Different Types of Kayaks (11 Kinds Explained)

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: February 19, 2021
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So, thinking of going on a kayaking trip?

A kayak is an excellent transport to explore lakes, rapid rivers, open water, and coastlines in a fun way. Kayaks have stridden exceptionally since their foundation by the Inuit. It probably goes beyond 4,000 years.

Kayaks: the Beginning

A kayak was probably conceptualized as the initial function for hunting marine mammals. Our forefathers may have used kayaks to hunt whales, seals, narwhals in the Arctic Circle. With the advent of technology, motorized boats soon took over kayaks and many other types of boats.

That doesn’t mean kayaks have gone obsolete. You can still spot kayaks in use in many remote Inuit colonies for fishing purpose. Besides this, kayaks can be used to carry out an expedition in lakes, rapid rivers, and open water.

Kayaks: Now

Kayaks now mostly used for recreational purpose. They are now used for sports, such as surfing, general racing, and motor racing. To be used for a recreational purpose, kayaks had to shift away from the traditional design to raw materials.

Kayaks are precisely engineered for its desired function. Kayaks have been changed, modified, and modernized. Now kayaks vary from surfing to military use.

Kayaks: Types of Kayaks

There are different types of kayaks available on the market. It is important that you educate yourself on different types before making a purchase. In this article, I am going to discuss different types of kayaks, how they differ from each, and which one will suit you the best.

Types of Kayaks – In Detail:

1. Sit-On-Top (SOT) Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks are the most popular type of kayaks. They stay very stable and are very easy to handle for everyone. Even new paddlers can paddle easily in these kayaks. Sit-on-top kayaks can be used on the following waterbodies:

  1. The sea
  2. Rivers
  3. Lakes
  4. Canals
  5. Estuaries

2. Touring Kayaks

Touring kayaks display tremendous stability on the water. They are comfortable to sit in. You can get into them easily. They are suitable for all paddling abilities from a complete beginner looking to buy their first kayak and to an experienced paddler.

Overall, anyone looking for an excellent kayak to spend a relaxing afternoon can buy this to be on the local stretch of water.

3. Surf Kayaks (Sea Kayaks)

This type of kayaks is usually seen on the sea. These kayaks come with a few distinctive features that make them sharp in catching waves. These kayaks contrast sharply with other typical kayaks.

Other kayaks may crisscross the surface of the water because of their specialized hull and rocker, however, in terms of surf kayaks, they have fin clusters at their rear similar to those found on a surfboard.

With this quality thrown in, you have a longboard that you can comfortably sit in. Thanks to the hard edges, and a flat bottom.

Surf kayaks can be divided into two categories:

  • High Performance

High-performance kayaks are suitable for high-speed dynamic movement. This allows you to easily cut in on waves. High-Performance kayaks have a special class of four fins.

  • International Class

Fins are curtailed in international class kayaks. International Class offers a smoother flowing ride compared with high-performance ones. This type of kayaks is the closest you will come across for a surfing longboard.

4. Fishing Kayaks

Although Fishing kayaks are designed for fishing, they are gradually losing this purpose. Fishing kayaks are increasingly becoming popular for recreational activity. The reason why they are extremely popular is that they are inexpensive, and require very low maintenance.

The fishing kayaks are known for their wide beams as they are over a meter in length. These beams maintain lateral stability and decrease the possibility of capsizing.

What is so cool about fishing kayaks is that they have room for adding outriggers. Outriggers are effective for stabilizing boats. They can be attached to either side of the kayak. Thus, they can increase the surface area in contact with the water.

5. White Water Kayaks

White Water kayaks come with a broad range of paddling types. The paddling types included are:

  1. Extreme creaking
  2. River running
  3. Playboating
  4. Surfing

6. Inflatable Kayaks

This type of kayaks is the perfect choice for transport and storage. Inflatable kayaks are designed especially for recreational paddling. Inflatable kayaks are popular forms of transport for flat water.

You can easily inflate the canoes and kayaks in minutes. They come surprisingly stable to paddle.

7. Foldable Kayaks

According to Wikipedia; by the mid-1930s there were an estimated half-million foldboat kayaks in use throughout Europe. And that was the massive turning point of Folding kayaks in all over the USA and the world.

8. Modular Kayaks

These are types that you can easily modify and separate each part and rearrange as per your requirements and modificational desire.

9. Recreational Kayaks

Recreational kayaks are the kind of kayak that people choose specially for spending leisure time on the calm lake water. It comes with wider beam (27-30 inches) so that paddler can relax on there in the middle of the lake.

10. Pedal or Motorized Kayaks

Kayaks that are motor or machine run and becoming popular day by day in all over the USA.

11. Tandem Kayaks

You hate solo kayaking? Then Tandem Kayak is your thing. These kind of kayaks are specially made for the two or more kayaks and comes with enough space and stability.

Bottom Line

A kayak is your transport to travel around an estuary quietly, reach magnificent beachside campgrounds, enjoy surreal views that can’t otherwise possibly seen from the shore. Hop in on your kayak in a morning workout with your kids or friends, and get in on the action!

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