Your Guide to Buying a Sit-in Kayak

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Your Guide to Buying a Sit-in Kayak

A kayak is a type of human powered boat that is operated by the use of a paddle. Traditional kayaks sit one or two paddlers in the cockpits. These cockpits are generally enclosed by a covered deck, or skirt to prevent water from entering. This allows highly skilled kayakers to roll the kayak without losing buoyancy by taking on water. There are many different kinds of kayaks so prospective buyers should narrow their search by their intended usage of the product.

There are sit on top kayaks, wide kayaks, sail kayaks, motorised kayaks, and alternate propulsion kayaks. These are all in addition to traditional kayaks. Needless to say, the buyer has many options to choose from when searching for a sit-in kayak. Longer kayaks are generally faster, while shorter versions tend to offer more control for the users. Shoppers should thoroughly familiarise themselves with the market to ensure they purchase the ideal product for them.

Kayak Design

Kayaks that are built to cover long distances are typically longer than other types of kayaks. This provides for greater speed in open water during travel. Whitewater kayaks on the other hand, rely on the current for speed and therefore, focus more on ensuring manoeuvrability with a shorter, stubbier shape. More recreational kayakers often prefer a compromise between speed and stability, and are usually of medium length. There is a specialised kayak for every intended use.

Beam Profile

Beam profile relates to the stability of a single hull kayak. By measuring the width of a cross-section of the hull, a paddler can determine what the boat is best suited for. The shorter the beam profile, the more agile a kayak can be. Some beams profiles have a different shape to them altogether. V-shaped hulls may provide greater stability in some situations.

Primary and Secondary Stability

Primary stability is the familiar type of stability. It refers to how much a boat tips or rocks when the water gets rough, or the paddlers shift their weight. Secondary stability on the other hand, speaks to the boat's likeliness to capsize. While this may seem undesirable to some, highly advanced kayakers need the ability to perform such manoeuvres in order to avoid obstacles. Beginners should search for products with a high primary stability rating to get used to be being in the boat.


Rocker describes the boats curvature lengthwise. The more curve a boat has, the shorter its waterline is. What this translates to is sharper handling. This is highly desirable in high-performance kayakers like white water rafters. They often employ extreme rocker designs to maximise their agility through narrow chutes and passageways.

Types of Kayaks

There are many types of kayaks that are specialised for widely different uses. A buyer should conduct research into the type of kayak they want to purchase to make certain it suits their needs. Every paddler has different needs and wants depending on their style, and should find the ideal kayak to meet their requirements.

Recreational Kayaks

Recreational kayaks are great for photographers, fisherman, exercise purposes, or just as a casual paddle. They have a large comfortable cockpit and are very stable. They are very difficult to capsize and handle fairly well. They are the choice of canoe and kayak clubs for introductory paddling because of their ease of use. Casual paddlers are likely to find themselves considering a recreational kayak.

Sea Kayaks

Sea kayaks are much like recreational kayaks, except they are equipped to navigate the rougher waters of the sea. They can often come with numerous cockpits to get more paddlers on board. They may include cargo stashes since they are used on longer trips and for more people. Sea kayaks have been in use in vacation areas for years. Paddlers explore glaciers, islands, and caves all with the use of a sea kayak.

Surf Kayaks

Surf kayaks allow the operator to "catch" a wave and ride it, much like a surfer on a surfboard would. These boats are highly specialised and should really only be considered by surf kayakers. There are two main varieties, high performance and International Class. High performance boats have an aggressive rocker in the front, and are quite minimal in the back. This gives it high speed and considerable agility. International Class kayaks are longer and more traditional in design.

Whitewater Kayaks

Whitewater kayaks are usually made of some type of plastic, and are engineered to be structurally sound even with the thinner materials. This is imperative due to the force of high volume water and prevents leaks if objects are struck. The plastic bends instead of breaching keeping the boat functional for the maximum amount of time. There are two main types of whitewater kayaks.


Playboats are the more manoeuvrable whitewater boat. It is extremely short and generally used for performing tricks in calmer waters. Sometimes, kayakers can incorporate tricks into runs through high speed rapids. This is known as rodeo boating, and much like normal rodeo, can have a high risk factor.


A creekboat is what is typically seen running through narrow, fast moving, channels. Typically, creekboats are best used in the spring when runoff from snowmelt can temporarily increase the volume of water in creeks, rivers, and streams significantly. They are usually more stable, faster, and have the highest buoyancy levels of any kayak. Creekboats can be a good choice for more advanced kayakers.


Kayaks are also popular for racing. They are used in sprints, surf competitions, agility courses, and other competitive events. Paddlers who intend to race their boat should consider the type of race they want to participate in. Top speed may not be the most effective strategy, therefore buyers must match their boat to the needs of the event. Sea, whitewater, and calm water all have their own kayak events associated with them.

Fishing Kayaks

Fisherman who either don't want to deal with a motorised vessel, or prefer a greater sense of solitude, may be interested in fishing kayaks. Fishing kayaks are relatively inexpensive, reliable, and can gain access to certain fishing grounds where motorised boats have been banned. Depending on the type of fish the angler seeks, greater stability may be needed in the boat. Larger sport fish may capsize a boat if it is not the appropriate size to provide a high enough level of stability.

Other Kayaks

Other kayaks incorporate alternative forms of propulsion. These typically include pedals, which power a paddle affixed to the boat. This can provide good exercise and increase the use of the product because of the reduced stress of using legs instead of arms to power the boat. Paddle boats may also include a steering wheel, to direct the boat since the user does not have a paddle with which to steer.

Motorised kayaks are also available. These are much like traditional boats, although they are typically more small and nimble. They can be used as transportation, fishing, and for general boating purposes. Although neither of these fall under the traditional definition of a kayak because no kayak paddle is being used.

Buying a Sit-In Kayak on eBay

eBay has a wide selection of sit-in kayaks that provides so many options, it can often meet any user's needs. A general keyword search can begin the search. General words can be typed into the search box such as "kayak". If the buyer has a specific kayak in mind, those terms should also be included. Alternatively, shoppers can navigate through easy to use categories provided by eBay. These can help uncertain buyers get general results from which they can then narrow their search even further.

Once the general search is completed, shoppers can filter and sort their results. The filters can be used to only show results that have a certain desirable feature, or those that are in a certain colour. The shopper can also sort the results by a variety of different things such as price. Buyers should consider shipping  when it comes to a sit-in kayak. They can be very large products and therefore, shipping can be quite expensive. It is recommended to discuss the strategy for shipping the product with the seller prior to making the purchase.


Kayaks are a great way to enjoy a peaceful day out on a lake or in a calm river. They can also be a great way to aggressively run a whitewater river. The type of kayak buyers should purchase is the one that best serves their needs. Introductory level kayakers are likely to favour recreational kayaks. These are easy and straightforward to use, and provide exceptional stability. Surf kayakers need a surf kayak, otherwise catching a wave is going to be very difficult.

Racing kayaks are made for specific race events. Buyers who are seeking this type of product should let the event they are competing in guide their purchasing decision. Sea kayakers often take long trips over rough water, and may require great stability and extra storage space. Finally, fishing kayaks are a great option for fisherman who want a cheap and reliable option compared to motorised versions. No matter what the shopper is looking for, eBay is sure to have a sit-in kayak to meet their needs.

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