I recently wanted to purchase a kayak for my own recreational purposes. I was confident of an easy time when shopping for one since I would just look for one that would be easy to carry around and one that would be within my budget. I was in for a shocker. I was perplexed by the numerous varieties of kayaks that were on offer. I had finally to inquire about the different types of kayaks. Below is a beginner’s guide on basic points to consider when shopping for kayaks.
The first and most important thing to consider before purchasing a kayak is how you are going to use it or for what purpose. Kayaks are built with different designs that are thus built for specific conditions or purposes. The basic considerations when designing a kayak are the vessel’s performance in terms of track and turn.
Tracking is the movement of the vessel when moving straight forward, and turn is the vessels movement when turning. A vessel that is modified for better track will move faster and handle better when moving in a straight line while one built for turn will provide better maneuverability and speed in turns.
Another major consideration in the design of kayaks is the initial stability (primary stability) and the final stability (secondary stability). Initial stability is the stability of the vessel when it is in a motionless position. Secondary stability is the stability of the vessel when in motion. Initial stability is usually characterized by the vessel having a flatter hull while secondary stability is characterized with a more v shaped hull.
Usually a vessel that is designed for very good initial stability will have poor secondary stability i.e. it may be very stable when motionless but when it starts to move it gets tipsy and has poor maneuverability.
Vessels with good initial stability are ideal for activities such as fishing or taking photos where stillness is required in a motionless state. However, for maneuverability while in motion and for speed, vessels with secondary stability are preferred. Inexperienced paddlers prefer kayaks with initial stability that makes the kayak stable when boarding compared with kayaks with secondary stability that could seem tipsy when boarding. Experienced paddlers however prefer vessels with secondary stability which is essential when in motion and are especially helpful in rough waters.
There are also different designs of kayaks depending on the paddler’s preference. For example, there are Sit In kayaks and Sit on Top kayaks. Sit in kayaks have the design of the traditional kayak where the kayak is covered over and the only opening is at the cockpit which is sealed once the paddler is in place. This design allows for a bigger dry storage area for items. Additionally, the snug fit in the cockpit enables the paddler to have more control of the vessel.
The sit on top design is built to allow the paddler more open space usually for leisure or activities such as fishing. They are ideal for recreation paddlers who can enjoy the sun and get a better tan in the process. The kayak can carry more people and can even carry pets such as dogs.