Getting the right kayak

Light_Kayak.jpg picture by streetrally

The wide variety of kayaks available can baffle any first-time paddler. Buying a used kayak is a cheap option that will allow you some trial and error before investing in a new kayak. Also as a beginner, you may consider buying a used kayak for your initial learning process.


Ideally, you can begin with a recreational kayak. Recreational kayaks are for calm waters and provide ample opportunities to practice your paddling techniques. Another advantage of buying used recreational kayaks is that, they are in fairly good condition given their usage in smooth waters. Additionally, they are very much in demand. Hence, selling it off for a fair price should not be a problem.


Once you have determined the general style of the kayak you wish to purchase, you should start researching for the prices of new as well as used kayaks. Check online stores and local shops for the prices they offer. Compare the prices and double check the quality of the equipments on sale. If you plan to make an online purchase, check with the dealer for a grace period to return the products, in case you find them unsatisfactory. Without the ability to personally see and inspect the equipment, it is a big gamble to buy kayaking equipments through these sources.

Serious kayakers will unlikely to buy one off the shelves. They are likely to be strict with the quality of the kayak and often will rather purchase a make-to-order kayak according to their own preferences and customisations. I've several paddling partners who actually customise their kayak to be light-weight and to be equipped with imported rudders from other manufacturers.

Factors to consider:

  • Weight
  • Shape (Streamlined , or narrow-diamonded)
  • Material made of (Some material adds on weight to it)
  • Quality
  • Workmanship
  • Suits ( seats, cockpit size)

 

Types:

There is no best kayak. It all depend of indivdual preferences. Some like it narrow and light, some like it narrow but with some weightness. This all comes with rowing experiences. With narrow & light, you are able to glide through water and current easily however due to lightness, once paddling stops, its gliding speed decrease immediately wherelse heavier kayaks will continueing gliding, this helps in Marathon when paddler can allow gliding to allow he/she to rest or save some energy..

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Kayaks also has different volumes to suit different masses of paddler, smaller volume for smaller size, larger for bigger ones. Always check with supplier/ seller whether the kayaks are made of what materials and whether it is reinforced with kelvar and most importantly the colours available. You wont want to end up with a colour that spolits the day.

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Always refer to different brands to compare prices, kayak factors such as narrowness, length, weight, material used, seat/foot fittings, rudder.

Wherever you decide to buy your kayaking gear, make sure you are paying the right price for the correct equipment. It is best to seek advice from seasoned paddlers before making the final decision.