and it seems really nice (Pocket System Neo), but even at its tightest setting there are small gaps on my waist. Should it be a completely water-tight fit? I can probably fix it with some shock-cord if so. And for kayaking outer-wear... for cold water lakes and the Pacific Ocean, would you suggest a wet-suit and paddle jacket, or a full-on dry-suit, or dry-suit top? My guess is eventually I'll have various outerwear options for the conditions I'll be paddlin', but I was curious what you all do. Thanks so much! - Buck

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Basic question on paddles and PFD's.
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