Section 3 - Other Dive Kayaks
|There are several kayaks on the market which may be suitable for kayak diving. Some things to consider before buying your kayak are;|
|2. Your body size and weight.|
|3. Total load limit.|
|4. Storage hatch/deck size for all your gear.|
|5. Water conditions which you will be using it in.|
|6. Ability to lift and handle the kayak on your own.|
|7. Ease of transporting your kayak with the vehicle you have.|
|8. Buy a rigid or inflatable kayak?|
|9. The center area of the kayak is where you have to sit to gear up/down for scuba diving and therefore needs to be strong. Does the material flex at the center point where you will be sitting to gear up/down? If so this may result in the material cracking over time especially if a center hatch is involved in the area that flexes. The outer ring of the plastic screw-on type center hatch may also crack from the flexing.|
|10. Is the center hatch below the water line with the added weight of a scuba tank setup. If so then the hatch is unusable on the water if not a separate compartment. If it should crack or come off the kayak will flood and partially sink making it near impossible to paddle.|
|11. Is the rear bungee system strong enough to keep a scuba tank in place with the BCD, integrated weights and regulator attached if the kayak overturns? If not, the kayak will have to be retrofitted with straps as was on the older Ocean Kayak models. If for no other reason straps will have to be installed due to the inconvenience of using the bungee system, especially out on the water.|
|12. Before investing in any dive kayak you should try it out to see if it's right for you. Rent one if possible. If you have access to a swimming pool try the kayak out in it with all your scuba gear. Check the stability, getting your tank in and out of the tank well, getting in and out of the kayak, just to mention a few scenarios.|
This is something you may want to consider before buying your kayak as it will involve the use of a rudder system. A small kite can be used to propel your kayak. Speed is not important. This setup would enable you to paddle farther from shore to dive sites and "kite kayak" back thereby eliminating any strenuous exercise after a deep dive. A kayak with a rudder system is better in order to be able to steer it with your feet and not be limited to a strict downwind course. The use of a "sea anchor" is recommended with kite kayaking. Use your browsers search engine to read more about kite kayaking. I have some links in Section 33.
Ocean Kayak Products
If you do decide to purchase an Ocean Kayak consider the Scrambler XT Angler, Prowler 13 and Scupper Pro TW for scuba diving purposes. I also advise you to replace the bungee with straps in order to be able to more easily store your scuba tank as well as make it more secure. Be sure and check the weight load limits and width so they are suitable to your body size.
From my experience the basic "Scrambler" model was unstable and overturned easily making it unsuitable for scuba diving. I have not tested the current Scrambler for any changes that may have been made to it.
Many of the current Ocean Kayak models have front and center hatches factory installed. Most of the center hatches are the plastic screw-in type. It is my experience that the outer ring on this type of hatch is prone to cracking if you repeatedly sit on it.
The center hatch on the current Ocean Kayak models is an isolated chamber and does not allow access to the interior of the hull. You will not be able to reinforce that area should it crack.
Ocean Kayak discontinues/adds/restores models so check their website for the latest models.
On my last visit to the Ocean kayak website in December of 2008 I noticed they no longer make reference to scuba diving from any of their kayaks even though they still refer to the rear compartment as a "tank well". This may be due to liability. Be sure and read their "How to Choose a Kayak" section.
Click here to go to the Ocean Kayak website.
Cobra Kayak Products
Some models to consider are the "Fish n Dive", the "Explorer" and the "Navigator". A dealer here in Hawaii advises against the "Tourer" model because the seating area is too far forward.
Click here to go to the Cobra Kayak website
Sevylor Inflatable Kayaks
I have no experience with inflatable kayaks but I would not rule them out. They may suit specific needs when it comes to storage and/or taking them traveling. Sevylor makes a few different models that are suitable for diving. They also make a four piece paddle that stores well for traveling. They are available in one and two person models. Do a search on the internet for price comparisons. The ones shown below are one person models. The black colored one is marketed as a Trident/Sevylor brand and is more expensive than the yellow model. Both are almost identical in size but the black model is rated for a 350 pound load limit and the yellow one 250 pounds..