How to pick a kayak

Choosing the right Kayak for your needs

The most important question to ask yourself when you go to pick a kayak is what your intended use will be for it. This question will help you to decide what type of boat you are looking for, the material it is made from, the amount of storage space in the boat etc.

couple kayaking

Recreational and light touring expeditions

Delta thermo-formed plastic kayaks are the best all-around paddle craft that can meet many diverse needs. Manufactured in Maple Ridge this Canadian company creates boats with great stability as well as being light weight and easy to transport. They have roomy hatches for the paddler looking to do overnight trips and light expedition paddling. The price for Delta kayaks is excellent considering the quality of the boats and their ability to meet a broad range of needs.

An alternative option for a recreational paddler is an inflatable kayak. Inflatable kayaks are wonderful options that store easily and take up little space. Aquaglide inflatable kayaks are constructed from the same durable materials used on zodiacs. These are great kayaks for recreational use on lakes and shoreline paddling in calmer waters. They can be used for some light touring expeditions, fishing, and even as an option to bring your kayak along when travelling. They really do make excellent fishing kayaks.

Many Dagger and Perception polyethylene boats are great for light recreational paddling. Smaller Delta models are perfect for this and make great boats for lake paddling or for having on a yacht or sailboat: small boats for big boats.

Expedition and touring paddling

Looking to get out on the water for longer lengths of time? You are looking for a Fiberglass or Kevlar kayak from Current Designs. These sea kayaks are some of the most enduring kayaks available on the market, especially for west coast paddling. Perfect for long distances, due to their sleek design features and lightweight construction, Current Designs kayaks are great for more experienced paddlers looking for a high-quality boat for touring.

The Solstice from Current Designs is a world renowned design providing an efficient kayak for distance paddling that tracks splendidly. The Prana and Sisu have a bit more pep and playfulness on the water due to their manoeuvrability making them perfect for the paddler looking for a boat that can turn and carve easily or for those looking to surf some waves.

Delta, Wilderness Systems, Stellar, Perception and Made Kayaks all have suitable expedition Kayak models but are now as lightweight and not designed for long trips like the Current Designs Kayaks.

Kayaking to Race Rocks

Whitewater and rock gardening

Looking for a boat that is tough and durable to handle some shallow rocky areas? If you are planning on being rough with your kayak, and don’t want to always be worrying about its ability to handle rocky shorelines and shallow, then you need to be leaning towards a roto-moulded polyethylene kayak. These boats tend to be heavier in weight, slightly less efficient in their glide for long distances but are well priced and durable. We carry Wilderness Systems, Perception and Dagger kayaks for the whitewater and rugged environments paddler.

Racing and performance kayak

Looking for a high-performance kayak that you can race in? Or maybe you are seeking something with an adrenaline boost? Our Stellar and Think kayaks are geared towards the high performance and race paddling market. The standard performance kayak is not meant for touring or expeditioning. Similarly, they cannot handle rock gardening or whitewater as they are built of lighter, more delicate materials. These boats are usually 90% abs plastic, 10% acrylic and are a great lightweight, high-performance option for the more sport oriented paddler. For a lighter weight design, Stellar make kayaks out of Kevlar that will weigh significantly less than fibreglass or plastic.  Think primarily makes surf skis, which are open, high-performance racing kayaks built for speed.

You can get stellar kayaks that are designed with touring in mind and these will be organized under Sea Kayaks in our web store.

Kits

Looking to build your own kayak? Building a skin on frame kayak can be a bonding experience between yourself and your paddle craft, not to mention no one is going to know your boat better than you! The kayak kits at Ocean River are made by Made Kayaks on Galiano Island and are skin on frame models. These kayaks are extremely light weight and can be used for light touring expeditions and for some recreational west coast paddling. They do not have hatches for touring but you can store dry bags in the interior of the kayaks.

 

This post is meant to help you narrow down your search. We have categorized boats into their uses on our online store and reading their descriptions will help you further narrow down your search. Think of a few things while you look for your perfect boat: how heavy will it be based on the material it is made from? How long is it and will this length suit your needs? Where will you be storing it? What is your budget?

Still not sure what you are looking for? Contact us, or stop by the store and our knowledgeable retail staff can help you pick the perfect kayak for your needs.

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Paddling Magazine Article – Kayaking in Victoria BC

 

We get a lovely mention in a great article by Virginia Marshall on Paddling Magazine’s site here.

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