If you are thinking of making your first sit-on kayak purchase then don’t panic – here are a few good tips that should make buying your new toy a smooth process.Sit on kayaks are usually made through a process called rotomoulding (rotational moulding). Some manufacturers produce theirs in a different fashion, but generally this is the process.
Rotomoulded siton kayaks
Rotomoulding is where a product can be produced in hollow form but with a constant wall thickness, resulting in a lighter than normal piece of equipment that is extremely durable. Modern techniques mean that you can now purchase items that have in mould graphics and multi-layered wall sections. This is good news for consumers as it means a higher spec kayak can be purchased for little extra cost.
When thinking about your first siton you should ask yourself what it is you wish to achieve. Are you looking to cover distance? Do you want an all-round beach toy? Or are you searching for something that you can play around in the waves on? Generally speaking, it is best to choose something that is not too long in length – remember, you will have to transport your boat as well as store it. Putting a huge hull on your car roof rack is not ideal. Something around the 3m mark will be best to start with. If you are looking for a touring/sea/tandem kayak shape then this may be slightly longer.
As you are buying your first sit-on kayak, you should be looking at something not too specialised. You may have an idea as to what type of paddling are going to undertaking but an all-round shape will accomplish most jobs to an agreeable standard. Once you have chosen your ‘yak you will then need to buy an adjustable kayak seat. Some people opt not to include this option but in the long term, a means of support will give you more comfort and therefore prolong your time afloat. Sit on kayak seats clip to fixed points on your hull and is a sturdy support that encourages a good paddling posture.
If you are thinking of exploring then something with storage may be worth considering. Usually one of these sit on kayaks will have the option to attach bungee across the nose or tail (if it does not already come with some fixed). You can then put your packed lunch, safety equipment and spare clothes in a waterproof ‘grab bag’ and feel secure in the knowledge that should you tip over, your belongs will stay in contact with your hull.
Obviously, your kayak choice is key – but an equally important piece of kit is your paddle. So many times this seemingly less important component is overlooked. Your blade is your engine and you need to purchase as good a tool as possible. Cheap flimsy alloy paddles will do nothing for your enjoyment of the sport and in fact in some cases could cause or prolong injury. It is appreciated that not every first time buyer would part money for a full on carbon paddle but ultimately, if you are intending to stay with the sport, then this should be the type of product you are aiming for. Your paddle should have a stiff shaft with not too much give and your blades should be relatively high grade material rather than cheap plastic after thoughts. For more paddles info check out ultimate guide to sit on kayaking paddles here – www.sitons.com/articles/paddleguide/
Other items to consider are things such as transportation devices – for example, two wheel ‘dollies’ that make the manoeuvring of your craft a doddle. Dollies mean that you don’t have to lug your ‘yak to the water’s edge and in fact make the moving process so easy that a child can get your boat into position with hardly any effort. A buoyancy aid (personal flotation device) is also a worthwhile purchase. If venturing to some far-flung outpost then tiredness can easily set in and it is this fatigue that could cause a lapse in concentration resulting in you capsizing. A BA will keep you afloat and make you more visible, should you ever need rescue.
If paddling on rivers then it also worth considering a throw line. These are securely attached to your BA and allow passers-by to haul you out of turbulent water in the event of an accident. Finally, a wetsuit or dry suit may be a good idea. If you live in less than tropical surrounding s then chances are you will be at the mercy of wind chill at some point. This can easily cause hypothermia, which can set in without you realising. Anything that will keep you warm, and therefore safe, is always a good idea. Your local kayak retailer should have plenty of advice on hand for this type of equipment. As a general rule of thumb, a wetsuit should be well fitting (bordering on tight), double lined neoprene for extra durability, flexible and as price sensitive as you dare go – remember, you get what you pay for.
Sit on top kayaking is one of the easiest sports to learn and can be done more or less wherever there is a stretch of water. If you do buy a ‘yak then chances are you will own if for an extremely long time and will give you endless hours of fun in the outdoors.
- Essential purchases
- Buoyancy aid
- Back rest/support
- Wetsuit/dry suit/windbreaker
- Roof rack and straps