Q. I am looking to buy a kayak but there are so many possibilities. Which one should I pick? Help me!
— Kayakless Cameron, Sandown, N.H.
A. You’re right Cameron, the number of kayaks on the market can be dizzying. Before picking a boat, it’s important to consider where you’ll be paddling.
If you plan to kayak mostly in lakes, slow moving rivers and mellow seas near the beach, then you’ll want a open cockpit boat that’s around 10 to 12 feet long, about 27 to 30 inches wide or so, stable and comfortable to paddle. A couple of good places to check are Old Town (oldtowncanoe.com) or Heritage Kayaks (heritagekayaks.com). A sit-on-top style kayak is great choice for fishing too.
If paddling whitewater rivers is your goal then you’ll need a shorter, narrower, more responsive river runner that’s designed to be rolled back up (a.k.a. the “Eskimo roll”) when you flip over in the rapids. Jackson (jacksonkayak.com) carries a few stable, predictable kayaks—perfect for learning to run whitewater.