Buying your very first kayak can be an overwhelming experience if you aren’t equipped with the right knowledge.
There are countless models on the market and it can be hard to distinguish between what makes a good beginner kayak and what doesn’t.
The following post will provide an insight into the different factors that make a good beginner kayak including size, weight, kayak design as well as other key features.
I hope after reading this review you will have a better understanding of which kayak is going to be the best for your needs.
Features of Beginner Kayaks
When it comes to searching for the best beginner kayak understanding the different features will help make the decision easier for you.
There are a few crucial things you will need to take into consideration and these include the length, displacement and rocker. There are many more but let’s begin with these.
This is the term given to how high above the water or below the water your kayak sites. If there is too much displacement then you’re going to be very high above the water.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it will be much more difficult to maneuver and if there is a strong breeze or current your kayak will be moved around easily.
Is your kayak has too little displacement then you will sink and no one wants that!
The displacement is automatically factored into designs for beginners kayaks but they generally account for paddlers who weigh 143lb – 187lb.
If you are outside of this weight range then be sure to double-check with the manufacturer or order a very specific kayak.
Have you seen the professionals who have incredibly long kayaks that seem to slice through water with ease? The longer your kayak is the faster it will go.
In addition to being long, they are also narrow which significantly reduces the drag and allows you to go much faster.
There are a few issues with having such a long kayak though and that includes the inability to maneuver them easily.
They are also very difficult to transport around and to store in your home or garage as well.
This refers to the amount of curve in your kayak.
If you picture a kayak in the water if the ends of the kayak are out of the water then this is a pretty big rocker.
If each end is flat with the water’s surface then there is virtually no rocker.
The rocker attributes to maneuverability as well as stability so if you are a beginner then a kayak with a decent rocker is going to make it much easier to learn and get used to!
Best Kayaks For Beginners
Taking these into consideration let’s take a detailed look at the best kayaks for beginners!
Perception R15 Pescadors 100 Kayak
- Comfort Seating System (CSS)
- Molded-In Footwell
- Bow Hatch and Stern Day Hatch
- Tank well with Bungee
- Comfort Carry
The Perception R15 Pescadors 100 Kayak is one of the best beginner kayaks on the market.
The word Pescador means fisherman in Spanish so if you hadn’t already guessed this is also a fishing kayak- quite a good one at that!
- Fishing kayak that is great for beginners
- Sit on top style
- Stable and durable
- Removable and adjustable seat
- 12 foot in length
- 3 colors available
This is a sit on top style kayak that has plenty of storage areas as well as options to mount accessories for fishing.
Measuring in a 12 foot of 365cm this kayak is quite long yet still is maneuverable and doesn’t compromise on speed, space or stability.
It is 32.5 inches wide and weighs 64 lbs. The maximum user weight is 375lbs.
There is a two-level adjustment seat which doubles as a camp chair as well. It can be lowered for comfort while paddled and raised for more accurate casting.
The chair is completely removable too meaning you can use it on the beach/lake/river where you are kayaking. It also has easily adjustable footrests which allows users across a range of heights.
As you can imagine a fishing kayak is going to need to be quite stable to allow for casting and reeling in fish. So, for this reason, fishing kayaks are great for beginners.
This is a durable, stable and well-built kayak that is designed to withstand many different conditions.
The Perception R15 Pescadors 100 Kayak doesn’t come with a paddle so that will be something that needs to be purchased separately. It is available in 3 different colors – red/yellow, sand and seaspray.
Ocean Kayak Malibu
- Enjoy sun and surf with a friend or a furry companion with the kayak's three seating positions, which support solo, tandem, or tandem paddling with a child or pet.
- A pair of Comfort Plus seats provide four-way adjustability, generating a custom fit and greater slip prevention over molded seats.
- Patented overlapping foot wells allow center-seated paddlers to settle in and brace their feet comfortably. Hatches - None
- The open, sit-on-top hull makes it easy to get on and off the kayak and includes a pair of molded-in handles and skid plate.
- Maximum capacity of 425 pounds; measures 12 feet long and 34 inches wide. Lifetime warranty on the hull.
The Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak has a capacity of one, two or two and a child. This is a spacious, beginner tandem kayak that is comfortable and easy to use.
- Capacity for 2 adults and a child or pet
- Lightweight yet sturdy
- Two seat backs included
- 12 foot long
- 3 different colors to choose from
This is one of the most popular, compact, lightweight sit on top kayaks that is stable and durable. It can be paddled by just one person or two as well as enough space for a small child or pet.
Included are two comfort plus seatbacks which will drastically improve the comfort of your kayak. There are also gear straps as well as overlapping footwells, handles and a skid plate.
The design of this kayak makes it easy to dock, store and transport. Measuring at 12 foot this kayak will offer stability and ease to begin your kayak journey.
If you are tall or need a lot of legroom then the Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak is a good choice. It is available in three different colors – yellow, sunrise and envy.
SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-in Kayak
- Large open cockpit with adjustable padded seat with high back support
- Convenient gear storage with shock cord deck rigging
- Adjustable foot braces
- Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High Density Polyethylene
- Spray deflector collar
The Sun Dolphin Aruba Kayak is one of the most affordable and popular beginners kayaks on the market, designed specifically with a beginner kayaker in mind!
- 10 foot long
- 7 colors to choose from
- Padded seat with high back support
- Gear storage area
- Adjustable foot braces
- UV stabilized design
Measuring in at 10 feet long this kayak will be easy to paddle and maneuver but most of all stable. It has a total weight of 40lbs (18kgs) and a maximum user weight of 250lbs (113kgs).
The cockpit is large and comes with a padded seat that is fully adjustable. It has a storage area for any gear you want to take with you as well as adjustable foot braces making it comfortable for everyone.
The kayak has been built to last and uses UV stabilized fortiflex high-density polyethylene meaning it’s going to last.
The paddle isn’t included with this purchase so bear in mind you will also need to order one separately.
Overall the Sun Dolphin Aruba Kayak has been designed for beginner kayakers in mind and great value for money. The hardest choice will be deciding which of the 7 colors you want to get!
Design and Physics of a Kayak
Making a kayak is quite a complex process and there are many considerations that go into the design work. There are, however, trade-offs or compromises with the craftsmanship of your kayak.
For beginners, you want stability over maneuverability and speed. The key trade-offs include:
- stability vs. maneuverability
- stability vs. speed
- primary vs. secondary stability
Most beginners will want a very stable kayak because let’s be honest, no one wants to be tipping out of them!
Choosing the best kayak for beginners can be a somewhat daunting task. There is a huge variety to choose from so I hope you found my beginner kayak reviews post helpful! The Sun Dolphin Aruba Kayak is the most popular amongst beginner kayaks but the Perception R15 Pescadors 100 Kayak is also great for beginners and multi-functional.
Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? We’ve compiled a detailed list of the best kayak brands available. Also, don’t forget, you’ll need a seat (reviews here), paddle (reviews here) and cover (reviews here) for you new purchase!
Beginner Kayak Reviews
When it comes to learning a new sport or hobby having the right equipment can make all the difference. When it comes to beginners kayaks I have put together the 3 best kayaks that will help you get the most out of the sport! You really want to feel comfortable and confident while getting in and out of the kayak as well as using it. A memorable and positive experience will keep you coming back for more!
- Perception R15 Pescadors 100 Kayak
- Ocean Kayak Malibu
- SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-in Kayak