When planning for a kayaking trip in Crystal River, Florida, it may be tempting to just grab any kayak on sale at the outdoor store near you. Such an approach is unwise as it may result in your buying a kayak that does not suit your needs. It is important for you to thoroughly assess your kayaking needs before you buy one. The assessment should involve a look at various factors such as the type of kayaking you will be doing, your experience level, where you will be kayaking, size of kayak you desire, and your budget. In the process, you will know whether you should rent a recreational or touring kayak, a sit-in or a sit-on-top kayak, and the kind of accessories and gear that should be in your ideal kayak.

What style of kayak should you rent?

While different kayaks may look pretty similar to the newbie, every kayak design is unique and intended for specific paddling conditions and styles. For instance, recreational kayaks are wide and highly stable, making them a good craft for the new paddler who is renting a kayak for a few hours to be used on a calm river or spring. But for a kayaking expert looking for a craft to use for a longer trip on a rough inlet or open water, a touring kayak is ideal. Touring kayaks are considerably longer and narrower than recreational kayaks and have more space for storage of food and gear.

Different kayak styles

Within the kayak family, there are many different styles, including recreational, touring, sea, and fishing kayaks. Recreational kayaks are stable and appropriate for most activities performed within the sphere of rivers, lakes and creeks. Touring kayaks are long, sleek and fast and provide the comfort desired during an extended period of paddling, while sea kayaks offer straight and true tracking and are highly responsive and maneuverable. Fishing kayaks are stable, comfortable and outfitted to handle a broad range of kayaking needs. Beyond these, there are specialty kayaks such as sprint, ski, racing, surf and whitewater kayaks.

Choosing the kayak style to rent

So how should you decide the kayak style to rent? It should depend on the features you desire in a kayak. For instance, if you are a beginner, stability is crucial and you should go for a recreational or sit-on-top kayak. But as your skills level increases, you may want to consider a sea or a touring kayak. Here is what each kayak style provides and when you should choose it.

  1. Recreational kayak: A stable kayak with good tracking, spacious cockpits and cargo compartments. This affordable kayak is best used in lakes, creeks and rivers. It has good speed but is much slower than touring kayaks. It must not be used in rough water or seas.
  2. Touring kayak: A fast kayak with exceptional tracking and great stability, particularly when used by experienced paddlers. The kayak has cargo compartments and is moderately priced. It can be used in rivers, lakes and ocean, but it is quite unstable for beginners.
  3. Sea kayak: This fast and highly maneuverable kayak has cargo compartments and a reliable tracking supported by its rudder system. It is appropriate for use in bays and oceans, but is not ideal for small rivers or creeks because it is very long. Its narrow cockpit also makes it quite unstable when used by beginners.
  4. Fishing/sit-on-top (SOT) kayak: A very stable kayak with fair tracking, adjustable deck rigging and cooler holder. It is ideal for use in lakes, creeks, rivers and oceans. However, it is also pretty slow and heavy while its deluxe models are quite expensive.

One of the best ways to test a kayak and determine if it is appropriate for you is to visit a kayak store and try out several types. Most stores have demo days, but allow potential clients to try kayaks they are interested in even if not on the regular demo days. It is also prudent to shop around and try out different kayak models before making your decision. If you are still not sure about the right kayak style to rent, then tell the outfitter about your trip. At Captain Mike’s Kayak Academy, we are committed to working with our clients to help them choose the right kayaks. Remember, having the right kayak will add fun to your trip. For more information, visit “Captain Mike’s Kayak Academy” site.



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