Sea kayaks have been traditionally in use for many many centuries for a variety of useful purposes. They have long been used by the residents in the coastal regions commutation, transportation, and fishing, etc. In their modern avatar, they have gained a lot of popularity as a water sport. Besides, they are also used for sailing long distances for recreational and expedition purposes.
The sea kayaks have less maneuverability compared to the regular kayaks. They, however, have straight-line traction and move at higher speeds. Sea kayaks also have a lot more cargo space which makes them highly suitable for long-distance traveling or overnight camping expeditions where you need large storage space.
With so many functionalities, it becomes a little tricky to select the right sea kayak for your purpose. And these reviews of the best sea kayaks are presented to help you make the right decision when selecting the most suitable kayak for your purpose.
Top 6 Best Sea Kayaks Reviewed
- Sea Eagle 370 Pro Sport Kayak
- Perception Pescador Pilot 12 | Sit on Top Kayak
- Premium Sprint 140 DT Kayak By Pelican
- Wave 60 Youth Kayak By Lifetime
- Hi-Life 11 | Sit on Top KayakWave 60 Youth Kayak By Perception
- Tsunami 125 By Wilderness Systems
#1. Sea Eagle 370 Pro Sport Kayak– Best Overall
- Length: 12.6 ft (381 cm)
- Width: 32 in (86 cm)
- Capacity: 650 lb (295 kg)
- Weight: 32 lb (15 kg)
Sea Eagle is a very versatile kayak that can run on any water. It is a very balanced and long-lasting kayak. Although the Sea eagle is not very heavy it can easily balance 3 persons at a time. The journey of Sea Eagle started with inflatable kayaks in 1968 which now turn into Sports kayaks.
Due to its lightweight feature, it can also move from one place to another place very easily. It is a very popular boat among the riders because of its portable nature.
The handling of this kayak is very comfortable and smooth for all. It has a classic hull shape. In fact, this is a perfect choice for beginners as well as experienced riders. A great combination of lightweight, stability, portability, durability, and attractive design makes this water boat different from others. A long trip to the ocean with this kayak gives you a different level of enjoyment in kayaking.
|Attractive designs||Not very stable|
#2. Perception Pescador Pilot 12 | Sit on Top Kayak– Best for Budget
- Length: 12.5 ft (381cm)
- Width: 33.75 in (85.73 cm)
- Capacity: 475lb (216 kg)
- Weight: 85 lb (38 kg)
The Perception Pescador Pilot is one of the best boats for sea kayaking. It has great maneuverability and has a simple but classic design. This sit-on-top kayak has superb balancing power on the water. It is a very spacious water boat with lots of storage options. It’s Pilot Drive propeller system makes it unique from other sea kayaks as this lets the rider enjoy fishing, selfie, and other recreational activities without any worry.
The rider can leave both hands completely free. The performance of this water boat is ultimate. As far as its comfortability, storage capacity, and features are concerned this watercraft is very cost-effective. This kayak is perfect for a long-distance trip. Experienced kayakers love this high-performance watercraft very much. The big chair with zonal mesh encourages proper airflow in all the directions. Seating arrangements are very comfortable and relaxing. You can easily perform paddling while sitting on this. Overall this is the most comfortable, durable, and balanced kayak.
|Pilot Drive propeller system makes it handsfree||Handle is complex|
|Huge storage room|
|Drive with padel
#3. Premium Sprint 140 DT Kayak By Pelican– Best Premium Pick
- Length: 14 ft (427 cm)
- Width: 25 in ( 64 cm)
- Capacity: 300 lb (136 kg)
- Weight: 55 lb (25 kg)
Pelican Premium Sprint kayaks are specially designed for professional kayakers. It is a sit-in kayak with excellent hull shape. The Sprint 140 DT kayak is an excellent choice for long trips on the water. It has a deep V Chine hull and keel extension that help to move the kayak straight with greater stability. Fluid Steering system rudders maintain the control of kayaks during windy conditions.
The kayak uses RAM-X™ PREMIUM polyethylene with a top layer of resin that is extremely durable and very light in weight. The boat has comfortable and cushioning seating of the Ergoflex G2 Seating System that provides support to your back efficiently. You can also tilt the seat as they are very flexible. This provides full support to your back during touring. The boat is portable, so it can easily move all around. The Sprint is a great choice among serious riders because of its extraordinary performance and excellent design.
|Fluid Steering system rudder||Sides can turn easily|
- Length: 6 ft. (183 cm)
- Width: 24 in. (61 cm)
- Capacity: 130 lb. (59 kg)
- Weight: 18 lb. (8,2 kg)
This Lifetime Wave Kayak is ideal for kids ages 5 and above. It is a highly balanced kayak and keeps your child safe. Its highly comfortable and safe design keeps you carefree all the time during kayaking. The kayak has scupper holes that help to drain out the water from the kayaks. This kayak has a unique feature of multiple footrest positions for different sizes of riders.
This wave kayak is best for a long trip with kids. It has a reverse chine that improves balance and control over the boats. It comes with a double-sided paddle. It is a very safe kayak for kids’ recreational kayaking. Greater stability provides maximum balance so that your kids and your pet both feel safe on the water.
|Can easily convert into a solo kayak||Drill holes your own for extra clip attachments|
|Reverse chine for more stability|
|Perfect for kids|
- Length: 11ft (335cm)
- Width: 34in (86cm)
- Capacity: 280 lb (127 kg)
- Weight: 55 lb (25 kg)
Perception Hi Life is an excellent kayak that comes with a sit-on-top design. You can also use it as a standup paddleboard. It has great balancing with excellent hull design. This boat is perfect for kids as well as your pets. Cushioning effects on the top surface of the boat provide you an amazing feel of coziness. This is very supportive during longer trips.
Its lower swim deck provides easy re-entry to the kayak after swimming. The large and spacious open area on the front side is perfect for your kids and pet. Overall this is a perfect choice for the whole family for an enjoyable long trip including your pets. You can add some accessories like the Hi-Life gear track. Versatility is the key feature of this watercraft.
|One-piece construction||Too heavy to handle|
- Length: 12. 9ft (388 cm)
- Width: 26in (66 cm)
- Capacity: 300 lb (136 kg)
- Weight: 51 lb (23 kg)
Tsunami as the name suggests it is a tsunami of water entertainment with modern technology. It has added various advanced features with the latest deck lines. The modified paddler system of Tsunami allows you to enjoy a better ride for long-distance. You will experience very little but important up-gradation in the hull design to make it more balanced and comfortable.
This kayak has greater stability. Some add-on features make it an extraordinary kayak, two mesh deck bags that provide quick access to commonly used items and storage space provided under the deck area to store your special drinks and other foodstuffs. The action of the Tsunami is fast and quick. It is the most preferred boat for day riders because of its broad and huge design. It works great as a touring kayak that handles all the climatic conditions on the water very easily and tactfully. Overall, it is a fantastic kayak with great maneuverability and excellent performance.
|Separate bottle storage||Very heavy|
|Two mesh deck bags|
Top Pick- Sea Eagle 370 Pro
Among the shortlisted Sea kayaks we picked Sea Exgle 370 Pro as our top pick for its many outstanding features. It is one of the most versatile sea kayaks on the list. The lightweight of the kayak makes it highly portable. At the same time due to its robust design, despite being lightweight, the watercraft can balance 3 persons easily. The kayak is suitable for the newbies as well as the pros. Overall, the lightweight of the kayak, its durability, portability, and high aesthetics make it one of the most sought after kayaks among the riders.
A Brief About Sea Kayaking
Sea kayaking has an old and interesting history. The ancient natives of high northern regions used boats made with wooden frames or the whale-bones with a watertight cover to build their kayaks. Some historians suggest that Inuit invented these boats while some others consider Aleut to be their creator.
The name ‘kayak’ is derived from the word ‘iqyak’, which meant ‘man-boat’ in the Aleutian language. There was also a hunter-specific variety of sea kayaks called ‘umiak’. They were very spacious and could accommodate the entire family along with their supplies and utility items.
The sea kayaks in their original form were designed for rivers or bays where the water is generally calm. They became one of the most useful sea vehicles for hunting due to their ability to remain hidden from their prey. Even the most ferocious sea animals like whales, sharks, and seals were trapped while hunting through a sea kayak.
However, their designs have undergone significant changes since then. The modern sea kayaks came into existence only when boat designers understood the concepts of kayaking and the water sports enthusiasts became adept in the skills of paddling.
Getting the Sea Kayaks – Buyers Guide
Getting the sea kayak is easy but to get the right type is not so until and unless you are aware of the various factors that determine the qualities of different types of sea kayaks. You need to know the features and the importance of these features in different sea conditions. So, before you go shopping for a sea kayak, have a look at the features you need to consider before buying the best kayak that suits your specific purpose on the sea.
Purpose & Place
Before selecting a sea kayak you need to be clear about your purpose and the place where you are going to use it. There are different types of seas and different water conditions within the same sea. You should choose your kayak according to these conditions. For instance, if you want to ride on the rough water, you require a boat that is inherently stable and has an extraordinary ability to withstand strong waves and capability to track through the highly resisting waves.
Weight Carrying Capacity
Sea kayaks generally have high weight carrying capacity as they are designed for long-distance trips and camping with a group of individuals. However, many sea kayaks are designed differently to suit small trips with arrangements for a single or tandem rider. Once you are clear about your purpose as mentioned above, you will be able to select the right weight carrying capacity specifically suitable for your purpose.
The durability of the kayak depends on two factors. One is decided by the quality of the making material and the other is the terrain the kayak is used in. So, before shopping for a sea kayak you need to consider the water conditions that you intend to kayak in. For instance, an inflatable kayak will offer high durability in the flat water conditions. However, it won’t last even for a short period if the same boat is taken to ride over the choppy water.
Ease of Storage
As stated earlier sea kayaks are usually designed for long distances or overnight to multiple days expeditions. So, usually, they have a large cargo space to carry the required articles. If you intend to use your sea kayak for this purpose, select the one with larger storage space else to choose the smaller ones which offer other advantages like low cost and high portability.
So, you have to trade-off between the large space/heavyweight and the portability. You should remember that your kayak remains over water only when you are kayaking. It means that you have to bring it back to the ground after the activity and take it back to the sea for kayaking. You also need to consider storing the kayak in your car for easy transportation to and fro your place of living. The size and weight of the boat play an important role here. So, assess your purpose and select between a heavy and portable kayak.
Tracking signifies how straight does your kayak move even in the windiest and wavy sea conditions. In these tough water conditions, paddling alone won’t help to keep you on track. Your kayak will require skeg and rudder to facilitate you to track straight.
The Chine of a sea kayak determines its agility and maneuverability in different water conditions. Kayaks with hard-chine are far more agile compared to the soft ones. Besides, they offer more control to the kayak in rough water. However, the flip side of the hard chine is that they get affected by the underwater currents, and also the waves over the sea surface. Besides, they can easily get stuck to the objects lying invisibly under the seawater. Soft Chine, on the other hand, enhances the stability of the boat due to its round shape.
Yes, this is one of the most important factors when you are on a long trip or in the wavy condition. Comfortable seating in the kayak will allow you to enjoy kayaking in the real sense. There are various types of seats available with sea kayaks. You can choose as per your comfort. Larger rocker seats are perfect for the high wave water conditions whereas the smaller ones are best suited if you want more stability while riding.
It is wise to decide the sea kayak within your budget. If you have budgetary constraints you should consider the functional features of the kayak and should avoid features that only have ornamental value. However, you should never compromise with the basic and essential features of the kayak just to buy a cheaper boat.
A variety of accessories are available with different kayaks to make your journey more comfortable and convenient. If you’re planning to fish, you can keep rod holders as accessories. For a longer trip, you can opt for comfortable seats. You can also add a spray skirt to keep yourself warm in cold wind and water. It also keeps the splashes and rains from entering the boat.
Sea kayaking has been one of the most essential activities supporting the livelihood of the natives of the northern regions since ancient times. From the purpose of transportation, hunting, and fishing to their use for sports and recreational activities, sea kayaks have witnessed a lot of changes in their designs over a period of time
We reviewed the top 6 best sea kayaks that have successfully passed the test of time and have emerged as some of the best sea kayaks in their respective categories.
We hope that these reviews along with the buyer’s guide were helpful to you in identifying and selecting the most suitable sea kayak for your specific purpose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Do I need to wear a PFD?
A: Yes. It is a legal requirement to wear PFD while boarding a sea kayak. Each person on-board has to wear a USCG-approved life jacket among Type I, II, III, and V. It may not be quite safe for you to use the safety strap provided at the back of the kayak particularly in the event of tipping over. The good news is that the new designs of PFDs are much thinner and are highly comfortable to wear even for long-distance expeditions.
Q: Which sea kayak is better between longer and shorter?
A: For a sea kayaker longer kayaks definitely offer more benefits compared to their shorter counterparts. They are faster, travel straight, and move more with each paddle so require less effort. It is particularly beneficial when traveling long distances. Moreover, longer kayaks have better stability and are far easier to paddle. Over and above these features, they are more spacious compared to the shorter boards thus offering large space for boarding more people and also more storage space for the supplies. Therefore, they offer an ideal option for camping, hunting, and long-distance expeditions.
Q: Does the color of the kayak matter?
A: Apart from providing high aesthetics to the boat, the color of the kayak is also useful if you intend to kayak in the sea area where motorboats also move. A bright color will be really helpful in getting your boat recognized from a distance. So, the color of the kayak also ensures better safety in certain sea conditions.
Q: Can I leave my kayak in the water?
A: It’s not advisable to store sea kayaks in the water. Stored in water, kayaks get exposed both to the water and sun. How-so-ever sturdy is the built material, exposure to the heat of the sun over time will deteriorate the softer materials like the seats and bungees, etc. The algae, slime, and other such species will start sticking to the hull and start deteriorating the body of the kayak slowly. So, in case you have stored your kayak in the water, it is highly recommended to check it before you board them for your next sea kayaking expedition.