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Imagine yourself gliding along serene coastal waters, dodging waves and exploring life beyond the beach. All of this is possible by finding the right kayak to use in the ocean. It can be a difficult task, especially when browsing through dozens among dozens of products that could potentially fit your needs. Whether you’re just getting into the fun ocean sport and looking for a kayak to start out with or you’re a kayak fanatic who would like to take on all forms of aquatic challenges, from choppy seas to rapids, there is a kayak made just for you!
Here we’ve gathered some of the best ocean kayaks on the market today that offer quality and value, fun and convenient features, and overall positive user experience. From understanding the different types of kayaks, to the water they’re best suited for, we’ve reviewed the following kayaks for both leisure and sport ocean activities.
What to Look for in Kayaks
Do you enjoy dodging waves and pushing your limits on the water, or a leisurely glide on top of the sea? Whether you’re looking for something as an adventure for one, or more of a group kayaking adventure, there’s a kayak to suit every kayak lovers needs.
The vessel is an important investment for every kayaker, and you should understand what to look for when doing your research on which to purchase. Here we’ve gathered a few quick things to consider when buying your kayak and some of the best on the market today.
Types of Kayaks
Recreational vs. Sport Kayaks
Will you be kayaking for leisure or for sport? This is something that will help determine which kayak best suits your needs out on the water. Some vessels are designed to cut through choppy waves, other designed for luxury comfort and storage for overnight trips, there’s a kayak for everyone- you just have to know what you’re looking for.
Single vs. Tandem Kayaks
Will you be kayaking alone or as a group? Consider how many people you plan to hold in your kayak, and account for their added gear. Below we’ve included both individual and group kayaks for both those craving to hit the water as they please, or those exploring with friends or family.
Additional Feature Kayaks
You’ll find foldable kayaks for ease in storage, inflatable kayaks for ease in portability, sit on top kayaks for use in calm inland waters, and more on the market today. For ocean use, make sure you invest in a kayak that’s designed for the sea. By being clear with your needs before investing in a vessel, you’ll set yourself up for success on the water and have a quality kayak to enjoy for years to come.
Best Kayaks For Ocean Use Reviewed
1. Oru Kayak Bay Series Folding Kayak
The Oru Bay is a great option for the kayaker who is part sailor, part land lover . Lightweight and fold-able, this Origami kayak allows you to cut through waves and explore distant islands. Without the hassle of docking or the fear of having your kayak stolen, just fold this vessel up, put it in the travel bag, and you can be off exploring with ease.
Easy to assemble, this 12-foot long kayak is great for beginners as its features make it easy to maneuver. Unfortunately, it’s not going feature ultimate comfort for paddlers who are taller than 6’2”.Designed to fit a spray skirt and float bags, this vessel will keep you safe in choppy waters. We would, however, reconsider taking this kayak over corals and through rocky coastlines to ensure it’s longevity.
2. Eddyline Equinox Kayak
Lighter than most sea kayaks, the Eddyline Equinox will be easy to carry to the shore. Not only does it relieve your back of having to carry a heavy burden, it allows you to sit comfortably while kayaking with its cushioned seat and adjustable headrest.
Designed to be versatile and stable, this kayak can be taken just about anywhere. You can ride it through rapids as its shape allows agility and the capability for fast turns. You can also take it through choppy seas with low chances of capsizing. With ample space equipped with thigh braces, it can handle kayakers of all sizes.
This is a kayak which while designed to be friendly for the entry-level paddler, also has outstanding features that are often only found in dedicated sea kayaks. Think of it as a kayak you can grow into while also being one of the top kayaks you could purchase!
3. Dagger Kayaks Zydeco 9.0
This is the perfect vessel for someone who has recently tried out kayaking and has decided they’re ready to invest in gear of their own. The Dagger 9.0 would be a good purchase if you’re a beginner who’s just starting out with this fun ocean sport.
With a length of just over 9 feet, this kayak is also easier to maneuver than much longer designs. Despite its length, you will find a lot of comfort lounging in its cushioned and adjustable seats and amply spaced cockpit.
This kayak, however, has its limitations. It is not designed for choppy waters or river rapids, so you are limited to calm flat coastal waters. If you’re indeed a beginner, this should not be a problem as you would be opting for calmer waters anyway.
The other limitation is that the kayak is only designed to carry under 220 pounds of weight. This is something you will have to consider if you are considering carrying heavy equipment with you while kayaking.
4. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T
If you’re looking for a group adventure on the water, then perhaps a tandem kayak is best for you. The 12-foot long Vibe kayak allows you to take on up to three passengers. It's great for a family of 3 or maybe a friend and a chest box filled with drinks. Either way, the kayak's 500-pound capacity will allow you to carry more for your trip.
This kayak also allows you to store your phones, cameras and valuables in two sealed hatches that are easy to access. It has a rear cargo area with bungee straps that allow you to carry larger equipment. And, it has paddle holders which will mean less chances of you have to swim after paddles.
One downside of getting such a big kayak would be having to move or paddle it yourself when going it alone. Maneuvering such a long kayak on your own can be a tough mission.
5. - Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Recreational Kayak
The Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Recreational Kayak is designed as a high-end ocean kayak built to hold up to 2 adults and a small child. The seats are made with comfortable materials so that operation of the kayak can be done in an efficient and underwhelming way. This ocean kayak is rated by customers as an extremely efficient and reliable kayak for heavy duty usage.
This kayak is also designed for easy storage, which makes handling the process after the operation a little bit easier. This ocean kayak is rated extremely positive from customers that have become loyal to the brand after experiencing the great efficiency that the Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Recreational Kayak provides.
While this kayak is definitely a premium product, it does provide some of the highest quality features within the industry of ocean kayaks. It is hard to argue when the features match the quality of the value. For customers that are willing to invest in a high end ocean kayak, this is might be the best option on the market today.
Pick A Kayak Made For you
These 5 ocean kayaks each offer customers something a little different, while still managing to get the same job done. Depending on some different variable factors, making your investment in a kayak is made easy using this guide. The good news is that there are no bad options when selecting from these kayaks. Each ocean kayak is totally capable of getting the job done. The only big difference is the value and features that each kayak offers individually.
Depending on your goals while out on the water, you’ll find what you’re looking for if you go in prepared with the best gear to suit your needs. If you are the free spirit, explorer type, we recommend the foldable Oru Bay so that you can easily go from kayaking to hiking. If you’re someone who likes island picnics or you are an adventure enthusiast who likes organizing trips with friends, then the Shipjack 120T is your kayak.
For beginners who want to start out with as little investment as possible, then take the Zydeco 9.0. And, for the kayak fanatics looking for an adrenaline rush, the Eddyline Equinox is an absolute dream.
So which type of kayaker are you? Let us know in the comment section below!
For more of our top kayaking gear recommendations, please visit the following articles.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.