The popularity of kayaking as an adventure sport is on the rise. It’s difficult to pass up the prospect of getting outside and enjoying nature while giving your upper body a workout. There are so few recreational sports that give that kind of opportunity, it’s no wonder kayaking is experiencing a growing status.
Compared to other types of water sports, kayaking is an intimate experience. You and the water in a symbiotic relationship that can become spiritual, or the water can be a worthy opponent that you must conquer. Either way, the popularity of kayaking cannot be denied.
If you’ve already been bitten by the kayaking bug, you may be in the market for a boat that meets your needs and style. Kayaks can be expensive. Good equipment is most certainly expensive when purchased new. But like a good car, a good kayak can be bought on the secondary market at a good savings, still giving you the quality you want.
You first need to determine the style of boat you’re looking for. Kayaks fall into five general classes: surf, whitewater, expedition models, day trip and general recreation. Within each class you can probably find inflatable, folding and rigid models.
Rigid kayaks are made of several materials. A plastic kayak is the most durable, least expensive and heaviest option. Wood kayaks are often beautiful. Many kayakers build wood kayaks from a kit, but they do need regular maintenance. The fiberglass kayak is the most expensive option and the lightest style. They can be damaged more easily than the other two options but are the easiest to repair.
It is important to determine the classification of kayak you are looking for. This will affect the on board storage potential and overall shape and size of the kayak. If you will be handling the boat alone, weight will be an issue to consider. If storage and transportation space for your kayak is a problem, the folding or inflatable type might be your style.
Just as you would a used car, always inspect a used boat carefully. Look for any damage that may need repair or damage that has already been repaired. Plastic kayaks are tough, but since repairs are difficult you may want to steer clear of any suspicious body work. Fiberglass is easy to repair so look for paint patches and check the soundness of the repair. An inflatable boat repair can be tricky and should be considered carefully before purchase. An inspection of the hull looking for uneven areas or divots is important to determine overall safety.
Don’t be afraid to look at the big name high quality used kayaks. You may find a real bargain that is well worth the investment. Unless you are planning to compete, race or learn some tricks, a used kayak can be a better investment than a new one.
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