What sea kayak to choose?
Well, you’ve already seen a TV report, you’ve seen from the shore the evolutions of some sea kayaks, you’ve been informed on some websites like seakayakermag 10 best picks and you cannot last, you have just discovered one of your hidden vocations, you cannot Wait for one more day and decide to give yourself a sea kayak.
You soon discover that there are more kayakers than car makers who offer a huge range of models, materials and accessories, which describe in their catalogs a lot of pictograms “Fitness”, “Fun”, “Fishing”, “Waves” and The yellow you like is that it is not “Fishing” that is just “Fitness”, a circumstance that causes you some uneasiness. We will tell you our experiences and impressions in case they can help you decide.
First question: simple or double.
The double is the first option we think, usual considerations like “we’ll leave my husband and I”, “I will sail with my children”, “I will invite my friend Paco” usually end up with a huge and heavy dusty trash in the garage that You cannot drive alone.
Children are not constant, they get bored early and get tired with adults, as you discovered on your mountain trips. Ours complied with the premiere ritual and never again embarked on a kayak.
We also have to be very sure that our spouses share our hobbies. Kayaking is a physical activity, a rather demanding sport, not a hobby like going to the beach to swim a little, so be sure that you really care about them.
With regard to friends, as soon as you have a little skill with the kayak, learn to paddle with rhythm and technique, you may find it intolerable to invite beginners to sail, because you will do all the work, you will soon discover that if you stop paddling The kayak does not advance an inch and you will despair the lost strokes and constant lack of synchronism. In a double kayak the harmony between palistas is fundamental and to catch the rhythm of the sea and to penetrate with the companion is not something that is obtained on the first day, it takes practice enough to obtain it.
My wife and I started with a double kayak, the Rotomod Ocean Duo, a good kayak of initiation suitable for almost everything, because according to the catalog deserved all the imaginable drawings. We learned to paddle at the same time from scratch, singing that left, right, left, two, unooo I said doos no unooo … a summer later we synchronized quite well, I knew even when I was going to scratch my nose and lose a stroke, With skill … Another year and we ended up paddling in “separate” kayaks, each one in his, end of the discussions.
However, with both experienced paddlers, a double kayak is fantastic, with 50% more weight than a single one with two “motors”, so that the distances traveled and the speeds achieved are much higher. There is no one to reach our “Black Widow.” It is really a pleasure to go chatting with the companion and touring our shores.
Okay, okay, you got it clear, first decision made, now comes the second:
Closed or open?
The open or self-emptying kayaks are fairly stable, some daring manufacturers even say “involuntary”, very easy to get on and off against unexpected dumps or just to take a bath and cool down, ideal for diving or fishing.
Another advantage is that they are easy to handle and negotiate the waves well which even with little experience can get you out of some trouble.
However as you are unprotected before the waves, all the time you are wet, so its use is restricted to the summer months or cooked in an uncomfortable neoprene suit. They are usually manufactured in unbreakable plastics and the usual models are usually “out of the way”, ie slow, although if you do not have very sporty approaches or you are only going to make a day out you will enjoy it for a long time.
A closed kayak however will allow you to navigate with a minimum of equipment (thermal underwear, raincoat and vest) throughout the year as you remain dry inside the “bathtub”. In our Mediterranean the “calms of January” are especially pleasant to navigate. Having watertight compartments you can transport all the camping material you want and make “expeditions” of several days, with your tent, sack, mat, food, etc. A major advantage is that you will sail practically the same with 12 kilos of luggage, this way you do not have to be as selective charging as when you make a backpack that you have to carry on your back, you know the equation more equipment = more comfort = more weight. You do not need expensive and sophisticated ultralight material, the hypermarket camping team will serve you.
On the other side, navigating safely in a closed kayak will force you to learn some basic techniques and maneuvers of self-rescue, such as re-entering the kayak in the middle of the sea or with rough seas after a dump.
At this point we have already taken two of the most important decisions, the next question that we are asked is the material to choose.
Plastic, fiberglass, kevlar-carbon?
Plastic is the most economical and durable option, they are practically unbreakable, you have kayaks for life. What is the but? As weight and slip, plastic is rather heavier than other materials and has more friction with water, making it less efficient, ie slower. In addition it can be very painful to load and to unload only a 30-kilo breeze if you do not refine the technique.
The fiberglass is much lighter and slides much better, its friction with water is much lower than that of plastics, however it is fragile and a blow against a rock can break it or make a hole, one of the things that we always carry Above is a roll of American tape for emergency repairs, although we have not had to use it in the five years that we sail with our fiberglass kayaks. The price is similar or a bit more than plastic ones, in case of break-by-blows there are repair kits that you can do yourself at home.
The kevlar-carbon is already for note, a fad if you can afford it, weighs even less than the fiberglass, slips the same and is very resistant, can withstand some blow another. Against it are the price and that excessive heat can deform them, you must be careful not to leave them tied in the roof of the car in the sun as they can deform and permanently spoil.
The kayak usually comes as second or third sport, some friends who ask me about what kayak to buy I respond with What bike do you have?
– an offer of the “Carrefur”: Anything that floats, even one of those inflatable canoes that convincingly recommend the Cortinglés sellers, even if you have a truck camera with which you buy a rowing …
– one with Shimano LX: Well, that’s a bike and you need a real kayak, if you’re careful, the fiber will make you happy, if you always leave the beaches of stones or you’re not especially meticulous, The plastic will give you great service for years.
– my bike is a “Cannondale” double suspension with carbon frame, XTR lightened change and titanium shaft enriched with molybdenum: Friend, you are not served anything, you are a “gourmet”, you know, for one Kevlar-carbon keel with stainless steel rudder and big luxury loaf.
Anyway, if you cannot afford or you are interested in a Mercedes series Jota Why not treat yourself to a good bike or kayak?
Choose what you choose, enjoy it, welcome to the sea kayak.