How to Choose a Freestyle Kayak

How to Choose a Freestyle Kayak
Your kayak is an expensive, yet extremely important investment as a freestyle kayaker. It's not enough to simply choose the kayak that the sales person says is the coolest. Each kayak model will have its pros and cons. This is why it's important to try out as many kayaks as possible. Also, talk to other freestyle kayakers and see what they like (or dislike) about a particularly model. You need to choose a kayak that fits your body type comfortably and also does what you want it to do.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Sit inside the kayak. How comfortable is tit? Look at how well the kayak fits your body. Are you sitting easily, or are you all scrunched up? Are your legs high enough? See how your knees feel in the thigh hooks. Remember, if you're not comfortable, you're going to have trouble doing freestyle maneuvers.
Step 2
Study the flat part of the kayak's hull. Does it look like the kayak will plane easily? Generally, the wider and longer the flat part of the hull is, the more likely the kayak is to plane and spin. However, keep in mind that body weight will also contribute to this. Paddlers who weigh less can have a kayak that has a smaller planing surface but still spins well.
Step 3
Look at the shape of the hull. The shape of the hull will tell you how well the kayak will tilt on edge. When cartwheeling, you usually need to set your kayak up on edge first. Wide, flat hulls tend to be harder to hold on tilt. Kayaks with round hulls can be easier to control when it's on edge. Again, body type does play a role. Heavier kayakers will have more trouble keeping a kayak with a flat hull on tilt.
Step 4
Assess the length of the kayak, as this will tell you how well the kayak can cartwheel. To cartwheel, each end of your kayak needs to easily go underwater several inches, and kayaks with thinner ends tend to slice through water with greater ease. Also, you should consider the size of the kayak. A longer kayak with thin ends is more stable in a cartwheel, while kayaks with shorter ends are less stable for cartwheeling.

Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen

Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.

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