Kayaks come in an array of different designs with different features. They are made of different materials such as fiber glass, high quality PVC, plastic, Kevlar and wood. Choosing among all these different features will largely depend on how the buyer plans to use their kayak and the environment for which the kayak will be used. For instance, a kayak built for rough rapids would be difficult for distance paddling while a kayak built for sporting would be difficult to use for fishing. Basically, kayaks come in two distinct styles; sit-in and sit-on-top kayaks.
A sit in kayak has a seat that is inside the kayak’s cock pit. These kayaks feature an opening at their top where the paddler can get in and out of the kayak. There are sit-in kayaks fitted with water skirts over the opening that prevents water from getting into the kayak. This way, the paddlers are able to remain dry the whole time.
A sit-in kayak represents the traditional style where the paddlers’ sit with their legs inside the enclosed cock pit. The vessel also features adjustable foot rests, back rests, cup holders and arm rests fitted inside the cock pit to ensure that the paddler remains comfortable. These kayaks are narrower and longer, a feature that makes them easier to paddle and faster than the sit-on-top kayaks.
Sit-in kayaks are more suited for skilled kayakers. They are the best for those who consider them as an alternative mode of transport rather than mere fun toys. They have storage spaces that keep gear and other personal effects dry. They are the best suited for cold environments as they shelter the paddlers from cold wind while keeping them dry. In case the vessel flips, water cannot get into the kayak due to the water tight skirt. An experienced pilot can use his body to roll a capsized kayak back to its upright position.
Sit-on-top kayaks on the other hand are very user-friendly especially to the recreational user. They are considered more stable and are easy to move in and out. They have scupper holes that allow water to drain through them and hence reduce the risk of sinking. These vessels were designed for leisure use with the ability to handle surf conditions more efficiently.
Sit-on-top kayaks are wide and shorter, a feature that makes them slow and hence cumbersome for long distance paddling. Nevertheless, their large size can accommodate up to four paddlers which makes them good for tandem kayaking. They are popularly used for recreational kayaking where the participants can easily get in and out of the kayak.
Sit-on-top kayaks are ideal for inexperienced paddlers and beginners. Sit on top kayaks are very stable in calm waters but are not very dependable in rough waters. Anglers also prefer them as they are stable when stationary offering them a stable fishing platform.
Sit-in kayaks on the other hand are appropriate for skilled kayakers who want greater control of the vessel. They are the best for white water kayaking and other sporting activities.