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Discovering Ocean Kayaks
Ocean Kayak - Like a Sports Car In The Surf!
I didn't know I was a fan of kayaks until a friend bought a Mysto Ocean Kayak and suggested a day out at the beach.
Of course, I remember childhood trips to boating lakes, and rides on rowing boats and canoes, but I had never tried kayaking. One sunny August day, last year, I was converted. Hopefully my photos will give you a feeling for that day.
So, what is kayaking? It is a form of paddling distinguishable from canoeing by the number of blades on the paddle and the position of the paddler. In kayaking, the paddler faces forward and uses a double-bladed paddle.
Sit-On-Top Kayaks Are Easy To Use - Although I seem to be concentrating hard here
Kayaks come in three main formats: some have closed decks, some are "sit-on-top" and others are inflatable.
The Mysto, shown here, is a sit-on-top kayak designed for conquering the waves, but it also performs really well on flat water. It is easy to use, and great fun for beginners through to intermediate kayak surfers. I clambered onboard, possibly not by the recommended method, but was soon comfortably seated, with paddle in hands, and ready to go.
Never So Much Fun... - ...as when messing about in boats!
Although we had only one kayak, and four people, we still had a great day. We weren't in a race. We didn't have a destination. We just had a lot of fun, taking our turns to kayak along the shoreline, helping each other when we toppled out, and laughing a lot.
How It's Done
Here are some videos which give you an idea of the basic skills required. If you have a local club or instructor, book some lessons too. It's important to keep safe when you are out on the water.
Ocean Kayaks are considered by many to be the world number one for sit-on-top kayaks and leads the market for kayak fishing. The Mysto is a great recreational kayak offering versatile and affordable fun. It is robust and colourful, with a self-draining, open cockpit design that gives additional safety, especially for those, like myself, who are less experienced. The Frenzy is a similar compact kayak, suitable for a range of paddlers, children as well as adults.
Both are around 9 foot long and 31 inches wide. I found our Mysto to be comfortable and easy to manoeuvre.The bright and cheerful colours make it easy to see through the waves, which is reassuring when you kayak on open water. The Mysto has a Comfort Tech seatback. The Frenzy has a comfortable molded-in seat.
The built-in features include:
Seats one adult with a maximum weight of 325 lbs (147 kg)
Built-in carrying handles
Above deck storage well
A paddle keeper
Molded-in cup holder
with the option to have a 6" screw-in hatch with cat bag.
Ocean Kayaks Look Cool!
This is our Mysto, on the beach. The makers say the Mysto has:
"A sleek and sexy design, this kayak is like a sports car in the surf."
I would agree - with it's a compact shape, not too big or too heavy, it cuts through the water easily, and I soon found myself travelling at a good speed.
It is available in a range of bright colours. So, should the worst happen, and you find yourself in difficulty, the kayak will be easier to spot.
More Kayaks Currently Available
Kayaks come in several different types, including sit on top kayaks, sit inside kayaks, single person kayaks, tandem kayaks, and inflatable kayaks. They vary in length, material and design, so you can choose according to your needs, for example, a fishing kayak or a recreational kayak.
A sit-on-top kayak, with rod holder, and plenty of room for your gear is a good choice for anglers. You need one that is stable, easy to paddle, and has a hull design that is good for tracking on lakes and maneuverable on rivers. A large cockpit will give you room to work with your tackle.
A great value sit-on-top kayak, with lots of special features. It is 10 foot long, easy to transport and suitable for ponds, lakes, surf and fishing.
Inflatable kayaks have the advantage that they are easier to transport. For recreational kayaking on lakes and mild rivers, there are some comfortable and inexpensive kayaks available, including some with seats for two. For comfort, you should be able to find one with adjustable inflatable seats, with backrests. I would also suggest high visibility colors in case you get into difficulty.
For a less expensive way of enjoying the the lakes and rivers, try the inflatable Sea Rebel Kayak by Rave Sports. This great kayak is lightweight and easy to inflate, and gives a comfortable ride, whether you are fishing or simply cruising the water.
Want the best of both worlds?
This smart inflatable kayak looks and paddles like a hard-shell, but is as portable as an inflatable!
This Advanced Elements Kayak has built-in ribs that define the bow and stern, which helps to improve tracking. The kayak is preassembled, you only need to unfold and inflate the kayak, and then attach the seat.
Some kayaks are sold with paddles, though not necessarily the paddle that will suit you best. If you are looking for your own, you need to find paddles with lightweight tempered aluminum shafts and durable high-impact blades.
Two piece construction for easy transportation, with contoured blades for good propulsion. Adjustable position system to fit your paddling style, drip guards to keep you drier, and foam grips for comfort.
Paddle Leashes - Don't End Up a Creek, Without your Paddle
A paddle leash is also very useful if you want to be sure not to lose your paddle when you stop for a drink or snack. Seriously, you don't want to find yourself drifting away from shore without your trusty paddle!
The paddle leash should have a minimum of a 4 foot strap of flexible, stretchy material.
Paddle leashes are very convenient allowing you to drink, eat or fish without loosing your paddle! This one is very good value: 2 metres long, constructed of flexible stretch material, with a clip and velcro system.
Easy To Transport - will travel on an everyday roof rack
We found it was easy to transport the Mysto. At 43 lbs in weight and 9' 9" long, it is light enough to sit on a roof rack, and short enough to fit on a family-sized car. Two people can easily lift the kayak on to a roof rack, or one reasonably strong person could manage it by themselves.
Roof Racks For Kayaks
With a properly fitted roof rack, it's much safer and easier to transport your kayak(s).
Always wear appropriate safety equipment - a lifejacket is essential!
If you are looking for buoyancy, without bulk, this O'Neill Superlite vest could be the one for you. Constructed from closed cell PVC marine foam, with a durable coated nylon shell, you can expect this comfortable personal flotation vest to last years of heavy outdoor use. A women's version is also available.
So important! Like adults, children should always wear a lifejacket when out on a boat. These durable nylon vests are suitable for children weighing 30-50 lbs. They have secure 1" webbing, and leg strap so the vest stays in place in the water.
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Tell us more about you and watersports!
A DVD introducing the world of kayaking, including ocean surfing, inland tours, and kayak fishing. Suitable for all the family.
More About Kayaking
Where to look for more information
- Website for Ocean Kayak
The designer and manufacturer of sit-on-top kayaks.
- Website of Johnson Outdoors UK
Johnson Outdoors UK is a major distributor of sit-on-tops, canoes and kayaks from leading brands including Ocean Kayak, Old Town, Necky and Carlisle
- Kayaking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. Kayaking and canoeing are also known as paddling. Kayaking is distinguished from canoeing by th..
- Kayak Gear and Kayak Equipment: Kayak Equipment and Kayak Gear
Here you will find an explanation of the essential kayak gear that a kayaker must have as well as other non-essential equipment one may want to consider
- Accessories Product Center from Kayakproshop.com
Accessories for kayaking, paddles, PFD's, Skirts, Covers, Safety. Where to find the best paddling and kayaking accessories and gear
- Activity Holidays
Kayaking Holidays around the world
- Kayaking Holidays, Kayak Trips & Whitewater Kayaking
Kayaking holidays, tours & trips on sea wand whitewater worldwide. Book with the best specialist kayaking operators & outfitters.
- Sea kayaking holidays. River & sea kayaking vacations & holidays. World's best responsible & ec
Sea kayaking holidays. Worldwide river & sea kayaking holidays & vacation from Scotland to Thailand. With leading responsible sea kayaking holidays specialists
- Alaska Sea Kayaking Prince William Sound Anadyr Adventures
Alaska Sea Kayaking from Valdez Alaska, in Prince William Sound. Day trips, extended and mothership assisted kayaking trips available.
The photos on this page were taken at Cley beach, Norfolk, which I talk about in my article Five place I love in England. We have to travel about 2 hours to get there, but it's worth the trip. Please share your favourite beach, lake or river in the comments section below.