Types Of Kayaks: What are the Differences Complete Guide-2022

Types of kayaks

Types of kayaks: what are the differences?

Kayak – What are a kayak, Origin, and Parts
Surely you have ever heard one of your more adventurous friends say: “We have to rent a kayak this summer, you are going to love it. ”

Well, kayaking or canoeing is a sports fashion for its simplicity and because it is great fun. Do you want to know what it comprises? Let’s go there.

If you still don’t know what a kayak is, you are reading the right article. Let’s start at the beginning and explain what kayaking is all about and what you can do with one of these elongated boats.

What is Kayak?

A kayak is a small boat with an elongated shape and low height that allows us to navigate rivers, lakes, reservoirs, or even in the sea. Unkayak can be rigid (self-emptying) or inflatable, although I advise you to take a look at the types of kayak available.

Kayak Cambridge Herring It
The motor power of the kayak is the momentum of the oars in the water, which we move with our arms through a refined technique that allows us to move in any direction once in the water.

There are also some pedal kayaks, where the motor power is pedaled with the legs but they are less frequent.

Although the idea of ​​riding a small boat is likely to appeal more to us during good weather, mainly because of the danger of getting wet from time to time with the waves and splashes together with the wind, a kayak can be enjoyed all year round with a good wetsuit and a few tips.

Difference between kayak, canoe, and canoe

“ Piragua ” is the general term used to refer, within the same family, to kayaking and canoeing. Therefore, in many moments, both terms are often used to refer to the same similar type of boat. However, there are differences between a canoe and a kayak.

On the one hand, the paddle of the kayak is made up of two blades, while the paddle used in the canoe has a single blade.

On the other hand, in terms of the user’s position, there are also differences between the two, since, in the kayak, the person sits much closer to the water than in a canoe, allowing them to gain stability, being the kayak narrower and lighter.

Due to these characteristics, it is stated that the canoe has a use more aimed at transporting people, while the kayak is aimed at more sporting and recreational use.

The 13 Different Types of KayaksKayaks to Live Adventures on the Water

If you are interested in water sports or just love adventure, kayaking definitely catches your eye.

To get the most out of it, you need to learn to differentiate between the types that exist and thus choose the one that suits you best.

It’s not just a question of price and quality. The variety extends to the type of activity you want to do and even the conditions under which you plan to travel.

Here is what we present to you guys from Kayak:

1. Fishing kayak Types of kayaks

When we refer to the fishing kayak, we are also talking about the self-emptying model. It is not considered a classification as such, only that it is used for fishing because it has compartments for tools and accessories such as the rod, the bag, the refrigerator, among others.

It also allows freedom of movement and most of them adapt an engine to avoid having to depend on rowing, since the intention with this boat is not the enjoyment of rowing itself. Let the hands be busy with other things when fishing.

Other fishing models come with pedal propulsion, which makes them slightly cheaper than motorized ones.

2. Whitewater kayak
Types of kayaks
The whitewater kayak for its part is a variant of the closed models. The intention is that maneuverability is the priority that is why they are very short.

It is used both to navigate between the great waves of the sea and to cross a river, streams, waterfalls or rapids.

Its long design, relatively narrow and with vertical shapes at the bow and stern, allows for turns and pirouettes, which is why it is considered the favorite of the most experienced.

These boats have moderately conical bows and stern that allow you to turn with relative ease and thus provide a safe range in case the current takes you to a dangerous place.

Many have hard rails along the sides or fins like surfboards so you can take turns in the water, as well as providing protection in case you crash into hard rocks.

A curious fact is that if you decide on one of them, you will have to become an acrobat when leaving and entering it because it is a model with a moderate to high volume. However, their blunt tip design brings them to the surface quickly.

If you decide to buy this kayak, there is a system that classifies rivers according to the level of difficulty of their waters. Take this information into account so that you experiment in the less dangerous waters until you gain some confidence.

Remember never to face the rapids without a partner, it can be extremely dangerous.

It is also important to note that in the case of whitewater sailing, there are different types of rowing, such as playboating, river running, squirt boating, and creaking. Depending on Conditional on the water, the kayaker may demand a different type of paddle.

3. Self-emptying kayak
Words more, words less, this is an open kayak. Most are made of very strong plastic.

The biggest advantage of the self-emptying kayak is that if you fall into the water, you can easily take it back, so the freedom of movement is the characteristic that attracts the most attention, especially if it is for beginners.

Due to its design, it is considered unsinkable since the paddler is sitting on top of the kayak, altering the center of gravity.

It is called self-draining because the incoming water drains through holes that run from the cabin floor to the bottom of the boat.

Likewise, since the center of gravity is higher, the effort when rowing is minimal, so it is ideal for fishing or diving.

Another advantage is that you can adapt a motor or pedals without many complications.

But not everything is perfect. Being wider they are not as fast so it takes much longer to travel a few kilometers. In the same way, when they are open you get wet easily, which translates into an advantage in summer but not the rest of the year.

4. Competition kayak Types of kayaks
competition-kayak also known as race or track, is the competition kayaks that are designed to cut through the water in order to obtain greater speed. Speed ​​kayaks, marathon kayaks, and sport river kayaks fall into this category.

Its lightness does not go hand in hand with comfort since it barely has room for the hips and the knees to be exposed.

They are long boats, extremely narrow, which makes them highly unstable that require some previous experience to maintain balance during paddling.

5. Surf kayak
Types of kayaks
The surf kayaks are designed to run at sea and surf the waves. The oars used with this type of boat are scooped, in order to achieve greater speed.

The design is similar to the whitewater kayak. They have a low and narrow shape that allows you to navigate in a straight line and with the wind.

They include edges, ridges, or fins with a certain volume just in front of or behind the paddler to improve buoyancy. It’s basically like sitting on a surfboard.

To handle this boat, special instruction and training are required, in the same way, to get on and off it in an upright position.

Kayaking is considered a high-risk sport.

6. Sea kayaking

These types of boats are not designed for whitewater. The sea kayaks serve perfectly in the open sea or lakes.

They have a low and narrow shape that allows them to sail in a straight line efficiently and glide more easily through the wind. The knees in these cases are held in the cabin so the rowing becomes more effective.

They also have two sealed bulkheads, one in the bow at foot level and the other in the stern behind the seat where they can store camping gear for long trips.

They are perfect for deep water and often include a tiller for easy handling.

The not-so-great part is that they are the heaviest of all the models and are typically 15-19 feet long.

Specialists recommend practicing its use in calm waters in the first example, particularly re-entry since in case of falling into the water it is one of the most difficult to access.

7. Recreational kayaking 

Recreational-kayak is considered the basic kayak and tops the list in tips for beginner kayakers as no experience is needed to paddle them.

They are used for rental in parks and lake houses, so their main function is fun.

Designed to traverse calm waters, recreational kayaks are shorter but wider than the rest, which gives them greater stability. They also have wider covers for higher comfort.

They are generally easy to transport on the roof of any vehicle and some models have so much space that you can even walk with your pet.

They work very well in hot climates, but their design makes them quite resistant to the wind.

8. Touring kayak
When we talk about touring kayaks, we refer to the fastest and with good directionality. In general, this model works in any type of sea.

They are considered ideal for excursions and it is perfect for any level of paddler. It performs very well in strong currents because it is made of a mixture of fiber and polyethylene.

It is characterized by being quite stable without losing speed and maneuverability due to the fact that the bow and stern are slightly elevated, the central part is round compared to the steepness of other models, which allows them to attack the waves with more security.

9. Double kayak
Types of kayaks
The double kayaks are perfect for any family trip. As its name implies, it has two cabins, one behind the other.

They are generally longer, so they are mostly inflatable or made of fiber to make them lighter. They weigh just over 18 kilograms and can be easily transported.

With only two air hoses on the sides, the boat does not navigate above the water but in the water. The position of the hoses provides additional security as it is more stable this way.

10. Rigid kayak
This type of boat is the classic that common people think of when referring to a kayak. Practically all are rigid kayaks, however, there are also folding and inflatable ones. This classification is based on construction materials.

The rigid kayak can be made of plastic, which makes it more durable, less expensive, and heavier than composite boats made of wood, glass, plastic, carbon, among other materials that make them lighter but more delicate.

These boats are perfect for withstanding the strong currents of rapids or the icy waters of the Alps.

11. Folding kayak
These types of canoes are the ones that can be folded to the point that they fit in a backpack. It is an aluminum cage covered by a waterproof fabric, this makes it extremely light and comfortable.

Although the price is higher than that of its peers, its durability is also greater. They are easy to transport and store. They are strong, flexible and in normal sailing conditions, they respond quite well so you can navigate with them almost anywhere.

12. Inflatable kayak
The inflatable kayak is the cheapest option of all. They are easy to transport and store. It’s just about taking it out of the water, drying it, deflating it, and storing it.

Some do not consider them kayaks but boats but if you are not looking for anything sophisticated that you can easily carry and bring (even on a plane or public transport), this type of kayak is your best option.

It works very well for recreational purposes because although its glide is quite acceptable, it cannot reach too much speed.

They are one of the cheapest. You can find a good model of excellent quality in a range of between 100 and 200 euros.

13. Sports kayak
Although this is not part of the special classification, there are many models of kayaks that have been modified to adapt them to a specific sport.

Thus, there are somewhere you can place the fishing rod, others that have a space for the scuba tank to fit, and others where you can store your camping equipment.

The possibilities for kayaking are limited only by the imagination so if you dare, go for it.

Types of kayaks: what are the differences?

If there’s one thing that makes kayaking one of the most popular outdoor activities, it’s the wide range of activities available to you.

Because of all this, each activity has its own type of kayaking. From short kayaks to sleek kayaks, you can choose one today depending on what you want and what you’re really going to be doing. Here are the types of kayaks available today.


One of the main characteristics we use to differentiate between different types of kayaks is whether they are sit-in or sit-on-top. Beginning, when it comes to meeting on a kayak, this is where you get a sealed hull. As with the sit-in, as the name suggests, the lower part of the body is inside the shell. These two models often have their own advantages and disadvantages. In addition, you can choose which one to go to depending on the conditions and also the location of your kayaking trip.


types of kayaks

Design-wise, when you paddle your legs are enclosed in an area commonly referred to as the cockpit. Technology has been included to prevent water from entering the kayak from above. One of the best things about these types of kayaks is that since your legs are kept inside, you can really feel the heat. So this is the best option for cold waters, as you will stay warm throughout the trip.

A sit-in kayak comes with its share of problems. First, compared to sit-on-top kayaks, capsizing, getting out, or even re-entering the kayak for safety reasons can be a real challenge. In order for you to master the technique of entering and exiting the kayak, you may need to attend a few lessons given by a qualified instructor. In other cases, if the hull is full of water, you must take the kayak ashore to empty it before continuing your journey.


types of kayaks

With this type of kayak, your legs are not covered. You will be seated on top and exposed to the outside elements. With this type, your legs will get wet sometimes. Those waves and splash will leave you a little wet. Taking this into account, we could say that the sit-on-top kayak is the best choice for warmer water.

This option has a few advantages. Firstly, since they’re designed to sit still, it’s incredibly easy to get on and off your kayak, especially when getting on board. So in the event of capsizing, you will have no problem getting out and entering the kayak.


types of kayaks

It is basically a combination of two types of kayaks such as whitewater and recreational kayaking. With this option, you can do a lot of things as it can easily handle different environments. However, it is necessary to note that; you can’t really join completely different kayaks like traveling kayaking, and wave skiing. So when we talk about hybrid kayaks, most are based on a recreational kayak hull incorporating more specific features, such as rod holders, to help you fish.

One of the biggest advantages of this type of kayak is that you get solid, reliable performance in virtually any condition. People wishing to embark on a trip involving many environments and conditions are always advised to have a hybrid kayak.

As for its downsides, we could say compared to the specialty kayak hulls that we have on the market today, hybrid kayaks don’t have that high-end performance, or other features that we have on the market today. ‘other kayaks. For example, if you are planning to do a particular type of kayaking, such as kayak surfing, it would be a good idea to invest in a shell specifically designed for this activity.


types of kayaks

These kayaks bring jointly the best parts of kayaking and surfriding. In fact, they allow you to surf heavily from the comfort of your kayak. These kayaks can be around 6m long. Regarding the width, we are talking about 40 to 50 cm in width. They come with a very small profile to help cut through those down waves.

They are a very specific design of the kayak and they are really great at what they do. These kayaks allow you to kayak while surfing

Because they are specifically designed, that makes them unusable if you decide to use them in other areas where they are not intended for use.


types of kayaks

Here are some of the most stable and easy to steer kayaks you can find today. They often come with an incredibly wide shell, measuring around 12 feet long. These boats also come with a very small area where you can easily store your essentials. There is also a cockpit which gives you easy access to your boat. When it comes to where they can be used, recreational kayaking is the most suitable option for lakes, streams, and areas protected from waves and wind.

Thanks to their incredibly wide hull, they are the most stable kayaks on the market. With them, the risk of capsizing is really minimal. In addition, since they are shorter than touring kayaks, it means that they are more and more manageable. So, if you are a beginner, you will find this choice very comfortable.

One of the biggest drawbacks to recreational kayaks is that they offer great maneuverability, which means you’ll have a hard time keeping them in a straight line as well. For this, if you are going to grow longer, this type of kayak will surely tire you. Finally, since they are specifically designed for use in calm waters, you will have a really hard time tackling rapids and waves.


types of kayaks

As their names suggest, these types of kayaks need to be inflated before you can take them out for this kayaking session. Normally you have to use an electric or regular pump to inflate them. They are primarily designed for recreational purposes; However, some of them are designed for whitewater. Because they come with a wider hull, this makes them the best option for calm waters. They can also be folded to a compressible size. In fact, we also have any that can be shabby as a backpack.

Most of these inflatable kayaks are often made from a tough material that won’t bend or warp when you hit a rock while out on the water. This means that these kayaks can withstand all weather conditions. They are also incredibly stable and easy to maneuver, making them the most suitable option for children or beginners. In other cases; we’ve also seen other top-of-the-line inflatable kayaks that have internal gum for added stability, making this a serious touring kayak that you can invest your money in today.

Yes, we did agree that inflatable kayaks are pretty sturdy; However, a simple hole can make them useless, even if you can have it patched; a procedure which can also prove to be very difficult. Also, since they are quite light, it means that it can be very difficult to paddle in rough water conditions or in high winds.


types of kayaks

Compared to recreational kayaks, they are a bit longer and more stylish. They often come with a hull measuring around 5.5m in length, which allows them to move more efficiently on the water. Because of this length, the kayak has to stay on the track longer, which will reduce the effort required to do so. These types of kayaks are best suited for beginners who are looking for a way to kayak for a long time and develop their skills before they can actually go for sea kayaking or even hiking.

In a way, these types of kayaks provide both portability and stability on recreational kayaks, but this time around with much better control when it comes to coarse water. In other cases, kayaks for a single-day hike offer more storage space than recreational kayaks. Since they’re a bit shorter than touring kayaks, they’re incredibly easy to store and transport.

Since these kayaks are specially designed for a definite purpose, they only excel in that role. These kayaks are not designed for long trips like the standard touring kayaks we are all used to. In addition, compared to recreational kayaks, they are neither stable nor easy to use. So if you are looking for somewhat that you can use with a wide area of applications, you will be required to invest your money in another type of kayak.


types of kayaks

These are long, sturdy kayaks that you can get today. They are made for long distances. They are between 3.6 and 7 m long. They often come with one or more internal storage spaces giving you more internal storage. They also come with a rudder or skeg to compensate for wind movement or even tides.

They can move very fast in the water. They also maintain a straight line for a longer duration of time.

Because they are long and can pass through water so well, it can also make them more difficult to turn. This makes these kayaks unsuitable for narrow waterways.


types of kayaks

As their name suggests, they are intended for marine waters. They often come with a higher rocker which helps them break through waves with equal ease. They also feature a narrow V-shaped front profile, making them ideal for tackling rough waters.

They are incredibly easy to control. They also follow in a straight line for a long time. In addition, we have modern sea kayaks designed to carry a lot of equipment at the same time.

They are meant for one purpose; seawater. If you decide to take it to other environments, this kayak will lose a lot of its advantages. Its relatively high rocker makes them less maneuverable in flat water. They are also less stable, thanks to their narrow profile.



These range from 1 to 3 m long. They are specially designed for fast and difficult routes. They are made from very hard rotomolded plastics. These kayaks can be subdivided into two main types

The Kayaks Playboats: types of kayaks

They are the shortest of the group. They feature a recessed bow alongside the blunt stern, making them extremely sturdy and maneuverable. These kayaks are specially designed to perform maneuvers commonly known as a rodeo in the sports world. They are very agile and are able to withstand any damage. As for the disadvantages, they are less stable.

Kayaks Creek : types of kayaks

They have more volume and are specifically designed for narrow, low-volume waterways. They are the best durable of the group. They can also be used on large rivers, and due to their large volumes, you can easily navigate the bends. They come with a problem though; they are not designed to provide essential comfort, especially for long journeys. They also do not offer storage space. So if you put your money into this guy, you won’t have to change kayaks depending on the changing environment and conditions.



Tips in choosing your kayak

Choosing a kayak is not an easy task because it depends on several factors such as budget, the use that we are going to give it, the place we have to store or transport it, etc.

Kayak Models and Tips

Below we will provide you with a list of aspects and factors that you should take into account when buying your first kayak or if you are interested in changing your style. Among the most important aspects to choosing a kayak we find the following:

Use – What do you want the kayak for?

To choose a kayak you must first know for positive what you want it for. That is, you must take into account if you want it to navigate in the sea, in a river or swamp near home, if we will use it in summer, or if you want your boy or daughter to have enjoyed on the beach.

If you are not sure what you are looking for, we recommend that you opt for a cheap kayak such as inflatable kayaks, since they adapt well and you can test if you really like it at a low price.
Kayak Material and Strength
It is important to correctly choose the material with which the kayak will be manufactured since it will not only affect its resistance, durability, and lightness, but also its final price.

If your luck permit is recommended that you order a kayak carbon fiber or fiberglass, as they are lighter and more powerful.

On another hand, if you do not have such a high budget or do not want to waste so much money, we recommend that you buy a highly repellent plastic kayak, since, although being a more low-cost material, it is still resistant.

Manufacturer or brand of kayaks
Sometimes, it is better to spend more extra cash on a fine brand than to buy a lower quality kayak that will last you breathing.

Surely you have seen the kayaks at the Decathlon or Carrefour and have been tempted to buy one. Overall, they seem resistant. Runaway from these kayaks because they are not durable at all, if you want to try buying a kayak to see if you like this sport there are much cheaper and resistant options such as the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, ideal for those who start.
It is important that you inform yourself well and look for those brands that offer a good price for money, in addition to making sure that the operator has a certain prestige in the sector, avoiding cheap-cost or unknown brands.


Types of kayaks: what are the differences?



Thus, there are somewhere you can place the fishing rod, others that have a space for the scuba tank to fit, and others where you can store your camping equipment.

The possibilities for kayaking are limited only by the imagination so if you dare, go for it.

If there’s one thing that makes kayaking one of the most popular outdoor activities, it’s the wide range of activities available to you.



Because of all this, each activity has its own type of kayaking. From short kayaks to sleek kayaks, you can choose one today depending on what you want and what you’re really going to be doing. Here are the types of kayaks available today.

The best brands of kayaks on the market are Pyranha, Sevylor, Dagger, Omei, … Some kayak manufacturers specialize in competition models, others in self-emptying kayaks, fishing, etc.

Author: Thomas A MillerHi, I am Thomas A. Miller... The name of our blog is Kayak Like which means we discuss the correct information and tips about all kinds of people’s favorite kayak, fishing kayak, canoeing, paddling, or boating. Kayaking is one of my favorite hobbies. That’s why I love kayaking. So I’m building a team, and we always add new information to our blog. We have been kayaking for the last 7 years and we own 6 kayaks (one touring, two tandem, and three fishing kayaks) and from different companies, especially Intex. We love kayaking with my kids and dogs and can’t wait to go kayaking if the weather feels perfect. We also have a team that always loves to blog about kayaks.

Thomas A Miller

Hi, I am Thomas A. Miller... The name of our blog is Kayak Like which means we discuss the correct information and tips about all kinds of people’s favorite kayak, fishing kayak, canoeing, paddling, or boating. Kayaking is one of my favorite hobbies. That’s why I love kayaking. So I’m building a team, and we always add new information to our blog. We have been kayaking for the last 7 years and we own 6 kayaks (one touring, two tandem, and three fishing kayaks) and from different companies, especially Intex. We love kayaking with my kids and dogs and can’t wait to go kayaking if the weather feels perfect. We also have a team that always loves to blog about kayaks.

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