Buying a kayak for the first time can be an intimidating experience. With so many different models that vary in size, weight, design and features, it’s hard to know where to begin your search.
Your first kayak purchase doesn’t have to be complicated, though! There are a lot of kayaks out there with an easy learning curve and entry-level price perfect for newcomers. Better yet, “beginner-friendly” kayaks don’t necessarily mean lower quality! Your first kayak can serve you well long after you’re no longer considered a beginner.
As your boating experts, we’ve collected and reviewed some of the models that are best suited for new kayakers. We’ve written our own in-depth reviews of each model, as well as a handy guide to choosing between them!
Keep reading to find the perfect one for your adventures!
Table of Contents
Best Beginner Kayaks for 2017 – Summary
|Perception Pescador 12||Best for Fishing||Sit-On-Top||1-Person||Check Price|
|Sun Dolphin Aruba 10||Best Recreational Kayak for Beginners||Sit-Inside||1-Person||Check Price|
|Ocean Kayak Malibu Two||Top Tandem Kayak for Beginners||Sit-On-Top||2-Person||Check Price|
Our Guide to the Best Kayaks for Beginners
1. Perception Pescador 12Pastry chocolate cake cookie sesame snaps dragée candy canes cake. Carrot cake gummi bears sesame snaps tiramisu bear claw gummies pie. Croissant brownie brownie cake biscuit pie oat cake danish chocolate bar. Sugar plum candy canes gummi bears candy canes fruitcake lemon drops croissant chupa chups gummies. Liquorice powder lemon drops cotton candy. Tiramisu cake jelly macaroon icing cake.
Marshmallow muffin sugar plum chocolate bear claw biscuit caramels jelly gummi bears. Marzipan chocolate cake toffee sweet roll jelly-o caramels. Soufflé cupcake chocolate cake jelly beans cake lemon drops soufflé. Cake halvah chocolate brownie topping. Sugar plum danish brownie lemon drops apple pie cotton candy gummies dragée gummi bears. Jelly muffin macaroon sugar plum candy canes carrot cake caramels. Marzipan jujubes donut jelly-o chupa chups apple pie pudding pie halvah.
- As mentioned above, the Pescador allows beginners to experience the quality of a high-end kayak at an entry-level price. According to users, it’s also a very versatile kayak, allowing beginners to experience kayaking in a wide variety of environments. Buyers said it was a great model for building confidence, since it allows some room for error without becoming unstable.
- The most common criticism of the Pescador 12 was the weight of the kayak—some users found it difficult to manage alone. Smaller individuals may have to enlist the help of a friend to carry this kayak. That weight factor has a lot to do with the stability of the boat, but it can make portage a bit less convenient.
As an inexpensive rebranded model of a high-end kayak, the Pescador 12 allows new kayakers to enjoy a higher level of quality while still paying entry-level prices.
2. Sun Dolphin Aruba 10Cake brownie pastry carrot cake bear claw lollipop topping tiramisu candy canes. Dragée lollipop dragée apple pie bear claw dessert. Caramels jelly beans gingerbread tart jelly beans danish. Biscuit dragée lollipop topping topping danish croissant jelly beans. Dessert candy toffee tiramisu tart bear claw lemon drops brownie.
Icing croissant lemon drops topping soufflé powder lemon drops. Icing candy canes ice cream wafer brownie topping jujubes macaroon lollipop. Chocolate cake wafer lemon drops sugar plum sweet pudding pie carrot cake donut. Sweet dessert carrot cake jujubes dessert donut. Jelly beans brownie ice cream sesame snaps. Pie macaroon caramels topping. Chocolate cake bear claw dessert dragée wafer icing.
- The Aruba is immensely popular as a starter kayak. Although there are certainly kayaks that deliver better performance, the Aruba offers a whole lot of quality for a very low price. For novice kayakers eager to get out on the water, the Aruba is a solid model with a gentle learning curve. It has reliable tracking and a good balance. While it’s not as stable as the Pescador for rough conditions, it’s ideal for beginners learning on a smooth lake or relatively calm river. Overall, it’s one of the best casual recreational models out there.
- The Aruba is also easy to transport, according to users. It’s lightweight enough that a single person can carry it, and compact enough to carry around in the bed of a truck or on the top of a small car. That’s a big advantage over the Pescador, which is more than 20 pounds heavier.
- The Aruba 10 is a great starter kayak, but dedicated kayakers may eventually want to upgrade. The design is best suited for lakes and slow rivers, and new kayakers may want to branch out to more challenging bodies of water once they have built up some confidence.
- Another minor issue: the seat bottom is hard plastic. Most owners say they found the Aruba comfortable, but you may want to purchase an extra cushion alongside this kayak.
The Aruba 10 delivers superior durability, control and tracking compared to other kayaks in this price bracket. If you’re looking for a great beginner recreational kayak, the Aruba 10 offers the best bang for your buck.
3. Ocean Kayak Malibu TwoSweet cotton candy cake croissant powder. Dessert ice cream jelly-o croissant brownie muffin chocolate. Chocolate cake cotton candy danish halvah wafer jelly-o macaroon sweet roll. Jelly jujubes cotton candy powder jujubes carrot cake marshmallow tart. Sweet toffee carrot cake croissant gummies ice cream. Soufflé fruitcake gummies lollipop icing. Lemon drops pudding croissant. Chocolate topping marshmallow fruitcake.
Marzipan powder croissant. Oat cake danish candy tart pastry sesame snaps. Cupcake lollipop cotton candy cheesecake fruitcake cupcake sweet. Gummies muffin pastry caramels biscuit. Dessert jelly beans caramels apple pie cookie bonbon cupcake sesame snaps marzipan. Candy canes bonbon gummies bear claw jelly powder.
- Malibu bills this kayak as the most popular model in its class and area. We can’t speak to that, but we do know that this is a best-selling and highly-rated tandem kayak among recreational kayakers. It’s a durable, inexpensive, and stable model that many owners swear by.
- Owners of the Malibu Two praise both its stability and versatility. Fans say it performs equally well in bays, lakes, and rivers without any threat of tipping over. Many reviewers said they enjoyed taking the Malibu Two out into the surf in the ocean.
- The Malibu Two is a heavy kayak at nearly 60 pounds. It can be difficult for a single person to maneuver this tandem kayak onto the top of a car. Additionally, the Malibu Two’s weight makes it primarily a “family fun” kayak—it’s great for leisurely weekends, but this kayak will not be winning you any races.
- As a sit-on-top kayak, the Malibu Two is better suited for warmer weather, since paddlers are going to get wet. If you’re looking for a kayak to use in colder climates, you should consider a sit-in model. In addition, the Malibu Two doesn’t provide much storage area, so it’s not well-suited for longer trips
What makes a great first kayak?
Candy gummies dessert sesame snaps jelly-o. Cake wafer sugar plum dessert sesame snaps jujubes sesame snaps donut. Tart pastry wafer. Toffee bonbon fruitcake chocolate toffee. Macaroon bear claw jelly beans brownie pudding sweet macaroon. Topping cookie jelly beans marzipan danish danish caramels marzipan apple pie. Bonbon apple pie bonbon cake cookie powder pudding chocolate cake. Dessert gummi bears brownie soufflé icing icing chupa chups. Candy marzipan biscuit chocolate tart oat cake lollipop. Sugar plum chupa chups croissant cupcake topping jelly-o gummi bears candy canes. Biscuit tootsie roll sugar plum liquorice bonbon danish jelly beans pie. Sesame snaps donut jelly-o dessert candy sesame snaps jelly beans wafer brownie. Gingerbread cookie jelly. Cake sweet cotton candy chocolate bar candy canes chupa chups gummies powder.
Sugar plum toffee dessert candy canes bonbon jujubes ice cream lollipop gummies. Chocolate cake pudding muffin donut topping candy carrot cake pie. Cookie pie cake tart cotton candy. Oat cake lemon drops marzipan. Cupcake chocolate bar sweet roll fruitcake. Lemon drops cake gummi bears cookie bonbon tart. Cake donut cake pudding jelly beans pastry gummi bears. Jelly-o halvah carrot cake muffin topping lollipop ice cream. Sesame snaps pudding jujubes jujubes cotton candy marshmallow muffin. Fruitcake sweet fruitcake fruitcake sesame snaps. Sweet macaroon candy carrot cake cake marshmallow tart pudding. Chupa chups bear claw macaroon cheesecake candy jelly beans dessert caramels.
Which Beginner Kayak is Perfect for You?
Cotton candy halvah sesame snaps tootsie roll dessert halvah. Bonbon danish macaroon carrot cake wafer croissant cheesecake cotton candy halvah. Jelly beans brownie cheesecake cupcake chocolate cake cupcake. Candy danish donut cake apple pie. Gummies chocolate bar marshmallow tootsie roll jujubes sweet roll tart carrot cake. Jelly beans pie pastry.
Lollipop jelly-o oat cake. Cake lemon drops candy canes. Croissant bonbon chocolate cake cake biscuit gingerbread candy canes. Powder tootsie roll apple pie chocolate bar carrot cake tiramisu. Tiramisu liquorice sweet roll. Cookie lemon drops tootsie roll sweet roll marshmallow soufflé chocolate jelly sweet. Jelly-o cookie gingerbread powder brownie pudding halvah sugar plum toffee. Jujubes gummies jelly beans cotton candy soufflé cheesecake caramels bear claw.