Types Of Kayaks

As the sport of kayaking grows and more people take up the sport, the question arises:what type of kayak should I buy? Learn here!

The sport of kayaking is rapidly becoming one of the most popular sports in America. With the advent of ESPN and the extreme sport films more and more people are deciding to take up kayaking. However, many people are at a loss when trying to decide what type of kayak is right for them. In this article, we shall look at the different major types and what they for. You, the paddler, must examine what you are interested in and what level of excitement you are seeking.

The first place to go to decide on a kayak is your local sporting goods store. Even Sam's Club offers a recreation type of kayak, albeit, a low end type. It works fine,

if you are just beginning to paddle. Quite a few canoe and kayak shops offer what are called "Demo Days," where you can actually try out several different types of kayaks on the water to get a feel before you buy. Sometimes, they also carry used kayaks which can be a real bargain for the beginning kayaker. You can also use the liveries, in streams, that rent kayaks for trips. Usually, they will carry several different brands of kayaks, mostly beginner types, that you can try on local streams. It is usually good to try before you buy. This way you have some idea of the comfort, agility, stability and tracking of the kayak.

The second thing to consider is what type of paddling do you expect to do? Are you interested in learning about whitewater kayaking? Do you expect to mostly paddle flatwater streams, with perhaps a little Class 1+ to 2 type water? Are you going to paddle lakes and bays of the ocean,

which are primarily wide open spaces of water? Are you interested in paddling in the ocean, either island to island or playing in the surf? Do you want to play in rapids under waterfalls? There are many types of paddling experiences and boats to go with each. Many times, you start out with one type of kayak and venture on to another for a different type of paddling. You may predominantly paddle flat water, but occasionally take a trip on slightly faster water. You may enjoy it, as your adrenaline starts pumping, and decide to take up whitewater.

In deciding to learn whitewater kayaking, it is generally a good idea to start at a kayak shop that specializes in teaching whitewater kayaking. They can provide you with an idea of what type of eqipement you will need. Many YMCA's also offer classes as do many of the kayaking clubs

that are found all over the country. Whitewater kayaking is exciting, but also can be dangerous, so the expense of lessons is well spent. A good teacher will put you in the type of kayak you need and show you what to look for when you buy your own. Whitewater kayaks are extremely

agile but also very tippy. They are made to provide quick turns and maneuverability because the type of water they will be used in is rough and fast moving. They are also quite tight around the body and are supposed to be that way so that the paddler becomes "one with the boat" and can

move easier in the water, as in doing Eskimo rolls and escape maneuvers. They is also a sub-class of whitewater kayaks called play boats which are used by "rodeo" kayakers and for trick paddling.

The next type of kayak is the recreation boat. This is usually a very stabile, easily paddled boat that seats either one or two people and is usually where most people start out. They are used for flatwater and small lakes, and can be made out of a variety of materials: plastic, wood, fiberglass and kevlar. Kevlar is the lightest

material, but also the most expensive. It is usually not used in the general recreation kayak. Kevlar and fiberglass are usually used more in the high end recreation or touring kayaks. These kayaks are the most pleasant for quiet waters in streams and marshes. They provide a stable

platform for relaxing and enjoying the outside. They usually provide some space for day tripping equipement like lunch and cameras. Again, there is a variety of sizes and fits and you need to try sitting in one before you buy. Another good way to try out boats is by joining a club

that has trips to different streams. These are usually rated by ability level and is a good place to learn about any information regarding kayaking.

One step up is the touring kayak. These can also vary in size, shape and cost. They are generally longer and sleeker. This contributes to a better tracking ability that helps during a long paddle. They usually have spaces in the hull for camping equipement and other odds and ends for a trip. The lightest ones are also made of kevlar. The ocean going kayaks are considered touring kayaks and sometimes will have a rudder attachment for controlling direction in the seas. They are usually moderately stable and again will be for either one or two paddlers. They are not quite so good for small streams because of their length, but a good paddler can usually navigate one of them through a moderately small stream.

Sit on top kayaks are another class which has become more popular over the past few years. These are exactly what they are called. You sit on top. They can be a fun boat for surfing and paddling, since some people prefer not to be enclosed in a kayak out of fear of being caught in the boat. However, you are exposed to the water and will more than likely have to invest in a wet suit to keep warm when the weather and water run to the chilly side. They also tend to be a little more unstable as the center of balance is higher. This is balanced by the ease of getting back on, since you don't have to contend with climbing into and over the side of the passenger compartment.

As you can see, the variety of boats is high. The best way is to try, try, try the boats out, until you find one that you find most comfortable for you and your needs. There is no point to having a whitewater kayak if all you do is paddle around a lake. Use the right kayak for the type of

paddling you do, and you will enjoy kayaking for many years to come. Of course, you may end up with a garage full of different kayaks, but that's a subject for another time!

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