Best Sea Kayak in 2020

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Have you ever wanted to get involved in an adventure sport with millions of enthusiasts worldwide? If so, then kayaking could be your next passion. Kayaking is not just another method of getting on the water. It’s great for whitewater rafting, camping trips, ocean expeditions, fishing, scuba diving, and more. You can go solo, or take a friend. You can travel light, or pack essentials to last for days.

Best Sea Kayak List

  1. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak
  2. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-on-top Kayak
  3. Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak
  4. Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Kayak
  5. Perception Expression 11.5 Touring Kayak
  6. Perception Carolina 12 Sit-in Kayak
  7. Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-on-top Kayak
It really is up to you, and we’ll be guiding you through exactly how to pick your ideal kayak right here in this article. So if you’re ready to see what kayaking has to offer, then you’ve come to the right place!

1

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

Features of the Intex Challenger K1
  • Nimble, durable kayak is made of durable welded material with eye catching graphics for added safety on the lake or slow moving river
  • Cockpit is designed for comfort and maximized space, and inflatable I beam floors add stability
  • Cargo net to store extra gear, and grab line on both ends of kayak; inflatable seat with backrest
  • Comes with 84 inch aluminum oar, repair patch and Hi output manual hand pump; Rugged vinyl construction

This is a sit-in inflatable kayak for 1 person, which comes with a carry bag, air pump, and netting for storage. It also features a backrest on the seat for comfort, a handy aluminum oar for paddling, and grab lines across the surface.

And it has a retractable skeg for some additional steering capacity. There is a repair kit provided for any damage. This is a kayak which is easy and simple to get started with if you intend to use it in a slow river or lake.

Pros
  • It is made of heavy-duty material to resist punctures and bumps
  • It has Boston valves for speedy inflation and deflation
  • It’s very light and easy to transport
  • It’s got plenty of legroom
  • It’s fast and nimble
  • It has two air chambers on either side to aid stability and keep it afloat
  • The seat provides good back support
Cons
  • The carry bag is poor quality
  • It’s easy to get wet and the cockpit fills up quickly with wate

2

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-on-top Kayak

Features of the Ocean Kayak Malibu
  • Enjoy sun and surf with a friend or a furry companion with the kayak's three seating positions, which support solo, tandem, or tandem paddling with a...
  • A pair of Comfort Plus seats provide four-way adjustability, generating a custom fit and greater slip prevention over molded seats.
  • Patented overlapping foot wells allow center-seated paddlers to settle in and brace their feet comfortably. Hatches - None
  • The open, sit-on-top hull makes it easy to get on and off the kayak and includes a pair of molded-in handles and skid plate.

This is a sit-on-top sea kayak with an adjustable seating system that’s built for comfort and supports up to three people. You can even take a pet. The patented overlapping footwells also give each passenger plenty of room.

And at 12 feet, it’s more than long enough to tackle the high seas or tough rivers. It’s also a good all-rounder, being suitable for a variety of kayaking activities, but the emphasis is on recreational activities.

Pros
  • Its seats can be adjusted in four directions and protect against slipping
  • Extra foam padding ensures extra comfort
  • It is very stable in all types of environments
  • It comes with a paddle holder, gear straps and a deck bungee to keep items secure
  • It has molded handles to pick up and carry it easily
  • It is self-draining so that water does not build up inside
  • It moves efficiently and at high speeds
Cons
  • Its length can make it difficult if you are transporting it
  • There isn’t much storage space available, especially if all the seats are used
  • The third seat can only fit a small child or dog, not an adult
  • There are no paddles included

3

Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak

Features of the Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV
  • Well-rounded day touring kayak
  • Slender bow and slim deck line
  • Features a pilot rudder system
  • Advanced custom-fit seating system

This is a sit-in touring kayak that’s made especially for long-haul trips, with two sealed bulkheads for storage space and a pilot rudder system to give you precise control when steering. This has all the recommended features that sea kayaks have and works just as well for touring.

It is also surprisingly thin and lightweight, which allows it to move fast and flexibly. This is definitely a kayak that seasoned enthusiasts can use.

Pros
  • It features foot braces to give you extra power when paddling
  • It also has thigh braces, which give you even more stability and control
  • It has reflective lifelines for visibility in the dark
  • It contains a retractable skeg for steering purposes
  • It has a paddle hook, safety straps, and a security bar
  • It has a customizable seating system for added comfort
  • It is good value for money
  • It contains a drain plug to control any water buildup
Cons
  • The cockpit space for the paddler is limited
  • The thigh braces can be difficult to reach
  • It comes without paddles or a spray skirt
  • Its 14.5-foot length makes it tough to transport and carry
  • The seating is high and rigid

4

Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Kayak

Features of the Sea Eagle SE330
  • Exterior: 11' 2" x 34" / Interior: 9' 6" x 15" / Tube Diameter: 10" / Deflated: 24" x 16" x 7"
  • Hull Weight: 26 Lbs. / Capacity: 2 Adults or 500 lbs.
  • Material: 33 mil Polykrylar / Seam: High Frequency Welded / Floor: Inflatable I-beam Construction
  • Inflation & Assembly Time: 6 mins. PSI: 1.1

This is a sit-on-top, small and simple kayak that can handle a little more than your average kayak because it is suitable for whitewater rafting as well as ordinary recreational kayaking. It can handle the first 3 classifications of river rapids.

It is designed to fit 1 person, although it can fit two, and it can be inflated in minutes. It is also built with an emphasis on tracking so that it can be directed accurately even when the waters are choppy.

Pros
  • It’s compact and easy to transport
  • It contains a manual foot pump so you can get started straight away
  • It comes with a paddle
  • It has a storage bag to keep it inside once deflated
  • The 5-tube inflated hull creates stability and allows for high-speed movement
  • Notably, it has two skegs for enhanced tracking
  • It can be used for both recreation and sports
Cons
  • It is very narrow
  • The plastic caps for the air holes are of poor quality
  • Its weight can be a problem depending on how you’d like to transport and carry it
  • It does not come with a repair kit, unlike the Intex Challenger K1

5

Perception Expression 11.5 Touring Kayak

Features of the Perception Expression 11.5
  • Your Perfect First Sit-Inside Touring Kayak
  • Adjustable premium seat with extra-cushy ergonomic padding
  • Seatback adjusts forwards, backwards, up, and down
  • Tilt-adjust seat bottom supports thighs in the perfect paddling position

This is a sit-in touring kayak for 1 person capable of being used for various purposes such as recreational and sea kayaking. It can even be used for surfing. This makes it an obvious choice for anyone who wants a kayak that can do it all. The focus here is on comfort and padding, plus ample storage facilities for any long trips.

Its length is also a little shorter than other touring kayaks, which makes it easier to maneuver. This could be a great option if you’re a beginner because it is smaller and more comfortable than the model by Riot Kayaks.

Pros
  • It has plenty of padding for the seat, and padded thigh supports too
  • It has adjustable foot braces
  • Its skeg is retractable, so it can be deployed when needed in tougher conditions
  • It has relaxed handling and good stability for ease of use
  • Its storage capacity enables you to go on trips lasting days
  • It is low-maintenance and resists abrasions
  • It features a bungee cord to secure any items
  • It has great tracking
Cons
  • It can only take 1 person
  • It does not have a rudder, only a skeg
  • It does not come with any guidance for use
  • It lacks a paddle

6

Perception Carolina 12 Sit-in Kayak

Features of the Perception Carolina 12
  • The most versatile sit-inside touring kayak for all ages
  • Extra cushy, ergonomic zone DLX seat with adjustable backrest
  • Zone knee/Thigh pads for added comfort/fit
  • Spacious easy-entry Cockpit is spray skirt compatible for added dryness

This is another touring kayak similar to the Perception Expression model above, except it is slightly longer and has a six-way adjustable seat so you can experience a high level of comfort compared to others on the market.

One important distinction is that this kayak has a V-shaped hull, so its specialty lies in tracking at speed, albeit without two skegs like the inflatable SE330. And again, this one is a single person model with a sit-in cockpit.

Pros
  • It’s got a lot of dry storage space for longer trips
  • It has an integrated foam bulkhead so that it floats more easily
  • It’s got additional leg padding inside the cockpit for extra comfort
  • Its capacity is 20lbs greater than the Perception Expression
  • It is also suitable for a wide range of conditions
  • It is quite simple to transport and carry because of the weight
  • It has a generously-sized cockpit which is slightly longer than the average for a touring kayak
Cons
  • It can only fit a maximum of 1 person
  • It does not feature a rudder, although one can be added
  • It also lacks a paddle

7

Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-on Top Kayak

Features of the Ocean Kayak Frenzy
  • Responsive and stable, this one-person kayak is playful in the surf but behaves well on flat water.
  • Ocean Kayak's renowned Tri-Form hull combines primary and secondary stability, with a long center keel to keep you going straight.
  • A durable, four-way-adjustable Comfort Plus seat supports all-day paddling, with comfort for any body type.
  • Store gear, food, and other items using the stern tank well with removable bungees and bow deck bungee.

This is a sit-on-top sea kayak for 1 person with a specialized hull design to provide an equal balance of primary and secondary stability. It also features a padded seat for added comfort and it has a variety of options for storing goods.

It also has molded handles to make carrying it around just that little bit easier. It is also easy to paddle and maneuver on the open ocean or rivers. Although we would probably not recommend it for whitewater rafting as it’s not a sit-in model.

Pros
  • There is enough storage space for plenty of items in the stern and bow
  • It can carry up to 325lb of weight, which is quite large given the size
  • It has bungee cords to help secure your items
  • The padding enables you to remain comfortable all-day
Cons
  • At 9 feet, this is a shorter kayak than you might expect for use on the ocean
  • Its small internal size means that larger people could have trouble using it
  • It does not come with any drain plugs to prevent water from entering
  • The sit-on-top design exposes you to the elements if you’re out at sea

How to Choose the Best Sea Kayak?

First of all, let’s deal with the factors you need to keep in mind when choosing the best sea kayak for your needs…

Sit-on-top vs Sit-in

This will be your first decision because all kayaks fit into these two styles. We’ve discussed the features and benefits of both styles below.

Sit-on-top

These kayaks have a molded space that allows you to sit down securely, rather than a cockpit which can be a struggle to get into. This makes these a popular choice for beginners.
They’re often a good choice for fishing and recreational activities as you can get quick and easy access to the water. And because of that ease of access, they’re great for using with kids and dogs. Instead of a spray skirt which you’d be using with a sit-in kayak, these have scupper holes that the water can drain through.
But because they’re so open to the elements you will most definitely be getting splashed – so we wouldn’t recommend using these in any harsh winters!

Sit-in

Unlike sit-on-top kayaks, these have cockpits to climb into. Now, these aren’t like fighter jet cockpits where you close yourself inside a tiny bubble. They often have lots of spare room for storing bags, and many of them also feature foot braces so you can lock your legs in place and drive the kayak forward with more force.

And because you are lower down, you can paddle more efficiently and you’ll be less wet. If you’re concerned about that, you can get a spray skirt that stops water pooling inside the base of the kayak.

Activities

The reason that you use a kayak will be closely tied to the type you’ll be using, which we mentioned above. So what are these reasons:

Fun with Friends

If you’re just interested in having a nice time and getting out on the water to enjoy yourself, you might opt for a recreational, touring, or tandem kayak. Recreational kayaks are the most basic out there. They feature the bare minimum to allow you to get paddling in a safe and gentle body of water. A touring kayak has one or sometimes two sealed bulkheads for storage space and protection from the water. Tandem kayaks are those which have space built-in for a second person, so you can have double the fun you’d have on your own!
All three types are also great for beginners. The best for a complete newbie would have to be the recreational kayak because they’re so easy and simple to use.

Adrenaline and Skill

If you want to go further than a bit of fun and coasting along your local lake, you can go for a sea, whitewater, or surfing kayak.

A sea kayak features two sealed bulkheads at the bow and stern for extra storage and to keep the kayak safe from any water invasions. They also come with a pilot rudder system attached for help with steering. This is what makes them different from the other kayaks available.

Whitewater kayaks are used for the high-risk adventure of paddling through raging rivers. Customized according to the type of paddling you’ll be doing, such as river running or creaking, this type of kayaking is only for the trained and experienced.

Surfing kayaks simply replace the function of a surfboard. The paddles give you some extra control when you’re riding the waves, but this is another option that has its risks and you’ll need some experience before you try it.

Convenience

You can also get two other types of kayak that are great for quick and simple transport. These are modular and inflatable kayaks. Modular ones come apart into sections, and inflatables can be pressed down flat.

Special Activities

There are also some other things you can do with kayaks…

You can get a kayak for fishing with rod holders attached.

You can get ones for camping that come with even more space inside.

And you can even get scuba diving kayaks that come with a custom-built space to fit the diving tank.

Things to Consider when Buying a Sea Kayak

There are also a few other important things to consider when choosing a kayak. I’ll discuss them here.

Stability

There are two forms of stability with a kayak. Primary and secondary. These are determined by the shape of the hull.

Primary stability is how easy it is to get into your kayak. How likely is it to flip when you step in and sit down?

Secondary stability is how it feels when you’re on the water. How likely is it to roll or lean?

Hull Type

There are four main hull types you can choose from. These are rounded, V-shaped, flat, and tunnel hulls. Let’s look at each hull shape:

Rounded Hulls

These are the same shape as the name implies and are similar in their shape to a torpedo. This makes them very efficient at overcoming water resistance. Their shape makes them easier to steer, and they have greater secondary stability.

V-Shaped Hulls

The name again makes it quite simple to understand. The V shape of the hull makes it great for moving in a straight line at speed. They also emphasize secondary stability.

Flat Hulls

These hulls are good all-rounders and are used for many of the reasons above, such as fishing and recreational activities. They have more primary stability but also balance this with ease of steering.

Tunnel Hulls

Tunnel or pontoon hulls, as they are sometimes known, offer the highest amount of stability but compromise on speed.

Kayak Size

You may also have to think about the weight and the dimensions of your kayak. The right choice will depend on what you might be using it for.

The weight will include the kayak itself, you when using it, and any equipment. Naturally, a heavier kayak will require more energy to move and will be slower, so you may want to think about this when buying.

As for the dimensions, a kayak that is long and narrow will move better when traveling in a straight line and be faster as well.

The Bottom Line for a Sea Kayak

This article is focused on helping you find the best sea kayak, and the content above will have provided you with the basic information. But what about specifically choosing a sea kayak?

Our recommendation is that you select a sea kayak according to these guidelines:

  • Contains foot braces to give you more power
  • Has sealed bulkheads for the bow and stern
  • Has a rudder for steering assistance
  • Is a sit-in kayak for less splashing
  • Is as long and thin as possible for speed and flexibility
  • Has a flat hull to balance both types of stability

Conclusion

In our opinion, the best out of all the kayak reviews is the Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak. It stands out from all the rest because it has such a wide range of features, including all of the necessary features for trips out to sea, which we mentioned in the section just before the reviews.

It has two sealed bulkheads, a thin and lightweight design, plenty of storage space, and foot braces. It’s also got a skeg, and it is a sit-in kayak to keep you safe from excess splashing. Therefore if you’re going out to sea, we’d suggest this one.

Last update on 2020-09-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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