-- Last Updated: Aug-07-13 6:41 AM EST --
Manufacturers that make rec kayaks use "recreational" as a category on their web sites - those that make rec kayaks anyway. Not all do. And it means something.
If you look at recreational category on for example Wilderness Systems or Old Town sites, you will see boats that are shorter, wider, less equipped in terms of bulkheads, perimeter lines etc than the longer touring kayaks and usually have large to ginourmous cockpits. They are also less tight fitting and less well adapted for float bags than white water boats.
Recreational kayaks are great boats for quiet, calm water where the shoreline is not too far away. That is because the above characteristics do not create a risk or other problems in this situation.
But these same features - lack of bulkheads and perimeter lines, the big cockpits and the beamy design of the hull itself - create huge problems if you take the same boat a mile offshore in the ocean and have to handle waves of decent scale. Not only do they fail to handle the conditions well, they can be nearly impossible to perform an on-waster self rescue should you capsize. A full out sea kayak is designed so that, with some training and practice, a paddler can find a way to get back into their boat themselves should they get capsized. The assumption is that these boats will be further from land than is practical for a swim.
There are different but equally daunting problems with the "recreational" boats for surf or serious moving water.
Recreational boats are also poor at supporting skills development for these environments, such as deep bracing and rolling. Yes, a truly motivated paddler can find a way to equip and learn in a recreational boat beyond the boat's intended use, and people have rolled these. But the fact that some people have figured out how to overcome the boat's limitations does not mean that it is a well-suited craft for other than the original design intent.
Paddler's Truck Rack
First Need Purifier
URCHIN Portable Anchor
Sport Cases (Electronics)
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