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Guide to Choosing a Kayak For A Beginner’s

Recreational Kayak

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Zoe Mitchell

What started out as an adventurous shore excursion during a cruise, turned into a lifestyle hobby. I started Kayak Info Center to share my passion and knowledge about this exciting sport with others. I hope you enjoy the information on this website and that it helps you enjoy kayaking as much as I do.

Just because you’re a beginner buying a kayak doesn’t have to be confusing or a daunting task. There are many different kinds of kayaks to choose, you just need to find out which type is best for you?

This guide is for beginner’s giving you help choosing a kayak. We will discuss from Touring, Sea, Whitewater,recreational Kayaks and more.

Recreational Kayak

Recreational Kayak
Recreational Kayak

When most people think of kayaks recreational kayaks are what they are thinking of. A recreational kayak has a large cockpit which is the opening you sit in.

This will make it easy for a beginner to get in and out of. Recreational kayaks are best for calm bodies of water, they are very durable, you couldn’t ask for a better boat for that relaxing float down the river or lake.

Recreational kayaks are not difficult to maneuver, but keep in mind they are somewhere around 10 feet and weigh around 40-50 pounds. The length and weight make them an easy-to-transport, and relatively lightweight kayak.

A recreational sit-in kayak may be right for you if you’re a beginner who is just starting out, and only want your boat to go down lazy rivers.

Sea Kayak

Sea kayaks are typically designed for large bodies of water, such as the ocean, bays or a large lake. Sea kayaks are a little bit longer traditionally ranging from 10-18 feet for a solo kayak and if you go tandem the length could be up to 26 feet.

The Sea kayak are in general easier to steer. Even in windy or choppy water conditions the added length of the sea yak helps you maintain your direction.

Thinking of racing your kayak in the future? Sea kayaks are ideal for racing because their length, it adds to their speed and stability.

The sea kayak can hold one to three paddles and some have room for camping gear, water food and other items you want to bring with you.

To stay safe on the water the sea kayak comes with a little bit of a learning curve. It would be a good idea to master the technique of rolling and wet exits prior first.

Touring Kayak

A touring kayak is a cross between a recreational kayak and a sea kayak. They are typically longer and narrower than the recreational yaks, but shorter than a sea yak.

The skill level is usually good for an intermediate to advance kayaker. These are better suited for lakes, bays, moving rivers, currents but limited on the ocean.

They are good for a weekend trip that is less than 20 miles or just a simple day trip. The maneuverability of the touring kayak has the ability to turn precisely which is better than the recreational kayak. 

Sit On Top Kayak

Sit on top kayaks are similar to their counterpart recreational kayak. They come with similar hull shapes and many of the same advantages and disadvantages. They are best suited towards calmer bodies of water.

In the sit on top kayak instead of sitting inside of the kayak you sit on a molded in depression on top of the kayak. This gives the Sit on Top kayaks an added drawback of being easier to tip.

They tend to be a favorite of fishermen, because of the added space on top of the kayak. If you’re looking for a little extra room then the Sit on top kayaks is a good option.

Inflatable Kayak

Kayaking with an inflatable Kayak
Inflatable kayak

Inflatable kayaks can come in multiple styles /models. There are recreational, sea, touring, or even hybrid models. With these kayaks, they start without any air in them. They are inflated through the use of a hand pump or foot pump. Normally the set up can take as little as five minutes.

These kayaks are made of remarkably durable material, this makes the odds of puncturing the hull very slim. However, if a hole is ripped, most inflatable kayaks are multi-chambered. Which means one hole won’t bring down your yak.

If you really need a lightweight kayak, then the Inflatable kayaks are an option for you. This kayak can fit inside most car trunks. They usually fall in the range of 25-35 pound, and once deflated they are easy to transport.

Whitewater Kayak

For the adventurers out there, that want an intense sport, whitewater kayaks are also available. These ‘yaks come in lengths of six to eight feet. Whitewater kayaks may be used by beginners, but they should have a firm understanding of kayaking like of how to do a wet exit prior to getting in the boat.

Types of Whitewater kayaks are:

  • Long Boats-These are great for extra long river runners. They are up to 12 ft long and are extremely fast downriver.
  • Creekers-The largest of the Whitewater yaks and are built to charge over big rapids and drop waterfalls
  • River Runners-This yak is all about going fast down the river. These are the most versatile.
  • Play Boats- The shortest of the Whitewater kayaks designed to surf waves and allow the paddler to surface tricks like aerials and spins


Choosing a kayak can be daunting but it does not have to be. Keep in mind where your skill level is and what type of kayaking you want to do before you buy. There are a lot of options out there. Remember Touring, Sea, Whitewater,Recreational Kayaks, and Inflatable are just a few of the kayaks that are good for beginners.

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Guide to Choosing a Kayak For A Beginner’s

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