I was looking to buy a kayak finally after having the same issues as you.
I started out by going to Ecomarine’s Wednesday night kayak club at Jericho. You get to try different kayaks and paddle for a short time with others. I started to feel comfortable and bought my own.
I keep it at Jericho. I pay 99 for the year membership, and 150 for the storage for the year. It has opened up a whole new world for me and I don’t regret it for a second.
I used to own a Feathercraft and it sat under my bed for years.