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Comprehensive guide to help you choose the right craft and accessories to suit your needs and budget.
Kayak & SUP Selection Guide
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Choosing your kayak and accessories can be daunting but it can also be an exciting exercise. We aim to make it as simple and fun as possible for you while also providing you with the best possible value for money.
With over 100 different in-store kayak models and thousands of accessories to choose from C-Kayak Australia has the widest range of kayaks and kayaking accessories in Australia.
This guide will help you to narrow down the options and highlight for you the key features and benefits of each type of kayak and suggest what accessories would suit, making it easier for you to make your choice.
Choosing a Kayak or SUP
Many people when walking into one of our stores exclaim 'Wow, there are so many to choose from.....where do we start !?'.
Our reply is usually 'Yes, there are a lot to choose from, but each kayak we stock serves a particular purpose and we are here to help you narrow it down to which kayak is the ideal one for you'.
The following guide will help you get onto the right track, however, we still recommend that you pop into one of our kayak specialist stores where one of our qualified staff will be able to ask you specific questions to ensure that you make the correct decision.
We are not a camping store that sells kayaks on the sideline, or a board store that sells kayaks in Summer & snow gear in Winter, or a catalogue store that carries only a few kayaks and expects you to choose from a brochure.
We are a kayak specialist store. We stock all the brands and models that we represent and we sell only kayaks and kayaking accessories all year round (with the exception of our much needed holiday in winter :)
We work hard to bring you the best brands at the best prices and if you do happen to find a better price on any stocked item we'll beat it.
Hopefully this process will help you in your search for that ideal kayak, and in return you'll reward us by bringing your business to us.
Firstly, it is a good idea to understand the different brands:
First and foremost you need to consider what brand of kayak you're going to invest in.
We have been in the industry for long enough to know that BRAND DOES MATTER. These days there are a lot of new brands appearing on the market and many of them are not what they make out to be.
We have tried and tested most of the reputable brands available in Australia and have narrowed it down to just a few key brands, which we consider to be the BEST OF THE BEST in terms of exceptional value for money
Recreational kayaks are designed for the casual paddler interested in fishing, photography, or a peaceful paddle on a lake, flatwater stream or protected salt water away from strong ocean waves and currents. These boats presently make up the largest segment of kayaks.
Compared to other kayaks, recreational kayaks have a larger cockpit (in the case of sit-in) for easier entry and exit and a wider beam (69–91 cm) for more stability. They are generally less than 3.7 m in length and have limited storage capacity. They do not perform as well in the sea as their touring counterparts.
Recreational kayaks are available as sit-in or sit-on-top and and are available as doubles or singles.
Touring kayaks are suitable for longer distance paddling (several hours at a time), day trips or over-nighters on flat or semi-protected waters (creeks, lagoons, bays, estuaries). Something sleek and fast that will get you from A to B in good time, with room to pack a picnic or even your tent plus gear.
Usually these craft are somewhere between 3.8 and 4.8m in length.
If you've been told that you need a sea kayak for closed water paddling (such as Brisbane Waters) then you've been misinformed, a touring kayak will do just fine.
Touring kayaks are available as sit-in or sit-on-top and are available as doubles or singles
A sea kayak is a craft designed specifically for sea touring and expeditions, which can handle surf and swell, perhaps something to paddle along the coast with enough storage for day trips, over-nighters or multi-day trips.
Sea kayaks typically have a longer waterline, and may also have rudders and/or skegs (fixed rudder) to assist with directional control. Modern sea kayaks often have two or more internal bulkheads.
This craft will usually be over 4.5m in length and have a distinctly up-turned bow for lift into oncoming swell and to prevent nose-dive when riding the wave.
Of course, a sea kayak can always be paddled on flat water too, whereas a recreational kayak is not usually suitable for use in the sea.
If you are new to sea kayaking it is advisable to get familiar with your sea kayak on calm waters before venturing out into the ocean, and enrol for a course in basic sea skills. Always wear a PFD when out at sea and suggested that you always check the weather report and paddle in the company of two or more kayakers.
Sea kayaks are available as doubles and singles.
The kayak has long been a means of transportation and a stealthy means of approaching easily-spooked fish. Kayak fishing has gained popularity in recent times in both fresh and salt water due to its broad appeal and low cost of entry.
Kayaks can be purchased inexpensively and have little maintenance cost. They can be stored in small spaces and launched quickly. Kayak wheels and trailers can be purchased to assist in the transportation of kayaks. Many kayak anglers have started customizing their kayaks for fishing, while other kayaks come already rigged by the manufacturer.
These manufacturers offer special models for fishing that are designed and accessorized for this sport, including specially-designed hatches, built-in coolers & rod holders, GPS receivers and equipment mounts. Other accessories include live wells, anchor trolleys, and running lights.
Generally, kayak fishermen look for stable and comfortable designs and so fishing kayaks usually have recreational sit-in and sit-on-top designs characterized by very wide beams (up to 92cm) that increase lateral stability. The increases stability may allow for the angler to stand up and fish on the kayak. These kayaks provide a considerable space for storage inside their hulls which allow the angler to stow rods, fishing gear, batteries for fish finders, extra paddles, anchors, and wheels to tow the kayak from vehicle to the water. The cut-outs moulded into the top of the kayaks are well-suited to hold milk crates with additional supplies.
Fishing kayaks fall into three primary classifications:
- Sit-in Fishing Kayaks (normally polyethylene)
- Polyethylene SOT Kayaks (the largest collection of fishing kayaks)
- Fibreglass Fishing Kayaks
- Pedal Watercraft
Kayak Fishing has taken off dramatically in Australia. Game fish are caught all along the coastline. Even large fish such as Marlin and Sailfish can be caught from a kayak.
The kayak racing circuit is made up of several disciplines that have expanded to encompass adventure racing, flat water sprinting, sea kayak racing, surf skis & marathons. These kayaks are generally sleek with a long waterline that offers exceptional hull speed.
Available in a range of materials from the affordable polyethylene range through to the impressively lightweight carbon fibre deluxe models. Your choice of competition will determine the type of craft most suitable for your use.
More and more people are looking for lightweight in a kayak. Historically it was only possible to obtain a lightweight kayak made of carbon or kevlar, but with the development of thermoformed technology it is now possible to paddle a kayak that is both lightweight and very durable. More recently Cobra Kayaks have introduced a superlight high grade linear polyethylene which results in a considerably lighter craft than the average polyethylene kayak.
Due to the increasing popularity of lightweight kayaks we have decided to create a category incorporating all the light weight kayaks in one area. We have categorised these lightweight kayaks into three sections, Thermoformed Kayaks, Composite Kayaks and Superlight Polyethylene Kayaks
Choosing your Accessories
All you really need to get onto the water to go paddling (other than your kayak) is a paddle, however there is a lot more to it if you want to ensure that your experience is safe, comfortable and enjoyable.
We carry a wide range of just about every conceivable kayaking accessory, and all at very competitive pricing without compromising on quality. This is because we are a kayak specialist with nine retail outlets across the East Coast of Australia making us the largest kayak specialist in the country. This allows us to be selective about what we stock plus we purchase in bulk, so you benefit from our expertise and economies of scale.
In many cases we are able to package accessories for you when purchased in conjunction with a kayak, giving you further savings.
Aside from the kayak itself, your choice of paddle is your 2nd most important decision. Like kayaks, paddles range from very basic (and inexpensive) to high-end performance paddles.
At the lower end of the spectrum you will have the alloy shaft with plastic blades suitable for the cheaper recreational kayaks, but even at this end of the market there are degrees of quality so do be careful not to purchase something too basic as it will compromise your enjoyment of the sport.
Further up the line you get paddles with drip-rings (to keep you from getting too wet) and locaters (to assist with holding the kayak in the correct position for maximum efficiency) and then you get the fibreglass shaft paddles (lighter and more flexible so as to absorb some of the impact of repeatedly striking the water).
Nearer the top of the scale you get the full fibreglass paddles and carbon or Kevlar paddles offering greater stiffness and lightness. At this end of the spectrum paddlers become more particular about blade shape and feathering (angle of the blades).
We also carry the very beautiful Swift paddle, whose blades contain printed cloth with various colourful designs, and we carry a few wing paddles (mainly for ocean racing surf skis) and a few Greenland Paddles (for the traditionalists).
Please speak to your store manager for more information on which specific paddle would suit your desired type of paddling.
It is a Maritime requirement that one must wear an Australian Standards approved PFD (Personal Floatation Device) whenever kayaking more than 100m from shore, or in the ocean. Our recommendation is that you always wear a PFD while paddling. We carry a range of Australian Standards approved PFD's to suit every age, budget and paddling needs.
Aside from PFD's we also carry a range of other safety gear including rescue ropes, emergency whistles, paddle floats, pumps and buoyancy bags.
One of the only challenges facing paddlers is getting the kayak from your vehicle (or home) down to the water. We carry a range of kayak trolleys to suit every shape size and style of kayak.
Some of the lighter kayaks such as those in the Hurricane range, and the Cobra Superlite series may not require a trolley but certainly most of the polyethylene kayaks, especially the doubles are well suited to using a trolley.
Your comfort while on the water will play a large role in determining your enjoyment of the sport, especially on longer trips.
Most SOT kayaks don't come with fixed seats and some sit in kayaks have seats that are not necessarily all that comfortable.
We carry a range of seats and backrests to suit a wide range of needs and budgets. As with all of our accessories these can usually be packaged up with the kayak to provide you with further savings.
Our staff are knowledgeable on seating and will be able to advise you which seat will best suit your situation.
Spraydecks are popular accessories for sit-in kayaks, especially in colder months. The spraydeck provides a seal between you and your kayak so as to keep you dry.
Our range of spraydecks includes basic half-skirts (really only to keep some of the water from entering your cockpit, and also acting as a sun screen), nylon skirts which are only really splash proof (not suitable for sea or choppy waters) and full neoprene skirts (more suitable for keeping most of the water from entering your cockpit).
We also carry a range of cockpit covers to suit each of the sit-in kayaks that we carry. Cockpit covers are useful for keeping rain, dirt and bugs out of your kayak while it is not in use.
There is no such thing as a kayak that is 100% dry inside. Water will eventually find it's way into sealed hatches and through bulkheads. We therefore always recommend that mobile phones, electronic car keys, food and any other perishables or electronic devices be put into a drybag.
In this section we also include various bags and racks for storing kayaks and other gear.
Most people are not fortunate enough to live right on or near water and so will be reliant on their motor vehicle for transporting the kayaks to the waterways.
We carry a full range of roof-racks to suit just about every make and model of vehicle and our staff will assist you in assembling and installing the roof racks, as well as showing you how to correctly load and secure the kayaks onto the roof racks.
In addition to the standard roof racks we also carry a range of roof rack accessories, such as kayak carriers and loading devices. We also carry rubber roof racks as a cheaper option for people not wanting to invest in a permanent fixture style roof rack.
Of course we also carry tie down straps and red safety flags and various other items associated with transporting kayaks on the roof of your car.
Wearing the appropriate clothing is something that is often underestimated when people set out to go kayaking. One should always bear in mind what the weather will be doing, and dress appropriately.
In winter it is always important to wear several layers of suitable clothing to protect you from the cold, especially since you may get wet. In summer you need to protect yourself from the harsh rays of the sun, using both protective clothing, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen, and remember always to take plenty of drinking liquid.
We carry a range of paddling clothing both for cold and hot weather.
There was a time when customising your kayak into a fishing yak was simply a case of drilling a couple of holes and bolting on some rod holders.
Things have come a long way since then and now we offer a range of fishing rod holders and other gear including flush mounted rod holders, swivel rod holders and most of the Railblaza range of accessories.
We carry a small range of kayaking books and DVD's, most popular of which are the book series Paddlers Guide to ..QLD, NSW and Melbourne.
As a major distributor of some of the worlds best brands of kayaks our aim is to be able to satisfy our customers' every need. As such we carry a wide range of parts and accessories for all of the brands and models that we represent, and if we don't have a particular part in stock we can certainly get it in for you.