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"

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.

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.

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.