Buying a Kayak | The last thing you want to do is buy the wrong kayak, right? No worries, the perfect kayak is out there just waiting for you, you just need to know how to find it. There are so many kayak brands and models available, how do you choose? Ask yourself a few simple questions… How much kayaking have you done in the past? Where will you be kayaking most often? Will you be taking your kayak with you places, will you need to put it on top of your car? Will you be kayaking with a friend; if so, what kind of kayak does your friend have? Is storage space an issue? What is your budget? These are all things that you will need to be able to answer in order to narrow down your search for the perfect kayak.
Kayak Types – When selecting a kayak the first thing you will need to do is decide what kind of kayak is right for you. This will be based on your kayaking experience, where you will be kayaking, and the type of water you will be kayaking on. Kayaks can easily be broken down into 5 basic categories:
1. Recreational Kayaks – If you are a beginner kayaker you will most likely have only kayaked a few times, you will most likely be looking for a boat that is considered a “Recreational” kayak. A recreational kayak is for people that want to get out and paddle around on calm lakes and/or slow moving rivers without paddling for long distances. These recreational boats are typically 8-12 feet long. Recreational Kayaks easy to maneuver and most importantly… stable. Price range for a basic adult size Rec Kayak is around $ 399-$ 900. Price will vary depending on features, length, and material the kayak is made of.
2. Touring/Sea Kayaks – These kayaks are perfect for individuals who enjoy kayaking long distances. The design of Touring or Sea kayaks are long and lean for better tracking (the kayaks ability to travel in a straight line), and quick travel over long distances. Touring/Sea Kayaks are typically 15-17 feet in length, and typically range in price from $ 1,000 to $ 3,000. The more expensive models will be made of Fiberglass, Composite, or Kevlar, these materials make the boats extremely durable yet light weight.
3. Whitewater/River – Whitewater and River kayaks are designed to handle moving water more efficiently. Their design is at the opposite end of the design spectrum in comparison to their Touring/Sea counterparts. These kayaks are shorter (Typically 6′-10′ in length), more maneuverable, and recommended for experienced riders.
4. Sit On Top Kayaks – aka SOT… These allow an individual to sit on the top of the kayak, rather than inside a cockpit. These SOT’s are typically SUPER stable, perfect for families with children and beginners… and of course those looking to get a great tan! One of the best benefits about a SOT Kayak is that they are super easy to get back on if you were to fall off, or if you decide to take a dip on a hot summer day.
5. Tandem Kayaks – A Tandem Kayak is a 2 Person Kayak. All of the above kayak types come in tandem – 2 person versions (even the whitewater). Tandem Kayaks are perfect for families, couples, vacation homes, and lake living. Tandem kayaks are typically over 14 feet long, the longer the kayak the more weight it is designed to hold. Tandem kayaks often come with an extra small seat for kids that can be removed when not needed.
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I am a Paddle Sports Enthusiast; I have been kayaking for the past 8 years, and just Stand Up Paddleboarding (aka SUP) last summer. I love sharing my paddling knowledge and experiences with all paddling enthusiasts.
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