Beginner Kayak Buyers Guide
Whether you want to use your Kayak for fishing, enjoying water activities like snorkeling, swimming or simply exploring new lakes, it is best to get the basics right first. Beginner Kayak models should not be overly expensive or complicated. There are plenty of inexpensive models available that are perfect for the beginning kayaker. With a little time and patience, you can find a model that is right for you.
Choosing the best beginner kayak depends on your personal preference and current level of skills. If you are just starting out and have not yet developed a competitive level, then a single stage kayak would be the best choice. Classic style single stage kayaks are ideal for beginners as they offer a solid combination of stability and strength. These models generally have a wide, deep cockpit and are constructed using lightweight materials. A high stability boat is perfect for beginners who may want to try out various water sports without putting too much pressure on their kayak.
Another type of beginner kayak is the paddle kayak. Paddle models are designed with large rudder wheels that make controlling them easier. Typically these are larger than other styles of single stage kayak and feature built in rudder pedals. However, there are some disadvantages to the paddle style of control including weight and storage options. Paddle kayakers typically do not have the same comfort and convenience options available to kayak enthusiasts.
Longer term, heavier, more stable single stage kayak models are better suited for more experienced kayak paddlelers. Some of the better known brand names include the Cabela's Sportive, the Scott Waterman 50cc, and the Bimini Marlin. All of these models have built-in lifetime manta bar cushions, extending the usability of the kayak by allowing paddlers to soak in the comfort of the cockpit for a longer period of time. Most models have wider seats as well, allowing sit-on-top fishing or rowing style experiences. Seat widths range from six to nine inches. The ease of storage, while not as extensive as other styles, makes the sportive very popular among avid kayak paddlers.
Over the years, the sit-on-top style of cockpit has dropped out in favor of better options such as self-contained, single-seat designs. These have better built-in storage compartments and comfortable seats with wider seats. Single-stage cockpit designs also offer more stable controls with better separation between the cockpit and main hull of the kayak. These newer designs offer more reliable operation and portability, and allow paddlers to enjoy both comfort and stability when they're out on the water.
Longer lasting kayak paddles are better for your health and safety. Lightweight aluminum or carbon composite paddles are more durable and easier to control. Longer lightweight blade lengths are easier and safer to paddle against because of the greater turning radius. If you're looking for a beginner kayak, look for one that offers at least three blade lengths that are at least 12 feet long and have at least forty pounds total weight capacity.
Another consideration for your new kayak is how well does it handle? Is it easy and comfortable to paddle? Consider how you plan to use your kayak and what is most comfortable for you. Some of the best models have built-in adjustable seat positions that make it more ergonomically friendly, while others can be adjusted as far up as forty inches to help keep you from getting knee deep in the water.
Other good qualities of beginner kayaks include durability and lightweight construction. Paddles constructed from heavy grade polyethylene plastic or carbon composite frames are typically made to be more durable and less prone to cracking. Polyethylene plastic frames are also generally lighter than aluminum ones and can cost less than half the price. A good tip is to buy a smaller boat that has a good overall weight capacity and select an aluminum or carbon composite kayak with the appropriate handling capabilities.