Carolina Mountain Sports
123 West Broad St
Statesville, NC
(704) 871-1444
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July 16, 2024
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  Carolina Mountain Sports
■  Choosing the right Canoe or Kayak...

            The enjoyment and efficiency of canoeing and kayaking is very dependant on the design of your watercraft.   Many models are designed for the inexpensive or low-end recreational market.  These are primarily intended for paddling around coves and spending small chunks of time on the water.   Others are designed for more serious recreation such as extended paddling in open water or rocky rivers, in a variety of conditions.

Waiting Patiently for Spring

In many cases, paddlers start out with a small recreational boat.   Then they realize how much they enjoy paddling and the desire to travel farther begins to grow.  Sometimes there’s a need to carry fishing tackle, camping gear, or an extra person.  Or they realize they want to spend several hours exploring more remote stretches of local lakes, or larger bodies of water such as our rivers and coastal sounds and estuaries.   Those recreational boats are likely inadequate for these new adventures and it’s time for an upgrade. 

Canoes and kayaks share certain characteristics when you are planning to upgrade.  The longer boat (14-17 feet or more) paddles more efficiently with less effort.   It’s faster and glides better.  It also has a shallower draft that allows access to more areas.   Because of the additional length, it can carry more.   It also becomes more seaworthy. 

            Hull design is another consideration.  “Better” boats almost always have a more sophisticated hull design.  The hull design differences are found not only below the waterline but also in the design and function of the bow and stern, as well as the top deck on kayaks.   These designs contribute to hull speed, paddling efficiency, stability  and seaworthiness in rough water, that you may encounter in large, open areas. 

            Comfort is obviously an important factor when you are spending extended periods of time in your craft.   This is particularly important in kayaks.   Different brands of kayaks may both have excellent hull designs, but the design and shape of the seat, cockpit opening and location of foot rests/pedals may cause one brand to be extremely uncomfortable. 

            All this comes with a price.   Longer, more sophisticated, more enjoyable boats cost more money.  Expect to spend about $800-$1,400 for an excellent polymer kayak or Royalex canoe.     If the budget has more flexibility, a fiberglass, Kevlar or composite construction will allow for an even more efficient hull design, but perhaps less durability in rocky streams and rivers. 

            If you do a little research;  ask the right questions of knowledgeable sales staff; and sit in, and maybe paddle, a possible choice for a new craft;  you’ll find you have a boat that will be a lot more enjoyable.    It will be faster.   It will go more places.   You just might be surprised at the “new” waterways that become available to you with a new boat as well as a more enjoyable paddling experience.

Richard Griggs operates Carolina Mountain Sports in downtown Statesville.   

Updated: July 17, 2021
Carolina Mountain Sports

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