If you want to start kayaking, the very basic equipment you will need are a kayak, a paddle, a life jacket, a helmet, and spray skirt. You should also consider an after-market rack system to the roof of your car, so you can transport the kayak to and from your home. Finally, consider storage - some people use warehouse racking systems for storing their kayaks when not in use. Keep in mind that a kayak can be pretty heavy and cumbersome, too.

Learn more about warehouse racking systems

Kayaks themselves can have several specific uses. A playboat is a kayak used for conducing tricks and surfing. A creek boat is a kayak designed for rocky waters. You will probably get started kayaking with a river kayak.

The overall dimensions, length and girth, and even the body shape of the kayak, all depend on the user's height, weight, and the type of water you will be using it in - a river, the ocean, a lake, and so on. You can find out more about your own needs by visiting a retailer, because they carry stock demonstration specifically intended for test boating.

Narrower models are easier to flip. If at this point you don't understand what would be narrow or wide, you can always read the manufacturer's materials and search for keywords such as stable, easy to paddle, beginner level, great first kayak, and so on.

Longer models are more fun in the sea or in a wide river. They are faster, easier to paddle, and go straighter too. Shorter kayaks should be preferred for small rivers less than 18' in width.

Once you know what works best for your body and your needs, it is easy enough to even find a previously owned kayak for a significantly reduced price.

Choosing the best paddle for you also depends on the shape of the blade, the material it is made of, the dimensions such as length and width, and also the user's height, paddling style, and torso size. Longer paddles work best for taller people with longer torsos, as well as paddlers who appreciate a slower journey. On the other hand, smaller users with shorter torsos and paddlers who prefer faster paddling will prefer shorter paddles.

The paddle materials are a world in themselves. You can buy them in wood, carbon fiber, and fiberglass with plastic blades. Aluminum shaft paddles are a safe choice for someone getting started in this hobby.

As for the life vests, or personal flotation devices (PFD), you are probable better off with a Type III PFD. All experts wear them and you should wear them as well. These are comfortable for paddling. Get yourself also a quality helmet that fits you comfortably.

As for spray skirts, you will need them for sealing the cockpit while kayaking and keeping the water out of the canoe and keeping yourself from getting wet. They are usually made of either neoprene (whitewater spray skirts), nylon (recreational and touring spray skirts), or both neoprene and nylon (for sea kayaking).