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Buyer's Guide

Types of Kayak Parts and Their Function

Before buying any part of the kayak, such as a rudder, make sure you know the correct parts to get for that specific kayak model. There are basically three different kayak parts: the hull (which is made of wood or composite material), the hull top (which holds the paddle), and the main spar (which connects the rest of the kayak to the deck). In addition, there are a few other small components that are important to look out for, such as a foot pump, a floating paddle, and a rudder. The paddle can be adjusted for water resistance, the foot pump adjusts the motorization, and the rudder can be adjusted for pitch and speed. Most kayaks have both the hull and the main spar already included in the purchase. However, if you are looking for add-on parts to your kayak, such as a seat, basket or saddlebags, then you should definitely check with the retailer to see what they include in the package, and what parts they recommend for your particular kayak model.

One of the most important kayak parts to take into account when looking for replacement parts is the paddle. If your kayak has lost a paddle during a wave, it can be quite difficult to find a new one, as paddleports are typically located just below the stern. In order to fix this, you will need to either disassemble the kayak completely, or locate the paddle within the bow eye and use a screwdriver to remove it. This is where kayak anatomy plays an important role. Most paddleports are quite easy to locate because they protrude out from the kayak body, making them easy to identify.

The second most important component to check before shopping for kayak parts is the hull itself. There are two types of kayaks - the inflatable and fiberglass - and each has its own set of basic parts that must be present in order to properly launch and maneuver the boat. The most popular type of boat is the fiberglass, as it is made entirely of acrylic material. These boats are usually the fastest and most maneuverable, although both require basic maintenance to keep them in peak condition.

Fiberglass is also relatively easy to repair, as there are simple methods to repairing them that do not require too much specialized know-how. The next most important part of the kayak to keep in mind is the bow mount. Inflatable boats rely on the bowsprit (part that holds the boat to the vessel) to counterbalance the weight of the kayak. Many times, this weight imbalance results in the bow moving while the kayaking craft itself remains fairly still.

To remedy this situation, many kayak manufacturers include a hydraulic control system on their hulls, which allows the kayak to move with the bow in perfect balance. Because of this feature, the hydraulic control system is the most important of the kayak parts to check. Of course, there are other, less common parts that need to be taken care of as well, such as the hull pump. This piece of equipment pumps the hull water out of the craft, which allows the kayak to paddle properly. Basic parts of the pump can also include the pressure switch, the main valve, and the drain plug, making this an important piece of a kayak that should be inspected regularly.

Whitewater kayaks vary greatly in shape and size, and depending upon the amount of travel and use a kayak gets, the shape of the kayak will change as well. Most whitewater kayaks have side profiles that are more or less identical on both the right and left side of the kayak, but some have distinct profiles on either side. Naturally, the more travel the kayak experiences, the different profile could develop. If you're looking to purchase a kayak for any sort of recreational use, you'll want to make sure that whichever model you choose is compatible with your particular kayak.

Kayaks with a rudder are used for a variety of purposes, but primarily for trolling or moving through an area that might be too large for a traditional paddle wheel. These types of kayaks usually have a deep seat that's just below the stern deck of the boat, allowing the kayaker to feel as if he has his feet planted firmly on the ground. Kayaks with a rudder have two paddlers mounted above the kayak in the form of a vertical or horizontal fin. These props force the kayak to move in the direction of the rudder, which could make for an exhilarating experience if you're trying to get around obstacles on a recreational kayak.

For the most part, most of the time, secondary stability features are built into the kayak itself. If you've bought an expensive model, there might be special mechanisms or components that you need to purchase separately to enhance your stability or performance. Many companies make accessories specifically for these models so don't hesitate to ask about them when making your purchase. Regardless of the type of kayak you own, having the right equipment installed can make for a more enjoyable boating experience.

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