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Difference Between Ocean kayaks and River Kayaks

Ocean kayaks vs River Kayaks

Most novice kayakers or those who don’t really know much about kayaking think it’s just for rivers and still waters. However, there are some more experienced guys who take it to the extreme. Others would like to take it for open ocean rides. Although this is not as extreme as sports kayaking, it is still very much loved around the world, while there are still other who wish for a more conventional ride.

River kayaking is the traditional form of kayaking. It is more for beginners or for safety conscious people. It is done mainly on calm waters and it is not made with such endurance as an ocean kayak. River kayaks usually go for around 7 to 10 feet and 12 to 18 inches wide. It can be made of more inexpensive materials like plastics such as polyethylene or wood as it is not really meant to withstand or take much damage and to keep them affordable for the average person. River kayaks have a larger cockpit for easy entrance and exit with little or no luggage room around.

Ocean kayaks on the other hand have to be more ‘Russian’ ‘“ i.e. very tough and durable to withstand the unpredictable weather and ever changing currents in the ocean. Thus they are made to be huge. They can extend to an extra 15 feet and up to 25 inches in width, while cockpits are made as per request. They don’t necessarily have to be big or small; however, the longer length is imperative for making the kayak sail in a straight line.

Ocean Kayaks are made of more rigid materials than river kayaks, such as carbon Kevlar, rotomolded polyethylene or the more frequently used fiberglass. Some are still handmade with wood but are covered with an external protective material, usually fiberglass. Ocean kayaks may come with a steering that could take the form of a rudder or a skeg. Rudders are usually attached at the stern via wires within the cockpit and are made to be retractable to more convenient beach landings. Skegs are straight blades in the stem of the kayak, helpful for smooth paddling when there is a strong ocean wind.

In summation:

1. River kayaks are more recreational and for beginners while ocean kayaks are for those experience riders looking for some extra challenge.

2. Ocean kayaks are much bigger and stronger than their river counterparts to hold out against the capricious ocean weather and currents.

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  2. There are different kinds of river kayaking. Riding rapids is not for beginners. Also, there are different kinds of ocean kayaking – surf kayaking requires a different design than open ocean kayaking.

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