Kayaking: What to Know When Buying a Kayak - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats.
My name is Steve Gibons and I am with Scappoose Bay Kayaking here in Oregon. We are an organization that has been here for about the last 11 years, and we are here to help people out in regards to buying kayaks. My understanding is that you would like to know a little bit about kayaks. And the first thing that we always ask people when they are interested in buying a boat is two things. What do you see yourself doing in the kayak? If you are just looking for something that you are going to use a couple times during the summer, well then of course you might not be interested in a larger investment. But if you find, which you will, that you really enjoy kayaking, then there is different degrees of kayaks that you might be interested in buying as well, and it can go right from the very beginning all the way to the more expensive boats.
What I mean by that is, is in the early stages, a basic beginner kayak, is what we call a recreational kayak. A recreational kayak is a boat that has a large cockpit, which is what this opening is. It is very easy to get in and out of, it is adaptable to all sizes of kids and adults. It is very stable, it is relatively a little heavier than some other materials. It is made out of a plastic, what we call a milk bottle plastic or a polyethylene plastic, and to keep its structural integrity, because of the material, it has to be made very thick in order to stay strong, and that adds to the weight. So in your basic beginner model kayaks, it will have a tendency to be a little bit heavier but much more stable because of their widths and of their length.
As you progress up into different styles of boats based upon your own paddling skills, you might also start working yourself up into boats like we call this a touring-style boat. And a touring-style kayak can still also be made out of the polyethylene material, but you will notice that it is going to be alot thinner, they are going to be a lot longer, it will have a little bit different sized openings to get into the cockpit itself, and they are more for the advanced paddling where you might take yourself out into more adverse conditions or different types of paddling situations.
There are some that are sort of a hybrid between the two, and this particular boat, it is a real light-weight kayak, but it does have a large cockpit, so it has a recreational size cockpit and yet the material is a thermal formed material called carbonite. And because of the structure of the material itself is very light-weight. So in this particular boat, it is a little bit more money, but you are getting a large cockpit, you are getting a lighter weight boat, and you are getting a very durable boat as well.
The degree of cost varies on the actual material as well. In your recreational style boats you can usually get into a recreational style boat for around $500 to $600, somewhere in that area. There are some that are even less in price but you might find that they are also less in size and they will not necessarily fit you. As you advance up into better quality materials, whether it is stronger or more light-weight, the price also goes up because the material cost more and the construction and the design and everything also increases. So the material styles varies in sizes and also the weight will change based on the material themselves.
The reason why I ask what you are going to do with a kayak is because people have a tendency to want to buy the least expensive boat they can to get into and onto the water. And in some cases that boat might be the boat that you will stay with forever. But in my experience for the last 35 years in kayaking, what usually happens is people will like the sport, they will buy an inexpensive boat to get into it, they will paddle that boat around for maybe a summer or so and then realize that they want to paddle more often, they want to go to more places, they want to do more things and in some cases a recreational style boat is not the proper boat for going out into more advanced paddling areas. So they will buy another boat-they can either turn this in a resale or alot of times they will keep it at their garage or at their home or their cabin or whatever for when they are friends come to visit who might not be as paddling-skilled as they have now become, and they will buy an upgrade boat and have a better quality boat to paddle around in.