Fay
user 8645971
Redmond, WA
Post #: 2
After going through 2 kayaks in approximately 4 months of paddling. How to measure the suitable kayak? There are so many different brands any suggestions as far as branding and designs?

Nancy
user 5028204
Seattle, WA
Post #: 8
I think a lot of this depends on what you want out of a kayak, which you discover as you go along. Once you know what kind of paddling you want to do, then try many boats. The west coast sea kayak symposium (http://www.wcsks.org/...­) in port townsend Sept 25-27 is a great place to try boats. I generally recommend that new paddlers get used boats so that they can sell them at cost when they figure out what they really want.

What kind of paddling do you want to do? Calm lake? Touring out in the sound? Playing in deception pass or surf? If you're camping, how much space do you need for gear? Are you going out overnight or for a week or more? Do you pack light or take the kitchen sink? How much primary and secondary stability do you need? (Primary stability is for when you're sitting still taking pictures, eating, etc like a tricycle. Secondary stability is for rough conditions like a bicycle sideways on a steep hill.) As you develop skills, you'll need less primary stability and be more concerned about secondary stability.

For most people, comfort is a big issue. Is the boat comfortable to sit in? How about after 4 hours? If you like the boat, but not the seat, can you change or modify the seat? Some people will trade comfort for some other feature. A couple of weeks ago, I sat in a boat that was very easy to roll, but was kind of cramped where my feet were. (I'm 5'4" with size 8 womens (6 mens) shoes., which was a very novel experience for me.) The boat was great for playing in/rough conditions, but might hurt after a number of hours of paddling.

For me at 5'4", here are the dimensions that I look for (NOTE: This is what suits me, not necessarily other people.):
Length: Between 15' and 18' with a 16' to 17' foot boat generally being ideal. I find most boats < 15' track poorly, but there are exceptions like the mariner coaster. Longer boats take too much work to turn, which can be problematic in a strong wind.
Width: Max 22" I find boats any wider I hit my hands on the cockpit. I don't mind giving up some primary stability, but I do want a boat that is stable enough that I don't have to worry about flipping if I stop paddling.
Depth: Max 12" Anything bigger feels too tubby, but boats with much less than 11" depth tend to be uncomfortable for my knees.

Here's a link from the kayak academy with a much more detailed discussion on choosing boats: http://www.kayakacade...­

Hope this helps a little bit.

Nancy
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