Kayak Categories:

There are many different kayak designs to choose from. To select the correct kayak for your needs, recognize one important fact: no kayak is designed to do everything.
White Water Play Olympic Sprint Racing Recreational

In making your decision, consider the following question: What do you plan to use the kayak for most? No kayak will perform in a situation it was not designed to handle. Knowing design limitations allows you to choose the correct kayak design for your application and eliminate any frustration while paddling. When you decide what the kayak will be used for most, you must recognize that there is a sacrifice in performance in other applications. Of course, if you purchase a boat with the intention of using it for only one purpose, such as marathon racing or whitewater river running, this problem does not arise. However, for those in the market for a totally versatile kayak, a compromise is required. Speaking with the manufacturers or designer of a boat is not always possible. Other paddlers with the same design or people who have paddled that design are sometimes the best source of information. There are usually descriptions of boats and performance characteristics in buyer's guides and catalogues. A knowledgeable salesperson should be able to direct you in the selection of a particular boat.

Beware of Imitators – manufactures using computer modeling alone to claim their designs are faster than genuine West Side Boat Shop designs are not telling the whole story.   Computer modeling programs are valuable design tools but limited in producing useful output for real design application.  Modeling program output is comparative by nature, testing mainly the relative feasibility of a design rather than the fine tuning of it.  Modeling programs cannot simulate a kayak’s movement through the water under actual paddling conditions nor can it take into consideration different paddling styles and techniques.  Conversely, our boats are race tested by racers under racing conditions.  Our design changes and new designs evolve over time from paddlers’ feedback and our performance analysis under a large variety of water conditions.  Before purchasing a racing kayak, compare different models, paddle them, and ask the manufacture for actual race results; most of all make sure the boat is the right one for you.

Consider not only the boat design, but construction as well. Many materials are available. The most common on the market today are fiberglass, kevlar, carbon fiber and rotationally molded plastics . Again, a knowledgeable salesperson can give you information regarding strength and weight increases, decreases or sacrifices for various constructions. Beware of biased opinions. A store or manufacturer that sells only one type of construction may steer you toward that particular construction, which may not be suitable for your purposes.