There are many different approaches to kayaking. Figuring out what type of kayaker you are can take a lot of practice and time. The first thing that you want to do is borrow different types of kayaks to really get a feel for what type you are. Examples of different types include sea kayaks, surf kayaks, sit on top kayaks, whitewater kayaks, racing kayaks, and many others. The type you choose depends on your location and what kind of activity you want to do. Following are a few explanations of what each type entails.
Sea Kayaking: If you want a long-trip kayak that is larger, can accommodate more people, and is for straight-line paddling then a sea kayak (also known as a touring kayak) is for you. Sea kayaks can hold the necessary equipment for camping and hiking and also have a covered deck and can have a spraydeck.
Surf Kayaks: Designed much like a surf board for the ability to cut through waves, but obviously different from surfing in that you sit and use a paddle to ride the waves. These kayaks are designed much like a whitewater kayak but they are equipped with a flat hull instead.
Sit on top kayaks: For an easy going, relaxation-oriented kayak go for a sit on top kayak. These kayaks are designed to be stable and are for coasting through a pond with easy water.
Whitewater kayaks: These kayaks are for the people who are planning on going through rapids and having a challenge at hand. They are designed to cut through water at any angle while still being as stable as possible. Whitewater kayaks are also designed to be durable and flexible to take on the heavy changes in motion and speed.
Racing kayaks: The racing kayaks really depend on the type of racing you intend to do. Most racing kayaks are smaller in size to be quicker through the water. Depending on the type of racing will determine the waterline and if the kayak has a rubber or not.
There are many other types of kayaks that can be bought but the most general are listed above. Kayaking is a great sport to get in to especially for someone who wants to really engage in every aspect of the outdoors.
Photo: Henning Leweke