Buying a Kayak

Here is some background knowledge so you know what to look for and can ask relevant questions and so be able to make an informed decision when purchasing. If you require further information, please contact Australis on 02 4285 2000.

There is a separate page for: 

What to look for in a KAYAK

This section outlines the features to look for when looking at a kayak. 
If you require further information, please contact Australis on 02 4285 2000.


  • Seat 
  • Backrest 
  • Cockpit size 


  • Standard Features 




One of the most important features of your kayak will be the seat!

If your kayak does not have a comfortable seat, it will not be pleasant to paddle for extended periods of time.

It is better to actually sit in the seat to see if it feels comfortable for you. Remember, seats that look padded or soft are not neccessarily more comfortable over long periods of time.

Make sure that the edges of the seat are soft curvy profiles that follow the shape of your legs and that there are no sharp corners to dig into you causing pain or interfering with the flow of blood to and from your legs.

The bottom line is... 
Look for a kayak with a seat with soft, flowing edges.  



The next feature that you will need to consider is the backrest. 

The backrest plays an important role because it holds your pelvis in a supported position, which is especially important during extended periods of paddling or when relaxing or fishing.

The angle you set your backrest at will depend on whether you like to sit fairly upright or whether you have a more relaxed paddling style. 
(Please be aware that if you set the angle of your backrest too far back, your pelvis will rotate forward and up, putting pressure the front of the lumbar vertebrae and the muscles of the lower back. It is best to sit nearly upright because in this position, your back will receive support from your abdominal muscles.) 

Some kayaks have a lot of padding on the seat. Whilst this can add some comfort, padding is not important if you are not properly supported.

A backrest that can be folded forward allows you to store items like warm clothing behind your seat, so they are readily available if the weather turns cold. 

The bottom line is... 
Look for a backrest where the angle can be changed to suit your preferred seating position. It is even better if the backrest can also be folded forward to store things in behind the seat.


Cockpit size 

A key feature that can be overlooked is the size of the cockpit

The cockpit is the "hole" that you sit into in the kayak and needs to be large enough so that you can easily and safely get out of the kayak in the event of a capsize.

Bearing this in mind, it also needs to be large or small enough to allow you to do what you need to on the water. 

If you are using your kayak for fishing, you may want a larger cockpit that allows you to have fishing tackle such as lures and hooks secured inside your kayak where you have easy access.

If you are using your kayak in water where you can be affected by motor boat wake, you may want a smaller cockpit that will allow you to push your knees up under the combing to stabilise the kayak when the boat goes past. 

The bottom line is... 
Look for a cockpit that is large enough so that you feel you can safely exit if necessary, and that is large/small enough to meet your main paddling needs.  



Standard Features 

To get a true indication of value when comparing different brands, you will need to consider what features that the manufacturer includes as "standard".

  • Hatches (included in the price or an option?)
    Some kayaks have hatches that are fitted as a standard feature, although some still include them as an option (for an added price). 
  • Hatch Size 
    The hatches on kayaks can vary in their usefulness. 
    Some hatches are so small that they are basically useless, and this will be an important feature to consider, especially if you will be doing over-night camping or expeditions and need to be able to put large dry bags with gear inside. Make sure that the hatch is going to be large enough to allow your possessions inside. 

The bottom line is... 
Know what is included in the price as standard, and what is an option that will be included if you pay extra, and also consider the usefulness of the features.