Are you a fan of recreational boating or just racing on Rapids? Well, you should look no further because all you need is a good kayak with excellent paddles. And for your information, a kayak resembles but is not necessarily a canoe. Although both are narrow, lightweight and long paddle boats with tapering ends, the difference between the features of two can’t be more striking. Our purpose is to let you know what makes a great kayak, the features to look for and how to choose your desired kayak in terms of the model, type and boat material.
Kayak Features to Look For Nothing differentiates kayaks from canoes like the distinctive features of these boat categories. Whereas kayaks displace water in order to float just below the water surface, canoes are completely buoyant. This means that, unlike a canoe, a kayak sits a little bit lower in water, a situation that requires some special features for safety purposes. So, what features should you look for before purchasing a kayak“? The first thing to consider is a deck. This semi enclosed covering of the top of the kayak is meant to dispel waves that might wash over the boat edges so as to prevent water from flooding the hull.
The cockpit opening is another significant feature. Without it, you may not even be able to paddle the boat at all, especially for sit-in kayaks. It is centrally placed on the boat. It is where you sit when kayaking and is surrounded by some raised lip referred to as coaming. As for paddling and safety purposes, the boat is fitted with internal bulkhead and braces, flotation devices, and some elastic strapping called bungee cord for carrying lightweight gears. Of course, there is some grab loop cord attached to both ends for mooring and towing.
Common Kayak Uses The most common uses of kayaks are just two. And that is racing and recreational boating. Hence choices have to be made on the preferable kayak type with respect to the particular use you desire. So, if you want to go racing on the rapids, then you will need a racing kayak. Or boating kayaks should you desire to just go touring or boating for recreational purposes. Whereas racing boats are designed in a manner as to enable speeding and maneuverability on rivers with rapids, recreational kayaks are a bit comfortable for long distance paddling on oceans and lakes. So what should you look for? If you want to go racing, then what you will need is narrow and V-shaped kayaks. The boat is fitted with two seats although an additional seat may sometimes be fitted for recreational purposes. On the other, those who would want to paddle for longer hours in calmer waters like lakes and seas would have to purchase somehow wider and longer boats. Racing boats are not just shorter but narrower as compared to their recreational counterparts.
Normally, racing kayaks are 11 to 13 feet or 3-4 meters long and are much lighter models. On the contrary, recreational ones are typically long of up to 20 feet or 6 meters. They are also much heavier with a weight of almost T5 pounds or 34 kg.
Kayak Types and How to Choose There are quite a number of kayak types and models to choose from depending on the nature of your expedition. These are recreational, touring, sit-on-top or sit-inside, inflatable or folding kayaks among many others. Each of these designs is meant for different uses, and water and weather conditions. Let’s say you want to go enjoy the ocean view and preferably take some photographs.
The type of kayak you choose will either guarantee you a successful tour or the opposite. Hence, you will need a recreational kayak that is more stable and comfortable for longer paddling distances. This also applies to touring kayaks although most of these kayak types are versatile and better-performing than recreational boats. Climate and weather also determine the type of kayak to paddle in. Sit-inside kayaks, for example, are preferable for cold climates or chilly weather, or just chilly waters. They are short and a bit traditionally looking with open cockpits where the kayaker sits with legs completely covered under the deck. On the other hand, sit-on-top kayaks don’t have cockpits, instead; they have some bowl-like shape on the deck where the kayaker sits on. Like sit-in kayaks, sit-on-top boats can either be short or long depending on the use. And unlike sit-in kayaks, they are meant for warm climates, whether or waters.
They are a little bit classy and flamboyant and are purposely meant for recreational purposes. There are also many types of kayak that you may choose from. You may decide to go with inflatable or folding ones.
These types of kayaks are meant for recreational purposes only. And since they are made of inflatable materials, it is recommended that they are used only in warm climates and on non-violent waters due to the level of their fragility. Kayak Materials The boat materials also play significant roles in determining the safety levels and durability, price, and weight of kayaks. Hence, when choosing your desired kayak, it important you put the construction material in perspective. Some of the kayak materials include;
1. Plastics: These can either Polyethylene (PE) or Thermoformed ABS. PE is most common kayak material. They are popularly used due to their abrasion and impact resistance which makes them safer and durable. However, they are relatively expensive but not as highly priced as ABS. And although ABS Kayaks are highly priced, they are protective against ultraviolet rays and are less likely to soften in case of higher temperatures. They are durable as well.
2. Composites: Include fiberglass, carbon blend or Kevlar. These kayaks are strong and durable enough for high performance although they can easily be damaged at launching and landing stages.
3. Soft Shells: These materials are mostly meant for inflatable or folding kayaks. They’re can withstand abrasion and impact related punctures. And in case of leakages, the patch kits are always available for the purposes of repairs.
Kayak Accessories While the kayak is your most important purchase, it shouldn’t be the only one. The following will also be needed for complete kayaking exercise Paddle For paddling in the waters Spray Kit For preventing water from entering the cockpit- Safety Gears and PFDs just in case of accidents. Safety gears and floating devices with keep from harming yourself and sinking into the water respectively Sponge and Bilge Pump: For removing water out of the cockpit in case of high waves or leakages. Carrack For transportation purpose in case you don’t have inflatable and foldable kayaks Cockpit Cover For a clean and dry cockpit during storage.