Now is a Great Time!
Summer is here. This is when everybody wants to get on the water. This is also a great time of year to get big savings on new 2016 kayaks. We carry kayaks by Necky, Old Town and Ocean Kayak. It is a good time to pick up a boat for yourself or for a gift for someone special. If this will be your first kayak there are a few things you may want to think about.
There are several considerations you may be faced with when you think about buying a kayak. Most likely, the first one you will encounter is that kayaks come in different categories:
- Day Touring and
- Ocean or Performance Touring.
An important thought to bear in mind, at this point, is that your decision regarding the type of kayak you buy should be based on what you want to do with the boat and not your experience level. Different types of boats are designed for different environments and uses; not particular ability levels. To help decide what might be right for you, ask yourself these important questions:
- Where do I want to use this kayak?
- What do I want to do with this kayak?
- Where do I realistically see myself going with my skill level?
The answers to these questions will shed some light on the type of boat you should consider. Some things to remember as you think about these questions are:
Where am I going to use this kayak? Ponds Lakes and small rivers are very different from bays, harbors and the ocean as far as current and wind impact on paddling. You can take pretty much any boat into a pond or mid size lake and have a great time but you can not necessarily take a boat designed for a pond into water with more challenging elements and have a good time. The pond boat will not offer the safety and performance characteristics you will want in a more dynamic environment.
If you want to advance your skills for both enjoyment of the sport as well as more challenging water conditions, consider buying a boat your skills can grow into. Make sure the boat has the features you will need to practice and learn new skills.
The following information should help you get started identifying the type of boat that is right for you.
Day Touring or Recreational Kayaks: These boats range between 13 and 15 feet in length and are a little skinnier, usually 24 to 26 inches in width. They are designed with characteristics to handle larger bodies of water such as the bays and harbors we have here on Cape Cod. They have safety features such as bulkheads and deck lines which allow them to be emptied of water and reentered more easily by the paddler in deep water. They are also narrower and longer which greatly enhances the tracking. The hull designs vary, buy generally provide good initial stability and acceptable to good secondary stability for rougher water. Secondary stability is what we rely on when the water gets choppy and the boat gets bounced around. In other words, it is not always sitting flat on its bottom! These boats typically come with an option for a rudder to assist the paddler in maintaining a course in wind or current.
Ocean or Performance Touring Kayaks: Ocean going boats are typically 16 -18 feet long and very narrow, 19-23 inches in width. They are designed to handle ocean type conditions and surf. They typically have 2-3 bulkheads, lots of deck lines and upswept bows and sterns to slice through waves and chop. The hull designs are more aggressive which provides adequate to good initial stability, but lots of secondary stability- which is exactly what you want in rough water. The length of the boat helps maintain course and keeps the boat from broaching in following seas. Many also feature a skeg for directional stability rather than a rudder. With a touring boat, fit is also important as we control the boat with our lower body…so, proper, comfortable contact points are critical. To provide the proper fit, these boats are manufactured in a great variety of different sizes. For this reason, it is important to “try one on for size”- under the watchful eye of an experienced salesperson.
Hopefully, this information will start you thinking, but perhaps the best way to get a handle on this is to ask a lot of questions- both to friends that paddle and here at the store with our knowledgeable sales staff. We’d be glad to help you with the choice and explain the different boats in more detail. We will also demo any boat, weather permitting, that you may be thinking about buying so you can get a feel for it before you lay down any money.
The more information you can gather, the better. The paddling season will be back upon us before you know it and we here at the Goose would be happy to help you with this information gathering process. Stop by and see us.