How to choose a kayak

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Here’s some things to think about to help you make a decision.
What kind of paddling will you be doing?
Where – How long – How far – What for? Think about where you intend to paddle most of the time; will it be creeks and shallow rivers, lakes, on the ocean, or anywhere and everywhere? Also, how much time do you think you’ll spend kayaking on average? Will it be hours, days or weeks? And how far do you expect to travel in your kayak on average? A few hundred metres or thousands?
The experience of those who will be using the kayak
Anyone new to kayaking will look for how much the kayak rocks (or tips), so stability is a factor to consider. You can also choose between sit-on-top or sit-in kayaks. Sit-on tops are easier to get back into if you fall out and are great for recreational use. Sit-in kayaks are better for longer trips and can carry more gear but are not as simple to get back into
How easy is it to carry and store?
Your kayak is likely to spend most of its life out of the water, so take into account how much it weighs, will it need 2 people to carry, will it fit on your car and where you’re going to keep it at home. These are all important factors to consider. Remember to keep it in a cool, dry place, out of the sun.
How many people will use the kayak?
There are single-passenger kayaks and there are double passenger kayaks. They both have their advantages. A double can be perfect for couples and families. Different skill levels and ages can be paired up so that nobody is left behind. It can be a fun family adventure. Doubles are fast and stable, but lack some of the maneuverability of a single.
How easy is it to control on the water?
As a kayak gets longer and narrower, it becomes faster, more efficient, and easier to keep in a straight line. As a kayak gets shorter and wider, it becomes slower, more stable, and easier to turn.
How many optional extras can you add to the boat?
A spray skirt, accessible hatches, deck fittings, cockpit cover, flotation bags and a handy holder for your water bottle are just some of the options that will probably be of interest to you. Don’t overlook the importance of colour. Many people simply choose the “prettiest” or “coolest” colour they see, but be sure to consider safety and visibility too.
How much do you want to spend?
Now you’ve decided what style of kayak to purchase, price may be a big factor in determining exactly which model to buy. An entry level plastic kayak can be as low as NZ$499. A double touring kayak is up to NZ$5500, so there’s a huge range to factor in.


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