Cumec Magazine - Australia and New Zealands Kayaking Magazine

There are good and bad points to consider when buying used kayaks. Obviously the main benefit you will hope to gain when considering buying used kayaks is a healthy reduction in the price.

Used kayaks will undoubtedly be heavily discounted and as with buying anything second hand the asking price is always up for negotiation. It is generally accepted when buying used goods that the asking price is normally negotiable with many advertisements stating ONO which means ‘or near offer’.

When buying used kayaks or kayak accessories from a private seller there should be a certain code of conduct that both parties adhere to. The buyer should have the right to view the goods before the transaction is finalised and the time of viewing should be arranged and be mutually agreed by both buyer and seller.

Fortunately used kayaks are relatively easy to determine whether or not they are worth the asking price as with a kayak, what you see is generally what you get. Unlike buying a car or house you will not need a mechanic or surveyor to determine whether there are any hidden problems.

That said you should always ensure that you view the boat in daylight and you thoroughly examine the boat from bow to stern to ensure there are no cracks, splits or holes.

If you are viewing an inflatable kayak make sure it is fully inflated before you buy it and check carefully for any punctures by wiping a soapy cloth over and looking for any air bubbles. Wait at least an hour and if the inflatable kayak is still firm when you press down on it then you should be ok. Most used kayaks will have a fair amount of superficial scrapes and scratches especially to the bottom of the boat. This is nothing to be overly concerned about as this type of damage is just normal wear and tear that any used kayaks will sustain even if it has only been used a handful of times.

Cosmetic scratching to the kayak will not affect the kayaks performance in the water and furthermore the more scuffs and scratches there are increases your bargaining power and ability to get the seller to come down with the asking price.

Do not be afraid to make an offer well under the price of $500 as you never know how desperate the seller is to make the sale. Also ask the seller if they would be prepared to throw in any kayak accessories such as life jackets, paddles, trailers or kayak seats at no extra cost.

Unfortunately there are some drawbacks when buying used kayaks. First of all you are unlikely to get any guarantee or warranty with the purchase so if you do get home and discover there is a major problem you will have a hard job trying to get your money back.

It is also unlikely that the seller is willing to deliver free of charge so unless you are buying and inflatable kayak that you can put in the trunk of your car you will need to have a roof rack or van to pick it up.

Possibly the main reason not to consider buying used kayaks is you will not be able to clean the valuable knowledge or expertise you get from buying from kayak dealers.

Kayak Overview

Kayaks in one form or another have been used for a variety of purposes and for many years. Some people use kayaks for fishing, some people use kayaks for sport, photography and so on but most use their kayaks for recreational activities.

In this article I will explain some of the fundamental terms associated with a modern day typical recreational kayak.

The Bow:

The front of a kayak is called the bow which is the same term given to the front of any boat.

The Stern:

The rear of a kayak is called the stern. Again this is the same term used for the rear of any boat including a kayak or canoe.

The Deck:

The deck of a kayak is the name of the top of the boat where typically you will find hatches, bungee lines, the cockpit and carrying toggles.

The Hull:

The hull is the bottom of the boat and floats on the water.

The Cockpit:

The cockpit is where the paddler sits and is usually in the centre of the kayak. Inside the cockpit is the kayaks seat and backrest. You may also find thigh braces attached to the underside of the cockpit which help balance and manoeuvrability. Additionally there are often footrests that can be adjusted accordingly to suit the height of the paddler.

The Combing:

This is the rim around the cockpit where a spray deck or spray skirt can be attached.

Carry Toggles:

Carry toggles or carry handles are found at the bow and stern of kayaks and are used with the help of another person to transport the kayak.

Bungee Cords:

Bungee cords are stretchy ropes that extend across the deck and are usually found in front and behind the cockpit. They allow the carriage of kayak accessories which would normally be placed in a dry bag.

Safety Lines:

Like bungee cords they are found on the deck of the boat and usually around the edges of the deck. Unlike bungee cords they do not stretch. Their main purpose is to allow the paddler to get a firm grip of the kayak and as such is an important safety aspect of the boat.

Hatches:

Many kayaks are fitted with hatches to allow storage of your kayak accessories. They have waterproof plastic or rubber seals.

Bulkheads:

Bulkheads are fitted walls inside the boat and provide watertight chambers to ensure the integrity of the boat and provide inbuilt floatation should the boat take on water. Bulkheads offer a fundamental safety aspect assuring the boat will remain seaworthy at all times.

The Keel:

The line which runs along the centre of the kayaks hull is referred to as the keel line. The keel provides better tracking allowing the paddler to go in a straighter line.