Kayaking has long been a favorite sport for many water enthusiasts. From a peaceful day out fishing to long term camping trips it is clear to see why this has kept its popularity over the years. With seemingly endless places to go explore, many kayakers are taking their rig to the sea to rough the wild rapids and explore the beautiful open ocean. A sport better left for advanced paddlers, taking on the ocean requires you to have strong enough skills to maneuver through the changing tides and the strong currents. In order to do this properly, having the best sea kayak is essential.
As the market for kayaks is heavily saturated as it is a sport that has been popular for a while and is maintaining its high standing, it can be hard to find the best sea kayak. Ocean kayak models will have some different features than regular kayaks. So to help you do just that, we have found the best on the market to help you make an informed decision on what one is best for you. This will help you to expand your kayak skills and make you a better, safer kayaker. After all, this is supposed to be a fun sport.
Ready to get started? Let’s go.
How To Choose An Ocean Kayak – Buying Guide
You may think that your lake kayak can be used for kayaking in the ocean as well. This is unfortunately not the case. Sea kayaks are of a variety of their own as they have different key features which allow them to stand out. Below is a list of factors you should consider before making your purchase.
Sea kayaks are generally longer than kayaks intended for other recreational use. These kayaks should not come any shorter than 11.5 feet in length. More commonly, these kayaks should sit much longer at 15+ feet in length. This added length is important in keeping you more stable in the water. They is also much easier to paddle which will be a welcomed thing when battling ocean currents.
Pro Tip: Make sure that you have a way to haul this longer kayak. Oftentimes kayak trailers have length restrictions.
Ocean kayaks will come in a variety of different widths for you to choose from. Generally speaking, opting for a wider kayak will provide better stability and is a better option for beginners. Widths around 35 inches will best suit your needs as a novice kayaker. You will want to ensure that your kayak is at minimum 19.5 inches to drastically lower your chances of flipping in the water.
While maneuverability is not of as high of a concern in ocean waters, having a kayak that is easy to control is incredibly important. Be sure to pay attention to past reviews of how your kayak tracks through the water.
Strength & Durability
When you’re plowing through some rough ocean waves the last thing you want to worry about is that your kayak won’t hold up. Having a kayak that is durable enough to handle the changing ocean conditions is so important.
Low in the water
For all ocean kayaks, you will want one with a relatively low center of gravity. This will work to provide superior stability for you. When paddling in the water you are vulnerable to not only the currents but also the winds. A low riding kayak will ensure that you are able to get back to shore safely despite any cross winds that may come. Being able to handle all the changing conditions when paddling through the water is of great importance. This will help to make you a safer paddler when out on the water.
Ocean kayaks tend to have much smaller cockpits than other kayaks. While this may seem less desirable and far more claustrophobic, there is a reason for this. You will find yourself crashing through the waves and you will want to limit the amount of water spilling into your boat. For this reason, most often the cockpit of your kayak will be only slightly larger than the waist of the user.
Matches your purpose
Your kayak style will vary depending on your use. If you are planning on riding massive swells your boat will need different features than one that will be cruising through flat waters. Also, some people love to scuba dive or snorkel with their kayaks. This will require a sit on top version rather than a sit inside as you’ll need a place for your gear. It is important to figure out your use before purchasing a kayak.
Q: How To Kayak In The Ocean
A: First and foremost you should always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) no matter where you plan on kayaking. If you are planning on kayaking in the ocean you should be completely comfortable with your rig and have some experience in the water. We strongly suggest you maintain a distance that you can swim from shore. This way if you run into trouble you can simply swim to the shore. You should also know the conditions before heading out. For example, if the water is around 32 Fahrenheit you could get hypothermia if you end up in the water.
Being able to navigate the large swells is an essential skill you’ll need for ocean kayaking. Understanding the ocean tides and currents will also be a skill you should have before entering the water. The topography of the ocean’s floor can also play a key hazard. If you are paddling by the shore rip currents can pull your boat far from shore and even capsize your vessel.
Q: What Is An Ocean Kayak?
A: Ocean kayaks are those that are specifically designed for use in the sea. While you may be tempted to use your recreational kayak in the sea as well, there is a very real difference. Sea kayaks are longer than your regular kayak, tend to have lower center of gravities and have superior tracking in the water. They also tend to have smaller cockpits that are designed to keep water out.
Q: What Size Kayak For Ocean Fishing?
A: When looking to buy your next sea kayak you will want one that sits a minimum of 11.5 feet long. In an ideal case, having a kayak longer than 15 feet works well. You will also want your kayak to be a minimum of 19.5 inches in width. More commonly 35 inches will provide better stability.
Q: How To Anchor A Kayak In The Ocean
A: It may seem like a simple enough task but can be tricky if you’re not used to it. In fact, there is a special process to anchoring your ocean kayak. You will need an anchor, an anchor rope and a foam float to complete this. The smaller the anchor the better as you will have limited room to store it. Attach a nylon rope that is between 50-100 feet in length to your anchor. Typically the rule of thumb is to attach 7 feet of anchor line for every 1 foot of water. You will then want to hook your foam float up to the other end of your anchor line. This will make it so that you can dump your anchor if needed and then later retrieve it with ease.
To start setting your anchor up, first position your boat to where you would like to anchor. Open your anchor so the flukes are sticking out and then cast it away from your kayak. Let the line run until it sinks all the way to the bottom. Then pull at your rope to make sure it sets properly.
Next you will want to tie your boat off. To do this you can use a cleat hitch or an outrigging anchor. Attach this to either the bow or the stern of your boat in a figure 8 pattern. Pull the cleat hitch tight in order to ensure that it is secure.
You may want to install a shuttle system on your kayak which will help you to decide whether to tie your anchor to the bow or stern of your boat. This is a set of pulleys attached to opposite ends of your kayak that is looped on pulleys and attached to your anchor line. This allows you to effortlessly move your line between the bow and stern as you please.
Pro Tip: You will never want to anchor your kayak on the side as this can put you at a far greater risk for capsizing. Be sure to always wear a life vest when venturing out into the ocean as you will be managing tougher environments.
Taking to the open ocean can be incredibly rewarding. There is something about the salty air that has a therapeutic touch. With that being said, ocean kayaking takes a lot more skill than your average kayak trip. This is because of the currents, tides and the vast size of the water. Having the best kayak designed to specifically handle these changing conditions is important. Sea Kayaks are designed to be long and stable to give you everything you need to tear through the water with ease. Having the best one for your use will help to ensure that your fun day on the water stays enjoyable.
If you are traveling to tropical locations, you may want to bring along your snorkel gear. This way if you find a good spot in the water, you can throw down an anchor and jump in for some snorkeling.
- Center of Gravity, Explainthatstuff.com
Have you ever tried ocean kayaking? Do you use one of the ocean kayaks that made it on our list? Tell us all about your experiences in the comment section below.
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