Choosing and buying a kayak will not only be the biggest decision but the most costly expense when taking up the sport of kayaking. Kayaks are manufactured from many different types of materials. Rigid kayaks are made from plastic, fiberglass, Kevlar, carbon fiber or wood. Folding kayaks are made of fabric stretched over a wood or aluminum frame. Inflatable kayaks are made from coated fabrics.
The best sit on kayak or sit in kayak are those which are likely to be a big factor in the enjoyment of paddling. It is wise to test out several different types and sizes of kayaks before purchasing one and most reputable stores will allow for this opportunity.
Best sit on kayak
What is the definition of best sit on kayak. Most beginners feel comfortable in sit on kayaks because their legs are not inside the boat and paddlers don’t feel confined. They are stable and cannot fill up with water or sink since they are equipped with scupper holes that go right through the kayak. Single and tandem versions are available. These boats are great for warm locations. This is best sit on kayak.
Sit in Kayaks
Similar to best sit on kayak, the sit in kayaks have a deck enclosing the legs and an opening that can be sealed with spray skirt allowing paddlers to stay dry and protected from the wind making them perfect for cooler locations. They are good for fitness training as these boats are stable, fast and easy to paddle in a straight line. Sit in kayaks are not self-bailing and paddlers need to be confident about getting out of the boat in case of capsizing.
Touring kayaks are stable and easy to paddle. They are about 13 feet long and have a wider cockpit, making it easier to get in and out of.
Sea kayaks are distinct in that the bow and stern are slightly upturned. They are usually longer than 15 feet. They have a tendency to be a little less stable and harder to steer than other kayaks unless a rudder is added.
Racing kayaks are not suitable for beginners as they can be wobbly and expensive. They are usually longer than 15 feet and because they are designed to go fast they often come equipped with many features used when paddling rapids.
Whitewater kayaks are very short, less than 8 feet long and have a flat bottom. These are also not suitable for beginners since they have thin ends and are difficult to paddle in a straight line.
Slalom kayaks are about 13 feet long. They have a rounded hull and pointed ends that help to keep the boat stable when racing in turbulent whitewater.
Besides the types of kayaks, it is important to consider that shorter boats are generally easier to transport and weigh less than longer boats. This is especially significant if one person will have to carry the kayak or load it up onto high vehicles. In general, the longer and narrower a kayak is the faster it will be. On the other hand, the wider the kayak, the more stable it will be. Buyers will need to determine what suits them best. Whether spending $300 to over $3,000 on a kayak, it is essential to choose a boat that allows for maximum comfort and safety.
How To Choose a Kayak Paddle
Kayak paddles have a blade at each end. They come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes and can be made from many different materials.
Plastic Paddles: Most beginner paddles have plastic blades. They are inexpensive and durable. However, they are heavy and can be difficult to use when compared to lighter, more expensive paddles
Wooden Paddles: Wooden paddles are fairly heavy and will require a moderate amount of maintenance. The varnish on the paddles will need to be maintained otherwise the paddles will soak up water and become damaged.
Carbon or Fiberglass Paddles: Carbon and fiberglass paddles are lightweight and strong, but are very expensive. These paddles are stiff and can help the kayaker develop a more powerful stroke.
Parts of the Paddle
Paddle Blades: Paddle blades can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Asymmetrical blades, generally used for touring or racing, enter the water more cleanly when paddling forward. Large symmetrical paddles can power through the water quickly and are best suited for beginners. The feather is used to describe the angle (how much the blades are twisted) between the two blades on a kayak paddle. Some paddlers find it easier to combat wind resistance against the blade when paddling, while others find using a feathered paddle unnatural.
Paddle Shaft: Most paddle shafts are round. Some are oval or have grips so that the paddler can feel which way the blade is facing. Some of the more expensive paddles have bent shafts that put less emphasis on wrist movement. The majority of paddles are split, meaning that they break down into two pieces for easy storage.
Choosing a Paddle
Knowing the paddling style of the kayaker will help in choosing a paddle.
Low Angle: Most recreational or touring kayakers use a low angle paddle stroke. These paddles will have longer, narrower blades. The blade has a raised center line and two sides that slope away from the center, making the paddle easier to pull through the water.
High Angle: More aggressive kayakers will use a high angle paddle stroke which propels the kayak forward more efficiently. These paddles are shorter and and have shorter, wider blades.
Other important factors to consider when choosing a paddle include the width of the boat, the kayaker’s body size and strength. A wider boat or a sit-on kayak will require a longer paddle. The taller the kayaker, the longer the paddle will be. Also, a heavier or stronger kayaker will require larger blades.
Taking time to choose the right paddle for each kayaker will make time on the water more comfortable and more enjoyable.
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