Kayaks come in many varieties and styles: sit-in, sit-on-top, fishing, recreational, whitewater, ocean, long, short, and the list goes on. So how do you know which is the right kayak for you? Will just any kayak do?
The first thing to determine is where you are going to use the kayak. Are you going to be using it on open water? Are you going to be running big rapids? Small creeks? Where you float will determine what kind of kayak you’ll need. And, like bikes, there isn’t always a one-type-works-everywhere boat that will do everything best. So if you’re going to be using the same boat for different kinds of adventures, compromises will have to be made. In other words, you could potentially use a whitewater kayak on a large open lake, but it won’t give you the same quality experience that a flatwater kayak will.
Here at Element Sports, we carry Old Town and Evoke kayaks, and we have access to special order a variety of others, as well. We stock kayaks that work well in the waterways we have here in the Shenandoah Valley: the Shenandoah River, numerous creeks, and mid-size lakes like Lake Frederick and Lake Holiday. These kayaks are in the 10 to 12 foot long range, are stable, and easy to maneuver. You’ll find these kayaks are excellent for use on any adventure you would like to enjoy in the Shenandoah Valley. Our waterways tend to be shallow, not terribly swift, and rapids only reach about a 2+/3. We also stock several angler models outfitted with rod holders and camo in color to make fishing a breeze.
The kayaks we stock do come at a premium price (generally $500 – $1,000), but these premium kayaks are worth every penny. While you can spend less (we can order you kayaks that run less than $300), we believe the use and enjoyment you’ll get out of a higher-quality kayak will more than make up for the higher initial price tag. Cheaper kayaks will usually be made with lower-grade plastic that is thinner and weaker than the plastic used in the better kayaks. This means that you are much more likely to get a hole in the kayak when you scrape on rocks (which you will do if you like to float on Shenandoah River, as it has many shallow areas!) The higher level boats we stock use a thicker and higher grade of plastic that may scratch, but won’t tear through nearly so easily, which means less money in costly repairs (or even replacement). Further, greater research and design is put into the hull shapes of the higher level kayaks, which makes them more maneuverable, straighter tracking, and easier to use. You also get much more comfortable seats on a quality kayak. The cheap kayaks often have plastic seats that are molded right in with the kayak during construction, so they are hard and uncomfortable without option to upgrade or replace. In the long run, the higher quality of the premium kayaks will cost less and provide greater enjoyment because of the quality of construction and design and their ability to hold up to many years of use.
If you’d like to learn more about what makes the kayaks we carry so great for the rivers and lakes in the Shenandoah Valley, stop on in, we’d love to share!
We have all the elements for your next great adventure!