types, designs and uses.
great variety of waters in Cornwall allow the owner of virtually
every type of kayak good or excellent paddling for most of the year.
From tippy racing K1's and K2's through to stable, albeit somewhat
slower, sit on tops; somewhere nearby there is a stretch of river,
estuary or coastline where all paddlers can enjoy their kayaks to
you are contemplating your first kayak it is important to choose
carefully and not necessarily buy on price alone. It may well be
that a cheap model will suit your intended kayaking perfectly but
we have a great deal of experience matching customers with the most
suitable designs and this will usually give better long term value.
The first step is deciding which type will best suit you from the
many styles of kayaks available.
Kayaks - Cornwall
or not is now about 10 years since the sit on top kayak boom began
in Cornwall. Its attractions are obvious and thousands of people
are now kayaking who never would have taken to conventional kayaks.
The lack of enclosing cockpit, inherent buoyancy and high initial
stability are the main desirability features of a sit on kayak
because of the high safety implicit in its design. Sit on tops
are easy to get on and off and most offer easily accessible storage
either on the deck or in hatches.
vary from 2.5m models suitable for playing around on the beaches
or in a little surf up to 4.8m touring sit on tops with many of
the features of a similar sized conventional kayak. The level
of outfitting will vary enormously and this often makes the price
difference between quality and budget models.
The vast majority
of fishing kayaks are sit on tops but many conventional designs
can be used for a little recreational angling. Probably something
like half of our sit on top customers ask for at least one fishing
rod holder to be fitted. I suspect many of those get little use,
but the more serious fishermen have a variety of models from about
3.3m up which are designed specially for kayak fishing. They offer
paddlers access to new fishing grounds at a fraction of the costs
and hassle of a motorboat and are easy to launch at many locations
in size from 3.1m up to about 4.8m and tend to be wider and more
stable than the longer faster sea kayaks. Most are suitable for
a complete novice and will feature watertight compartments and
a drop down skeg for easier tracking in the crosswinds you are
more likely to encounter when paddling offshore.
are more specialist and are designed with experienced kayakers
in mind. On the face of it they will look like a longer touring
model (for a lot more money) but the moulding of the hulls is
more technologically advanced, the skeg systems more adjustable
and they feature extra bulkheads and hatches. They are also narrower
to enhance paddling performance because consecutive 30 mile trips
on the open sea may be required during expeditions.
only type of kayak which cannot be paddled to its full potential
in Cornwall. Nevertheless, Dartmoor is just up the road and many
members of the canoe clubs paddle whitewater kayaks as their main
choice of boat waiting for winter access to some excellent rivers.
Some of the most popular designs are those which also work particularly
well as surf kayaks. A high degree of skill is essential to get
the most out of these kayaks and learning to roll is a must. Whitewater
boats can be subdivided into freestyle / playboats and creek /
river running kayaks.
as general-purpose and more latterly as crossover kayaks. We think
that a true all-rounder should be as capable of finishing a 15
mile sea trip as it should a trip down a grade 3 whitewater river.
However, many designs put a heavy emphasis on whitewater paddling
and suffer hugely in terms of easy paddling performance, so please
take advice on what you really want to do with it.