Choosing a kayak?
Anyone thinking of taking up kayaking has a lot of choice. Modern ‘roto-moulded’ plastic kayaks are virtually indestructable and come in all shapes and sizes.
Your experience as a paddler
If you are a beginner, you are probably interested in a kayak that is really stable. Experienced paddlers know that this is less important than final stability, which can be very important in bigger waves. Some beginners may also worry about escaping from a tight cockpit. The main choices to make are therefore sit-in or sit-on and single or double?
I’ve had all these and can tell you that the sit-on’s are safer and unsinkable – but twice as hard to paddle any distance than a sit-in version. It you are going for a sit-in, you really should get some lessons to learn how to roll if it goes over. If money is no object, there are some beautiful fibreglass and Kevlar models, (which I could never get because I’d be too worried about bashing it on a rock.)
I have learnt to respect inflatable kayaks over the years, having seen them perform really well at sea and on rivers. They also have huge advantage that they fit in the back of the car, rather than on the roof. Inflatables are also the least expensive kayaking option and a good way for people to get a taste for the sport.
Other kayaking considerations
You may think you know how and where you will use your kayak but I have found that once you ‘get the bug’ you start looking for different places and types of water to try out. A big consideration is where you are going to store it, how you can transport it and how you will get it in and out of the water.