Reviewing the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Envy, 12 Feet
  • Enjoy sun and surf with a friend or a furry companion with the kayak's three seating positions, which support solo, tandem, or tandem paddling with a child or pet.
  • A pair of Comfort Plus seats provide four-way adjustability, generating a custom fit and greater slip prevention over molded seats.
  • Patented overlapping foot wells allow center-seated paddlers to settle in and brace their feet comfortably. Hatches - None

About The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem is on the larger side of tandem kayaks. This sit-on-top tandem kayak that has the ability to be used as a single person kayak if desired, which is part of what makes it so interesting and versatile.

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is geared towards families and people that enjoy team kayaking, the front seat can actually be turned around which is perfect for socializing on the water, and is a popular choice on the tandem kayak market, with good reviews popping up all over the net.

So is it worth the hype? Let’s have a look at the good, the bad and special features of the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem.

Positive Features and Points

It has a moulded seat base

The moulded seat bases work great with ocean kayak clip in seats. Ocean kayak clip in seats provide a little bit of padding and a lot of back support, making for a more comfortable ride. These seats are easily removable and provide lumbar support.

It has drainage holes

Like any good sit-on-top, this kayak is fitted with drainage holes. The drainage hole ensure that there will be no flooding or sinking and you don’t have to manually pump out or drain water from the kayak.

It can function as a tandem or solo kayak

As mentioned above, you are able to convert this tandem kayak into an individual seater if you want to, simply by moving the seat position. It is much easier to operate with two people but the option for individual paddling is there. This is a huge plus if you are interested in calmer water kayak camping.

It has stern and bow carry handles

The carry handles at the bow and stern of this kayak are strong and make transporting your kayak easy. The handles have a contoured grip which makes carrying the heavy kayak more comfortable.

It has a lot of leg room

Another pro of a larger kayak, there is a lot of space for you to spread your legs while you’re out there on the water, without having to get out of your kayak. This means more time spent comfortably enjoying your time on the water in your tandem kayak.

It has a patented overlapping foot rest

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two as adjustable foot rests, which means that you can adjust the rests to the perfect length for you to feel your most comfortable and effective when paddling. This is a totally unique feature to the kayak and paired with the adjustable seats, makes this kayak outstanding the comfort department.

It’s durable

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is made of thick and hard plastic. The plastic is really strong and it is unlikely to be damaged by knocks and scrapes during the moving of the kayak or any rocks or debris the kayak may be hauled over when being lowered into the water or pulled out of the water. The thick plastic makes this kayak a safe choice.

It can hold over four hundred pounds

You can safely fit yourself, your friend and all of your equipment and baggage onto this kayak without a problem. The kayak also has a lot of storage space. The kayak has multiple hulls stacking as well as dock storage. The high weight capacity and roomy storage spaces make this kayak perfect for recreational kayaking for two or even more people.

Negative Features and Points

It’s heavy, wide and slow

The reason the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two can hold so much weight and is so roomy is because it’s big and wide. This kayak is built at a width of thirty four inches. This kayak is extra wide and because of this it’s slower than other ocean kayaks and requires a lot more effort to paddle. So even though it can be used as a single kayak, it is a job best done by two.

It’s bigger and therefore harder to transport

At twelve feet and nearly sixty pounds, this kayak is not a small boat! Loading it onto a car roof rack takes some effort and cannot easily be done alone, which is not the end of the world as it is a tandem and therefore you probably won’t be transporting the kayak by yourself.

The upper deck plastic has a rough finish

This rough finish means that the surface of the plastic is quite porous. The small holes in the plastic tend to get clogged with sand or dirt and can make the surface of the kayak look dirty. Not anything permanent, but it can be annoying.

It has no bow or stern bungees

Bow and stern bungees are basically just flexible bungee cords that are woven into the stern and bow of the kayak and perform a variety of functions, including functioning as a point of grip and helping during the transportation of the kayak. The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is not fitted with bow or stern bungees which can make transportation a bit more difficult.

It does not have moulded cup holders

While this really is not any kind of deal breaker, it can be kind of inconvenient. It’s important to stay hydrated when engaging in any kind of physical exertion, and that is easier done when you have a place to store your water bottle.

It’s not a good glider

Unsurprisingly, this big, wide and heavy kayak is not a graceful or fast glider. This kayak is not built for speed and to get it to glide well would take an immense amount of power and effort.

Our Final Thoughts

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem really is the perfect sit-on-top kayak for those looking to kayak with their friends, families or dogs. While this kayak does have a few negative points, the overall reviews have been positive, and the negative points are not anything that could be considered a deal breaker.

While the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two retails between about six hundred and seven hundred dollars US, and we think that it is definitely worth the money. It’s sturdy and durable whilst also being flexible, comfortable and safe, which is exactly what you want when you’re on the water with your friends and family.

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is a great kayak for those who want to learn to tandem kayak as well as experienced kayakers.

Best Books on Kayaking For Beginner and Intermediate Kayakers

Kayaking is a water sport, which inherently carries a degree of danger with it, if you are interested in getting into kayaking, it is imperative that you arm yourself with all of the available information.

The best thing to do when you know nothing is, of course, research, and the best thing to do when you know a little but want to know more is, of course, research! Well, luckily for us, we have the books at our disposal.

Below, we have compiled a list of books that speak not to only the novice, but the semi experienced, who would like to expand their knowledge.

Books on Kayaking For Beginners

Before you set out on your maiden journey, or if you’ve been out on the water a few times and are still learning, it is important to become familiar with both kayak and water safety. The following books are perfect for those who have little to no knowledge on kayaking.

1. How to Paddle a Kayak: The 90 Minute Guide to Master Kayaking and Learn to Paddle Like a Pro – Scott Parsons

 

How to Paddle a Kayak: The 90 Minute Guide to Master Kayaking and Learn to Paddle Like a Pro
  • Parsons, Scott (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 117 Pages - 04/11/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Scott Parsons is an American Olympic Kayaker who has penned a beginners guide to learning to paddle as well as the pros do. The book covers common paddling mistakes beginners are prone to make, selecting the right paddle and kayak for yourself and what you want to do on the water, launching and balancing on your kayak properly and paddling in the most efficient manner.

The book is great for beginners as it also covers what steps to take if you should fall off of your kayak into the water and how to accurately read tides and currents through the use of water/weather condition techniques.

2. The Complete Sea-Kayaker’s Handbook: Second Edition – Shelley Johnson

 

Sale
The Complete Sea Kayakers Handbook, Second Edition
  • Johnson, Shelley (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 02/09/2011 (Publication Date) - International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press (Publisher)

Shelley Johnson is a professional kayak instructor and guide and has penned numerous books specializing in sea kayaking, including “Sea Kayaking: A Woman’s Guide” and “Sea Kayaker’s Pocket Guide”.

The Complete Sea-Kayaker’s Handbook includes information on getting to know and controlling your kayak, navigation, information on dealing with hypothermia, sea kayak safety, information on how to posture yourself more comfortably in your kayak and how to get onto/into and off of/out of your kayak which can be more challenging on the sea than on the still waters of a lake. The book also covers touring and planning out your kayaking journey before setting out on the ocean.

The second edition also covers new sea kayaking gear and materials, and safety techniques.

3. Whitewater Safety and Rescue: Essential Knowledge For Canoeists, Kayakers And Raft Guides – Franco Ferrero

 

Whitewater Safety and Rescue: Essential Knowledge For Canoeists, Kayakers, And Raft Guides (Paddling Series)
  • Ferrero, Franco (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 296 Pages - 04/22/2009 (Publication Date) - Falcon Guides (Publisher)

If you are interested in kayaking mostly rivers (or any environment with constantly moving water), this is a must read for you. In this book, Franco Ferrero (a certified Rescue Emergency Care first-aid provider and Rescue 3 instructor) looks at how to read the whitewater you are going to enter, accurately assessing the hazards and risks of the whitewater and planning your descent into the whitewater.

The book also goes into great detail about how to recover paddlers who have gone overboard, incident management, moving paddlers who have been injured and first aid and resuscitation. Reading this book will not only make you a safer and more efficient whitewater paddler, but also an asset to anyone paddling whitewaters with you.

4. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Canoeing and Kayaking – Dennis Stuhaug

 

Sale
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Canoeing and Kayaking
  • Canoe and Kayak Magazine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 07/06/2004 (Publication Date) - Alpha (Publisher)

Part of the famed “Idiot’s Guide to” franchise, this book covers all of the most basic information you need to know before dipping your paddle into the water. This book is filled with photos and illustrations and easy to digest instructions, making it a truly foolproof guide to getting started on your kayaking journey.

5. Kayaking made Easy, 4th: A Manual for Beginners with Tips for the Experienced (How to Paddle Series) – Dennis Stuhaug

 

Sale
Kayaking Made Easy, 4th: A Manual for Beginners with Tips for the Experienced (How to Paddle Series)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Stuhaug, Dennis (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The second book on our list written by Dennis Stuhaug, former paddling instructor and editor at Canoe and Kayak Magazine, is a clear step by step guide for beginners and beginners to intermediates.

Kayaking Made Easy covers basic maneuvering, choosing the hull that suits you best, navigating rip tides and hazardous weather, outfitting your kayak, putting together a kayaking wardrobe and making your kayaking experience enjoyable for you and your kayaking companions.

This book is littered with personal anecdotes from a seasoned kayaker and the personal humor throughout Kayaking Made Easy makes it an enjoyable, as well as informative read.

6. Recreational Kayaking The Ultimate Guide – Ken Whiting

 

Recreational kayaking covers exploring all possible water environments and provides invaluable tips and advice for those new to kayaking, as well as a few that may be new to intermediate kayakers. The book includes pictures for easier technique understanding.

Ken Whiting is the holder of various kayaking championship trophies won worldwide. His wealth of knowledge and experience comes through in this comprehensive guide to recreational kayaking.

Books on Kayaking for Intermediates

Being an intermediate kayaker, you might already have a fair bit of knowledge on how to safely and effectively challenge and enjoy yourself on the water, be it on rivers, lakes or the sea. These books were written to build on that knowledge and give you the tools to take your kayaking to the next level.

7. The Art of Kayaking: Everything You Need to Know About Paddling – Nigel Foster

 

Sale
The Art of Kayaking: Everything You Need to Know About Paddling
  • The Art of Kayaking is the distilled essence of a lifetime of kayak instruction at all skill levels around the world, with the added insights gained from years of designing kayaks, paddles, and kayaking equipment. This comprehensive kayaking manual by one
  • Foster, Nigel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Nigel Foster shares the information he has collected over years of designing paddles, kayaks and kayaking equipment in The Art of Kayaking.

Describes as a “definitive manual designed to stand the test of time.”, this book holds invaluable information about techniques for paddling and kayaking. The book begins with the most basic information aimed at those new to kayaking and progresses with information aimed at intermediates all the way through to pros. Apart from being on the water, it also covers everything from what gear to choose and how to ready it before getting onto the water. Also included, are technique diagrams, maps and tables, which add to the clear and concise instructional layout of the book.

The Art of Kayaking is a must read for kayakers of all levels.

8. Sea Kayaker’s Deep Trouble: True Stories and Their Lessons from sea Kayaker Magazine – Matt Bronze and George Gronseth

 

Sea Kayaker's Deep Trouble: True Stories and Their Lessons from Sea Kayaker Magazine
  • SEA KAYAKER: DEEP TROUBLE
  • Matt Broze (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

An interesting read for sea kayakers, this book holds twenty stories of real life sea kayaking accidents. This book offers a unique chance to learn from the experiences of others who lived through life and death situations out on the ocean.

This book is recommended for everyone, from beginners to seasoned kayakers.

9. Sea Kayak: A Manual for Intermediate and Advanced Sea Kayakers – Gordon Brown

 

Sea Kayak: A Manual for Intermediate and Advanced Sea Kayakers
  • CORDEE LTD
  • Gordon Brown (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Award winning sea kayaking guru Gordon Brown shares his wealth of knowledge and experience in this informative and acclaimed manual. Brown covers the history of sea kayaking, kayaking physiology and the dynamics between the paddles and the kayak itself.

The book also concentrates on navigating sea waters, paddle stroke techniques, forecasting weather and tidal races, and what to consider before setting out on a day or overnight sea expedition, and offers numerous resources and helpful tips to those who love sea kayaking.

Sea Kayak includes numerous diagrams and photographs for easier understanding. You will find Sea Kayak to be a book filled to the brim with modern and relevant information and techniques.

10. Kayak: The New Frontier: The Animated Manual of Intermediate and Advanced Whitewater Technique – William Nealy

 

Sale
Kayak: The New Frontier: The Animated Manual of Intermediate and Advanced Whitewater Technique
  • Paddling & Water Sports
  • Nealy, William (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Whilst humorous, Kayak: the New Frontier is an incredible informational book. The highly illustrated manual breaks down complicated techniques so successfully that they become easy enough for even a beginner to understand.

Laugh your way to an extensive sea kayaking knowledge!

Interesting Books For All Kayakers

Apart from instructional guides to kayaking, there are many books detailing the feats of kayakers from around the world, sure to inspire both the beginner and the intermediate kayaker. These books are sure to fuel your love for kayaking and spark your sense of adventure!

11. No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon – Erik Weihenmayer

 

Sale
No Barriers: A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon
  • Thomas Dunne Books
  • Hardcover Book
  • Weihenmayer, Erik (Author)

In this almost unbelievable true life story, Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind man to scale Mount Everest, recounts a few of the most amazing adventures of his life, including kayaking the Grand Canyon.

Sure to inspire you, you will not be able to put this book down!

12. Fearless: One Woman, One Kayak, One Continent – Joe Glickman

 

Fearless: One Woman, One Kayak, One Continent
  • Glickman, Joe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 216 Pages - 01/24/2012 (Publication Date) - Falcon Guides (Publisher)

Fearless is the true story of former athlete, Freya Hoffmeister’s year long adventure kayaking alone around Australia. This book is hair raising in parts, detailing close encounters with the country’s infamously dangerous wildlife, and absolutely astounding in others.

13. On Celtic Tides: One Man’s Journey Around Ireland by Sea Kayak – Chris Duff

 

Sale
On Celtic Tides: One Man's Journey Around Ireland by Sea Kayak
  • Duff, Chris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 11/04/2000 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Griffin (Publisher)

On Celtic Tides describes, in great detail, the author’s incredible three month journey on the seas around Ireland. If you are an avid sea kayaker, you will be absolutely absorbed in this book!

14. All the Way Around – Stuart Trueman

 

All the Way Round
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Trueman, Stuart (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

All the Way Around recounts one man’s amazing, solo, sixteen month marathon around Australia. The book explores the terrain, wildlife and physical pressures and perils the author faced on his unbelievable voyage.

Choosing Your Perfect Kayak Paddle Length Size

There are two basic things that you need to enjoy the invigorating and exciting sport of kayaking! Those two things are a kayak (duh, right?), and a paddle.

There is perhaps nothing more important when kayaking than having the correct paddle for the job. Your paddle can dictate how easy or difficult moving through the water would be, as well as affecting the speed at which you kayak, how comfortable you are going to be out on the water and even for how long you can be on the water for.

How to Figure Out the Length of the Paddle You Will Need

There are quite a few different aspects that go into what kind of paddle you are going to need, or what paddle will be best for you. During this article we are going to be exploring how your height and the width of your kayak, the price of and the materials the paddles are made up of, the shape and size of the blade of the paddle and the type of paddle shaft you prefer will point you towards your perfect paddle.

So let’s have a closer look at the different types of paddles that are currently available on the market, and give you the information that will ensure that you find the paddle that fits your kayaking style!

How Long is Your Torso?

How long your torso is, is one of the most important piece of information you need when buying a paddle. You need to measure your torso before going to buy a paddle, below is a simple graph that will help you to roughly gauge what length of paddle is best for your torso.

Before looking at the graph you need to measure your torso. You can do this easily by my sitting upright, completely straight, on a completely flat chair. Once you are seated, use a measuring tape to carefully measure the length from the tip of your nose down to the top of the seat of your chair, specifically in between your legs.

Now that you have this information, you can use this rough graph.

Torso Length in Inches Torso Length in Centimeters Kayak Paddle Size
22 56 180 cm (Youth sized)
24 61 180 – 200 cm (Youth sized)
26 66 190 – 210 cm
28 71 200 – 220 cm
30 76 210 – 230 cm
32 81 220 – 240 cm
34 86 230 – 250 cm
36 91 240 – 250 cm
38 97 250 cm

What are the Measurements of the Width of Your Kayak?

After the length of your torso, the width of your kayak is the next measurement you will need when finding the best paddle for you. However, the type of kayaking and type of kayak dictates which of these two measurements is most important.

Recreational Kayaking

Recreational kayaks usually have a width of 26 to 30 inches (or 66 to 76 centimeters). The width of your recreational kayak tends to be more important than the length of your torso.

Performance Kayaking

Performance kayaks usually have a width of 19 to 22 inches (or 48 to 56 centimeters).

Touring Kayaking

Touring kayaks usually have a width of 22 to 25 inches (or 56 to 64 centimeters). The length of your torso tends to be more important than the width of your touring kayak.

Whitewater Kayaking

Whitewater kayaks usually have a width of about 28 inches (or 71 centimeters). The width of whitewater kayaks is not nearly as important as the length of your torso.

Below is a rough graph that will give you an idea of the length of the paddle you will need.

Width of Kayak Under 23 inches 24 to 28 inches 29 to 33 inches 34 inches and over
Height of Paddler Recommended Length of Paddle
Under 5’5 inches 210 – 220 cm 220 – 230 cm 230 – 240 cm 250 cm
5’5 to 5’11 inches 220 cm 230 cm 230 – 240 cm 250 cm
6 inches and over 220 – 230 cm 230 – 240 cm 240 – 250 cm 250 – 260 cm

What is Your Stroke Angle Preference?

Stroke angle preference has a lot to do with what feels natural to you and your body when kayaking.

High Stroke Angle Preference

If you prefer a higher stroke when paddling, which is a much more powerful stroke usually better suited for faster, more vigorous paddling, then you will be more comfortable with a shorter paddle. For a high stroke angle paddle the blade of the paddle will be wider.

Low Stroke Angle Preference

If you prefer a lower stroke when paddling, which is a much more casual stroke usually better suited for more relaxed kayaking such as touring kayaking, then you will be more comfortable with a longer paddle. For a low stroke angle paddle, the blade of the paddle will be more narrow.

How Long are You Going to be On the Water For?

This is an important question to ask yourself, as not having the correct paddle when setting out for a long kayaking session can result in a really uncomfortable trip. The shaft and the paddle blades of the paddle can dictate comfort on long trips.

What Kind of Waters are You Going to be Kayaking On?

The environment you are going to be kayaking in has a huge impact on the type of paddle you should be looking into getting.

Rivers and Lakes

Rivers and lakes are usually characterized by calm waters that are much easier and less energy intensive to kayak on and if you are wanting to spend a long time on these waters, touring kayak paddles are best suited to these environments. If you are only planning on spending a shorter time on these waters, a recreational kayak paddle would be better. Deep rivers and lakes call for blades best suited to your preferred stroke, and if shallow rivers and lakes call for wider, plastic blades.

White Water

Whitewater is the most rugged of environments that you can kayak in, and your paddle is going to have to be equally rugged. Thicker and shorter paddles are advisable for whitewater kayaking.

The Sea

Lightweight performance kayak paddles and touring kayak paddles are best for kayaking on the often unpredictable waters of the sea, as they cut down on fatigue. The shafts of these paddles are usually made up of stiff and durable carbon.

The Material Makeup of Paddles

Paddles are available in an array of materials, ranging in cost. You need to decide what material is best for the kind of kayaking you want to do, and what kind of material is within your budget.

Nylon or Plastic Blades

In terms of cost, the nylon or plastic blades are the most cost efficient that you are going to find. Nylon or plastic blades are flexible, which can mean the difference between your blade snapping or not, although this same flexibility can hamper your stroke. These blades can also crack if not treated properly. Be sure not to leave these blades out in the sun, as the harsh sunlight can degrade the blades.

Fiberglass Blades

Fiberglass is your mid price range go to paddle. These fiberglass paddles are actually more lightweight than nylon or plastic blades, and while they are prone to chipping, they do not often crack. These blades are popular as they perform incredibly well and efficiently.

Carbon-fibre Blades

In terms of cost, carbon-fibre blades are the most expensive blades that are available on the market, and that is not without reason. Carbon-fibre blades are synonymous with high performance paddling. These paddles are incredibly stiff and incredibly light, and they are known for excellent energy transfer with every stroke.

The Designs of Different Paddles

Shaft Design

The shaft of your paddle is obviously the only part of the paddle that you will be touching while paddling. Shafts are available in bent shafts and straight shafts. The bent shafts are so named because the shafts have kinks in them, whereas the straight shafts are completely straight. The bent shafts are known to be more comfortable, because due to their shape, they minimize any fatigue and or discomfort you will feel in your joints after being on the water for a while.

With some paddles, you are also able to take the shaft apart. This allows your to alter the length of the shaft (if you are kayaking with little ones and don’t have a reason to purchase new paddles for the), as well as the main purpose, making the paddles much easier to store or transport when you are not using it. These kinds of paddles are available in both two piece shafts, and four piece shafts. The four piece shaft paddles are the easiest to store as they break down the smallest.

Small-diameter shafts are a good choice for those who have hands on the smaller side. These small-diameter shafts are thinner than the other available shafts and offer a much less fatiguing grip.

One more thing to consider when finding the shaft best suited to you, is the material that the shaft is made up of. Carbon and fiberglass shafts are lightweight and durable, but quite expensive. Other shafts are made of aluminum, this is more affordable, but you may need to invest in gloves as this material can become quite hot in the sun.

Blade Design

The design of the blade is as important as the design of any other part of the paddle. Most of the paddle blades that are available on the market nowadays are of an asymmetrical dihedral shape. This means that the paddle blade is narrower and shorter on its one side, and the two sides of the paddle blade are separated by a ridge, which allows water to evenly and smoothly flow over both sides of the paddle blade.

Paddle blades that are narrower in shape are much lighter and are thus more comfortable for those who wish to spend long stretches of time out on the water.

Paddles blades that are wider in shape are better for those who prefer to kayak with quicker and more powerful strokes for faster acceleration on the water.

Feathered Blades or Matched Blades

Feathered blades are the opposite of matched blades, and these are the only two options that the blades on paddles are available in. While both feathered and matched blades are aligned on the shafts of the paddles, matched blades are at the same angle, as feathered blades are offset at different angles. Because of this, feathered blades a lot of wind resistance that on your paddle’s blade when it is out of the water.

The Different Kinds Of Paddles on the Market

Touring Kayak Paddles

Touring kayak paddles are both lightweight and durable, and are often reinforced with carbon or fiberglass. These paddles are available with different shafts and different blades which can be chosen for your specific needs and or likes. Touring kayak paddles are comfortable and suited to long periods of time on the water.

Performance Kayak Paddles

The shafts of performance kayak paddles are all made up of carbon, and they are incredibly lightweight, which reduces swing weight which in turn fights fatigue while paddling, as well as any joint strain. The blades of these paddles are very stiff, and are specifically made so for a more powerful stroke. Different paddle blade shapes are available for these paddles.

Recreational Kayak Paddles

Recreational kayak paddles are very durable, can be quite heavy and are the most reasonably priced of all kayak paddles. The shafts of these paddles are usually made up of fiberglass or aluminum, and the blades are typically made up of injection-molded plastic resin. These paddles are best suited for those who want to do more relaxing and shorter kayaking trips.

Whitewater Kayak Paddles

The shafts of whitewater kayak paddles are typically made up of fiberglass or carbon, and are much thicker than other shafts for extra durability and strength. The paddles blades for these paddles are wider and lightweight, but are not exceptionally strong. Whitewater kayak paddles tend to break even if you take good care of them, it is just a fact of whitewater kayaking. It is advisable to purchase a four piece shaft paddle for whitewater kayaking.

After reading this article, you should have enough basic knowledge about paddles to confidently go out and find the paddle that is going to do the best job for you, for the kind of kayaking you are interested in doing, and for the environment you are going to be kayaking in. Enjoy, and good luck finding your paddle!

Best Kayak Paddles for the Money

1. Carlisle Magic Plus Paddle

 

Carlisle Paddle Gear Magic Plus Kayak Paddle (Sunrise, 230 cm)
  • Glass-filled polypropylene blades are both lightweight and durable
  • Asymmetrical, slightly curved blade shape produces smooth, efficient strokes
  • Wrapped fiberglass shaft is lightweight yet strong; and more comfortable to hold in hot or cold temperatures

2. Advanced Elements Paddle

 

Sale
Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle (4 part)
  • Portable Kayak Paddle
  • Light-weight Kayak Paddle
  • Asymmetrical blades

3. SeaSense X1 Paddle

 

4. Intex Dual Purpose Paddle

 

Intex Dual Purpose Kayak Paddle/Boat Oars, 1 Pair, 96"
  • Combo paddle creates single paddle for kayak, double boat oars
  • 96-inch kayak paddle when connects; converts to two 48-inch oars
  • Lightweight, yet strong aluminum shaft

5. Solstice Swimline Paddle

 

Solstice by Swimline 4 piece Quick Release Paddle
  • New Solstice 4 piece quick release adjustable kayak
  • Made of lightweight performance aluminum
  • 86" assembled length

Your Ultimate Kayak Buying Guide

Have you ever wanted to glide across a serene lake or navigate the bumpy waters of winding rivers? If so, you may have just found your new favorite water sport!

Kayaking is a great sport for both experienced and inexperienced thrill seekers. Kayaking can be an individual or group activity and is popular because it’s easy to get started and can remain challenging as you become more confident and change the environment you are kayaking in.

The first step to the beginning of your kayaking adventure is getting your hands on the right gear. In order to kayak successfully, you will need a kayak (a small boat), a double-bladed oar and various safety aids. In this article, we are going to explore your options to help you find the gear that’s right for you.

How Much Money Are You Willing to Spend?

Water sport equipment does not come cheap, but buying sturdy and well made equipment are more likely to provide you with years of use and safety.

Kayaks can range in price from a single seater kayak costing $40 to in the thousands! The amount of money you are going to spend is really determined by the type of kayak you need.

Touring kayaks, inflatable kayaks, foldable kayaks, sit on or sit in kayaks are all going to vary in price as they are built from different materials. In addition to choosing your kayak you also need to consider how you are going to transport your kayak. (Are you going to buy a top of the range kayak rack?) Not to mention all of the accessories such as helmets and seats.

Deciding how much you are willing to spend is the first step in buying.

What Kind of Environment Are You Wanting to Kayak In?

Not all kayaks are created equal, just as not all rivers, coasts and lakes are created equal. Different environments present unique adventures and challenges on the water.

Lakes

Lakes are usually smooth and devoid of any bigger waves. Recreational kayaks are perfect for this more laid back adventure. Recreational kayaks can carry large amounts of cargo, depending on whether you choose a sit-on-top or sit-in recreational kayak. An inflatable recreational kayak will also be much more forgiving on your wallet.

Fishing kayaks are also perfect for spending a day on the lake. Fishing kayaks come with a large amount of space for storage of fishing or other equipment and are constructed with puncture proof materials.

Ocean

The ocean is one of the more unpredictable environments to kayak in. If you are venturing into the ocean it is advisable to look at purchasing a sea kayak. Sea kayaks are much longer than other kayaks, primarily for the purpose of tracking, which is the ability to travel in a straight line for long stretches of water.

Touring kayaks are a great kayak for use in the ocean due to its length. The long touring kayaks are more stable in rough waters.

Rivers

Rivers can be individually very different and therefore may require different vessels. White water kayaks are perfect for rougher rivers and for navigating rivers that include vertical drops, shallow runs and high volume waters. White water kayaks also perform well in rivers that are incredibly rocky. These kayaks will usually come equipped with thigh braces, foot braces and specialized moulding in the seat for extra stability, they will also be well equipped with safety features due to the more dangerous nature of kayaking on extreme rivers.

Touring kayaks are good for navigating rapids due to their stability and performance. Touring kayaks also have extra storage compartments. Because of the storage capabilities of touring kayaks, they are perfect for taking longer trips along rivers. Touring kayaks are usually made from more flexible materials which can be more forgiving on the hull if it were to be dragged or dropped over rocks on the river bed.

Are You Kayaking Alone or With Friends?

Kayaks are designed to be able to seat one to three people and kayaking can be a social sport!

Remember to take the weight of whoever you are looking to kayak with into consideration when purchasing a kayak. The total weight capacity will need to also include the weight of the gear that you and your partner or partners are loading into the kayak.

Tandem kayaks are a good choice if you wish to use your time kayaking for quality bonding time with friends or family. Tandem kayaking can be difficult to master at first as you need to be in sync with your partners but kayaking with a partner can be useful in such instances as one partner not being fit or strong enough to kayak for long periods of time. Besides that, they are also fun and allow for conversation during your kayaking.

Tandem kayaks do however limit your freedom on the water. Tandem kayaks can also be much more expensive than single kayaks, in some cases, a tandem kayak can be even more expensive than two single kayaks.

If you are torn between the two, you can invest in a tandem to solo conversion kayak. These kayaks have have movable seats which allow you to essentially convert your kayak to a single or tandem using a little elbow grease. The best of both worlds for those who want to do both!

Do You Want to Sit-On-Top or Sit-In Your Kayak?

Neither a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak is better than the other, they are just different and one will surely be more tailored to your personal requirements for a kayak.

Sit-on-top kayak

If you are looking for a kayak that is easier to use and not as time consuming to set up, a sit on top kayak is perfect for you. A sit-on-top kayak is easy to get onto as you do what the name says, and just sit on top of it.

Sit-on-top kayaks are heavier than sit-in kayaks which in turn make them sturdier. They are much more difficult to flip over and even if that does happen, they are self draining or self bailing as sit-on-top kayaks are hollow inside and fashioned with holes, known as scupper holes, which work to automatically drain any water the kayak may take on. The heaviness that makes sit-on-top kayaks so stable does also mean, however, that they are much more difficult to transport and these kayaks are much more likely to be negatively affected by the wind when on the water.

If you live near and are going kayaking in warmer weather and water then a sit-on-top kayak is a good choice as you will inevitably get wet when using one. Getting wet can be a pro or con depending on what you enjoy, just remember to get a waterproof bag for your valuables and electronics when using a sit-on-top kayak!

The cargo areas in sit-on-top kayaks are very spacious and easy to access.

Sit-in kayak

If you are kayaking in a colder climate and thus colder waters, you may prefer a sit-in kayak. As the name suggests, you sit inside this kayak as opposed to on top of it. This makes getting in and out of the kayak a bit more time consuming. Sit-in kayaks are able to fit a spray skirt, or a spray deck. A spray skirt is a considerably flexible and waterproof cover that fits into your boat, covering you and keeping you dry and warm.

Sit-in kayaks are much lighter than sit-on-top kayaks and are therefore much easier to carry and transport. Sit-in kayaks do however need to be manually pumped with a handheld bilge pump if they flood. You can protect against flooding by investing in and using a spray skirt when kayaking.

You will find a sit-in kayak to be more efficient to paddle and less sensitive to strong winds. Sitting lower inside the kayak makes it more difficult for you to be blown off of your kayak. The position of your body in a sit-in kayak also allows for greater manual control in rougher waters, as well as stronger and more efficient oar strokes.

There is not much room in a sit-in kayak for storage.

Both sit-on-top kayaks and sit-in kayaks are sturdy and safe.

Ready to select a kayak? Visit our guide on the best beginner kayaks.

Last Steps Before Beginning Your Kayaking Adventure Begins!

Water sports are fun but have the potential to be dangerous and it is important to have a responsible attitude about engaging in them. Along with your kayak and oar, these are a few accessories to consider. If you haven’t already, check out our comprehensive breakdown on what to wear when kayaking.

Helmet

A helmet will protect against head injuries in the event of your kayak capsizing. Helmets should always be worn when kayaking, especially when attempting to kayak down rapid or on rough waters.

Seat

If you are going to be using a sit-in kayak, a seat can make your time in your kayak more comfortable.

RELATED: Most Comfortable Kayak Seat

Skirt

To be used with a sit-in kayak. Using a skirt can protect against low temperatures and the flooding of your kayak.

Waterproof bag

Most kayaks have adequate and dry storage space but the waterproof bag adds extra layer of protection to sensitive possessions such as cellular phones or remote entry car keys.

First Aid kit

First aid kits are an important part of your gear when heading out into any waters. Make sure your first aid kit is stored in a waterproof bag.

It is worth noting that it is possible to rent kayaks or kayaking gear to get a feel for the product for making a purchase. In order to have a safe and fun kayaking experience it is important to do the research and determine which model of boat you need.

Personal Flotation Device

Safety always comes first when we enter an unfamiliar body of water. Wearing a life vest may one day be the difference between enjoying your day or a tragic event.

RELATED: Best Life Vests

Ready to Check Out Kayaks?

Here are relevant kayak review guides you might be interested in:

Reviewing the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Comfortable for anyone: Kayak includes an adjustable inflatable seat with backrest; Cockpit designed for comfort and space
  • Dimensions: Inflated size 10 feet 3 x 3 feet x 1 feet 8 inch; Maximum weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • Directional stability: Removable SKEG for directional stability

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is the big brother of the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak (read the K1 review here), and just like it’s little brother, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is becoming increasingly popular.

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is a family friendly, two person inflatable kayak.

Make up of the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is a large inflatable, two seater kayak that is made up of rugged 30 gauge vinyl.

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is a bigger boat. The kayak sits at a length of 123 inches (or just over 3 metres), at a width of 36 inches (or just under 1 metre), and at a height of 20 inches (or just over half a metre). The kayak weighs about 32 pounds (or about 14 and a half kilograms) and has an impressive weight capacity of 350 pounds (or just under 159 kilograms).

This kayak is also fitted with grip lines on either side of it.

Pros of the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is certainly being looked at as a great family oriented inflatable kayak, perfect for days on the lake. Let’s look at a few of the pros of this tandem kayak.

It’s Safe

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is colored brightly yellow, some people may think that this makes the kayak kind of an eye sore, but the bright yellow rugged 30 gauge vinyl that the kayak is made of is actually a safety feature. When you are out on the water, you will be highly visible to other kayakers out on the water.

Another safety aspect of this kayak, is that it is quite difficult to flip, even when entering and exiting the kayak. The kayak is made up of two separate air chambers, meaning that if you do happen to get puncture or a tear in your kayak, only one chamber will deflate, making it possible for you to still safely reach the shore where you can oatch the kayak’s rugges 30 gauge vinyl exterior.

The Buoyancy Is Great

Of course with any inflatable kayak, you would hope that the buoyancy would be good! But the buoyancy of the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is exceptional for a tandem, inflatable kayak that can hold as much weight as it can.

The kayak is fitted with an inflatable I-beam floor which just adds to the buoyancy factor.

It Come With A Lot Of Accessories

When you purchase the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, you are purchasing more than just a tandem inflatable kayak. This kayak is sold with two 86 inch aluminum oars, a very informational owner’s manual, a repair patch kit for when you need an emergency fix, a U.S. Coast Guard ID, a hand manual pump for inflating your kayak, and grab lines that are attached to each side of the boat for easy grip and transportation of the kayak.

The accessories are all included in the already very reasonable price of the kayak.

It’s Incredibly Spacious And Can Carry A Lot Of Weight

As we mentioned above, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak can handle 350 pounds, which is absolutely perfect and even impressive for an inflatable two person kayak. This kayak is also incredibly spacious, meaning that you have more than enough surface area of the kayak floor to fill up with yourself, a friend and gear to test out that weight capacity!

The Value For Money Is Great

The retail price for the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is just under $120 US. That’s right, this comfortable, spacious, two person seater, easy to transport as well as inflate and deflate, highly rated kayak that comes with oars, a pump and grip lines will cost you just less than $120.

It Is Really Comfortable

Comfort is probably one of the biggest draws of the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak! Unlike most inflatable tandem kayaks which concentrate much more on trying to fit two people and some gear into it, this kayak is comfort centred, and has therefore been constructed in a way that is super spacious. There is more than enough space for gear and a lot of leg room.

The seats that are fitted (but removable) into the inflatable tandem kayak, are inflatable as well, and are fitted with backrests. The level of comfort of the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is so high that you will find yourself spending hours and hours out on the water without even thinking about discomfort.

It Is Lightweight And Easy To Transport

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is lightweight both when it is deflated and inflated. Being so lightweight means that paddling the tandem kayak, even by yourself, is not very strenuous. This is perfect for when you’re out on the lake with someone who tires easily.

Weighing only 32 pounds (or about 14 and a half kilograms) when deflated, makes loading this kayak into the back of your car (yes, a car, no need for a large vehicle to transport this kayak) really easy! The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is fitted with Boston valves on each side of the kayak, meaning that inflation and deflation is quick and easy.

It Is Rigid And Sturdy

If you think that sturdy and rigid are not words usually associated with an inflatable kayak, you have never heard of the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak! The inflatable I-beam flooring of the kayak is not only good for buoyancy, but it lends itself to the rigidity and sturdiness of the kayak. The sturdiness of this kayak is also due to the rugged 30 gauge vinyl it is made up of. This 30 gauge vinyl has gotten some rave reviews as the boat can be dragged over rock beds without any tears occurring.

It Has A Removable Skeg

The removable skeg of the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak (along with the streamlined design of the kayak) makes this boat a very easy steer. The removable skeg makes this kayak a dream of directional stability.

The Seats Are Removable And Adjustable

So we know that the seats are inflatable and really comfortable, but that’s not all! The seats of the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak are not only adjustable, but they are altogether removable. The seats are attached to the bottom of the kayak by some heavy duty velcro, so removing or adjusting them is a breeze. So, why has this aspect of the kayak made it onto the pros list? If you are going to be using your kayak for lake fishing or you want to use it as a solo instead of a tandem, you can remove one of the seats which will give a lot of extra space.

Cons of the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

While the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak has been receiving a lot of positive reviews, it’s shortcomings have also been reported, and before you purchase a kayak, you should always look at the cons of the boat, too. Let’s get right into the cons of the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak.

This Kayak Is Not Made For Rough Water

This may not be too much of a drawback for you if you are planning on using this kayak to spend time with your family, especially if you have younger friends, but it is definitely worth mentioning. While this kayak is definitely sturdy, it will not fare well on bigger waves and strong currents.

The Oars Included Are Not Adjustable

So as we have mentioned above in the pros list, Intex Explorer K2 Kayak comes with two 86 inch aluminum oars, which is awesome because, free stuff, right? The problem with these oars is that they are not adjustable. Being a family oriented, tandem inflatable kayak, this is a bit of a let down as some people are going to want to get out onto the water with their kids, and the 86 inch oars may be too large and uncomfortable for kids to paddle with.

The Kayak Could Overinflate On Sunny Days

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak has a boat bottom that is black in color, and as we know, black tends to attract and absorb sunlight much more than any other color. If you are out paddling on a really sunny day (which let’s face it, is the best time to get the whole family out onto the water), your kayak may absorb a lot of the sun, and will begin to expand, because that’s what heat does to inflatable kayaks! The reason that overinflation of this kayak is on the cons list, is that when it does overinflate, the chances of your kayak’s exterior tearing goes up.

Our Final Thoughts

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is affordable and functional. When you look at the safety aspects, as well as how sturdy and reliable this tandem kayak is, the small list of cons don’t seem to be anything to be swayed by.

This is a really good kayak for anyone who is wanted to really get started in the world of tandem kayaking, or if you have friends and family that enjoy spending some relaxing time out on the lake together!

Reviewing the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

Sale
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Nimble, durable kayak is made of durable welded material with eye catching graphics for added safety on the lake or slow moving river
  • Cockpit is designed for comfort and maximized space, and inflatable I beam floors add stability. Removable skeg provides exceptional directional movement
  • Cargo net to store extra gear, and grab line on both ends of kayak; Inflatable seat with backrest

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is a perfect example of how kayaks can be top quality and robust even when not made out of harder materials.

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is a bright, inflatable single person kayak that is best suited to lakes, ponds and calmer rivers. With a more than reasonable retail price and being a comfortable ride, this kayak is becoming quite popular. But is it the right kayak for you, let’s take a closer look and find out.

Design and Makeup of the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is designed to be streamlined, a lot easier to paddle, and effective on the water.

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is 9 feet in length, and 2 feet and 6 inches in width, and sits at a height of fifteen inches. The inflatable kayak is constructed of welded 30 gauge PVC vinyl.

This inflatable kayak can hold up to 220 pounds (or 100 kgs), and can very comfortable seat and support one adult person.

Pros of the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak has been receiving a wave of positive reviews, but is it all that it is chalked up to be? Let’s take a close look at the positive points of this inflatable kayak.

It’s Comfortable

Being in a comfortable kayak means that you can be on the water for much longer, and that the time that you spend out on the water is enjoyable, and this inflatable kayak is nothing if not comfortable! The floor of the kayak is a comfortable, inflatable I-beam floor. The cockpit of the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is spacious and specifically designed for comfort during longer journeys.

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak also comes with an inflatable seat, with a backrest, for that extra added comfort. The inflatable seat is also adjustable.

It’s Incredibly Lightweight And Easily Portable

This one may seem obvious to you, but the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is beyond easy to transport. When it is not inflated, the complete weight of this kayak is just under 28 pounds (or about 12 kilograms). You can pretty much throw this kayak into the back of your car, no matter how small your car is, and be on your way. Just don’t forget your pump!

If you do choose to inflate it before heading out, it can be easily secured to the roof of your car as it really is quite easy to hoist up.

Once your day on the water is done, you can just use the kayak’s Boston valve to deflate it (it deflates in minutes), and then use the kayak’s all-around grab line to tow it out of the water. Easy as that!

It Has A Removable Skeg

The skeg of the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is very easily removable by a single kayaker. The reason that this aspect of the kayak lands in the pro list, is that removing the skeg results in much better directional movement as well as directional stability, when out on the water.

It’s Stable

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is built to be stable. You are able to sit in whatever position suits you and you are able to stand up in the kayak without any trouble. The inflatable I-beam floor of this kayak is comfortable but also rigid, lending itself to the stability of the kayak.

It’s Incredibly Buoyant

So being an inflatable kayak, you may think this is totally obvious and not really worth even mentioning because that is totally a given with inflatable kayaks, but the buoyancy of the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is really quite remarkable. Once again it is the I-beam inflatable floor of the kayak that not only makes it stable, but boosts buoyancy.

It’s Safe

When you buy the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, you get a lot of gear with it, and one of the accessories you will receive is a repair patch kit. Having this kit, that is specifically sold with your kayak so you know it’ll do the job, is perfect for any emergency repairs that need to be done.

Another safety aspect of this kayak is that the graphics printed on the vinyl it is made up of are bright and definitely eye catching! The reason that the aesthetic appearance of the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is a pro in terms of safety, is that when you are in this kayak, you will be easy to spot which means that other kayakers will see you coming from a mile away, and you will be very unlikely to be in any kind of collision.

It’s Seriously Affordable

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak runs for around just under $70 US. No, you didn’t read that wrong, yes, it’s available for just under $70. The price is one of the biggest reasons that this kayak is so popular, but the price is actually just the cherry on top. This is a seriously well rounded kayak, so much so that the price seems a little hard to believe.

It’s Durable

So the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is made of 30 gauge PVC vinyl. The fact that it’s an affordable, inflatable kayak and that it’s constructed of vinyl may not inspire confidence in it durability, but don’t get it twisted, this kayak is solid. Customers have reported that even after the kayak has been dragged over rocks on multiple occasions, they have not had any troubles with ripping or tearing.

It Comes With A Lot Of Add Ons

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, great enough by itself, but as we have mentioned above, it comes with so many add ons! When you purchase this kayak you will also receive an Intex Double Quick II High-Output Hand Air manual pump for inflating the kayak, a kayak repair patch kit in case of punctures to the vinyl, a cargo net, a storage bag, a U.S. Coast Guard ID and last but not least, a collapsible (space saver, anyone?) 83 inch aluminum oar with rubberized hand grips, grab lines that are attached to either side of the kayak and make carrying the kayak easy, and a Boston valve which is located on the main hull chamber, making inflating and deflating the kayak a piece of pie.

The cargo net that comes with this kayak is perfect for storing gear. This will keep your cock pit from becoming too cluttered. We think that whenever you get extra accessories when purchasing a kayak, it’s a win and should definitely go into the pros list!

Cons of the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

No kayak is perfect! Let’s turn our attention to the more negative side of the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak.

The Paddles Included Are Not High Quality

As we have mentioned above, when you purchase the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak you get a few add ons, like a kayak repair patch kit and an 83 inch aluminum oar. The oar has been getting a bit of negative feedback from customers and here’s why; more than a few owners of this kayak have found that the quality of the oar is quite low, and some of them have even had the oar break on their first outing. Ouch. We recommend investing in a different, stronger oar before setting out on this kayak!

It Cannot Be Used On All Water Conditions

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is not really an any conditions kind of kayak. It is an inflatable and it is very lightweight. While it is definitely durable and well made, it does not fare very well on the choppy water of the ocean, or in rivers that contain rapids. This low profile of this kayak means that it is best suited to waters that are much more still.

The Kayak Comes With A Manual Pump, Not An Electric Pump

Can you tell that we’re really nitpicking here? The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak comes with a manual pump that you are able to inflate your kayak with. If you do not want to spend the time or energy on inflating the kayak, you will need to spend a little more money on an electric pump, something that won’t burn too much of a hole in your wallet and that we think is definitely worth it, seeing as the kayak itself is relatively inexpensive.

Our Final Thoughts

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is really setting the bar very high in the category of inflatable kayak. When looking at this kayak from an impartial perspective, we think that the huge gap in the numbers of pros and cons really speak for themselves, basically, you have so many reasons to get out and try this sporty inflatable kayak, and three reasons not to.

If you are a beginner, and are just starting out into the exciting and adventurous world of kayaking, you will probably find that the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is the perfect kayak for you!

Top Rated Beginner Kayaks

So you’ve decided to take up kayaking! Kayaking is an invigorating sport that be enjoyed alone or with friends. Kayaking allows you to get closer to nature from a unique angle. We’re certain that after your first glide out on the water, you’ll be hooked!

Before you can get to exploring, gliding, splashing and having fun, you need to get yourself a kayak. Seems simple, right? But not all kayaks are created equal.

Buying your first kayak, however, can be quite intimidating. There are so many types of kayaks, brands, paddles and various other accessories out there that it can become quite overwhelming. There are vast differences in prices of kayaks as well as the features of different kayaks and to make the best purchase for the type of kayaking you are looking to do, you need to do some research.

Reviews of the Best Kayaks for Beginners

1. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two

 

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Envy, 12 Feet
  • Enjoy sun and surf with a friend or a furry companion with the kayak's three seating positions, which support solo, tandem, or tandem paddling with a child or pet.
  • A pair of Comfort Plus seats provide four-way adjustability, generating a custom fit and greater slip prevention over molded seats.
  • Patented overlapping foot wells allow center-seated paddlers to settle in and brace their feet comfortably. Hatches - None

This is a great kayak for anyone looking to get started in the world of tandem kayaking. This kayak is very lightweight for it’s size, and versatile in the fact that you can use this kayak as a one or two person kayak.

The seat welds are moulded in and the foot holds are adjustable (the kayak has overlapping footwells). This kayak is easily transportable due to its side carry handles. This kayak is great for kayak surfing or for kayaking on stiller rivers and lakes.

2. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1 Person Kayak

 

Sale
Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak Blue, 8'7" x 3'
  • 5-minute setup lets you spend more time on the water
  • Easy-to-carry backpack system turns into the seat
  • 21-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use

This inflatable one person kayak can hold up to 400 pounds which is impressive! This kayak is beyond easy to transport as it can actually be in a backpack. The material (21 gauge PVC vinyl) of this kayak is very durable despite being inflatable.

This inflatable and very comfortable kayak is perfect for adult kayaking beginners.

3. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

 

Sale
Sevylor Coleman Colorado™ 2-Person Fishing Kayak
  • 18-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use , NMMA certified
  • 1000D tarpaulin bottom and 840D nylon cover provide durable protection from punctures
  • Multiple air chambers allow another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured

Another great inflatable starter kayak from Coleman, this 2-person fishing kayak is perfect for tandem kayaking but can also easily be used as a solo kayak. This kayak is also made up of various inflatable sections, meaning that if one section becomes damaged or punctured, your kayak will stay afloat!

This kayak is perfect for those who want to start kayaking specifically to fish, as it has built in rod holders. A Sevylor trolling motor can also easily be mounted onto this kayak.

4. Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-in Kayak

 

Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-in Kayak (Lime, 10-Feet)
  • Large open cockpit with adjustable padded seat with high back support
  • Convenient gear storage with shock cord deck rigging
  • Adjustable foot braces

For those looking for a sit-in kayak. The Sun Dolphin Aruba is a recreational kayak (the largest selling kind of kayak in the world) that was specifically crafted as an entry level river kayak for those new to the sport.

The kayak is made of plastic and is both strong and well structured as well as lightweight, a great pro for newcomers. This kayak comes with built in spray deflectors which is part of what makes it the perfect beginner kayak for use on lakes and rivers. The cockpit is large making getting in and out of this sit-in much easier and the cockpit is spacious and fitted with foot braces.

5. Emotion Spitfire Sit-on-top Kayak

 

eMotion Spitfire Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak, Yellow, 12'
  • Built in padded crs + ultra Lite seats. Two Quick release seat backs with padding
  • Rear tank well with cargo net lacing. Skeg wheel for enhanced tracking & easy transportation. Storage hatch for added storage beneath the deck
  • Molded-in freedom footwells for comfort and secure foot bracing. Four carry handles to assist in transport

For those looking for a sit-on-top kayak. The reviews for this kayak as a beginner kayak is off the charts. This boat is well crafted and stable, as well as short and light weight. This kayak is comfortable, it is equipped with removable padded seating and moulded footwells.

This kayak is also great for those just getting into the sport, who do not have roof racks yet, as it can easily fit into the back of a van or a SUV.

What to Consider when Buying Your First Kayak

Before you splash out on a kayak, as it can be an expensive purchase, you need to ask yourself a few questions. The answers to the questions below will guide you to the perfect kayak.

Are you kayaking on the sea, in rivers or lakes?

There are specialized kayaks for every environment you could possibly kayak in. Some kayaks are versatile and work well in various environments, and others are much more specified.

How much money do you want to spend?

Your budget plays a big part in the type of kayak, and the type of features you will be able to get.

Usually when you start out in a new sport, you do not go for the priciest equipment available, because for all you know, you might not even enjoy the sport that much and might even decide that you do not want to continue with it (most likely not with kayaking! But, I digress).

If you do have a little experience, you may want to spend more on your kayak.

How often are you going to use your kayak?

Once again, if you plan on using your kayak often, you would do better to spend a bit more on it. Maybe look into the material your preferred kayak is made of and find a more durable one, as wear and tear is inevitable with any sporting equipment.

Are you kayaking alone or with friends?

If you are going to be kayaking with family or friends or even taking your furry friend out on the water with you, you will obviously need to be looking at a tandem kayak instead of a single seater. The tandem kayak market is large, there are even some kayaks out there that can be converted from a tandem to a single. There are many options and if you do the research you will find the kayak that suits your needs.

How heavy are you?

You need to figure out much you weigh and how much any gear, food, water etc you would be taking on your kayaking trip with you would weigh. If you are heavier (or kayaking with a friend or a dog), you will obviously need a bigger, sturdier kayak.

How much storage space do you need?

Different kayaks have different amounts of storage space. If you are going to be using your kayak for longer trips, to get to camping areas or for fishing, you should be looking at kayaks that have adequate built in storage spaces.

How will you be transporting your kayak?

You don’t have to drive a 4×4 to transport a kayak, but it sure helps! Some of these boats can be more than a little heavy! The method in which you will be transporting your kayak dictates what type of material it is made up of and added features you can look at when buying one.

Inflatable kayaks are also a great option for newcomers to the sport. They are easily transportable and you can get a great idea of what works for you before committing to a more expensive purchase.

Do you want a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak?

The difference in these types of kayaks is fairly obvious from the name. You sit on top of the one, and you sit inside of the other. So which do you need for what?

  • Sit-in kayak: if you are going to be kayaking in colder environments, this is the kayak for you as you are less likely to get wet. These kayaks are stable and very roomy, but they take more effort to get in and out of. Sit-in kayaks are also prone to flooding.
  • Sit-on-top kayak: if you are kayaking in a more tropical climate, this is the boat for you. They are easy to get on to but you will get wet. These boats have holes for draining so you do not have to worry about the kayak flooding.

Now that you have answered these questions, you should have a more clear idea and direction on the type of boat you will need. Take this information with you online or to your nearest sporting goods store and you should be the proud owner of your perfect kayak in no time!

How to Use Your New Kayak

If you are a total newcomer to the world of kayaking and have absolutely no idea how to actually get out onto the water and use your kayak, don’t worry! The beginning steps are easily learned and there is a wealth of information available. Below we have compiled a shortlist of a few of the key starting practices.

Learn how to properly launch your kayak

The first step is getting your boat into the water. How you will launch your kayak will depend on how long, wide and heavy your kayak is, and whether it is inflatable or not. Information on launching kayaks exclusive to your kayak are all available online.

Learn how to get in and out of a kayak

If you make up your mind to buy a sit-in kayak, you will need to learn how to easily and safely get in and out of your kayak. There are hundreds of videos online that give you step by step visual examples of this process.

Learn proper techniques for paddling your kayak

Paddling is arguably the most important aspect of kayaking. If you do not know how to paddle properly, you will not enjoy your kayaking experience. Videos and paddling instructors are your best bet for learning proper techniques for the paddle you have chosen.

Learn how to adjust your kayak properly to your body

Your seat and footwells can be adjusted to aid you in your kayaking. Your kayak being properly adjusted can put you in the correct physical position to make your paddling easier and more effective.

The most responsible action to take before heading out onto the water is to go for a kayaking lesson, if possible. Kayaking instructors are passionate and knowledgeable, and will give you the best possible advice.

Important Tools and Accessories for Your First Kayak

While deciding on a kayak is the most important step, you are not ready to get onto the water unless you have all of your accessories. Kayaking is an inherently more dangerous sport, so you need to come prepared!

A Paddle

A paddle is the most important tool you will need to be able to kayak, without it, you literally cannot go anywhere. A good and high quality paddle will actually make the action of paddling less strenuous for you. The length and narrowness of the right paddle for you will also depend on the type of kayaking you will be doing.

After equipping yourself with a good paddle, it’s all about technique, so be sure to do your homework via books and videos to make sure you are getting the most out of your kayaking experience.

A First Aid Kit

The importance of a first aid can not be overstated, especially if you are new to kayaking and being on the water in general. You should never go out onto the water without a first aid kit and a clear knowledge on how to use the materials in your first aid kit.

A Helmet

As mentioned above, there are many types of kayaking to be done. White water kayaking is quite the adrenaline rush and is a little more dangerous in nature than say touring or fishing kayaking. If you intend to white water kayak, your helmet is your best friend. This is definitely one of those accessories that you splurge on, for your own safety.

A Personal Flotation Device

You should never go out onto the water without one of these. Make sure to get extra if you intend to kayak with others, especially children. They even make ones for dogs!

A Whistle

Stow this away in your first aid kit. You never know when disaster could stroke and a whistle could mean the difference between being located or not in such a time.

A Pump and a Sponge

Unwanted water in your kayak is a problem. If you are using a sit-in kayak then you are most likely going to experience flooding at some stage. So you have to consider how you are going to be pumping the water out of your kayak. These pumps and sponges are easy to use and relatively inexpensive.

If you are using a sit-in kayak then a pump and sponge are considered to be essential safety equipment.

A Rope or a Cord

Ropes and bungee cords can be used to perform various useful tasks when it comes to kayaking. From securing your gear onto your boat or securing your kayak to your vehicle for transportation, to being needed in an emergency, you should always have some extra rope or bungee cord stowed away in your kayak.

Safety and Instructional Books and Videos

Before beginning your journey into the exciting and seriously fun world of kayaking, you really need to get yourself acquainted with the many techniques and safety aspects of the sport.

There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of resources for you to check out. Highly rated books and DVDs created by experienced professionals are available for viewing or purchasing online.

Do your homework to ensure a safe kayaking adventure for you and your loved ones!

Top Rated Recreational Kayaks

Spending a few hours of your weekend gliding over the waters of a lake or a river in a recreational kayak is such a fun and relaxing way to unplug and to get back into touch with nature!

A recreational kayak is a kayak made specifically for those who like to paddle more casually. These kayaks are best suited for stiller or more gentle waters like lakes and calmer rivers.

This type of kayak are the largest selling style, coming in various forms. Whether you are looking for a kayak for solo adventures or to paddle with friends, owning one with a lot of leg space and comfort is ideal.

If you are new to kayaks, it can be a bit intimidating as there are so many different makes and models out there. This buyer’s guide should give you a better idea of what to look out for when shopping around.

A Few of the Best Recreational Kayak

Below we have included some information on what we consider to be some of the most impressive recreational kayaks available right now.

1. Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Recreational Kayak

 

Wilderness Systems 9730505054 PUNGO 120 Kayaks, Mango, 12'
  • The best-selling Pungo is light enough to handle with ease
  • Room to keep plenty of gear and valuables safe and dry in the stern of your kayak
  • Fully adjustable seat with mesh fabric for greater airflow

This recreational kayak offers a lot of storage space and is seriously comfortable! Perfect for calmer waters, it’s speed is matched by its stability.

2. Dagger Zydeco 9.0 Kayak

 

Dagger Kayaks Zydeco 9.0 Kayak, Molten
  • CFS-R Seating System
  • Bungee Deck Rigging
  • Paddle Park

If you are looking for something fast, this recreational kayak is for you. As well as being easily maneuverable and speedy, this kayak is also comfortable and has a spacious hull.

3. Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135T Tandem Recreational Kayak

 

Wilderness Systems Pamlico 135 | Sit Inside Recreational Kayak | Tandem Kayak | 13' 6" | Mango
  • This best-selling tandem offers performance for pairs
  • Converts with ease to solo use for a great day on the water
  • Features a signature rounded hull that delivers swift acceleration, helping you paddle longer distances faster

This tandem recreational kayak has been receiving rave reviews which is probably due to the fact that this kayak is totally adjustable. This is the perfect kayak for you and your partner if you guys are serious about performance on the water.

4. Hurricane Skimmer 116 Sit-On-Top Kayak

 

Weighing in at only 42 pounds (or just under 20 kilograms), this sit-on-top recreational kayak is lightweight and really easy to transport and to get out onto the water, and once you’re out there, it performs. This kayak is perfect for slightly choppier water. It is also available in a range of really nice colours.

5. Dagger Roam 11.5 Sit-On-Top Kayak

 

Dagger roam Adventure Multi-Water Sit-on-Top Kayak - 11.5, Freeze
  • A cross-over kayak for outdoor enthusiasts who need performance and versatility
  • Capable of running class III rivers
  • Outfitted with the comfortable Contour surround seat

This sit-on-top recreational kayak comes with thigh straps making it a really stable as well as comfortable. This kayak has hatches in the bow and stern, soft tough and rigid carry handles, an adjustable skeg system, and it is fitted with self-bailing scupper holes.This is definitely a kayak for the adventurous!

6. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Sit-On-Top Kayak

 

Wilderness Systems 9750105110 Tarpon 100 Kayaks, Midnight, 10'
  • Versatile sit-on-top offers stunning performance for surf play, ponds, lakes, and bays
  • Larger tankwell offers more capacity than previous 10-foot models
  • Phase 3 AirPro seating system

This recreational sit-on-top kayak is a master of maneuverability and glide. This kayak is quite spacious for a sit-on-top kayak, and there is ample space for any gear you may have. This kayak can hold up to 350 pounds (or 159 kilograms).

7. Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Inflatable Kayak

 

Advanced Elements AE1012-R AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
  • Built-in aluminum ribs define the bow and stern and improve tracking
  • 3 layers of material for extreme puncture resistance
  • PreAssembled at the factory. Simply unfold, inflate and attach the seat

This inflatable recreational kayak is rugged and obviously very lightweight. This kayak is really cool as it is easily converted from a solo to a tandem. The open deck design makes it easy to hop in and out of the spacious hull. This kayak is comfortable and impressively durable for an inflatable kayak.

There is also a gold/blue version of this kayak.

8. Tributary Tomcat Inflatable Kayak

 

AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak-Red
  • Aircell System, 30 ounce/500 denier outer PVC tubes, 32 ounce/1000 denier outer PVC floor
  • Airtight 20-gauge inner vinyl bladders w/ double-zipper access, double top-stitched seams
  • 3 air chambers with Summit II valves, adjustable inflatable seat

This inflatable recreational kayak is a really awesome entry level kayak. The kayak is made up of rugged tear-resistant PVC. The inflatable seats can be moved and are comfortable, and the kayak has a self bailing floor.

What Is a Recreational Kayak?

A recreational kayak is a kayak made specifically for those who like to paddle more casually. These kayaks are best suited for stiller or more gentle waters like lakes and calmer rivers. Recreational kayaks are the largest selling style of kayaks, and they come in various forms. Whether you are looking for a recreational kayak for solo kayaking, kayaking with friends, one with a lot of space, or a comfortable one perfect for an entire day out on the water, a cheaper one or one that is easy to transport, there is a perfect one out there for you!

If you are new to the world of recreational kayaks, it can be a bit intimidating as there are so many different makes and models out there. Once you are done with this article, you should have a better idea of what you should be looking for.

Sit-On-Top vs. Sit-In Kayaks

Deciding between a sit-on-top kayak and a sit-in kayak (literally a kayak that you sit on top of, and a kayak that you inside of) depends heavily on the climate that you are going kayaking in. If you are in a warm and tropical climate with warmer waters, you might enjoy the sit-on-top as you can get a little wet while you’re kayaking! If you live in a cooler climate with colder waters, you would probably prefer the sit-in, as it keeps getting wet to a minimum.

Sit-in kayaks have a lot more storage space, as you sit inside and therefore have access to the entire hull, whereas sit-on kayaks have way less storage space as they molded tops, meaning that your gear will be exposed to the elements. Sit-on-top kayaks are also known to be a bit slower and more difficult to paddle than sit-in kayaks, although sit-in kayaks are more prone to flooding than sit-on-top kayaks.

Rigid vs. Inflatable Kayaks

Your decision between a rigid or inflatable kayak really comes down to the price, the size and the maintenance. Inflatable kayaks are generally cheaper than rigid kayaks, although the really great quality inflatable kayaks can be just as expensive as a rigid kayak. Rigid kayaks are much heavier than inflatable kayaks and are more difficult to transport, whereas inflatable kayaks are quite light can be deflated for easy transportation. Inflatable kayaks need to be inflated and deflated every time that you use them, and each time could result in a tear or a puncture which you will have to patch, whereas rigid kayaks (unless it is made of wood) require very little maintenance.

Solo vs. Tandem Kayaks

Kayaking with friends, family or even your dog is an awesome way to get in some quality time! Or perhaps you enjoy the solitary peace of being out on the water by yourself. Either way, there is a recreational kayak that fits your kayaking needs completely. Consider whether you are going to be spending more time kayaking alone or with others to help you decide between a solo or tandem kayak.

Storage Capacity

If you are going to be using your recreational kayak for long days on the water, for some fishing or for kayak camping, you are going to need quite a bit of space! Different kayaks have different weight capacities and different sized hulls with more or less available storage space. Exactly how important storage space is for you will narrow your search for your perfect recreational kayak.