Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Definitive definition of rec kayak

Went to lake and found 20 plus kayaks in cove we planned to launch in. My wife and I were screwing around rolling and self rescue playing. Many of these boats were entry level boats with beginner skills paddlers. We were talking with people and were showing some interested paddlers some self and assisted rescues.
I did a wet exit, emptied to boat before rolling it over and got back into the boat, no big deal. A very athletic 20 something struggled to empty his boat and roll it over, I tried to show him, but there remained at least 4 inches of water in the boat after flipping. We went into shallow water and attempted to lift from front and rear ends (no front bulkhead) and the water would not fully drain and left at least 4 inches in the boat.
I had my Valley Avocet, WS Zephyr, and Necky Manatou, The Avocet and Zephyr had less than a half inch after lifting and flipping, the Manatou had about an inch of water. A WS Pungo had about 3 inches of water. The boats with only 1 or no bulkheads had at least 4 inches of water on board after flipping, one boat (Waterquest) actually sank just under water level with its foam flotation blocks being little to no help with buoyancy.
So from here on I will consider any boat that cannot be drained (without the aid of a pump) a rec boat.

In the spirit of testing, also present on the medium textured dry sandy beach (think sand box sand) were pneumatic tire and wide plastic tire C-Tugs, with similar loads both sucked about equally, the pneumatic tire carrier sank into the sand, the wide plastic wheel piled up sand in front of the wheels making both about equally hard to pull.

Fun day had by all.


  • We have a discussion forum.
    I mention that because your observations do not seem to be advice, suggestions, or general help.
  • Well, sprint kayaks and canoes
    And Greenland and other similar style skin on frame boats also keep a lot of water in after flipping them over. Same for WW boats. Probably not as much as a poorly designed (for drainage) rec boat's cockpit but on the water self rescue is darn near impossible with these without a lot of added flotation and even then there is a ton of water to pump after you get in...
  • You are not making too much sense
    I'll quote you "So from here on I will consider any boat that cannot be drained (without the aid of a pump) a rec boat."
    What you are saying is my QCC-700, and every other sea kayak out there is a rec boat.
    That is unless I used a sponge instead of my bilge pump to get the water out in the case of a wet exit.

    Jack L
  • Not always
    All of our sea kayaks lose most of their water - enuff to be fine to paddle - via a flip by the swimmer. If more cmes during reentry, that often requires a pump. But depending on condtions and reentry technique , l don't always need to pump more out.

    I happen to think a number of kayak makers have done a good job of designating rec kayaks. It just seems that a lot of paddlers don't like to read the full descriptions.
  • You would qualify
    QCC kayaks I have lifted and flipped drain out very well
  • Disagree with the OP's definition
    The OP is essentially defining as a "rec kayak" any kayak that has no bulkheads or only one bulkhead. Logically, less-than-two-bulkheadedness can be a general feature of a rec kayak without defining the class of rec kayaks. Stated differently, kayaks other than rec kayaks can have less than two bulkheads.

    For example, Mariner kayaks were usually sold without any bulkheads. The Broze brothers generally recommended against bulkheads and in favor of bags. Yet, I don't think anyone would call a 17' composite Mariner kayak costing $3000 a rec kayak.

    So also canoes. Some canoes have built-in flotation tanks (a form of bulkead) and some don't. That feature does not in my lexicon define something as a "rec canoe". In fact, the most expensive racing canoes may be the hulls without flotation.

  • And here's what's "silly"
    Not Jack, not Celia, but their meaningless quibble.

    Both are agreeing that there will be some few inches of water in a real seakayak after it's flipped upright after a wet exit. Celia is saying that often doesn't matter to her.

    But that's not Jack's point. Jack is saying even a few inches of water would cause real seakayaks to fall within the OP's proposed definition of a rec kayak -- namely, "ANY boat that cannot be DRAINED (without the aid of a pump)". Jack is apparently reading "drained" as fully drained.
  • Thank you Glen
    that is exactly the point I was trying to make.
    It was in regards to the OP's saying that any boat that needs to be pumped is a rec boat.

    Jack L
  • didn't mean to open up the worm can
    To clarify: wet exit, lifted front of boat to drain water and rolled back over in relatively calm water. There was water present in the boat after being rolled and prior to re-entry. It is the amount of water left inside of the boat making the distinction.

    The water present after re-entry was very minimal in a touring kayak, making pumping the boat unnecessary, a sponge would do the job if desired. In the rec boats we tried this and pumping was needed in order to safely and comfortably proceed.

    I am sure there are well designed rec boats that the design has taken consideration to dump water, just as I am sure that there are touring boats that will hold a larger amount of water after being flipped. I was just pointing out an observation I made that will help me to explain some of the differences between the two, when I am asked.
  • don't worry
    -- Last Updated: Sep-02-13 11:11 PM EST --

    On the water we would paddle together amicably. I am getting a chuckle out of the "argument"

  • Options
    rec boat mind set
    -- Last Updated: Sep-03-13 7:51 AM EST --

    I think it's more about the mental attitude of the intended purpose of the paddlers than the boat itself. Most rec boat paddlers, want to poke around on a hot day on the water and that's it - period. There is no consciousness about rescues (themselves and anyone else), no knowledge or willingness to learn anything, hardly ever wear a pfd and as you say, no knowledge that the boat will sink if flooded and impossible to get back into. The manufacturers don't care and either do the people in them. It's one notch up from buying an inner tube and actually the inner tube is safer.

    There are some very skilled paddlers in skin on frame boats with no flotation.

  • Respectfully, no.
    I don't think one can say very much about a person and their mental attitudes, etc., from how easily their kayak may be drained of water. And after thinking about it, I'm sure you will agree.
  • Options
    There is some experience here....
    "I don't think one can say very much about a person and their mental attitudes, etc., from how easily their kayak may be drained of water. And after thinking about it, I'm sure you will agree".

    Actually the more I think about it the more I remember being at clinics and telling people that they should be careful because the boat could just sink if they capsize. I got replies like, "yea we know we're fine" or ... "we really don't plan on capsizing" or "we'll just swim in". If you are saying that we should never judge anyone's mental attitude, yes, I agree you're right. I now say nothing about safety to rec boat paddlers because I feel it's like harassment since they really don't want any advice or someone to ruin their habit of carefree paddling. And yes, maybe that's the way it should be.
  • yes, but
    might not an experienced and knowledgeable kayaker, someone familiar with rescues and safety issues, take out a recreational kayak on a local pond? You know, just for a lark; perhaps it fits nicely in the back of his truck.
    How could you know this by looking at the boat? You know, someone paddling a sea kayak can be inexperienced and foolish. And none of these things has anything to do with how much water remains in a kayak's hull when it is righted after a capsize.

    But I'd agree that anyone refusing good advice is making a mistake.
  • Look at the paddler
    the novice is likely to have it somewhere on the back deck. The accomplished paddler have it on.

    Not talking sanctioned races. I know skilled paddlers do not wear them then all the time.

    Unfortunately unsolicited advice is rarely taken in the spirit it is given. So I stopped.
  • Reminds Me of an Encounter
    My buddies and I were putting in at a fairly secluded spot some years back. Another guy and some of his family were also getting ready to launch. This guy wanted to talk about his kayak so I was polite and listened. Did he talk about how well it tracked? Turned? Rolled? Edged? How fast it was? How well it surfed? Naw. None of the above. He went on and on and on about how much stuff he could get in it. I don't care what boat he paddled, he was a 'recreational' paddler. If that makes me a snob then I guess I'm a snob.
  • who cares?
    -- Last Updated: Sep-04-13 2:53 PM EST --

    Not directing this at you, you just wandered into the scope. But honestly - how much obsessing can we do over rec boats and casual paddlers?

    Do we really think this obsessing and handwringing helps grow the sport? Do we think every kayaker ought to progress to exactly the point we are at?

    (Mariner kayaks were designed with no bulkheads but are some of the most seaworthy kayaks you can paddle)

    OK, I'm sorry for my outburst. Everyone has the right to discuss whatever (this is a case where I really agree with G2D though). In my mind the point of sale is when the use of the product should be made clear.

  • Options
    Uh, no...
    A rec kayak is a rec kayak when you look at it and you say "Hey, that's a rec kayak." No flipping or measuring water levels is necessary. You look and you say "Oh, such a nice cup holder!" and then you say "Oh my, and no thigh braces!" and "Golly, no flotation in the front except maybe a little foam block" and "Wow, such a big cockpit" and "Ah, such a nice wide stable boat."
  • I don't know about everyone else,
    but I find paddling very recreational. If I didn't I wouldn't invest in all that stuff. I understand the spirit of the argument of course, but I wish we could come up with a better term for the aforementioned goobers other than rec boater, because IMO that's not a moniker that deserves to become a pejorative. My daughter is getting a Dagger Zydeco for her eleventh birthday. That's a rec boat fo sho, but it's a darned good one. I'll equip it with floatation and enlist the help of buddies (I'm what my yakking friends affectionately call an SOB; scruffy open boater) to teach her good technique, and she's worn NRS Vistas since she was out of the little kid PFDs. There's a good chance she'll quickly progress past the "rec paddler" stage, but if she doesn't that's fine. She'll be with me on trips making me smile.
  • "Goobers"?
    How about we identify what makes them goobers, or whatever else you want to call them.
  • maybe he presumed you had a depth of
    knowledge about his kayak, and overestimated you. Maybe he thought all of those characteristics should be apparent to you as an experienced kayaker.

    I'm not sold. I know more than one sea kayaker who talks about how much he can fit into his boat.
  • Fair enough.
    In my mind river dork and goober are interchangeable terms. He/she already knows everything, doesn't "need" a PFD even after being rescued several times, drinks to rowdy excess, endangers others' safety and adversely impacts their paddling enjoyment with their behavior, etc.
  • You're Reachin' Slush
    By your logic I would also know how much his boat could hold. He was going on and on about capacity because that's what he values. The guy was 95% camper and 5% boater. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just not me. Some folks drive little sports cars and others drive vans.

    I don't doubt that you know experienced kayakers who also value load capacity but this guy wasn't it.
  • I got it.
    ...and you were there, I wasn't. Plus I imagine the boat was empty at the time!

    Some people do tend to fixate on one attribute of their new purchase, whatever it may be.
  • I like river dork
    I know people like that. River Dork sounds good.

    I think the forum ought to come up with a definition so we can say what we mean and leave the truly "rec" kayaker alone.
  • River Dork it is! Henceforth
    I'll use RD. Not So Little Deuce (formerly Little Deuce) and I were paddling around last night and she pestered me for hints regarding her birthday present. I have a very hard time telling her no, but I managed to keep the hints vague enough that she didn't ferret out the truth.
  • boat capacity
    can be quite important if you like to go on multi-day trips--
  • Options
    The visual clues are blatant.......
    -- Last Updated: Sep-06-13 11:35 PM EST --

    Many seasoned paddlers can tell very quickly with just
    a momentary glance what was built to perform versus
    just float to provide a splashing fun time.

  • Performance
    -- Last Updated: Sep-08-13 5:09 AM EST --

    There's that key word again.

    Since they're all recreational, how about performance boats vs goober boats?

  • This thread could be misunderstood
    -- Last Updated: Sep-07-13 9:54 AM EST --

    This is all in fun and not intended to be critical of others. But - someone reading this thread who is new to Kayaking might be offended. We should keep that in mind. A large percentage of the paddling.net readers are new and we want this forum to be welcoming and friendly. Looking back at my comments - and the comments of some others - I fear we may have crossed a line here and I wonder if the administrator of the forum might consider deleting this thread.

    I guess my bottom line is that I see no reason to debate the definition of a recreational kayak. What the heck difference does it make anyway? We all sound pretty elitist and unwelcoming when you go back and read this one. I know it was not intended to be that way, but that is the definite impression you get when you read this thread. So for my part - apologies to all recreational paddlers out there - truth is 99.9% of us are just that - recreational paddlers and we all want to bring new people into this wonderful activity. We welcome you all with open arms. I for one am no expert and at my age I doubt I ever will be. The sport of paddling has enriched my life beyond my wildest imagination and I am thankful for the paddlers that helped bring me along into the sport.

  • Agree
    In the bicycle world you have better description. Racing bikes; mountain bikes; beach cruisers; etc. Someone high up in the kayak industry came up with the awful catch-all word "recreational" and no one had the clout to knock it down.

Sign In or Register to comment.
Message Boards Close

Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!