Best kayaks for beginners – types of kayak

Best kayaks for beginners – types of kayak

Aren’t all kayaks the same? Well yes, but the shape and size of different types of kayak can make a big difference to its stability and how it moves on water.

As a basic rule the longer the craft the faster it will go in a straight line, the shorter the craft the quicker it is at turning and the wider the base the more stable it is.

This fun spotters guide gives you the lowdown on beginner boats and beyond. Find the best kayaks for beginners below.

How to choose the best kayaks for beginners

So the questions are: what are the different types of kayak? And, how do you choose the right kayak for you? The answers are:

  1. Sit on top (SOT) Usually found on flat, sheltered waters, these friendly kayaks welcome newcomers to their group. Stable and fun, exactly as their name implies – just sit on top and go.
  2. Inflatable Residing in the same sheltered water habitat as the sit on top, the inflatable kayak is the perfect match for those with less storage space. Easy to transport, they love a frolic on the water; fitting in well with families and other new paddlers.
  3. Touring Built for endurance, these kayaks can carry gear in different compartments. A comfortable companion for longer journeys on the water; they welcome paddlers with a range of abilities to join them on their travels.
  4. Sea Don’t be fooled by their sleek and speedy exterior, these tough kayaks take on testing conditions with gusto. Multiple storage compartments make the sea kayak a great buddy for a more advanced day on the water.
  5. White water Excitable and full of energy, white water kayaks enjoy a range of activities; from playboating to slalom and river running to freestyle. Your perfect friend for adrenaline fuelled adventures.
  6. Slalom Specifically designed for dancing around poles down high energy white water, you are most likely to find these boats on flowing rivers or at purpose built centres like Lee Valley or Cardiff White Water Centre.
  7. Racing Long, pointy and unstable when you’re sitting still, these kayaks just LOVE to go fast! Speed is the name of the game! Spot these rockets on sections of river, canal or lakes where you can go fast in a straight line. Pay attention though, they’re gone in a flash!

Other types of kayak you might find:

We’ve listed some of the most common types of kayak above, but there are so many more, from ocean racers to wild water kayaks, surf to polo kayaks…

With so many shapes and styles of kayak available to paddle, there’s only one thing for it. Grab a paddle, head out and see how many types of kayak you can find on your local waterways… you might be quite surprised at the sheer variety of the sport!

And if you don’t have your own equipment, don’t fret! Just look for your local club, centre or hire provider here and get on the water with their help instead.

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