One-Man Kayak Buying Guide

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One-Man Kayak Buying Guide

Kayaks are small water going vessels that could be used almost anywhere. Such crafts are great for rivers, lakes, streams, and even the open sea. However, different designs are required to operate these vessels in each type of waterway listed. Some kayaks are even more specialised for sports, and various outdoor activities. For instance, there are three different kinds of kayak utilised in whitewater kayaking. Each one used for a different purpose on these high-speed, dangerous waterways.

Kayaks are also made from lots of varying materials. The material used is often dictated by the purpose of the kayak, and the owner's needs. Composite materials are popular, as are plastics, and even wood. Although, most modern kayaks are made from plastics and composite materials over natural woods or metals. Kayakers tend to prefer boats that are as lightweight as possible. Kayaks can be purchased at sports and hobbies shops, through boat makers, manufacturers, online kayaking websites, and eBay.com.

Types of One-Man Kayaks

The one-man kayak is usually small, features one cockpit or seat for the kayaker, includes a paddle for movement, and may also have a rudder or skeg attached. The rudder is a steering device attached to the bottom of the kayak which can be angled to the left or right using a foot pedal inside the kayak. This helps a great deal with steering, but is not necessary. A skeg is a fixed type of rudder that cannot be steered but does help the kayak stay on a straight line as the kayaker paddles. Beyond this, kayakers have a great many options to choose from for their preferred vessel design.

Sea

The sea kayak is a sturdy vessel that trades manoeuvrability for seaworthiness. This vessel design often has to incorporate many elements of modern ships to maintain that seaworthiness, thus increasing weight and reducing speed. The sea kayak is meant for use on the open water.

It often features one of two main designs, the "skin on frame" or the completely sealed "open deck". Some recreational types of kayaks are also seaworthy. The skin on frame is exactly as the name implies, a frame serving as the bones of the kayak with a skin wrapped tightly around. The completely sealed kayak is also as it sounds, entirely sealed with a flat deck on which the kayaker sits.

Additionally, modern kayaks feature bulkheads inside to help prevent sinking in case one section of the outer skin is punctured. These kayaks also have some cargo capacity, with kayakers being able to store cargo inside the frame for long trips. Sea kayaks have a longer waterline, an upturned bow, and may also include a rudder or skeg to help with steering.

Whitewater

The whitewater kayak is intended for kayaking on river rapids. Naturally, this craft is manufactured from a sturdy, hard plastic, such as polyethylene. This plastic creates the moulded shell of the kayak in which the kayaker rests while paddling downstream. It is thick enough and durable enough to handle hitting rocks and other debris without puncturing. It is also balanced and able to remain buoyant even in the roughest of rapids. These kayaks are usually small, ranging between one and ten metres long.

There are three main types of whitewater kayaks, the playboat, creekboat, and the squirt boat. The playboat is the shortest whitewater kayak with a scooped bow, and a blunt stern. It is used primarily for freestyle boating, and performing tricks and competitions. The creekboat is longer and rests higher up out of the water. It is used for narrow, shallow waterways. The squirt boat has to be custom fitted to the kayaker, as it must have a low interior volume for use above and below water.

Surf

The surf kayak is incredibly speedy and manoeuvrable. This kayak is developed to ride the waves close to a shoreline much like a surfboard. It has a flat bottom, hard edge, high lengthwise curve on the nose, and up to four fins in the water. These vessels are usually made of plastic, such as polyethylene, or fibreglass. There are two types of surf kayak, the high-performance, which is fast and manoeuvrable, and the international class which is a little slower and features a longer body.

Racing

Racing kayaks are very narrow, have a low nose, an unstable lower portion, flared upper portion, and do not feature rudders. These boats are difficult to master due to their unsteady designs and narrow frame. However, this is necessary to achieve the high speeds required in the sport of kayak racing. These kayaks are made to regulation length for their sport and division. They are usually made of a fibre reinforced resin, such as kevlar, glass fibre, or carbon fibre. This creates a stiffer hull with a harder skin that can go faster over the water and also obtain fewer scratches.

Fishing

The fishing kayak is a relatively recent development as kayakers and fishermen discovered the joys of fishing from their own private island on the water. Water fishing kayaks are similar to other types of kayaks, but feature a wide beam of up to 110 cm to increase boat stability in the water. Some of these fishing kayaks also come equipped with outriggers, which is a sturdy pontoon attached to the kayak with a wooden or metal frame. Some kayaks are actually twin kayaks, usually one smaller than the other, connected via a similar frame. Kayakers who use their vessels for fishing may also customise the vessels with specialised fishing gear.

Recreational

The recreational kayak is intended for a peaceful tour of a pond, lake, flat stream, or protected salt water cove. These boats are meant for use by the novice kayaker or someone who just wants to relax on the water. Recreational kayaks have a larger cockpit so it is easier for people to get in and out of the craft, and a wider beam for improved stability and water. The beam generally ranges between 69 and 91 cm wide. Recreational kayaks have a limited cargo capacity. They are made from plastic, such as polyethylene and have fewer options compared to other types of kayaks, which helps to keep the price down for recreational users.

Common Materials Used in Kayaks

Kayaks are made from a wide range of materials. These materials can be flexible, hard, thin, or heavyweight. The most important thing is that the interior volume of the kayak is high enough to keep the vessel afloat on the water. There are five basic materials used in the construction of most kayaks.

Material

Description

Benefits

Polyethylene

Heavy plastic; rotomoulded from soft and hard resins

Resistant to damage, durable, hard but flexible surface

Thermoformed Plastic

Lighter plastic material; similar in appearance and look to composite materials

Lighter, thinner than polyethylene; long lifespan, less likely to deform

Fibreglass

Composite material; compressed glass fibres coated with protective resin

Inexpensive; lively and responsive performance; easy to repair

Kevlar

Composite material; compressed synthetic fibre coated with protective resin

Lightweight, strong; more impact resistant than fibreglass

Carbon fibre

Composite material; carbon fibre polymer fabric coated with protective resin; used with other materials

Stiffest, lightest composite material

These are not the only materials used in kayaks, but the more commonly found ones. Other materials used include wood, inflatable plastic, fibre or cloth, and aluminium.

Buying a One-Man Kayak on eBay

You can buy a one-man kayak on eBay by searching through several of the categories listed on the site. However, it is often faster and easier to use the search engine when searching for any type of specialised equipment. The search engine is setup to look through thousands of listings on eBay in a matter of seconds. It returns matching product listings in a search results page. Search terms, or keywords, are entered into the search engine bar to find matching listings. These terms can be broad or specific. For instance, you can search for an "inflatable kayak", or a "dagger" brand kayak.

Seller Location

When purchasing something as large as a kayak, you may want to buy only from local sellers. This helps save in shipping and handling costs. It may also be possible for you to meet with the seller in person to pick up your kayak after purchase. To search according to seller location, click on the distance refinement on the search results page. Enter your postcode, and select your preferred search radius from the drop-down menu. The site automatically updates the search results to show only those that are within your search radius.

Conclusion

Numerous designs exist for kayaks, and just as many different materials are available for the creation of these vessels. Whether the kayaker wants to spend a relaxing day touring local waterways or joining a competition for high-speed racing, both options are possible with an affordable one-man kayak. Novice kayakers do better with a recreational kayak compared to the experienced kayaker who may be able to handle something like a squirt boat with low interior volume. Regulation kayaks are necessary for racing, while fishing kayak designs are more flexible, requiring only a wider stern for stability.

Kayaks are made from flexible and hard materials depending on their purpose. Some kayaks are even inflatable, and can be filled with air for use or broken down and packed away when not in use. Composite materials are popular for kayaks because they are stiff, resistant to damage, buoyant, and lightweight. One-man kayaks are found online at eBay.

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