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What to Look for When Choosing a Kayak

What to Look for When Choosing a Kayak

December 1, 2016516Views2Comments
choosing a kayak
Whitewater kayak

When you want to take the plunge into a rushing river or paddle through the ocean, a kayak is an excellent option. There are several different styles of kayaks, each suited for different types of water based activities. Here are a few tips for choosing a kayak that will help you determine the equipment which best fits the type of adventures you want to have.

There are two basic types of kayaks: sit-on or sit-in. Sit-on kayaks are better suited for beginners or those who have trouble getting in and out of the kayak. If you don’t know how to roll your kayak in the water, a sit-on version may be best to start with. However, sit-on kayaks tend to be a bit wider to compensate for the higher center of gravity of the rider, resulting in slower speeds. The sit-in type of kayak puts the rider inside a cockpit, and is better suited to more advanced paddlers. Sit-in kayaks are often a drier option and have more storage space for gear, but can be challenging for an inexperienced kayaker.

Choosing a kayak depends greatly on what kind of kayaking you’ll be doing. For those looking to shoot the rapids, you’ll want a whitewater kayak. Whitewater kayaks are built without a keel and are highly maneuverable to allow the rider to change direction rapidly. The cockpit is designed to keep you snug inside as you navigate through rough waters. For those wishing to take on the waves and the pounding surf of the sea, look into an ocean kayak. Ocean kayaks also have small cockpits and ride low in the water, with more length for improved stability.

choosing a kayak
Recreational kayak

When choosing a kayak for a more leisurely paddling adventure, recreational kayaks are a great choice. With larger cockpits and greater stability, they work well on lakes, ponds, or slow moving rivers. If you want to do a little fishing, a recreational kayak is a smart choice. Touring kayaks are similar to recreational kayaks, with a large cockpit and well-defined keel for keeping on track, and some have rudders or outriggers for even greater control.

Whatever type of kayaking you wish to pursue, there’s a vessel suited to that specific activity, one which has been designed to ensure you enjoy your day on the water.

Images via whatStefanSeesU.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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