We stock a very wide range of kayaks, from fishing and leisure kayaks to touring and racing kayaks, sit-on-tops, sit-inside, and even pedaling kayaks!
Since we handle such a wide variety of some of the industry’s top manufacturers, we do our best to stock primarily what we consider the “cream of the crop” from each line, based not only on our opinions (we have a few!), but also from years of customer feedback.
If there’s a model that you don’t see in our store, just ask — we maintain the ability to make special orders year-round.
Sea Kayaks (or touring kayaks) are generally longer/leaner boats, typically 15′ to 19′ long. Most sea kayaks are outfitted with a rudder or skeg as well as sealed bulkheads and access hatches. These provide flotation as well as storage space for gear, whether it is lunch and a jacket or a week’s worth of camping gear.
Some sea kayakers do enjoy taking overnight, distance, and open-water trips; however, a sea kayak is simply more of a “performance oriented” boat that will allow paddlers to grow their skill levels and make for more efficient paddling boats both in what kind of waters they handle, as well as how easily they move from point A to point B.
Light Touring Kayaks:
Light Touring Kayaks (aka transitional touring) offer some of the same performance values and feel as sea kayaks but with more of a focus on stability, roominess in the cockpit, and often-times, comfort. Light touring kayaks are typically found in lengths from around 12′ to 16′ (as always, with some grey areas). These boats will sometimes have skegs or rudders, and will sometimes have fore and aft hatches and bulkheads, generally based on the designer’s intended use of the boat.
If the light touring kayak is at the shorter end of the spectrum, the intended user is probably not doing long distances in open water and is therefore not likely to encounter conditions that would warrant a skeg or rudder (again, much gray area here). Remember, whenever you gain something, you lose a little of something else. The light touring model is designed to be more stable than a sea kayak and therefore will trade some performance and efficiency from point A to point B.
This is probably the most popular type of kayak in this area due to the fact that they sort of “do it all” for beginners. Of course nothing can really “do it all,” but the light touring range of kayak is a fantastic choice for entry level paddlers who want a kayak they can grow into skill wise.
General Recreation Kayaks:
General Recreation Kayaks, as the name suggests, are more for all around recreational use on protected bodies of water. Recreational kayaks are typically from around 9′ to 12′ (roughly). Pedaling kayaks will also fit into this category of boats.
Though more often used by beginner paddlers (largely because of their exceptional stability and larger/more open cockpits for ease of entry), “rec boats,” as they are called, may be just what you need if your easiest access point to paddling is a smaller body of water like a pond, or smaller wandering creeks and streams. On the Eastern Shore’s upper Chester River for example, there are many small streams to explore for fishing, hunting, bird-watching or relaxed adventure that are simply too small to navigate in a longer boat.
If you are looking for something that suits almost anyone in the family, is easier to get in and out of, has a more comfortable seat, is stable enough to take friends for their first paddle, or you just need a shorter boat for smaller water-ways, this may be just the range of boat for you.
Fishing Kayaks are the latest variation in the sport. This is a bit ironic considering that people have fished from kayaks for a very, very long time. A fishing kayak can be found in any of the above categories. (Some of the most popular for this area are in the sit-on-top category, see below.) Many manufacturers do have models that are more ideal for fishing than others, but again, where you plan to paddle/fish has more to do with the choice than any other factor.
Most fishing specific kayaks are in the general rec category or sit on tops. They are stable, have lots of room, and nowadays have more and more options to accessorize to help keep your gear, bait and, hopefully your catch of the day organized.
Sit-on-top Kayaks (SOT) were initially designed for use in and out of surf. Most SOT kayaks are outfitted with scuppers, or drain holes which allow most of the water that comes into the seating area to drain out. Adversely, some water can also come in through the scuppers which makes almost any SOT a wet ride. Because of this fact, the further north you go (colder water), the fewer SOTs you will see.
SOTs are the easiest kayaks to recover from a capsize. Sit-on-top kayaks are very popular for fishing, both because of the types of waters many people like to fish, and because they are much easier to get on and off the kayak.
Lengths can vary. The longer the boat, the more efficient and better tracking it generally is; the shorter the boat, the more maneuverable.
Although most SOT kayaks are found in the recreational category, there is a range of boats commonly known as surf-skis. These are generally very long and very lean and ideal for racing, but offer very little in the way of stability.