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How Long is a Kayak? Sea, Tandem, Fishing Kayak Lengths

By: Cubby

Last updated on: March 1, 2023

Kayak length can vary greatly depending on the type of kayak and its intended use. It is important to consider the size of your kayak before purchasing one, as it will determine how easy or difficult it is to transport, store at home, and use in different conditions. They can range from very short recreational kayaks to long ocean kayaks.

In this blog post “how long is a kayak?”, we will look at the various lengths and types of kayaks available to you. We’ll discuss how long a recreational kayak is, how long a sea kayak should be, what length should be considered for whitewater kayaking, and many more.

How Long is a Kayak?

How Long is a Kayak?

The length of a kayak can range from very short recreational kayaks to long ocean kayaks. The average recreational kayak is between 8 and 12 feet long, while an ocean touring kayak can exceed 16 feet in length. Whitewater kayaks are usually shorter, ranging from 8 feet down to 6 feet long. So depending on the type of kayak, you are looking for, the size can vary significantly.

Points to Consider: What Size Kayak Do You Need?

When choosing the right length for your kayak, you should consider the type of activity that you plan to do. One-size kayak is not suitable for every type of kayaker. There are a few points to consider to ensure that you make the right decision:

Points to Consider: What Size Kayak Do You Need?
  • Intended Use: While selecting the right size kayak you should consider when, where, and how often you plan to use it. Once you know the type of kayaking you plan to do, you will be able to narrow down the length range that is most suitable for your needs.
  • Solo or Two-Person Kayak: The size of the kayak should also take into consideration if you will be paddling alone or with a partner. For two people, a kayak of 12 feet or greater is recommended. The size should be increased depending on the type of water you plan to paddle in.
  • Height and Weight: Your height, weight, the length of your legs, waist size, and even foot size can affect the kayak’s fit and comfort. If a kayak is too short for you then it might be difficult to reach the pedals or use a double-bladed paddle. Longer kayaks will provide more stability and better tracking.
  • Transport & Storage: It is important to consider the length and width of the kayak for storage and transportation. Longer kayaks require more storage space and can be difficult to transport whereas short recreational kayaks are easy to handle but may lack stability or tracking capabilities when compared to longer touring or ocean kayaks.
  • On-Board Storage: This is important for longer trips, or if you plan to take gear with you. The amount of storage space available on board the kayak will depend on its length and width. Longer kayaks typically have more storage capacity as well as greater stability for people with a lot of gear or doing overnight trips.
  • Budget: It is important to consider the size of kayaks you need in your budget. While longer kayaks are often more expensive than smaller ones, they can also provide greater stability and speed on the water. On the other hand, shorter kayaks may be more affordable but will be less stable and slower.

What is the Average Length of Different Types of Kayaks?

There are many different types of kayaks available, each with its size. Below is a breakdown of the average length of certain types of kayaks.

What is the Average Length of Different Types of Kayaks?

How Long is a Recreational Kayak?

The average length of a recreational kayak is 10 feet long. This size is ideal for most recreational paddlers as it provides enough space to move around in the boat, but it can also be easily transported on a car roof or truck bed. It is also easy to store in small spaces as it is not too bulky.

How Long is a Tandem Kayak?

The average tandem kayak measures between 12 and 13 feet long. Two-Person recreational kayaks vary from 10 to 14 feet long. This longer length allows for two people to comfortably fit in the boat, while also providing space for cargo. It is important to note that tandems have to be longer than solo kayaks as a result of their extra weight and size.

Some tandem kayaks are available in that 10-foot average length, but these may not be as comfortable for two people due to the lack of space.

How Long Is a Sea Kayak?

The average length of a solo sea kayak is 15 feet, while beginner sea kayaks start at roughly 14 feet long. Experienced sea kayakers often opt for a 19-foot range, and tandem sea kayaks lengths usually average about another 1 to 2 feet long.

Longer kayaks are faster and can cut through the water better than shorter kayaks. They can also be narrower and displace the same amount of water as a wider short kayak.

How Long Is a Fishing Kayak?

When it comes to fishing kayaks, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The length of a kayak can vary significantly, with some models being as short as 10 feet and others measuring 16 feet or more. However, the majority of fishing kayaks tend to be 13 feet long. The average length of a fishing kayak is 13 feet, but this does not necessarily mean that this is the best size.

The length of a fishing kayak will affect its stability and ability to handle waves. The longer the kayak, the more stable it will be in choppy water. Additionally, longer kayaks offer more storage space and more buoyancy than shorter kayaks.

How Long Is a Whitewater Kayak?

Whitewater kayaks range from 4 to 9 feet in length. Playboats are usually on the shorter side and measure less than 6 feet long, which makes them perfect for performing flips, rolls, and aerial tricks. Creek boats typically measure 7 to 9 feet long and are used for charging over rapids. River runners are ideal for navigating demanding whitewater rapids and range from 6 to 9 feet in length.

How Long Is an Inflatable Kayak?

Inflatable kayaks come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 8 feet to 18 feet long. There is no “standard” size for inflatable kayaks, as the length and width can vary depending on the brand, model, and intended use.

Smaller inflatables can be as short as 8 feet long, while larger models can reach up to 18 feet in length. The most common size for an inflatable kayak is around 12-14 feet long, which is perfect for one or two people as well as those who need to carry lots of gear.

Does the Length of a Kayak Matter?

The length of a kayak doesn’t always matter, as it depends on the type of kayaking you plan to do and your individual needs. It all needs to concern the dimensions of the cockpit. For example, people under 6 ft in height will fit comfortably in conventional sit-in kayak cockpits. Taller people may require a 12 to 14-foot kayak for better fit, seat height, and legroom available.

Does the Length of a Kayak Matter?

Ultimately, the length of a kayak does not play as significant a role as the other factors. What matters is whether it suits your needs and gives you enough space to move around in the boat comfortably. The right length of the kayak will tell you whether you’ll be able to get in and out of the kayak comfortably and with ease.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long is a 2-person kayak?

The average length of a two-person kayak is between 12 and 13 feet long. Some tandem kayaks may be available in 10-foot lengths, but these will be less comfortable for two people due to the lack of space.

2. What size kayak is best?

The best size kayak for you will depend on the type of kayaking you plan to do. For recreational paddling, a 10-foot kayak is ideal, while sea and fishing kayaks can range from 14 to 19 feet long. Whitewater kayaks typically measure between 4 and 9 feet in length, while inflatable kayaks can range from 8 to 18 feet.

3. How long can a beginner kayak?

For beginners, a 10-foot recreational kayak is usually the best option as it is easy to handle and offers plenty of stability.

4. Can you kayak alone in a 2-person kayak?

Yes, it is possible to paddle a two-person kayak alone. However, it can be difficult to control due to the extra weight and size of the boat, so it is recommended that experienced paddlers only attempt this.

5. Is it ok to kayak alone?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to kayak alone as long as you follow the safety guidelines that come with your kayak and pay attention to your environment. It is always recommended that beginners paddle with someone else in case of an emergency.

Final Words

No matter what type of kayaking you plan to do, it is important to choose the right size for your needs. When in doubt, consult an expert at your local outdoor store for advice. With the best-size kayak for you in hand, you can look forward to years of fun on the water.

We hope this article “how long is a kayak?” has helped find the perfect size kayak for you and your adventures. Happy paddling!

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