What is a good size recreational kayak for a beginner?

When it comes to choosing a good kayak size for a beginner, there are several elements to consider, including the paddler's size and weight, intended use, and level of experience.

1. Kayak Length and Width

A good size kayak for a beginner is one that is stable, easy to maneuver, and comfortable to sit in/on for an extended length of time. For most beginners, a kayak that is 10-12 feet long and 28-32 inches wide is a good starting point. This size will provide a good balance of stability and maneuverability.

2. Consider Kayak Weight Capacity

It's also important to consider the weight capacity of the kayak to ensure it can safely accommodate both the paddler’s weight plus any gear they may bring along. A kayak with a weight capacity of 250-300 pounds is typically suitable for most beginners.

3. Kayak Features to Consider

In addition to size, other features to consider when choosing a beginner kayak include the type of water you plan to paddle in (calm lakes or mild rivers versus open ocean or rough waters), the materials and construction of the kayak, and the comfort and adjustability of the seat and footrests. Beginner paddlers may want to choose from a Sit-On-Top kayak or a Sit-Inside Kayak.

Ultimately, the best size kayak for a beginner will depend on their individual needs and preferences, and it's always a good idea to test out different models before making a purchase.

Recreational kayaks we recommended for beginner paddlers:

Jackson Kayak Tupelo 12.5

Liquidlogic Saluda

Bonafide RS117

Hurricane Kayaks Osprey 120