Longer Kayak vs shorter kayak: Which one is perfect?

Longer Kayak vs shorter kayak

Hello There! So you are planning to go on an aquatic retreat with your friends and one of the activities you guys have selected is a kayak. However, you don’t own a kayak and need some advice on which is the best kind of kayak to get for you.

But if you go to the market, you will find lots and lots of kayaks as someone would say. However, not all are meant for everyone, just like how some prefer meat while some prefer fish; similar to that situation, it might be best for someone to get a longer kayak, whereas it might be best for someone to get a kayak that is short in size. Well then, you are in the right place to seek advice, as today we will be breaking down the difference between a longer kayak vs shorter kayak and what makes them different.

You can also learn the difference between fishing canoe vs kayak by reading our article on a comprehensive guide on fishing canoe vs kayak.

Before we get started, let us take a quick look at a brief comparison between short kayaks and long kayaks.

a quick comparison of Longer Kayak vs shorter kayak

DifferenceShort KayakLong Kayak
SizeLength starts from 8ft and can extend to 13ftLength starts from 14ft and can extend to 18ft
SpeedGoes at a slow rate so that you can look around and experience everything completelyCan go at a faster rate when compared to a short kayak which allows it to cover more ground
MassGoes from 35 pounds all the way to 40 poundsStarts from 30 pounds and could go all the way to 70 pounds
StructureWider in size, making it more stable to handleNarrower in size, making it faster on water
PurposePracticing, Recreational, and  sightseeingRacing, traveling, and camping
LevelFor beginnersFor the expert or long-time users
Location for usageBig sized ponds and rivers where the water is calmLakes and oceans where the waves are not calm
CostStarts from $100 and can go to a maximum of $1200Prices can start from $2000 to $5000 and sometimes even beyond that if you are looking for a state of the art type.
Comparison table of Longer Kayak vs shorter kayak

Since a person goes from short to tall, let us first start with short kayaks and what makes them so special for kayaking. Not everyone wants to investigate, or everything is meant for work as some might just want to go out and have a quiet and peaceful time on the water while enjoying the moment. For such cases, a short kayak is a perfect option since it won’t go at a high speed and give you the perfect opportunity to look around and experience everything at a normal speed rate. A short kayak is also known as a recreational kayak, since that’s what it does.

A short kayak’s length starts from 8ft and goes all the way till 13ft long. It isn’t too long which leads to it not being too heavy as it only weighs only 35 pounds or in other words, only 16KGs which is equivalent to the mass of 7 computer monitors.

Now, let us talk about what makes a short kayak go at a slow rate. Short kayaks are known as short kayaks because of their length which isn’t much when compared to much longer kayaks and due to their length, they can’t go at a very fast rate because every time you paddle, your course will change which in the end will mess up with your overall forward velocity. This is how and why a short kayak goes at a slower rate.

Advantages of using a short kayak

Though they might seem short, they come with plenty of benefits, starting with easier to handle.

  • Firstly, since they are not that big, it is a lot easier to turn and navigate when it comes to short kayaks as they are used mainly on big-sized ponds and rivers where the waves are not that strong.
  • Secondly, it is very light, which makes it a joy to use as you won’t need to use too much force for using the paddles while moving around.
  • Thirdly, since they are used in big-sized ponds and rivers, you don’t need to transport them long enough as you can easily find big-sized ponds and rivers nearby and start kayaking.

Disadvantages of using a short kayak

Short kayaks are considered to be one of the best choices for people who want to adventure in the water. However, there are some disadvantages that can come with using a short kayak

  • First, they are much shorter than full-sized kayaks. This means they have a narrower beam and narrower deck space. This can make them less stable in the water and can be more difficult to control.
  • Second, their length also limited the number of passengers that could be carried. This means that there was often only one person in the boat and the kayak had to be at the stern for everyone else to disembark.
  • Third, they are not as well protected against saltwater corrosion as full-sized kayaks. When it comes to saltwater corrosion, it is often easier for water to enter a smaller space and corrode something else inside.
  • Another problem is short kayaks is that they are not able to travel fast no matter how hard or how fast you paddle since they are wide in size, there’s more surface area for the water to hit it and slow it down.

Advantages of using a long kayak

Now that we have talked about the benefits and problems with short kayaks, let us get down to talking about long kayaks and what makes them so special and what holds them down. Long kayaks are known as touring or sea kayaks, as you can use either one of the terms.

They are pretty long as their length starts from 14ft and can go all the way till 18ft unless you want to customize it and make it bigger. Since they are longer in size, that means that they are definitely heavier in mass as they weigh at least 30 pounds and weighs down till 70 pounds or in simpler words, their mass starts from 13kgs and goes all the way till 31kgs which isn’t that heavy since it’s narrow, the mass is distributed evenly throughout it without making one spot heavier than the others.

The main purpose of using a longer kayak is for their speed since they are able to tackle the waves and still maintain the speed or just might even go faster than before. This is why they are used mainly on lakes and oceans with strong and massive waves. Unlike a short kayak, a long kayak doesn’t lose its speed when hit by a wave by instead tackles the wave and continues the journey at that pace. That’s a huge perk for long kayaks.

Disadvantages of using a long kayak

However, apart from its perk, a long kayak might not be able to make quick turns since its specialty is to go faster at a straight line and since it’s longer, it might be hard to take turns around narrow pathways and make it a time-consuming process. One of the biggest dangers is that it can be difficult to get out of it if it gets stuck in something. Additionally, long kayaks can be difficult to control because they have a lot of space between them and the water. This can make it difficult to move around or make any changes in direction. Finally, long kayaks can be difficult to store and use again if they get wet.

Which kayak is better for you?

We are almost towards the end, but before we close up, let me tell you what I feel about short kayaks and long kayaks. If I were to go kayaking on a river or a big-sized pond where the water is calm, then that is where I would use a short kayak. If I were to go on a big journey into lakes or into an ocean where the waves are unpredictable and clashing, then that is where I would use a long kayak.

Conclusion :

In light of these facts, I think we can all agree that one shouldn’t start their kayaking journey with a long kayak if they are a beginner since it takes time and practice to get good with it and should start with a short kayak on smaller water bodies where there’s calm water that won’t hurt anyone. Long kayaks are only for those who have experience in kayaking, have been using kayaks for a long time, and know how to steer a long kayak during massive waves.

Apart from experience, beginners should start with short kayaks since they are much cheaper when compared to long kayaks they shouldn’t spend a lot of money on it because who knows what if you don’t enjoy it or this activity isn’t for you. Nonetheless, kayaking is a very fun activity that anyone can do, and you should too. I hope that this piece of the article was able helpful in determining the difference between short and long kayaks. If you have any other questions about kayaking, then you can refer to our other articles, which might help you.

Are kayaks known to be heavy boats?

It could be 16 pounds, or it could be 20 pounds, or it could even be 25 pounds as it all depends on the size of the it. Then again, it’s not the boat’s mass that should be looked at mainly but also the person who will be getting on the boat since the boat might be unstable and start to move left, right, up, and down all at the same time creating fear on the kayak rider. This could happen if the person who is using the boat is a lot heavier than the kayak like for example, the person is 90kgs whereas the boat is only 40kgs and in total, it would lead up to a grand total of 110kgs which is a lot of mass for one small boat to handle.
Therefore, to answer your question, kayak boats are not heavy mainly because it also depends on the person who will be using the kayak.

Can the length of my kayak have a consequence on my performance?

Yes, it definitely will have an impact since a short kayak will tend to travel at a slower rate due to it changing the course after every stroke, thus striking your total forward velocity. On the other hand, longer kayaks are slightly narrower and much taller which lets them travel a lot faster without needing to slow down as longer boats tend to have greater hull speed which leads to less number of drags.

Whether I use a short or long kayak, is it beneficial for my health?

Yes, it is largely beneficial for your health and for your shape. Firstly, kayaking only for an hour could lead to your body burning more than 500 calories which is a massive amount as walking for an hour doesn’t even burn that many calories. Secondly, it increases your muscle strength all around your body especially your arms, back chest, and shoulders due to paddling for a long time. 

Is it possible to flip and fall off a kayak?

Kayaks are designed and built to make sure that it doesn’t flip over, so you have zero chances of worrying about falling off a kayak. However, one might fall off it if they are distracted, irresponsible, and moves too much , which might lead the kayak to become unbalanced.

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