The boat I learned on and fell in the water all the time on, was an Orion. It took about a year before I felt that I had good balance with it. It was a challenge that was fun rather than frustrating. When I moved up to an Eagle, the learning curve wasn't too bad. Paddling it on a river isn't the best since power boat waves like to transform the boat into a submarine. The current can have the boat going left one second and then going right the next. You also don't want to go crashing into a rock once you start losing your balance. I believe it would be much more fun paddling it on a lake. Come to think of it, that's what it was designed for. Unlike the Orion's tumblehome, the eagle's flare helps to give it some stability once under way; however, you're always concentrating more on your balance than on your paddling. What a stiff, strong boat the VanDusen is. The quality of workmanship is so readily apparent and exemplary. Compared to an Orion, you sit up much higher in the boat and the sides come up so much faster that you know it is a much tippier boat just from looking at it. Sitting up high like that takes some getting used too.
The Eagle would be a frustrating challenge rather than a fun one, if this were your first boat. Weighing only around 20 lbs, you can easily carry it with one hand. If you're not married or if your significant other really loves you, it fits just right in your living room although it's probably too long for your Miata.