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Kayaks were first used by the Inuit, thousands of years ago. Their style, shape and function has been perfected to make them the ultimate craft for getting close to the scenery. Before purchasing a kayak, think about your intended purpose so that you can choose the right style for you.

Kayaks for Beginners

Recreational kayaks are perfect for beginners, as they are stable, relatively low cost and easy to manoeuvre. They generally have a wider sitting area which makes it easier to get in and out. Recreational kayaks are best suited to slow moving water, so lakes and very calm seas provide the ideal conditions.

Ocean and Touring Kayak

Touring kayaks are made for open water, being much longer and thinner than the recreational craft. Many people use them for overnight trips, as they have extra storage room for camping gear. Touring kayaks should be tried before you commit to buying, as they can feel quite unstable and take some getting used to. For exploring the ocean and shoreline, a specialised ocean kayak is the best design.

Fishing Kayak

Many fishermen prefer sit-on-top style fishing kayaks that have a shallow groove to sit in instead of a proper cockpit. Sit-on-top means that you can manoeuvre easily in your seat. This type of kayak is also used for fishing in the ocean. While you are fishing, everything needs to be within easy reach, so accessories that will securely hold your items while fishing are extremely helpful; think of rod holders, paddle holders and extra storage. Your fishing kayak may come with these extras, or you may need to purchase them separately.


One of the most important pieces of equipment is a specialised flotation device - not the huge orange life vests that normally come to mind, but a specialised item with less padding around the arms and shoulders to allow for better movement. Wetsuits will keep you warm and protect you from the sun. Kayak paddles should be bought to suit individual size and style, with the average man needing a paddle around 2 metres - shorter for more speed, longer for touring kayaks. You can also choose between a more ergonomic twisted paddle, or a cheaper straight design.

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