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Ocean Kayaks - Reviews & Guides For 2024

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Ocean Kayak Buying Guide

Want to explore the vast oceans and seas? Opt for suitable ocean kayaks and get set to tour the water bodies with all the fun.

Ocean kayaks present a simple yet effective way to enjoy kayaking in strong currents. They are quite strong and rigid. They have a substantial threshold against regular wear and tear.

However, while selecting a particular model, you have a look into certain features. You have to look into the size, weight, type, portability, and other additional properties. Owning in an ill-fitted model will disrupt your experience, and you will repent on investing your hard-earned money in it.

Gathering the correct details and facts on all these features can become a tiresome task. A comprehensive buying guide will provide you all the necessary information on the critical characteristics. You can skim through the pointers quickly and funnel down the best product. Moreover, you will find the answers to your common questions and queries.

But before all this, you must have a clear understanding of the product. So, let us start with a brief introduction and then move further into this guide.

What do you mean by Ocean Kayaks? Why do you need them?

Vessels designed to tackle certain conditions on the open water are the ocean kayaks. These are specific for the open waters, and compared to all the other recreational kayaks, these are longer and have a low center of gravity. Along with these features, it also provides excellent tracking even in the ocean waters.

The primary reason we need the ocean kayaks despite having recreational kayaks is that they make your sessions both comfortable and, importantly, safer. It has various other functionalities too. One of which is the ropes around the boat.

With the help of this, if a situation ever were to arise where your boat capsizes, then you can hold on to this. It is also sturdy and meant for the ocean waters and hence is best suited to go sea kayaking.

Types of Ocean Kayaks

  1. Sit-on-top Kayaks

They are open on the top, and hence as kayaker water will splash onto you as you move in the water. They are a lot wider in comparison with the sit-in kayaks and are also more stable.

They are easier to balance too for a kayaker, even a beginner. And hence a beginner should start with a sit-on-top kayak among the other ocean kayaks. Even for kids, the sit-on-top kayak is the best kayak to enjoy the activity.

The sit-on-top kayaks are great to be on still waters and rivers. They are also best for you if you want to go snorkel or for a swim. These kayaks are also easier to climb back on if you accidentally fall off. Even for quick paddling to enjoy the hot summer, the sit-on-top is a better choice.

  1. Sit-in Kayaks

Similar to the sit-on-top kayaks, the sit-in kayaks are ocean kayaks that let you sit in. They have a capsule-like structure in the kayaks that enables you to sit in and row.

Since it is a sit-in kayak, the below waist region is always dry. Hence under cold climate or in the chilly waters, these sit-in kayaks are the best because they keep you warm and dry too.

These kayaks are comparatively narrower and longer as compared to the sit-on-top kayaks. They help you with going faster and far too. Since you sit in, you can deliver more paddle strokes that are powerful than the previous ones.

They have an even lesser center-of-gravity offering you to steer better. These kayaks are better for the sea.

  1. Inflatable Kayaks

The inflatable kayaks are just inflatable kayaks. They offer the best movability to carry around with your luggage. You can deflate it and carry in your trunk and not have to worry about sacking it above the roof.

You will always have to inflate it with a pump before taking it to the water. They are usable on gentle rapids at the most. Despite not being fast, they are harder to steer in the water, even more than the hard kayaks.

These inflatable kayaks are for one or two kayakers at the most. Like any inflatable, this is also vulnerable to getting punctured. Hence their durability decreases. Therefore, these ocean kayaks are not best suited for the rapid waters and instead are best for gentle waters only.

Why should I read this buying guide before purchasing the suitable ocean kayak?

With several brands gloating over their modes, you can easily get duped by the salesmen in the market. To save yourself and purchase the right option, you must have full knowledge of the product. For this, you have to look into the critical features and characteristics of the product.

This well-structured buying guide presents you with all the information at a single stop. You don’t have to look into tons of online sources for the correct facts and details. You can quickly sort out the best option and make an informed purchase according to your requirement.

So without any further delay, let us dive into this extensive guide.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Ocean Kayaks

Length and width

The length and width can affect the performance of the ocean kayaks. The narrower and longer the kayak is, the more likely it is to go straighter and faster. If you need more stability and comfort to navigate and turn, it is best to go for shorter and wider kayaks. Even though the speed drastically decreases, it will provide more stability.

For a beginner or a kid, choose a wider kayak, and get accustomed to being on the water. The recreational kayaks are 8-13 feet long and mainly meant for rivers, lakes, and more calm water types. They are narrower and can thus navigate through narrow passageways quickly and efficiently.

The touring kayaks are long, around 14-18 feet. These are for the giant and enormous waves.

Hull Types

A hull is the bottom shape of the boat. Hence it is also an essential factor when considering buying ocean kayaks. It affects the stability and performance significantly in water.

There are two types of stability to consider while choosing a kayak. First, the primary or the initial stability is the stability present when you are boarding on to the boat. Higher stability means that there is less chance of you to topple over as you get on and sit on it.

Second, it is the secondary stability. This is the stability offered once you have already started paddling. This means it is less likely to capsize while moving through the waters.

There are many hulls to consider and are:

  1. Flat hull

These are hulls that are flat and thus more stable, with likely more maneuverability too. They provide better primary stability since it is a lot flatter. The more flatter the kayak is, the more stable it becomes.

  1. Rounded hull

These boats have rounded edges, with which they have more speed and thus allowing them to travel easily through the waters than the flat hull. These offer more secondary stability and maneuverability too.

  1. V-shaped

These are designs such that they cut through the rough water and keep traveling in a straight path. These are best for recreational paddling and long-distance trips.

  1. Pontoon

These offer both of the flat hull’s primary stability and rounded hull’s secondary stability. They are comparatively lower.

  1. Chine

Chine is the way the sides meet the base of the boat. There are two types of the chine, namely soft and hard. In soft chine, the sides and base form rounded edges, and in hard shine, both meet at angles.

Typically, all the models have a multi-chine, which ranges between the two extremities. As the model scales towards soft chine, secondary stability increases.


Materials are a major component of anything you wish to buy. So, carefully consider buying a material after only testing them. The materials used to make the ocean kayaks are many, and they are as follows.

  1. Plastic or Aluminum

These are the most affordable materials that can be of use in making the kayaks. Both materials are highly durable. These materials can withstand cold conditions to a certain extent in winter. It is best suited for beginners.

  1. Fiberglass

The fiberglass, unlike the plastic or aluminum, is a lot more light and very easy to carry around. Despite being lighter, it is tough and long-lasting. Meaning they have great durability for them to last for long periods. These kayaks are best for frequent paddlers.

  1. Carbon fiber

The carbon fiber is the strongest of all the materials available for making a kayak. Even though it is the most robust material, it is also light. It is also just long-lasting, even more of the fiberglass material. It is best for you who want to use it for years to come.

  1. Inflatable materials

The inflatable materials allow the kayak to inflate and deflate with a pump. They are prone to punctures. But the inflatable material used in kayaks has a high resistance to punctures. These inflatable materials include strong PVC and the latest kevlar.


Choosing the right paddle for you can make a significant difference while kayaking. It will make it more comfortable for you because paddling is strenuous, and if not done correctly, then it might not give the power desired to move forward.

Depending upon the strength to paddle and trip length you need, along with your paddling style, you can determine the best-suited kayaking paddle.

A lighter paddle will help you to not tire out your arms quickly. Especially if the trip is too long or you have lesser strength, then a lightweight paddle is best to go with.

If you want to paddle faster, then you will need a large blade. This massive blade must have an asymmetric shape and feathered too, along with a slight curve that will help it cut through the water quickly.

The blade being feathered means that the two blades face the opposite directions. This will decrease the wind resistance and, in turn, reduce your speed.

The minor differences in the angles help your wrist stay away from pain and make it comfortable too. In comparison, the sizable difference helps cut through the water easier and quicker. You can adjust the blade angle to suit you the best.

For beginners and kids, the symmetrical blade with straight sides along with a non-feathered blade is the best.


A kayak of the best-built quality is a must while buying the ocean kayaks. As the quality increases, so does the price. Hence it is best to choose the best quality available for your budget.

The cheapest paddles use plastic or aluminum as materials, and they are heavy. Being heavy is hard on your body. The sit-on-top and the recreational kayaks are the cheapest kayaks in comparison with the sit-in touring kayaks and also the fishing kayaks.

The carbon fiber kayaks, along with the paddles, are the most expensive kayaks despite being lightweight. These are also very easy to use than the other kayaks.

While you consider buying the kayak for a kid or a beginner, investing a cheap one is the best. This is because you have to get used to it in relatively calm waters. Only when you are confident to go into rivers with the strong current, then you can move from a cheap kayak to a somewhat better one.

Strength and Durability

The strength and durability of the ocean kayaks are essential. These two determine the longevity and safety of the kayak. They also ensure the safety of the kayaker by maintaining the kayak in a safe state.

The rough waters do significant damage on the kayak, so as long as it’s made with high-quality materials, there is no threat to your safety. If it were to use the cheap and weak materials, both the strength and durability decrease and often, situations of the kayak breaking in between the travel is a significant issue.

Hence always choose the best materials for the kayak to make with because it directly influences the strength and the durability.

Position in Water

Depending on the position of water your kayak will be in, you will need different kayaks. Hence, understand the waters you want to go kayaking for, and based on this, choose the kayaks carefully.

The ocean kayaks have a lower center of gravity that improves the stability in the water. This stability helps you immensely when you go through the rough waters or get hit by waves.

Depending on the waters, consider whether your kayak has to be narrower or should it be wider. Also, you will have to choose among the different paddles to get the most safety and comfortability out of it.

An ocean kayak that is low riding will make sure that you can reach the shore safely amidst the crosswinds.


Even though there are not that many obstacles with the ocean waters, the most significant risk is the currents, which will demand you for excellent maneuverability.

These currents can often pull you out of your course and cause problems and make it difficult to continue with it or either return to the shore. Hence to increase the tracking and your maneuverability in such currents, all the best of the kayaks come with rudders or skegs systems with them.

These extra attachments will help you in continuing a straight path as you paddle along. They also allow you to maneuver easily as you move through the narrow turns in the river. They offer excellent stability in the currents and rough waters.

With the help of tracking or skegs and rudder, kayaking on the currents won’t pose you any problems, and you can safely go on traveling on the route or return safely back to the shore.

Speed and Maneuverability

Both speed and maneuverability vary depending on the kayak. Hence decide what type of experience is that you desire.

Be it you want to cover longer distances or reach your destination as soon as possible; you will need a kayak that offers you great speed. If you like to enjoy your journey and take it slow, you can go for a kayak that is not fast.

So for leisurely paddling, a recreational kayak will suffice, while for the other case, you will need a touring kayak.

Perhaps you like to kayak in rivers instead of lakes, open rivers, and seas. Then you will need excellent maneuverability to go around the many obstacles you find there. But if it were to be the open rivers, then you will only need the kayak to offer you a decent amount of maneuverability.

For the open waters, the light-weighted touring is the best, while for narrow rivers and such a recreational kayak will be the best choice.

How to kayak and use the anchor in the ocean?

You must know how to kayak in an ocean to get the utmost experience. You have to take care of certain precautions before entering the water body.

Before going to kayak, you must make sure of the following things.

  1. Always have a better understanding of your kayak and get comfortable with it. Wearing your flotation device is necessary when you go kayaking to ensure your safety.
  1. Keeping a safe distance from the shore, so you can swim back to it in case something happens is another safety measure you can always consider taking.
  1. Make sure the water is not too cold, meaning it is not lesser than the 32 F, which can cause you hypothermia if you land in challenging situations.
  1. Make sure you understand the currents and tides before you set out to the ocean, so you do not pull away from your course.

You will need an anchor line, an anchor, and foam float to anchor in the ocean. To use this anchor, there are steps you must follow through.

  1. Firstly attach a nylon line to an anchor for about 50 to 100 feet.
  1. The foam float that you put on the end of the line allows you to quickly retrieve it and dump it in the water.
  1. Always open the flukes while setting up your anchor and then put it away from the kayak. Ensure the anchor sinks to the bottom and always tug on the line to clarify it is secure.

Knowing both how to use the anchor and kayak in the ocean will ensure you an incredible journey and fun experience as you kayak through the ocean waters. It will also ensure you are comfortable throughout the trip, whether it be calm waters or rough currents. You can reach the shore at the end safely with the right product.


  1. What are the prime aspects I should look into while selecting a kayak for the ocean?

To kayak in the ocean, you must select an option that has high secondary stability and tracking. Also, the model should have an extended length so that you can cover large distances with ease.

Make sure that the build quality is good as it has to stand against strong currents. So, good quality material will have a higher threshold against the weather.

  1. Can I opt for the sit-on type for ocean kayaking?

Yes, the type is a good option, but you have to invest in a good-quality model so that it can withstand the rough currents.

  1. Is kayaking in the ocean dangerous?

Yes, ocean waves can land you in challenging situations. You have to make sure that you follow all the safety precautions and equip all the necessary gear.

Moreover, you have to invest in a proper kayak that can ensure your safety and withstand the powerful currents.

Final verdict

With all the information under your possession, all you need is to invest in the right model. Here in this guide, we have presented all the pointers that define the usability and performance of the product.

Go through them and analyze all the models according to your requirements. Make an informed decision and own an elite kayak for your thrilling expedition. / - © Copyright 2020