I am new to the community, and have a question... can any of you serious paddlers reccomend a good starter set for flat water paddling (gotta learn somewhere) that is in the 500 dollar range? I have never been in a kayak, but it looks like so much fun I really want to do it this spring with a few friends. We all figure we can throw 500 at it and not cry if it isn't something we want to do. I'd like one that would at least let us learn, then sample flat water and a little current before we step into something expensive. I am mainly interested in the body conditioning it looks to provide, but hey, I'd like to have a little fun, too... what good is all that gym time if ya can't put it to use?
I believe in asking things like this of enthusiasts, rather than some salesman who wants to move stock that isn't moving, and I hope you guys won't mind me jumping in here to do so...