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Home > Gear Guides > What hull shape should ocean kayaks have?

What hull shape should ocean kayaks have?

If you plan on ocean kayaking, it is important to be aware of some of the features that impact how kayaks handle waves and currents. In general, touring kayaks are meant for use as ocean kayaks. But when you are shopping for ocean kayaks, keep these design points in mind:

  • Shape of the sides. Most recreational kayaks have flared sides that angle out from the hull. The greater the angle of the flare, the more stable the kayak, because it is sitting lower in the water. On the flip side, a kayak with a greater flare is harder to right if you flip over. Straight sides provide less stability, but they provide a user with the ability to roll the boat over on it's edge to cut into a turn faster and are easier to set right if you overturn.
  • Shape of the hull. A round hull offers minimum forward resistance and the greatest speed, while V-shaped hulls provide good secondary stability and forward paddling. For ocean kayaking, avoid flat-bottomed hulls, which work best in flat-water situations.


For expert advice about choosing ocean kayaks, visit your local Sun & Ski Sports Shop.

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