Modern kayaks are amazingly simple watercraft. Typically vacuumed formed out of a single piece of poly-carbonate plastic, the same stuff used to make trashcans. They are relatively light, tough as hell, and require very little maintenance, and the best part is, the motor is (usually) very reliable! Usually I say, because failures have been known to happen!
|15 year old ($285) Bending Branches paddle destined for the burn pile.|
I have a Perception Carolina, which is considered a touring kayak which are on the the sea-kayak range of style, typically anything over 11 feet long.
|My wife in our Perception Carolina in Florida - "Are there sharks in these waters?"|
I've had my kayak for more than 10 years now, a 14.2 foot Carolina, made by Perception. I've taken it to the ocean and on just about every river in Missouri, including the Osage. At the lake I've probably spent more hours in it than I have my 27ft Sea Ray in the past ten years. I can only guess how many miles I've paddled but I know it's in the hundreds.
Here's some more pics!
|Florida - Getting past the breakers is easier than getting back in!|
|July 2, 2015, 8MM Main Channel|
One of the cool things about a kayak is being able to sneak up on wildlife, which is not always a great idea. Startled deer do funny things.
|I got a lot closer than this and the poor deer nearly jumped in the kayak when she finally spotted me.|
Some tips when it comes to paddling on the Lake of the Ozarks.
Don't stray too far from docks and shoreline, especially on weekends. There's far too much boat traffic to be safe in a kayak in open water. Try to be in a position to duck beside a dock in quick order if a boat doesn't seem to see you. You're too low to the water in a kayak to be easily seen. Of course, the back of a cove or in no-wake zone is relatively safe, but you should always keep an eye out for power boats and PWCs.
Let people know where you're going and how long you expect to be gone if you plan on being out of site of your home dock. People worry.
You are required to have a life jacket with you, on is optional, but it would be wise.
Buddy up if you can. I personally kayak alone quite a bit (me time), but it is more fun with a companion.
Teach your children how to kayak. I have never met a child that didn't enjoy being in a kayak. There's something empowering about it to them. I suppose it's the first serious mode of transportation that they are in charge of maybe, but kids in the cockpit with you will enjoy it as well. If they can fit. My granddaughter is about 60lbs and she's only now getting too big to sit in front of me and leave me room to paddle. But now she's old enough to paddle her own kayak! My four year old grandson fits just fine still. I've taught all of my nieces, nephews and friends to kayak and by far they are the most popular water toys we have.
Don't tease the people on paddle-boards by doing circles around them. A stand up paddle-board (SUP) is fine, but I like to make way on the water even if it's under my own power. SUP's are slow, difficult to maneuver and not very versatile, but to each their own.
I could go on and on bragging about how much joy that little boat has brought me over the years. The stories I could tell. I've truly had some amazing experiences. If you think it might be something for you, I would encourage looking for something used first. A lot of people buy them, use them briefly and decide it's not for them. You can usually pick up a very "low hour" kayak if you just keep an eye out or tell people you're looking.