Buying Kayaks

Once you've made the decision to buy a kayak you'll have to decide what kind of kayak to buy. The different types of kayaks are as varied as the types of water conditions you can navigate. In order to choose the right kayak for you, you need to decide what kind of kayaking you want to do.

For example, someone who wants to whitewater kayak would be foolish to buy an open-face kayak. An open face kayak is nowhere near suited for those kinds of conditions. In fact, kayaking class IV rapids in an open face kayak would be suicide. However, paddling class IV rapids in a closed whitewater kayak with a spray skirt would an awesome ride.

Here are a couple of kayak options and the conditions they're suited for:

Recreational Kayaks

These kayaks are the most popular. They're short, lightweight, and easy to use. These kayaks are also the most stable option. In other works, recreational kayaks are great kayaks for beginners who are just getting into the sport.

However, recreational kayaks aren't without their downside. The small stature of these kayaks makes it easy for the wind and waves to push them around. Kayaking for long periods of time in a recreational kayak will be very tiring. Unless you're in a calm lake, you'll spend more energy fighting the waves than propelling the kayak. For conditions like these, you'll need something more substantial.

Touring Kayaks

Touring kayaks are longer and heavier than recreational kayaks. They're also a good deal more expensive. The advantage of a touring kayak is that it has more storage space for you to pack more goodies and these kayaks are much less susceptible to the wind and the waves.

These are the kayaks that are used for most open water conditions since their weight and length make them easier to paddle when conditions are less than ideal.

Make sure that you enjoy taking extended kayaking trips before you purchase a touring kayak. These kayaks are on the more expensive end of the spectrum and you don't want to pay that kind of money if this isn't the type of kayaking you want to do.

Whitewater Kayaks

Whitewater kayaks are the rebellious teenagers of the kayak family. It's true that these kayaks see the most action in the world of kayaking, but that's not why I call them rebellious. I say they're rebellious because they absolutely refuse to paddle in a straight line.

These kayaks march to their own beat and it takes an experienced paddler to keep them in line. However, whitewater kayaks are unmatched in their maneuverability in the hands of an expert- a necessary ability when you're in fast moving water that's littered with rock.

Sit-On-Top Kayaks

I mention these kayaks for one reason- SCUBA diving. If you're a diver that needs an easy way to get a hundred yards or so off the beach, a sit-on-top kayak will save you a lot of kicking. These kayaks are ideal for divers who have 50 pounds of equipment strapped to their backs. Once you reach your dive site you simply roll off your kayak- not something you can do in a closed kayak.
There are many styles of kayaks to choose from. Take the time to decide what kind of kayaking you want to do before make a commitment to purchase one. Many areas have local kayaking shops that carry a range of different kayaks. If possible, talk to your local kayaking shop to see if they can rent you different types of kayak to see which one feels the best for you.

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