We are very active paddlers here in Tennessee. Check out Wilderness Systems boats ... Pungo and Tsunami lines. Designed for Beginner to Intermediate paddlers, they are fun, forgiving, and well made. Just can't go wrong if it is your first boat. Also check out Jackson Kayaks Journey model. Some general considerations: Width (or beam) of the kayak: narrower is more agile, but less stable (21-23" range), i.e., more technical skill required, recreational boats usually run in the 24-28" range; Length: Longer generally faster, depending on skill of the paddler; Hull or Bottom Design: defined chines on hull help with stability and create more forgiving boat (Wilderness Sys), smooth is more agile (Journey); Cockpit Size: depth and height - consider the size of the paddler and how easy entry and exit will be from the boat. Boats do have load limits and the size of the prospective paddler should be considered; Seat Quality: Try before you buy! 3-4 hours on an uncomfortable seat can be brutal. Wilderness and Jackson offer nicely adjustable seating. All that said, spend as much time choosing the right size and style paddle to fit you, your boat, and your style of paddling (Werner paddles are awesome!). Then ... go have fun on the water!