The kayak is a craft that is powered by a double paddle (with two blades). But choosing a kayak is not easy. To help you in your choice, the Picksea team gives you its advice to find your kayak. According to the use you want to make of it, the type of kayak and the requirements you want to choose, find our selection and make your choice in our special kayak catalog!
The certification of the kayak
First very important thing, the certification of the kayak to a sea kayak. Indeed, this certification does not concern all kayaks but only those over 3.50 meters long. This will give you the right to go up to 2 miles and even 6 miles from a shelter depending on the safety equipment you take on board.
Only the manufacturer of the kayak has the ability to certify a kayak. When it is homologated, the kayak must be registered at the Maritime Affairs Department.
Registration of the kayak
Registration is done at the Maritime Affairs office, don't worry it's free. However, several documents are required:
- D240 Declaration of conformity
- Identity document proving French nationality
- Proof of address
- Phone number
- Boat identification name
Once the registration of your (sea) kayak has been validated, you will then be given a card called a "circulation card" that you should always carry with you on board.
A kayak for what use?
Depending on your use, you will not choose the same type of kayak.
Alone or with friends?
It is true that at first sight, double kayaks seem to be the best solution when you want to go out on the sea with several people. But if you look more deeply, the double kayak has some disadvantages that should not be ignored.
A double kayak costs less than two single kayaks, but:
- A double takes up more space than 2 single kayaks,
- The double kayak forces you to always have someone with you to paddle, because alone it's more complicated and less adapted,
- Carrying a double kayak is more difficult,
- More complicated dialogue when you are one behind the other (especially when it's windy).
However, the double kayak remains a very pleasant solution, and has certain advantages such as:
- Discover the pleasures of kayaking,
- A very good basic stability, more safe for beginner,
- The pleasure of paddling with someone.
Note that the double kayak is often considered to be faster, this is only partly true. Indeed, being longer than a single kayak, it has a higher potential speed, but double kayaks of leisure or touring type are also larger which increases their wetted surfaces and decreases their speed.
Beginner, intermediate or expert?
Your level of experience is obviously a criterion that comes into consideration when you choose a kayak. Beginner kayakers may have a certain apprehension of water and waves, which must be overcome with an adapted kayak. On the other hand, an expert kayaker will surely be looking for a better quality kayak, faster, which will give him more feelings. As for the intermediate kayaker, it's up to him to know himself and whether he wants to continue on more stable boats or, on the contrary, whether he wants to take it to the next level.
- Our favorite beginner :
- Our favorite intermediary :
- Our favorite experts :
Leisure or sports?
The second question when you buy a kayak is what kind of use you are going to make of it. If you want to use it in the summer for river or sea trips, you will not choose the same type of kayak. For simple reasons, touring kayaks do not have the same specific attributes as more sporty kayaks in terms of speed or glide.
- Our favorite Leisure :
They are generally larger and more stable. The kayak TEQUILA SOLO developed by BIC, for 1 adult,
- Our favorite sportsman :
Sea, lake, or river?
The land on which you are going to evolve is also a factor to be taken into account. Some kayaks are much more adapted to the sea and others to the lake or river. Of course, the kayaks you will find online are for the most part quite polyvalent, which allows you not to close yourself off to one use or another when you select a kayak.
- Our all-round favourite:
The kayak KALAO developed by BIC for 2 adults and 2 children
Stability, comfort, handling or speed?
Each kayak has its own particular characteristics according to its size, hull, weight... Of course, a stable kayak cannot be the fastest and vice versa. It is up to you to choose according to your needs and your use. If you want to kayak as a simple leisure activity, then choose a kayak with a wide and flat hull that will be more stable. Same thing if you are a beginner, choose a kayak with a wide and flat hull first.
What kind of kayak?
Kayak Sit-on-top or Sit-in (decked)
The main advantage of the Sit-On-Top kayak is that it is accessible to everyone regardless of their level. Whereas the Sit-In or deck kayak requires a bit of technique, it is therefore recommended before buying a Sit-In kayak to do a training course in order to get the best technical skills.
Inflatable (high pressure) or rigid kayak
Inflatable kayaks have the benefit of taking up very small space, which really makes life easier. But on the other hand, this type of kayak is more fragile and requires careful maintenance (rinsing, drying, crushing). Unlike regular inflatable kayaks, we offer a base of high-pressure inflatable kayaks that are much more efficient and have much less sticking to the water.
- Our favorite high pressure The kayak YAKKAIR HP2.
The fishing kayak
To be in the best conditions during your fishing trips, the fishing kayak is a very good option! Colored to blend in with nature, this type of kayak is much appreciated by fishermen because it allows them to reach remote fishing areas.
- Our favorite fishing The JAVA fishing kayak.
The modular kayak
Today, this is the revolution in the kayak industry! Created by the Swedish kayak design specialist Point 65°N, the modular kayak has the advantage of not taking up any space. The traditional disadvantages concerning storage and transport definitely disappear, since you can easily carry your kayak on the back seat of your vehicle. The other great advantage of the modular kayak is the possibility of customizing it. Indeed, you can add to this kayak an infinite number of additional sections for, why not, kayaking with 5, 10 or 100 people! Moreover, the color palette allows you to mix them to your taste.
At present, there are 4 ranges of modular kayaks:
- The range FALCON : Modular kayak, stable and easy to handle,
- The range TEQUILA : Modular kayak a more powerful one, very good value for money,
- The range MARTINI Kayak : Modular kayak for touring, for all levels of kayakers,
- The range MERCURY : New range of modular kayaks with high performance and more sporty.
What clothing do you need to practice kayaking?
Waterproof suit or neoprene?
In order to always be perfectly equipped when you get on your kayak, it is interesting to take a look at the 2 main types of wetsuits available to you, the neoprene or waterproof wetsuit.
The neoprene wetsuit is the more developed of the two, in the world of the water sports. The neoprene material creates a thin layer of water between the body and the suit that will warm up very quickly and keep you warm. But in the specific world of kayaking, the neoprene wetsuit may not be the best solution. Its cut close to the body can cause burns in the friction zones due to the repeated movements of the paddler.
Our favorite neoprene the neoprene suit PREDATOR 5/3
On the other hand, the dry suit offers a slightly less glamorous but equally effective alternative. This type of wetsuit is very well adapted for kayaking. Very breathable, it ensures you an undeniable freedom of movement. Watertightness is perfectly ensured by latex or neoprene sleeves, socks and collars. The only disadvantage remains their price: between 300 euros and 1000 euros.
What kayak safety equipment?
The diagram below perfectly summarizes the safety equipment to be taken on board a kayak according to the distance from a shelter. All this safety equipment is available at Picksea.
The essential accessory when you get into the kayak: the double paddle. Various criteria must be taken into consideration when buying a paddle. Indeed, the paddle must become an extension of your arms for optimal comfort!
|Kayak width||Min paddle length||Max paddle length|
|Kayak small||48 to 55 cm||200 cm||220 cm|
|Kayak medium||57 to 63 cm||205 cm||225 cm|
|Wide Kayak||65 cm and more||210 cm||230 cm|
|User size||Min paddle length||Max paddle length|
|Between 152 cm and 160 cm||205||215|
|Between 162 cm and 170 cm||210||220|
|Between 172 cm and 180 cm||215||225|
|Between 182 cm and 190 cm||220||230|
|Between 192 cm and 200 cm||230||240|
High angle : dynamic paddle stroke, high cadence. The main objective is power to maneuver quickly in difficult conditions.
Low angle : Water intake much softer, the movements are circular. This style is very good for certain pathologies such as back pain for example.
Large : For powerful paddlers
Medium Very versatile blade size
Straight or ergonomic handle
Law : Hands completely free along the entire length of the handle
Ergonomics : More comfortable grip, but hand positioning must be very precise. For experienced paddlers.
Fixed or removable handle
Fixed : Unique paddle length
Removable : Possibility to adjust the length of the paddle to its size, saves space and facilitates transport.
When touring, you won't use the same kind of paddle as you would for competition or whitewater kayaking. If you are touring, your paddle will be longer than a typical whitewater paddle.
Another very useful accessory for the kayaker: the transport cart. It will allow you to transport your kayak very easily. We remind you that this type of accessory is much less useful when you have a modular kayak or a inflatable kayak
It may not be the first accessory you will invest in, but the kayak sail can be very useful when kayaking in downwind conditions!
The life jacket
A very important accessory, the wearing of a life jacket is however not mandatory. It is nevertheless strongly recommended and must be quickly and easily accessible. You hesitate between two models? Find all our advice on how to choose your lifejacket.
The waterproof bag
The waterproof bag will be very useful for all your kayaking trips. Conceived to face any kind of situation, Picksea offers you a complete range of leakproof bag.
You can also find all our advice for Choose your waterproof bag carefully.