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Home > Gear Guides > How does width affect a recreational kayak?

How does width affect a recreational kayak?

When it comes to kayaks, one size doesn’t fit all. But whether you are shopping for a saltwater kayak, river kayak, recreational kayak, or touring kayak, the same basic principles apply when considering length and width.

  • Length: Shorter kayaks turn faster, weigh less, and are easier to transport. They are not recommended for long trips, but because they don’t go as fast, shorter kayaks are a great choice for kids or seniors. Long kayaks (usually defined as 13 feet or longer) don’t turn as easily, but they go faster through the water, and they go farther with each stroke. If you regularly paddle in open water or take long trips, you might prefer a longer kayak.
  • Width: In general, wider kayaks of any type are more stable and easier to enter and exit. They have more storage space, but they are also heavier and thus harder to paddle. Narrower kayaks are more likely to tip, but they are easier to right if you flip over, and they track through the water more efficiently, so paddling takes less effort.

Visit your local Sun & Ski Sports shop for expert advice about which kayak size specifications are best for you.

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