When shopping for a new recreational water craft a lot of people (especially beginners) would turn down inflatables and go for the big, bulky, hardshell crafts believing them to be more durable, safe and stable. This is particularly common for those planning to buy a kayak.
However, inflatable kayaks are actually quite a fantastic and even better choice for beginners than hardshell kayaks. The reasons for this are plenty, so why do beginners not buy it? It’s because of a number of false assumptions and myths about inflatable kayaks that have spread over the years, which we are going to bust right here and now!
Myth no.1: They will pop the moment they hit a rock.
Fact: Inflatable kayaks are not like your kid’s pool toy or floatie-- they’re made of much, much sturdier stuff. They’re often made with heavy-duty PVC and are multi-layered and heavily reinforced. Their seams are also either electrically welded or glued. So while a puncture is possible should they hit a rock, it’s more likely that they will just bounce off of the rock without incident.
Myth no.2: They will sink if they get punctured.
Fact: Again, an inflatable kayak is not like a pool toy, and is not built like a pool toy. Each inflatable kayak has more than one air chamber. Even if a chamber were to completely deflate (which is highly unlikely), you would still be able to stay afloat. And if there is a tear chances are any leak that develops will be so slow, you’ll have no problems getting back to shore before much air leaks out.
Myth no. 3: They’re hard to manoeuvre.
Fact: Well-made, properly engineered, high quality inflatable kayaks such as the Sevylor inflatable kayak track very well through water and allow you to manoeuvre quickly. The reason a lot of people think otherwise is because they’re thinking again of that pool floatie or rubber raft they were once on that spun in circles with just one stroke of the paddle. We cannot stress this enough: this is not a pool floatie. If you’re apprehensive and still believe that a ride on an inflatable kayak will only go in circles, get some help from an expert (like the ones here at Waves Overseas) to help you pick an inflatable kayak model with the best manoeuverability. Having a skeg or an optional rudder could also help improve kayak manoeuverability.
Myth no.4: They’re not stable, at least not as stable as hard-shell kayaks.
Fact: On the contrary, inflatable kayaks are very stable, and can even be more stable than hardshell kayaks. Because of their flat and often wide bottoms, they stay incredibly stable even through large waves. With some models you can even stand up on the kayak without any difficulty. Their multiple air chambers allow them to be very bouyant and difficult to tip over in the water.
Myth no.5: They easily fill up with water.
Fact: Actually the opposite is true. Many people think that because they aren’t enclosed like their hardshell counterparts, then inflatable kayaks fill up with water more easily. What these people probably don’t know is that any good whitewater inflatable kayak is actually self-bailing, which means they have holes in the floor to quickly let water drain out of the kayak.
Myth no.6: I’ll stay drier in a kayak with an enclosed cockpit than in an inflatable kayak.
Fact: You will get wet either way. An enclosed cockpit, even one with a skirt, is not waterproof. The cockpit and skirt are designed to keep just enough water out of the kayak to keep it from capsizing, but inside it’s never completely dry. Inflatable kayaks let you sit higher up, so in calm waters you would actually stay just as dry as you would in an enclosed cockpit, and maybe even more so.
Myth no.7: They are not for whitewater.
Fact: There are inflatable kayaks specifically built for whitewater. Some can even perform amazingly well in class IV whitewater.
Myth no.8: They aren’t for serious kayakers.
Fact: First of all, kayaking isn’t about being serious, it’s about having fun and enjoying the moment, especially if you’re a beginner. Second, it can be for serious kayakers as well. There are serious competitions for inflatable kayaking, with great prizes for top competitors.
Myth no.9: They’re difficult to care for.
Fact: If you know what to do, taking care of your inflatable kayak really isn’t any more difficult than taking care of any other valuable item you own. Just try not to handle it too roughly; make sure it’s nice and dry before storing so it doesn’t develop mould; keep it away from extreme temperatures; and use a good protectant spray to keep it strong and resistant to fading.
Myth no.10: They’re not as fun as hardshell kayaks.
Fact: Sure, you won’t be able to do an eskimo roll and other tricks on an inflatable kayak that you would on a hardshell one. But if you’re a beginner and unless you dedicate yourself to the art of playboating, you’re really not going to be doing much of that anyway. The most you’ll be doing is riding waves and enjoying your natural surroundings, and these are activities where inflatable kayaks are best.
If you want to have fun in the water right away, an inflatable kayak is definitely a great way to go. They’re more stable, convenient and as our above list has proven, are just plain awesome.
Thinking about getting your own inflatable kayak in Australia? Make sure you check out our impressive array of inflatable kayaks here at Waves Overseas!