Guide For Buying Used Kayaks


It often happens that many people who are on the market for a preowned kayak don’t put in as much time and effort researching as they would when buying new kayaks, which obviously is wrong. Just because you aren’t paying as much money as you would for a brand new kayak doesn’t mean that you can be negligent and lax when buying used kayaks. So whether you’re looking to buy a brand new or used kayak, you should approach the search well informed and prepared.

Why Buy a Used Kayak?

A used kayak doesn’t necessarily have to mean that it’s a bad kayak. Many used kayaks are being sold out there which are just as good as any brand new kayak. With some research and a bit of luck, you may even find a secondhand kayak that has only been into the water couple of times, with the owner selling it simply because he or she has lost interest or has no more time to dedicate to the sport.

There are several reasons why buying a used kayak is a practical and sensible move.

An Affordable Way to Start

Buying a used kayak is a great way for anyone who wants to get started with paddling. It is an affordable way for beginners to experience fishing from a kayak, touring coastal areas, or any other kayaking activity and enjoy all its benefits without having to dig deep into their pockets.

A Temporary Fixation

Despite being an enjoyable and rewarding pastime, kayaking doesn’t always appeal to some people. If you think that kayaking may just be a temporary fixation for you (or would like to find out if it is), then it is highly recommended that you buy a used kayak first. Spending a lot of money on a brand new kayak doesn’t make sense unless you are very sure that you are going to pursue this hobby.

Trying a New Style of Kayaking

It is quite normal for some kayak to own more than one kayak, one type for each kind of kayaking activity that they do (remember, some kayaks are specially designed for a particular activity). So maybe you already own a whitewater kayak but would like to try kayak fishing for a change, then you may want to consider buying a used fishing kayak first instead of buying a brand new one. By buying a used kayak, you’re able to try a different style of kayaking for cheap.

.What to Look for in a Used Kayak?


Because the kayak is preowned, you’ll need to consider additional factors before deciding to finalize the purchase. These include:

The Kayak’s Age

Kayaks degrade overtime. Thus, it would be safe to assume that (all else being equal) an older kayak will be less sturdy and probably susceptible to damages. In this regard, choosing a ‘newer’ used kayak would be a better choice.

Besides, most kayaks come with a warranty which can last anywhere between two and five (or more) years. Some warranties are transferrable, which means that as long as the warranty period hasn’t elapsed, you (the new owner) should still benefit from them. Just be sure to talk to the previous owner and ask if they’ve made modifications or repairs to the kayak or used it in any way which may render the warranty invalid.

The Kayak’s Condition

Naturally, you’d want to take a look at the kayak’s overall condition. In this regard, you should consider paying more for a used kayak that is in good condition since an overly used kayak may not last you for a very long time.

Avoid used kayaks that have repaired cracks, no matter how well it seems to have been repaired. Also, run your hand over the kayak and try pressing the boat’s body and feel if any part flexes easily. This indicates that the plastic is thin or damaged. Get a flashlight and take a look at the inside of the kayak as well. Then turn off the flashlight, and if you see any light passing through the deck (or the hull if it’s overturned) that means that there’s a crack in the kayak.

However, even if the kayak looks beat up, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad buy. Remember, there’s a difference between a used kayak and an abused kayak. A well-used boat will definitely show some signs of wear and tear. What’s important is that you are aware of it, and understand how it may affect the boat’s performance and value.

Hull Condition

Keep in mind that the hull will have an impact on how well the kayak moves on the water. This is why you must take a look at the kayak’s hull condition since this part of the kayak is what sits directly on the water and most prone to damage. Most damages to the hull are caused by impact from jutting rocks or floating debris in the water, as well as dragging the kayak over rocky launch areas.

So after taking a good look at the deck, the cockpit, and inside the kayak, flip the kayak over and inspect the hull. If you see any deformity in the hull like warping, hairline cracks, or patches and repairs, you may want to consider looking for another kayak to purchase.

Previous Storage Methods

You should also ask the seller how they store their kayak. A kayak that has been stored properly will mean that the kayak has been properly cared for. If the previous owner doesn’t take care of the kayak while it’s off the water, there is a chance that it wasn’t carefully used in the water as well.

Ideally, the previous owner has stored the kayak off the ground and away from direct sunlight. If the kayak has been left lying on the ground, you can almost always be sure that the hull is damaged to a certain degree. If it was stored outside, then the sun will have damaged the kayak’s outer shell and weakened the material it’s made of. Finally, if the kayak has been covered by a tarp for several months, be sure that you check the outside and inside of the kayak for signs of mold and mildew.

Kayak Features

When buying used kayaks, you will notice that some may come with or without certain accessories. For instance, the previous owner may have their kayak rigged with rod holders or paddle holders. On the other hand, previous owners may have removed the kayak’s damaged seat and didn’t bother replacing it since they’re selling the kayak anyway.

Aside from checking what accessories are offered with the kayak, you should also check the condition of the accessories. If you are buying a used kayak with a retractable skeg, make sure that you can retract it fully and that it’s working properly.

Trying the Kayak

If you are satisfied with the result of your visual inspection, the next thing to do would be to take the kayak for a test run. This will give you a better idea of the kayak’s condition and show you any problems (i.e. leaks) that you may have missed while inspecting it on land.

While trying the kayak on the water, try answering the following questions:

  • Is the kayak seat comfortable? If it’s not, is it possible to change the seat to a more comfortable one?
  • Is the kayak long enough for your legs to rest comfortably, or does it feel a bit cramped inside?
  • Are the skeg and rudder cables working properly?
  • How well does the kayak track? Is it fast or do you feel it’s holding you back?
  • Are you having a difficult time maneuvering the kayak?
  • Is the kayak stable enough for you?

If the answers are all positive, then you may just have found a used kayak worth purchasing. If not, ask yourself what adjustments you can make and if the overall cost of modifying the kayak is worth it.

Where to Buy Used Kayaks?

If you’re planning to buy a used kayak, you should consider looking at the following places.

Local Kayaking Club

If there’s a local kayaking club in your area, you should consider asking the members if they have any used kayaks for sale. In most cases, there will always be someone there who is willing to let go of their old kayak to buy a new one. And even if no one in the club is selling their kayak, they may know someone (not necessarily another club member) who is.


The internet is filled with websites where you can find used kayaks. You can join kayak forums and check if anyone there is selling their kayak. If not, you can post an ad for a used kayak.

If you are going to buy a kayak online, be sure to ask for detailed photographs of the kayak. Ask the seller to take close-up pictures of the kayak’s hull and deck so you can have a better idea of what to expect. If the seller doesn’t agree, then that’s a red flag. Also, considering the costs that will be involved regarding the kayak’s shipping and how long it will take to reach you.

Water Sport Festivals

Attending a water sports festival is not only fun and educational, but it may just be the place where you find a used kayak that you’ll love. There are booths there that sell gears and equipment for various water sports like water skis, stand up paddleboards, and even kayaks. For the most part, the most obvious booths would be those owned by large manufacturers are retailers. However, there are some booths run by small kayaking clubs from your locality and other nearby places.

Sports Shops and Marinas

Most sports shops in big department stores would be unlikely to sell used kayaks. However, some small, local shops do. Try visiting one of the local shops in your area since they may sell some used kayaks from their previous clients. Also, visit the local marina in your place since there may be some boaters there who are looking for someone to get their kayaks off their hands.

Final Tips

Before you head out to any of the places mentioned earlier and start looking for a used kayak to buy, make sure that you are prepared and well-informed. Otherwise, you may, unfortunately, come across a seller who may try to rip you off.

Do Your Research

Before you go looking for a used kayak, make sure that you do your research first. Know exactly what type of kayak you want. Do you want a plastic kayak or a composite kayak? Are you looking for a fishing kayak or a touring kayak? You should also do some research regarding the brand and model of the kayak you intend to buy.

Also, you should consider looking for currently manufactured kayaks. You don’t have to buy the latest model available, but it should at least be relatively current. There are some used kayaks out there that are quite old and whose products have been discontinued. It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that their age may have an impact on their durability and performance.

Know the Going Rates

Prices for used kayaks will vary greatly depending on the situation. Some kayakers who have grown attached to their kayaks are likely to put a higher value on them even if it shows obvious signs of damage. Some other kayakers will be selling their slightly used kayaks for a low price simply because they want to get it out of their hands and make some money at the same time.

To know if you’re being charged too much or too little for a used kayak, acquaint yourself with the current going rates for used kayaks. You can do this by visiting any website that sells used kayaks and getting the average of the prices there. Be sure to focus on the type of kayak you want, like if you want to buy a tandem kayak, watch the going price for tandem kayaks and not the single-person kayaks. The same applies if you’re looking for touring kayaks, fishing kayaks, inflatable kayaks, and so on.

Don’t Compromise

Don’t make compromises when buying a used kayak. You’ve done your research, you know what type of kayak and features you want, and you may even already have a set budget for the purchase. Stay focused and don’t be persuaded to buy any used kayak simply because it looks good or because the seller is willing to sell it to you for a very low price. Remember, getting the boat you want will influence just how much you enjoy using and owning it.

Globo Surf Overview

Getting a used kayak is one of the best ways for you to enjoy paddling without having to spend much. However, you should always remember to consider the factors mentioned above whenever you’re planning to buy one. Only then can you be sure that you’ll get used to kayaks that will not only make your paddling enjoyable but memorable as well.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!