The Basics of Kayak Buying

Posted by 7Villages 26 Feb 2016 No Comments »

Sunny days and warm, blue water. White sand beaches. Palm trees. Really, it’s hard to think of a good reason not to go paddling in Southwest Florida, even if you have no idea what you’re doing. That’s why we decided to team up with the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival in Fort Myers and gather an enthusiastic crew of newbies to try out some of the best kayaks beginners can buy, on some of the most beginner-friendly backwaters you can float. A tried-and-true, easy-to-use “rec” (recreational) kayak is the perfect craft in which to begin your paddling career. Shorter, wider and easier to maneuver than full-on touring kayaks, rec boats are generally more comfortable, stable, and affordable than other kayak models. And after cruising around the sun-dappled mangroves of the Gulf for three days, we can assure you, any one of these six fun-oriented rides will help you get off the couch, on the water, and over the learning curve.

Hurricane uses a unique, lightweight and UV-resistant thermoformed material called Trylon (read: fancy, shiny plastic) to create this easy-to-carry and remarkably high-performing solo rec kayak. A rear deck hatch provides a place to stash your lunch, or any gear you’d want to keep dry, and the boat’s multi-chined hull (meaning multiple angles along the hull bottom as apposed to a smooth, round profile) allows you to comfortably practice putting it on edge—a crucial step in learning quicker turns. The Santee also boasts a super-comfy high-back seat and extra large cockpit, ensuring you’ll paddle in both style and comfort, all day.

The Vision 120 SP is a perfect fit for smaller (under 6-feet tall) paddlers looking for a versatile ride that can progress with developing skill sets. Crafted from fiberglass and Kevlar-like fabric, the Vision SP is easy on the eyes and—thanks to its lightweight construction—easy on the back when carrying it to and from the water. The svelte, hollow V-shaped hull is fast and nimble, at the expense of some stability. Watertight bulkheads fore and aft provide semi-dry storage and security in the event of a capsize (key for big, open-water crossings). The Vision’s snug and secure outfitting provides both comfort and control. This is an entry-level kayak that’s also ideal for learning more advanced paddling techniques.

The Rip isn’t the lightest boat you can buy at 50 pounds, but that’s only because it’s got everything you could want in a starter kayak: a high-performance, straight-tracking hull that will help you maximize your strokes and allow your paddling skills to progress, plus a watertight stern bulkhead with a storage hatch to keep your lunch and extra gear dry. The well-padded, easy-to-adjust outfitting will persuade you to sit in it for hours on end, and the price is hard to beat. Besides, you won’t notice any extra weight once the Rip’s on the water and you’re having fun.

Leave a Reply

Flickr Stream

Social Profiles