The process of purchasing a kayak is the same as any other luxury item: discover your need, research the possibilities, and finally, experience the ride. Kayaks are manufactured by companies who emphasize different aspects of the kayaking experience; some rely on flotation stability and accessibility of features.  Other companies might build their kayaks specifically for use on open water or white water kayaking. With so many possibilities, walking a showroom can be exhaustive and a little overwhelming, the different styles all lined up for display—how do I know which kayak is right for me?

The process begins when you decide which style of paddling you expect to engage in. When you have the kayak, will you be kayaking recreationally? Or would you prefer to tour the local river systems and go sightseeing? Perhaps you intend on catching a prize speckled trout. Whatever you decide, this will slim down the long list of options on the showroom floor.

Okay, so after a few evenings of browsing the various blogs and the purchase reviews you’ve come to understand what style of kayak is your best fit.  Now the real research begins. Each brand has something distinctive about it. Your task is to find the nuances that differentiate the boats. You might ask yourself some of these questions: Is there enough maneuverable cockpit space? How much hull storage do I want? What’s the largest kayak that I can easily store? Can the kayak be easily repaired? Will I be able to load and unload the kayak myself? Asking yourself (and the store associate) questions like these will help you find which kayak is right for you.

Now, before you decide to purchase, find a rental version of that kayak (if it’s difficult to find one, you might take that as a hint?) Take it out and get a feel for it. Turning a theoretical kayak into a tangible experience before you buy is your best advantage. You’ll have the experience to back up your decision. And when it’s all said and done, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger; if you’ve found the kayak that works best, then don’t second guess yourself.

Get a head start, and enjoy the water!

Chris Steckel,
San Marcos Store Associate