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How to choose a kayak


Within the seven emirates of the UAE, you can find several amazing outdoor activities you can easily engage in. Be it a trip to the beach to get a tan or participate in a triathlon or if you are really into adventure you can readily attempt the number of adventurous activities this part of the world has to offer such as Kayaking.

Kayaking is a relatively easy sport; it might also be a part of a more complex activity such as fishing. It provides an access to landmarks that any other modes of watersport can give. In this blog, we are here to bring you some essential tips and how-to on the essentials of Kayaking as it is great water-based activity.

These guidelines will give you a run-down on the different types of kayaks, how to choose the right kayak, gear needed and top places to go

There are numerous reasons to go out for kayaking, there is also a wide range of choices for the kayaks to be used. Here are some points that you need to consider when choosing the right kayak for you.

  1. Place
  2. Type
  3. Budget
  4. Shape and Size

Kayaks are classified and built in many ways; however, there are primarily just two traditional builds of the kayak:


The sit-on-top kayak is primarily recreational and suitable for lakes and stable rivers.

Some key characteristics of the sit-on-top include:

  • Easy to get on and off making it better for casual users
  • Comfortable when both the air and water are warm
  • Includes a self-draining hole
  • Some has deck stash spots, and hard-to-access cargo space
  • Mostly heavier than sit-in kayaks
  • Some include rod holders for fishing purposes


Traditional sit-in kayaks come in recreational boats, day touring and touring models. Boats of this type move fast, track straight, and have covered cargo compartments. Some key characteristics also include:

  • Comfortable when air and water are cool
  • Option of adding a spray skirt
  • Allows for greater control as it provides for a proficient position of your body and multiple points of contact inside the boat



 It’s to be noted that kayaks are not specifically categorized by water types but by the environment in which you want to explore. Below is an outline of the kind of kayaks to consider in different water types:



: Sit-on-top or recreational sit-in given that the weather is fair, and the kayak trip will be for a short duration



: Sit-in touring boat with a rudder, fixed tracking fin or a skeg as the strong presence of wind, waves, currents, and tides will come into play. However, a sit-on-top could still be of choice given if the coast is within a warm environment.



Short recreational sit-in or sit-on-top kayaks are usually recommended for trips that go on both flowing and still waters as they typically have a skeg that will help you turn responsively and track efficiently.



Building up on the two main types of kayaks, one must also be aware of the boat categories that all kayak makers offer. Below are additional general guidelines on the more specific kayak categories:



  • Affordable, stable, easy to get in and out of, and simple to turn
  • Flatwater fun or meandering rivers
  • Limited storage spots


  • Sleek and more efficient to move than recreational kayaks
  • Track straighter and gives more control in rough waters
  • Shorter than sea kayaks
  • Moderate amount of cargo space


  • Long, robust touring boats that are super efficient over distances
  • Track well--has rudder or skeg to deal with wind and currents
  • Ample cargo space


  • Comparable handling like that of a hard-shell kayak
  • Ample storage as to many touring kayaks



  • Sturdy, versatile, wide, and rugged
  • Good for flowing rivers


  • More stable than single kayaks
  • Offers a different kind of kayak experience as you get to tag someone along your trip



  • Offers for a more recreational kayak trip (i.e., fishing, photography, or watching wildlife with binoculars would be easier)
  • Uses bike-like pedals that turn a prop or push-pedals that power a pair of fins
  • Steering through a rudder and operated by hand control



As mentioned above, what the kayak is built out of can be a huge factor in choosing a kayak for some. The takeaway from this is that the more lightweight a kayak is, the higher it will cost more than the other kinds. The different types of kayak can be differently built with:


Polyethylene plastic

: inexpensive and abrasion-resistant, heaviest option and prone to degradation when exposed to the sun’s UV rays after an extended time


ABS plastic

: slightly more expensive than polyethylene but provides the same durability. The higher price mostly entails to a slightly lower weight and an improved UV resistance. Some thermoformed ABS boats’ distinctive two-tone designs come from having the deck and hull made separately then bonded together.



: lightweight fiberglass and ultralight carbon-fiber boats offer the best performance that comes with the highest price. UV rays would not be a concern but a major impact with obstacles can be.



:On top of the build and the different kinds of kayak, one should also go through some of the important specs to check in choosing the proper kayak. These include:



  • Total of the boat, gear, and you
  • Specification to consider if you plan to haul or maximize a storage
  • Might compromise your paddling efficiency if not thoroughly considered



  • Longer boats cruise more efficiently and offers a lot of storage space
  • Shorter boats hulls turn more quickly



  • Boats with deeper hulls offer more legroom and comparable storage
  • Shallower hulls tend to be less affected by wind



  • Skeg - dropdown fin; helps prevent a side wind from blowing the boat off course
  • Tracking fin - like a skeg but cannot be retracted while you’re paddling
  • Rudder - fin which flips down from the back of a boat; can be constantly readjusted via foot pedals--more responsive to changing conditions


  • Having an adjustable seat (i.e., more padded and ergonomically suited) is a proven specification worth spending on to make the most out of a kayak trip.


  • Short cockpits give more control and protection in rough conditions
  • Large cockpits make it easier to get in and out of the boat



  • Provide access to interior storage areas
  • Touring boats usually have two, while day touring boats and a few recreational ones have one.


Gears needed:



  • UV protected top
  • Swim short
  • Water shoes
  • Paddling gloves
  • Sun shielding hat


Personal essentials

  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Waterproof pouches/dry bags
  • Water resistant sunscreen
  • Hydration gear (water bottle)
  • Snacks
  • Small cooler
  • Headlamp (for night paddling)


Other gears

  • Kayak trolley
  • Emergency kit/first aid kits
  • Bilge pump
  • Spare paddle
  • Life Jacket
  • Whistle
  • Safety flag and light
  • Compass
  • Multitool


Top places to do kayaking in UAE

  1. Hatta kayak at hatta dam
  2. Palm Jumeirah
  3. Eastern mangroves (Abu Dhabi)
  4. Wadi adventure (Al Ain)
  5. Kite beach
  6. La mer
  7. Black palace beach

In choosing the right kayak, the mentioned specifications would give you details you need. However, visiting the nearest Adventure HQ, talking to our experts we are ready to provide advice and cater to your questions and ensure you have the best kayak experience.

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