Kayak design Properties
You’ll also want to consider a kayak’s hull design. The hull is the shape of the bottom of the boat. It can make a difference in performance and stability on the water. There are two types of stability to understand:
- Primary stability (also known as initial stability) refers to how stable the kayak is when you’re first getting into the boat. This means you’re less likely to flip when you step into your kayak and sit down.
- Secondary stability refers to how stable it is once you start paddling. This means you’re less likely to roll over as you start moving through the water.
Now, let’s key in on the types of hulls to consider.
- Flat Hull: These hulls can be stable and maneuverable. They offer great primary stability. The flatter the hull, the more stable your kayak will be. Flat hulls are ideal for recreational kayakers in flat water conditions. These can be good choices for beginners.
- Rounded Hull: The rounded edges of this hull can increase speed and allow for easier travel through the water compared to a flat hull. This hull makes the kayak more maneuverable and offers more secondary stability.
- V-Shaped: These hulls cut through the water and help the kayak travel in a straight line. They are good for recreational paddling and ideal for touring or long-distance trips. They may feel a bit unstable at first since they provide the least amount of primary stability. However, v-shaped hulls offer better secondary stability.
- Pontoon: Known to be very stable because they combine the primary stability of flat hulls and secondary stability of rounded hulls. But they do tend to be slower.
- Chine: Chine is the description of the way the bottom of the boat meets the sides in either a rounded “soft” chine or with more angles and a “harder” chine. Most boats fall somewhere in between and have a multi-chine hull. The softer the chine, the more secondary stability the boat will have.
It’s important to keep in mind the capacity of each kayak varies. This should be clearly listed when purchasing your kayak. The capacity includes the paddler’s body weight, as well as additional items in the kayak. This can include coolers, fishing tackles and gear.
LENGTH AND WIDTH
Generally, the longer and narrower the kayak, the faster and straighter it will go. A kayak is more stable and easier to turn if it’s wider and shorter, but it may sacrifice speed. If you are new to kayaking, then a wider kayak can be a good beginner’s choice as you grow accustomed to being on the water.
Recreational kayaks are about 8 feet to 13 feet long and made for small lakes, rivers, creeks and other calm waters. They can navigate narrow inlets or passageways efficiently. Touring kayaks are longer, about 14 feet to 18 feet, and built to handle large waves, bigger rivers or lakes.
Also take into account your height when considering a kayak’s length. This can be particularly important with a sit-in kayak. In order to have a pleasant experience on the water, you’ll want to make sure you fit inside your kayak well. For example, if you are 6 feet tall and 225 pounds, a 12-foot-long boat may be more comfortable than a boat that is 10 feet long. Adjustable footrests can help accommodate your height in your kayak. It can help taller people in smaller kayaks and shorter people in longer kayaks.
You are making a big purchase, so you want to feel confident and comfortable with your choice. Once you find the right style, you should find the right paddle. You should also take time to learn some kayaking basics, including how to launch a kayak, how to paddle and how to steer. At Canoes plus we can help you with all of the basics, as well as education ( learn to kayak) all the way to elite paddling.
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