I know there are a bunch of things including seats, paddles, hatches and so on to get and add into your kayak. But first and foremost, you need to take care of the hull.
Yes, this one part is really important to consider because it’s going to affect the whole stability and speed issues.
The bare-bone form is usually the hull of a kayak. You may have looked up and found out that most kayaks available online have different looking shapes and designs for hull.
This is obvious and brings as to the point of knowing more about kayak hull types and designs available. Of course, the drastic hull design change has reasons.
With so many brands available, there are of course specific styles and designs that each follows. So, to fulfill individual purposes, the design plays accordingly.
A good example is comparing sea and whitewater kayak hull. The first one comes with short and rounded sides and a curved bottom.
While the next type is longer and pointier with even bottom. It’s quite easy to say that kayaks are suitable for different needs. Let’s know about all categorizations on hull types and designs.
Table of Contents
Different Kayak Hull Types Based on Shape
There are basically a few shapes available for a kayak that defines them into various categories. These various shapes are meant for different using purposes.
The shape will have a direct connection with the kayak’s maneuverability, tracking and also how much straight it can travel.
Maximum kayak these days come with one of these four shapes. These are round, flat, V-shape and pontoon hull. Here’s a brief about each of them.
Round Hull Kayak
- When the kayak hull shapes more like a circle, it is usually popular as the round hull. These are great for maneuvering and turning finely.
- In a situation like whitewater with plenty of rocks, these hull shaped kayak works excellently giving the best results.
- Because of the good maneuverability in rocks and waterfalls, most users prefer this hull shape for difficult whitewater kayaking.
- The round-shape hull kayak is commonly known as displacement kayak. This is due to its ability to displace water as it lands off a waterfall. So that the kayaker can rescue less impact while making a landing.
- However, tracking with this type is quite difficult than any other hull shape. They are also not great for speed kayaking. The shape does not allow these kayaks to go in a straight line.
- Also, the primary stability factor in a rounded kayak is somewhat less. However, these are good for providing secondary stability. Once it farther on edge, the kayaks are good at staying straight.
Flat Hull Kayak
- With a flat bottom, a kayak is known to be flat hull shape. This type of hull is basically very smooth and that too without being round at all. The hull side joints are very strong with harder edges.
- For primary stability requirements, kayakers usually prefer this flat-shaped hull kayaks. While putting on edge, this type of hull can keep kayak stable enough.
- However, considering the secondary stability, it’s not as good as the round shape type. It is usually leading beyond chines. So, capsizing risk increases here.
- Maximum fishing kayaks are complete with flat hulls. Also, you can find those hull type in recreational and whitewater kayak counting both playboats and creek boats.
V-Shaped Hull Kayak
- Now moving on to a faster speed providing hull shape which is the V-shaped ones. These are usually much better at tracking than any other hull shape.
- This makes it a great choice for gaining speed and moving really fast compared to other hull types. Also, the shape helps to keep momentum up while going in a straight line.
- There are some v-shaped hull kayaks that are somewhat less for stability. Also, there are reports that this kayak hull shape isn’t good at turning as the flat shape hull ones.
- Most of the whitewater kayaks that are designed for racing purposes come with a V-shaped hull. However, these need maximum paddling forward. Otherwise, there is a risk of capsizing.
Pontoon Hull Kayak
- Tunnel hulls or pontoon hulls usually look like an invert in the bottom area. The inversion can be in a rounded or v-shaped method.
- This makes the hull look like a tunnel. Out of all possible kayak hull shapes, pontoon is popular for being the most stable one.
- This hull is great at primary stability performance. There is a number of fishing kayaks available that uses pontoon hulls in their design.
- Some flat water and recreational kayak also use this type of hull shape. However, the inverted hull isn’t so familiar in whitewater kayak making.
Combination Hull Kayak
- There are many kayaks that come with the hull of combined shape. It is a mingling of different hull types.
- There are recreational and fishing kayak option that includes flat hulls for stability and also somewhat v-shaped design in the center to get good tracking ability.
Different Stability in Hull Design
There is a direct impact of Kayak Hull Types on stability. Apart from being different in shape, hulls can also be distinct in curves.
It can be noticed on the sides of kayak or sometimes the bottom area. Most of the time these areas are known as chine and rocker.
Because of the curviness in hull design, there can be a great effect over a number of factors. One major factor is stability.
There are basically two types of stability that come into play with hull types. One is primary and the other is secondary.
The initial stability is referred to as primary stability. This is in control of a kayak’s flat-water performance.
On the other hand, by secondary stability, the kayak’s “getting tipped on side” ability is referred. In poor water situations, you need to have better secondary stability.
Most of the kayaks will either comprise primary or secondary stability. That’s why one model that works better on flat water might be tippy in rough water and vice versa.
Different Hull Chine Types
There are quite a few ways of the bottom of a kayak meeting side. This is basically referred to as chine of a kayak.
It is how we figure out if the kayak looks round or boxy. To find the perfect balance of both stabilities we talked above, manufacturers go for combining hull shapes into one. This makes the hull multi-chinned giving the overall performance a boost.
There are two chine types, one is hard and the other is soft. With hard chine, it gives an angular meeting. On the other hand, a soft chine refers to a more rounded one.
Hulls with hard chine are great at tracking better and providing optimal primary stability. However, these chine hulls will not work great at bad water conditions and tip more often.
Play boats usually come with hard chine hull. So that better trick performance is possible. With soft chine hulls, a kayak provides better secondary stability. This makes the kayak faster and smooth.
Rocker Makes a Difference in Hulls
Another factor called rocker also plays a vital role in hull design. The name comes from the fact that a hull being more rocker will allow better rock from bow to stern. The maneuverability of a kayak can be judged by this.
With more rocker, the front and back have to face less resistance. This generally makes the kayak better at maneuvering. However, this type usually doesn’t perform well at tracking.
One the other hand, hull with less rocker is preferable for better tracking. Because of that way the resistance in water increases giving the kayak less turning ability.
The flat bottom hull is basically no rocker existing in the design. These are considered the best choice for steady speed and excellent tracking.
So, you see, there are a number of factors that reflect kayak hull types and designs. You need to be well aware of different terminologies to understand each hull type and how they benefit you.
While making a choice on a kayak, consider hull as one of the most important factors. Because if you take it lightly, there could be possible mishaps due to improper hull kayak driven into a water condition.
So, make sure you do your research well and there’s a conclusion about what particular hull type suits your kayaking style and environment the best.
These hull types and designs are all good in their own way. You can’t judge them and find anyone type to be the best out of all.
The reason so many types of hull designs exist is that there are different conditions that need to be met with various features. And so, manufacturers specifically make their kayaks with a certain hull to meet a kayaking purpose or condition.