How to pick a kayak for a beginner
As a beginner, picking the right kayak is as important as learning to kayak. You should have a clear kayaking objective just before you choose an ideal kayak for yourself. Here are some tips and ideas for beginners looking to choose their first kayaks:
Different types of kayak, courtesy of Adventure Gears Lab
Avoid Long and Pointy Kayaks
As a beginner, you must avoid going for the long and pointy kayaks because they are very unstable on water. Pointy and long Kayaks are designed for speed, and that is why they are more popular for racing.
Choosing Between the Sit-in or Sit-on
There are two basic styles of kayaks: the sit-in and sit-on. The sit-in kayak will allow you to sit inside the hull of the kayak, and that allows you to lower your body into the kayak. The other type allows you to sit on top of the kayak.
According to the Adventure Gears Lab, as a beginner, the sit-in is surely the better option because it is more convenient and you will stay drier when kayaking. The sit-in kayak also provides an ample space to store personal items. The center of gravity of a sit-in kayak is much lower, hence you will have greater control of the kayak.
The sit-on top kayak offers more fun and entertainment, but you will end up wetter than when you choose the sit-in kayak. The Sit on Top (SOT) are very stable and are found mostly on the flat and sheltered waters. You can use the SOT kayaks to train yourself and become a pro. Make sure you go for the right size, and not just the appeal.
Choose Inflatable Kayaks If You Don’t Need Much Storage Space
The inflatable kayaks are ideal for beginners who are still practicing their skills. They are not designed for long kayaking adventures, neither do they come with sufficient storage spaces. Inflatable kayaks are quite easy to transport.
Choose Tracking Ability Over Turning
One of the general principles of kayaks is that those that track better don’t turn as well, and vice versa. As a beginner, you should focus more on a kayak that tracks better. Tracking can be regarded as the ability of a kayak to stay on a straight path. When you learn to track a kayak, you will be able to maintain a stable position along your route, which is very important when avoiding accidents with other kayakers.
Choose the Right Kayak Material
There are 7 categories of Kayaks, based on the material they are made of. These categories are: the hard plastic, fabric frame, inflatable plastic, wood, fiberglass, kevlar, and carbon fiber.
Most kayaks are made of fiberglass or hard plastic. Plastic is much heavier than the rest but has the strongest resistance to damages. Fiberglass tends to be lighter and more convenient but it is more expensive. The kevlar and carbon fiber kayaks are even much lighter than fiberglass and they cost much more. The fabric frame kayaks are collapsible and are quite expensive too. The wooden kayaks are traditional options that are no longer popular due to high costs of production.
As a beginner, plastic kayaks seem to fit your situation because it is the most rugged option, even though it is heavy.
Plastic material kayaks are also suitable if you are planning to choose a kayak on a low budget. Inflatable kayaks are great for water conditions that are rough and rapid, which means they are suitable for professionals mostly.
In conclusion, the costs of a kayak shouldn’t be your major factor when choosing the right kayak as a beginner. You need to consider security and convenience above every other thing when making your final choices. If possible, you should go and try different kayak brands to find the most suitable option.