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The Best Racing Kayaks

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Buyer's Guide

Types of Racing Kayaks For Fishing and Water Sports

Racing Kayaks are usually a smaller category of kayak which are most commonly used for marathon and flat water race, but the same boats are also frequently used for river racing (also popular in South Africa) where the boats have double motor banks and the bow can be raised to allow rowing. Single boats are called K1s. Doubles as K2s and four man boats as K3s. These boats generally have the same size engine and outboard motor arrangement.

The engines on the racing kayaks tend to be more powerful and normally more fuel efficient than the single and tandem ones. The motors are placed either in the center of the hull, or between the transom and the stern, depending on the type of race in which they are being used. The transom is usually placed forward of the engine because it will be in easy reach of the spectators for videos and photos. It also provides some protection to the engine from rough conditions. In flatwater events, the transom is placed at the back of the boat for better buoyancy. This helps in negotiating the corners more easily.

Different types of racing kayaks have different features. Some boats are constructed with large transom windows to allow easy ventilation and to give the bow a distinctive look. Others are constructed with streamlined profiles for better speed and larger storage space for provisions and equipment. A few boats feature extra lighting for use in night racing and for other activities. All feature a flat bottom, a flat hull shape with extended fins to minimize wakeboard effect. The single and double hull types are most popular.

The two major types of racing kayaks are the single hull and the two-chord hull. The single hull is the simplest of the two, with no rudders or floats to maintain balanced conditions. It is called a "box" because the shape is similar to a box: all the parts are in the middle and there is little or no "box" to make the whole thing stable. Single hull racing kayaks have a high stall of clearance as well as high speeds. The two-chord hull type has a relatively lower stall of clearance and a slightly higher top speed. They can be used in flatwater as well as in waves.

The most famous type of racing kayak is the surfski racing kayak, a very simple design with one hull in front and one aft. It was developed in Germany in the late nineteen seventies and early eighties and was initially used on the beaches of German and Swedish tourists. The basic design is based on the simple principle of a triangle: the transom (front) serves as an exit point for the kayak; the center of gravity (the middle) is in the rear; and the hull (the transom) is the paddle wheel. This type of design allows the kayaker to quickly stop and start, with excellent handling. However, this is a "one-hand" craft and the ability to paddle with the paddle and move the rudder is lost. Nevertheless, they can be excellent sports boats.

Other designs include the sloop and the cutter, which look more like surfboards than kayaks. The sloop is probably the best known racing kayak due to the similarity to surfing or sailing terminology. These are fast, easy to maneuver and have excellent handling, thanks to their streamlined shape. However, they lack maneuverability and are poor at tracking and leading when set up in the wave.

As compared to other designs, the twelvekg sprint speed boats are more aerodynamic and the most suited for use on flat water. Some of the racing kayaks are built for use in the ocean and have additional thrills such as separate wakes and wake buoys. They also have two seating configurations: a captain's chair and an all-round seat. The sport's rules specify that only one person can drive the boat, while the driver can use both their hands to steer and make steering easier with oars. Propulsion is provided by two electric engines, each powering a paddle through the water.

Touring and multi-sport racing kayaks are made from a combination of composite fibers and Kevlar. Touring kayaks often include an open cockpit, canopy, ladder and storage compartments for transporting equipment. They are lighter than other designs, often just over 20kg, and include facilities for holding clothes, shoes, helmets and books. Multi-sport racing kayaks, designed for use in open waters, are built on stilts and come with two seats, a ladder and storage compartments for carrying things. Paddles and oars are not included in the package.