Friday, May 20, 2011

Kayaks And Paddles Design Types - For Dummies

(Photo courtesy of

By Carl R Hartley

Kayaks and paddles are a favorite outdoor recreational item, popular among all family members. They come in lots of different styles and designs. The range of choice mind spinning. Sit-on-tops are a large selling design suitable for both entry level novices as well as seasoned kayakers.

Most brands have several sit on top models. Basic models are well equipped with paddle, several storage spaces, either netted or covered. Premier models have the ability to be paddled, pedaled or sailed. They also have integrated rudder systems operated by an inboard foot pedal. The pedal models have a removable inboard drive system that is powered by the foot pedals.

Dimensions of kayaks vary significantly by model. Broadly speaking, solo paddler units have lengths of 3.0-4.5 meters, widths of 0.75-0.85 meters and weights of 18-35 kilograms. They can carry weights ranging from 150-250 kilograms.

Kayaks are available to cater specifically for several outdoor sports including fishing, snorkelling, scuba diving. These units have plenty of fishing rod holder slots and extra storage spaces to allow equipment haulage. Models as re designed for single day trips or multi day extended outdoor camping trips fully capable of hauling all the necessary equipment.

Sit-on-tops are available for solo or tandem paddlers. They are very popular for both surfing and short exploration trips up estuaries, along canals and rivers and other closed water areas. Their strengths include good stability and ease of use.

Top of the range touring kayaks have finely crafted hulls to allow accurate steering and course tracking. A flared bow allows the vessel to cut through messy chop. These models have with extra storage zones, both sealed and netted, including large (up to 24 centimeter) hatched storage wells. Some even have stern storage recesses that serve as a cool box plus large recesses to store scuba diving gear.

One useful accessory worth highlighting is a dodger. It is particularly suitable for premier pedal, touring kayaks. It provides lower body protection against sun, wind and spray. It attaches to the kayak and lifts and folds like a tent. Bungee cord ties the dodger to the kayak on fittings installed on the rails. The dodger fits just forward to just aft of the kayaker. A Velcro fastener closes the dodger. The dodger folds to provide kayak entry-exit. The dodger installs in minutes and packs into a small stow bag sized about 15 centimeters by 70 centimeters and weighing under 1 kilogram (about 2 pounds).

In summary, sit-on-tops are popular among both novice and experienced adventurers looking to invest in kayaks and paddles. As well as the above features, other items to look for include slots for fishing line holders, extra large storage hatches; foam padded seats; netted pockets for easy storage on the bow, stern and midships; wheels built-in to the hull at the stern for easy transportation over land; foam padded seat and backrest; side paddle parks and a screw-topped drain hole.

Note from She's So Fly - I suggest you rent a kayak and try one before purchasing - has stable kayaks, both top and bottom sitting kayaks and fishing kayaks to rent.

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