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Buying a kayak can be an onus task, given the diversity of kayaks available in the market. Kayaks have come a long way from being used just for hunting and fishing. Today, kayaking is an adventure sport for some and recreational activity for others. There are specific kayaks for every type of a paddler.
Sit-on-top kayaks are ideally meant for beginners. Sit-on kayaks have a small seat installed on the kayak. These kayaks are popularly used for recreational purposes like fishing and scuba diving since they offer convenient entry and exit. Sit-on-top kayaks have a broader base than regular kayaks, which provides them with better stability. They hardly tip over, and even if they do, it is easy to flip them back to the original position.
Sit-on-top kayaks are durable, low-maintenance and light-weighted as they are made of plastic or fibreglass.
Sit-in kayaks are those who have cockpits for the paddlers to sit in. Most kayaks are sit-in kayaks and are used for various purposes. Following are some of the sit-in kayaks.
Many paddlers prefer folding kayaks since they are easy to store. Other than that they are sturdy and long lasting. Folding kayaks have a thin fabric that is stretched over a lightweight frame made of wood or aluminium or a combination of the two, and can be easily folded. They have good buoyancy as they have air pockets built into the hull.
Inflatable kayaks can be classified under foldable kayaks. Inflatable kayaks consist of an air-filled inner compartment and provide maximum buoyancy. Just like foldable kayaks, these kayaks are easy to store as you can deflate them when not in use. Given their strength and ability to resist massive impacts, inflatable kayaks are also used for extreme whitewater kayaking.
Keeping in mind the extremities of whitewater kayaking, whitewater kayaks are made to withstand the roughness and force of the water. These rigid whitewater kayaks are made of high-impact plastics like polythene. Whitewater kayaks are sit-in kayaks with spray skirts that prevent water from entering into the cockpit.
These are specially made to tackle difficult rivers. Squirt kayaking is not for beginners as it is designed for paddling on the surface as well as underwater. To manoeuvre the rapids, squirt kayaks easily flip up on their ends. Squirt kayaks are not so stable in water. If you have been using a recreational kayak for some time, you will find it tough to adjust to a Squirt kayak.
These are classified under whitewater kayaks. Slalom kayaks are generally smaller in size, more manoeuvrable, and are designed specifically for racing in turbulent waters.
Kayaks that allow paddlers to attempt freestyle tricks in oceans as well as on flat water are called freestyle kayaks. These kayaks are small in size and have a planning hull, almost vertical sidewalls and tapered edges. Freestyle kayaks have a centralised volume distribution that helps the paddler to land correctly after aerial loops and spins.
Surf kayaking is the newest kind of sport that is fast catching up with water sports lovers. Surfing on a kayak, instead of a surfboard is called surf kayaking. They are smaller in size and have a planning hull that propels the kayak in the air as soon as it hits a wave. Surf kayaks are easy to handle, and their reasonably small structure makes it hassle-free for storage. Surf kayaks are also known as Rodeo Kayaks and Rodeo-decked Boats.