Finding the Perfect Kayak - Outdoor Sports Center

Finding the Perfect Kayak

Whether you're paddling around a lake or up the coastline, kayaking offers the opportunity to explore, exercise and catch some sun. When choosing a new kayak, the main factors you'll need to consider are location, use, and fit. We carry both touring boats and recreational boats upstairs in our boating department. Touring kayaks are meant for longer trips and are broken up into two categories: touring and day touring. Recreational boats are for shorter trips not far from the shore and for beginner kayakers. No matter what type of kayak you're looking for, we recommend talking to an expert, who can help narrow down the variables to find the perfect boat. Here are some guidelines to help you figure out what type of boat matches your paddling style.

Excursion on the Hudson River - Touring

If you are going on a paddling trip for more than a day, such as an overnight camping excursion or a tour, you will want a touring kayak. These are the longest kayaks, offering more storage space and allowing more speed. All touring boats come with either a rudder or a drop-down skeg. The rudder helps you when turning, and the skeg helps with tracking, or staying straight for long periods. We recommend the S18 by Stellar. This boat is 18 feet long and weighs 39.9 pounds, making it an incredibly light kayak for its length. It is constructed of fiberglass and Soric, which gives the boat rigidity and structure. The angle on the side of the boat (called the chine) is very soft, and this rounded design offers less resistance, making it a much faster boat.


Paddling out to Cockenoe or Shea Island - Day Touring

If you want to spend the afternoon out on the water, you will want to be in a day touring boat. These boats are usually shorter than touring boats, but still longer than recreational boats to help you maintain some speed. Day touring kayaks have enough storage space to carry everything needed for a day on the water. The Eddyline Samba is an excellent day touring kayak, with a comfortable seat providing lumbar support. It has a drop down skeg and a harder chine, which makes it more stable. It is just under 14 feet long, offering enough length to give you some speed on your day trip.


Playing around on Candlewood Lake - Recreational

If you are looking for a boat to take out on the lake for a couple hours or to paddle around at the beach, you're in the market for a recreational kayak. Recreational kayaks are stable, comfortable, and usually shorter, making them easier for a beginner. Some recreational kayaks are sit-on-tops, which leave your legs uncovered, making them easy to board and good for catching some sun. The Frenzy from Ocean Kayak (pictured below) is a very popular sit-on-top kayak. It's 9 feet in length and 31 inches wide, making it very stable and easy to navigate. If you're looking for a basic, cockpit-style recreational boat, we recommend the Dagger Zydeco. This boat is perfect for beginners and for teaching your kids; it comes in 9 and 11 feet, which can fit just about anyone.


If you are interested in a kayak but would like to test it out first, ask a staff member about our demo pond! We offer customers the opportunity to test boats on the pond to help you decide which one you like best. The boat department staff here are avid kayakers and can't wait to share their expansive knowledge with you!

We carry kayaks from Stellar, Wilderness Systems, eddyline, Necky, Dagger, Venture, Perception, Ocean Kayak, and Old Town.

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