4 Basic Types of Kayak Hulls
If you haven’t yet taken up kayaking — you should, but that’s another discussion — it’s important to know the basics of kayak hull design. To a novice the difference between the four main types of kayak hulls may seem trivial, but depending on your use and level of proficiency, the choice you make in hull shape can greatly influence your love and appreciation for kayaks in general.
If you’re looking to kayak in the ocean or running rivers, then rounded hulls are a great option. Rounded hulls are, you guessed it, gentled rounded around the bottom of your kayak. They perform well at generating speed an maneuverability. While they won’t seem particularly stable in calm waters, these kayaks are actually very stable as they tilt toward one side or another, which is why they’re great for rough water conditions.
Coming to a rounded point at the bottom, v-shaped hulls are going to be the fastest in a straight line, but they’ll generally provide less maneuverability than your rounded hulls. Like rounded hulls, however, v-shaped kayaks will feel less stable in calm conditions than choppy waves. If you’re just beginning to kayak, a v-shaped hull may take some getting used to, as they’re a bit more difficult to manage in general.
Coming to a pretty uniformed flat shape on the bottom of the boat, flat hull kayaks a very stable in calm conditions, and they’re surprisingly quick and maneuverable. Ideal for kayak fishing, flat hull kayaks are easy to manage for beginners and they make great first kayaks.
The most stable of all kayak hulls, the pontoon shape is going to be the easiest type to stay upright in. They’ll track pretty straight, but they’re not very agile in the water, as turning is a challenge in these. Like flat hulls, pontoon shaped hulls do well for fishing kayaks, but in general these are best served just being leisure boats.