Thursday, January 19, 2012

Short or mini kayaks? I saw one about 4'-5' long... What are they called? Are they hard to use? Slow? Price?

The shortest kayaks I know of are just under 6' long. They're whitewater play boats, designed to do all sorts of tricks, flips, and aerials. Here's a video Eric Jackson, one of the best playboaters in the world, putting one through its paces:鈥?/a>

Hard to use? It does take a lot of skill and practice to pull off those kind of moves. But the newer model playboats are pretty user-friendly as far as just running whitewater. Slow? Yes. Not a good choice for paddling long distances on lakes, oceans, or calm rivers. Price? Retail price for a new one is usually $900-1000; used ones are considerably cheaper.

Overall, it's a good choice for an ambitious beginning whitewater kayaker or one with more experience. Not so good for other purposes.

What length is considered a short kayak?

My sister and I just purchased a future beach trophy 126 and fusion 124 to get into the sport. Will these kayaks work okay on coastal waters or should they stay in lakes? What is typically a decent length for a kayak? Thanks in advance!What length is considered a short kayak?
These are both 10 foot kayaks and are considered short recreational boats for fishing and flatwater paddling in protected waters like small lakes and slowmoving rivers. They are not safe for coastal waters for a number of reasons. One is they have yawning large cockpits that allow the boat to quickly fill with water. You really need a sprayskirt if you are going to be on the ocean in a sit-inside kayak. There are some available for boats like these but they don't work well because water pools on the large surface area and tends to collapse the deck and flood the kayak anyway. Second, they don't have sealed bow and stern bulkheads to keep the boats from swamping and sinking. Three, they are too short and wide to track well and paddle efficiently in wind, current and swells. You can easily be swept offshore in one of these things and be unable to make it back to land no matter how hard you paddle. Also, though most beginners think boats like this are great because their flat bottoms and wide width makes them feel more stable in calm water, the fact is that if they are hit with a large enough boat wake or wave broadside they will flip over in a heartbeat. Flipping back over and emptying such a boat with a hand pump and re-entering it is very difficult, if not impossible, in some conditions. Shorter kayaks also have a lower upper limit on the speed at which they can be paddled -- it is simple physics, a longer water waterline is a faster boat.

Ocean worthy sea touring kayaks typically are 14' to 18' long (surf skis are even longer) and less than 25" wide with small cockpits that fit a spray skirt and sealed bulkheads. Many also include a drop down skeg or rudder to improve tracking in following seas. They will cut through waves rather than get bounced around by them and can be rolled back up by the paddler while still in the boat if flipped (once you've learned that skill).

Also, these little boats are "one size fits all" which really means they don't really fit anyone well. To really paddle and control a kayak you more or less "wear" it -- performance kayaks are sized to the height and weight of the person. You use your hips, legs and torso to steer and paddle a kayak, even more so than your arms, if you know how to paddle correctly. Sure, your arms hold the paddle, but your body drives the power behind it -- not so easy to do in a sloppy fitting boat.

So, enjoy your new toys but be aware of their limitations. Get some paddling lessons if you can, it will greatly increase your enjoyment and skills for paddling and teach you important safety procedures, like adding flotation to the boats and self-rescue techniques.

If you really get into kayaking, and still think you want to try to ocean, see if you can rent or do a dealer demo with real sea kayaks and get a feel for the difference. Most people who get into kayaking trade up their boats after the first season or two once they understand what kind of performance improvements they want -- fortunately, most all kayaks have good resale on the used market so you could probably trade up to a sleeker, faster, more sea-worthy used boat for not a couple hundred more than you would get selling those ones you bought eventually.What length is considered a short kayak?
I'm not sure about those brands of kayaks but my 8 foot Calypso kayak is considered short, compared to all my family and friend's kayaks.

What is the most versitle kayak there is out there?

I want a kayak that can handle rapids, but is ok to take out onto a lake or slow river also. I'm looking for the SUV of Kayaks!What is the most versitle kayak there is out there?
The problem with most "versatile" kayaks is that they don't do any one thing really well. Many manufacturers of entry level kayaks will describe their hulls as being versatile for a variety of uses... but what makes a hull great at one thing (handling rapids) intrinsically makes it horrible at another (paddling on a slow river / lake).

To top that, descriptions of any paddle craft are totally subjective. People seem obsessed with "the fastest" the "most versatile" or the "easiest to paddle," etc., but what they fail to mention is paddler height, weight, and skill level. If I've been paddling whitewater for 10 years, I could probably take just about any kayak down a class II or III drop with ease. A novice whitewater paddler would likely capsize and / or find it very challenging at best.

And on top of that: what kind of rapids? Do you know the whitewater class rating? Is it a river or creek? (That can make a big difference in hull choice too.)

To make sure you get the most out of your boat purchase, buy the kayak that is suited to your height, weight, and local water. If the closest rapids are an hour away, but there's a lake with a nice stretch of quiet creek to explore just 10 minutes away... guess where you're going to do most of your paddling? :) Buy the quiet water boat, and when you decide to try rapids, you can always rent.

If all else fails, the only kayak I know of that comes close to being a true rapid runner (old school) and being manageable on the flat stuff is the Prijon Yukon Expedition.What is the most versitle kayak there is out there?
Ah, you newbie kayakers with your fantasies...

There is no such thing. That's like saying you want a Formula 1 sports car you can take off road or a fast, light road racing bicycle that can also stump jump on single track.

A boat designed for quick turns and stability in white water will be short, wide and flat-bottomed so it will be slow and poor tracking in flat water or a river. A sea kayak that's long and narrow with a fast-chined hull profile for swift forward speed and tracking will not be maneuverable in rapids. The paddles are different too.

You can get a mid-sized plastic "hybrid" that you could use for both but it won't perform very well for either purpose so it will just hold you back from developing any skill or having optimal fun. Serious kayakers have separate boats for different waters for good reason.What is the most versitle kayak there is out there?
Easy! A four meter whitewater slalom kayak. A quality boat in either glass/resin or rotomolded plastic will answer your specifications. Don't neglect lessons if you are a first-timer.
Save your money and take a kayak intro course FIRST !

You wouldn't take a road bike with skinny tires offroad jumping over things

just like a mountain bike with big fat tires isn't comfortable for 100 mile trips

Take a look at

Where to have a lake kayaking vacation in the northeast?

I'm planning a vacation with my family for August. My brother wants to be able to use his kayaks so the vacation will be at a lake...but where? I'm looking for somewhere not in New York or New Jersey where I'm familiar with, where there are rolling mountains, beautiful scenery, and activities other than kayaking like horseback riding.Where to have a lake kayaking vacation in the northeast?
Vermont, and Maine would be great for this sort of vacation. Think of the scenery in the movie On Golden Pond.

AstrobufWhere to have a lake kayaking vacation in the northeast?
Barton Cove is a camping site in i think MA. located right on a river. you can pay to get a shuttle all the way up the river and it will take you a day to get back down the river but you will end up right at your campsite again. My campsite was also located on the river. in the middle of the river was an island with an eagles nest. it was cool to watch the eagle hunt for fish in the morning.

Has your town/city ever been plagued by low flying, migrating kayaks? If so, what was it like?


CURE: 12 GuageHas your town/city ever been plagued by low flying, migrating kayaks? If so, what was it like?
No. But they like to hitch rides on the top of cars.
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  • How to store a Kayak from a ceiling?

    What is the best way to store kayaks (12 foot) from a ceiling of a garage. I still need to be able to park under them (2 kayaks). I want to find a cheap option that will keep my Kayaks safe.

    Thanks.How to store a Kayak from a ceiling?
    Fashion some slings from a medium heavy line.

    Store boats upside down. Plastics require it and others will discourage animals from nesting.

    Best of luckHow to store a Kayak from a ceiling?
    I used a couple of eye hooks and some rope. Just find the joist in the ceiling. Screw the eye hooks in far enough apart from each other so the kayak will fit between them, repeat the same at the other end of the kayak, then tie some rope from hook to hook so that is long enough to fit around the kayak. Then slid the kayak under the loops of rope so it hangs. That's it. Cost me about $5. Hope this makes sense..How to store a Kayak from a ceiling?
    The best way may not be the cheapest. Ask a carpenter friend to suggest a method. He will check clearances and locate suitable/safe hanging points. Will your car and kayaks clear the door opening? How physical are you? Can you hoist the boats into slings? How stiff are your kayaks? Can you simply use an eye bolt to hold each end to the ceiling? Have you room to use a cantilever rack?
    I know kayaks are expensive and needs to taken care of. I recommend you to see, I read some articles there regarding kayaks care tips and etc.

    Does it matter where you sit in a tandem kayak?

    I am slightly disabled. My husband, teen daughter and I are planning on going kayaking through an outfitter that provides beginners' trips. They use tandem kayaks. They prefer to have kids go with a parent. If I go with my daughter, does it matter who sits in the front or back of the kayak if I can't paddle as much as her? Where should the stronger person sit or doesn't it matter?Does it matter where you sit in a tandem kayak?
    The stronger person should sit in the back, that way they can be responsible for steering the kayak as well as keep an eye on the person in the front and offer assistance if necessary.Does it matter where you sit in a tandem kayak?
    In swiftwater I would have the the person that steers the boat in the back... You can always add ballast to the bow for some hole bashin'!Does it matter where you sit in a tandem kayak?