What to look for in a beginners sea kayak
Buying a sea kayak can be a stressful process especially for a beginner. There are many things to consider before taking the plunge and buying a new boat. For a beginner kayaker, you want to think about a few key things: price, versatility, and safety or usability. Our recommendation to people is that you should buy a kayak that you can grow into. Buying a cheap recreational kayak may save you money in the short term but when you discover you love kayaking you will need to upgrade. You want to buy a sea kayak that will give you some room to grow as your skills progress. Sea kayaks can be used in choppier water and farther from shore than a recreational kayak. In addition, a sea kayak is actually much safer than a recreational kayak for lake paddling. This is due to the hatches that act like flotation. If the boat tips, it remains higher in the water thanks to the hatches that do not fill with water. A recreational boat can flood with water and sink leaving you in a dangerous situation if you are far from shore or in cold conditions and unprepared. This post is offering up some advice on what the best sea kayak is for beginners, prices reflect the higher quality of a sea kayak in comparison to a recreational boat – which is mostly for calm, shoreline lake paddling.
We have all been there, you want to try out a new sport but the start-up costs seem insurmountable. That, or you compromise on safety and quality for a cheaper price tag. A good quality, safe, and versatile sea kayak should run between $1500 and $3500. True you will probably find cheaper but, with a sea kayak, you want to make sure it has self-contained hatches that will keep the boat high up in the water in the event of a capsize. Recreational kayaks do not have these hatches, or they only have one hatch, and are generally shorter wider boats designed for flatter water closer to shore.
When we think of a sea kayak it can have many uses. Some people like kayaks that are great for long touring style paddling and expeditions, others prefer to surf and play in the waves. Each sea kayak is going to have slightly different features depending on its use. When you are just starting out, however, you don’t really know what niche you want to get into. A good beginners sea kayak should be well-rounded and versatile so that the paddler can wet their toe in a few types of ocean kayaking to figure out later what they may want to do when it comes time to buy the next kayak.
Safety or Usability
The big thing to think of with a beginners sea kayak is how safe you feel in it. When you are just starting out you don’t want a lot of rocker, or curving on the bottom/hull of the kayak, as this is what can make it feel tippy and unstable. You want to look for a kayak that will be harder to tip as you build on your skill set and comfort level. It is also important to find a well-constructed boat that can withstand the inevitable dings and scrapes that will happen as you learn. Having a comfortable seat, a well-balanced kayak, and properly fitting gear is vital to the enjoyment of the sport as well as the safety of the paddler.
A few Examples
We have put all of this information into some tangible examples. Check out the helpful graphic below to see our top three beginner sea kayak recommendations.
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