10 Best Ocean Kayaks Of 2020
Kayaking has quickly become a popular activity among people because it’s a fitness workout and peaceful time out on the water. It’s a completely different experience from paddle boarding on flat water, a lake, or out in the ocean. Winds and strong currents play a bigger role in being an obstacle when out in a kayak. Luckily, to help kayaks be prepared for these weather conditions, the best ocean kayaks are adapted to be able to withstand rough conditions to keep the kayaker safe and as dry as possible.
In today’s day and age, there are many things to consider when choosing between the best ocean kayaks also known as a sea kayak. When it comes to ocean kayaking, the biggest question to ask yourself, causing a real headache for many, is whether to buy a single or a tandem kayak. Both have their pros and cons, and in this list, we’ll be explaining what those are and our top choices. If you haven’t learned how to kayak yet be sure to check out White Water Coach’s beginner’s guide.
Our Solo Ocean Kayak Recommendations
The 3 Waters Big Fish 105 kayak is an extremely stable kayak, providing you with a sense of security when launching into the surf, returning to shore, or going over unexpected waves. This kayak is designed for fishing but also functions as a great recreational sea kayak.
This sit-on-top kayak comes with four adjustable seat positions: high, low, recline, and flip away. Also, the seat can double as a lean bar when flipped away for sight casting. It is equipped with an integrated bow, stern, and side carrying handles, a removable sonar pad, a bungee tankwell at the bow and stern, two molded-in rod holders, and two pairs of accessory tracks. This kayak offers everything you may need for an exciting sea fishing excursion.
The Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Angler II is the ultimate sit-on-top fishing kayak. Its seat can be adjusted to three positions, offering great stability and comfort. It comes with six mounting brackets that allow you to equip your gear where you want, plenty of storage space with a bow hatch cover to keep your gear dry, the Glide Track Foot Brace System, a transducer-compatible scupper, Mod Pod center hatch, and a large tank well with bungees.
The Prowler Big Game Angler II Kayak is designed particularly for catching the ‘big one,’ making it a fantastic fishing kayak, but not the best recreational kayak.
The Trident 15 Angler Kayak is the top choice among professional kayakers. Its narrow body is designed for speed, however, you won’t have to worry about compromising on storage space– it has a large center console that opens completely to the hull.
The Trident 15 Angler is a great choice for any style of kayaking. It has many accessory mounts for fishing, including two flush mount rod holders and sliding tackle storage trays. And for your comfort, the ACS-2 seat has adjustable thigh and leg support, as well as quick-dry mesh fabric. This is an awesome choice if you’re looking to experiment with different styles of kayaking.
The Feelfree Lure 11.5 Kayak is a highly versatile kayak that offers great stability and comfort for riders. The removable sonar pod allows you to mount fishfinders and transducers directly onto it, and when removed, it makes for easy transportation and an abundance of storage space. It is equipped with two fishing rod holders, a track system, and the Gravity seat, one of the most adjustable seats on the market.
Whether you’ll be using it for fishing, recreation, or touring, this is a great ocean kayak that we highly recommend!
Even though the Tetra 12 Kayak is one of the simplest ocean kayaks out there, it’s a fantastic choice. Whether you’re embarking on a day trip or a casual paddle after work, this option is great for all types of kayaking. The Tera 12 is equipped with an adjustable seat that provides great lumbar support, a Click Seal Bow Hatch, adjustable foot braces, a large tank well with a bungee, and a paddle keeper.
The Ocean Malibu Pedal Kayak is designed particularly for recreational use. It has tons of platform space, including a kids jump seat in the stern, making for great family outings. Equipped is the PDL Drive System, which can reach up to 5.5 MPH and a 10.3:1 gear ratio for efficient paddling. The PDL Drive also doubles as a splash resistant storage space.
The Malibu Pedal is low on our list for two reasons. First, it’s not very versatile. It’s designed more so for family outings and less for other styles of kayaking. Second, it’s one of the more expensive kayaks available. So, if you have the extra cash to spend on a high-quality recreational kayak and/or are looking to hit the ocean with family members, then I would recommend this kayak, but if not, there are better options for you at a more affordable price tag.
The Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak is one of the most advanced sit-on-top kayak fishing boards. Its extra-wide standing deck offers a large, stable casting platform and allows for a great vantage point for sight fishing. It comes with four molded-in rod holders, multiple deluxe H-Track mounts, a kickup rudder system for easy navigation in shallow water, and an adjustable chair.
This kayak has everything a fisherman could ever need, and the price reflects that. If you want a top-of-the-line fishing kayak and have the money, this is your best choice, but if not, we highly recommend checking out other options.
Our Tandem Ocean Kayak Recommendations
The Malibu 2XL Angler is a great tandem fishing kayak. Its wide stance offers great stability, and if you’re planning to embark on a solo excursion, this kayak can be converted from two seats to one seat. This kayak comes with two flush mount rod holders, two cannon rod holders, side carrying handles, and a center cross-lock hatch. Because of its seating versatility, the Malibu 2XL Angler kayak makes for an amazing solo expedition or a fantastic choice for family fishing adventures.
The Perception Tribe 13.5 Tandem Kayak is one of the most versatile kayaks in the Tribe series, as its three-seat configuration offers a spot for two adults and a small child or pet. And whether you’re kayaking in a calm bay or through rough ocean waters, this kayak performs well in all water conditions and offers speed, control, and comfort.
This tandem kayak comes with a replaceable skid plate on the stern to prolong hull life, molded foot braces, molded seating, and two additional bow and stern handles. With all these capabilities, the Perception Tribe makes for a great choice for beginner kayakers.
We’ve put the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 17T very last on our list for one reason in particular… the price. This kayak is extremely expensive, but the high price tag reflects its quality. This “fishing machine” offers stability, comfort, and space for whatever you may need. It features the Mirage Drive 180 Turbo, which allows you to get to and from your fishing spot quickly, and fully adjustable Vantage XT Seating. And its large platform provides a great place to teach your child to fish or take your family out on the water.
This kayak is equipped with fishing rod storage in the front and rear that holds up to 12 rods, two H-Rail mounting plates, two H-Rail rod stacks, two H-Rail cup holders, and pre-installed thru-hull cable plug outlets. The cockpit is equipped with a large rectangular hatch with pivoting tackle management system and additional storage under the seats, providing ample space for all of your equipment.
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 17T is a fishing kayaker’s dream, but unfortunately, because of the price, most are unable to make it a reality.
Best Ocean Kayaks Buyer’s Guide
Things to Consider When Buying an Ocean Kayak
An ocean kayak can be used out on all types of water because it’s built to withstand rough currents. When determining the location to kayak, you need to take certain variables into account. You need to consider the type of shoreline to know how you will need to launch the kayak. Other variables would be prevailing wind direction and strength, boat traffic, and types of wildlife you may encounter. These are just a few of the variables you should consider but another very important variable is the shoreline access. You must know how much access you will have available to shorelines because you will need to pack your gear accordingly and have a big enough kayak to store all your gear. If limited shoreline is available then it’s very important that you know a rescue strategy in case you fall out of your kayak and have to re-enter your kayak in open water.
Sit-On-Top or Sit-Inside?
For sea kayaking, we recommend choosing a sit-on-top (SOT) kayak rather than a sit-inside kayak. SOTs are ideal for beginner kayakers, warmer temperatures, and rougher water conditions. They are very stable, providing you with a secure surface when sailing on top of waves. They also are easy to get in and out of and unlike sit-inside kayaks, SOTs are self-bailing, meaning that water drains on its own from the kayak through small holes called scupper holes. The only real downside of these kayaks is that because you are sitting on top, rather than inside, you’re more likely to get wet.
Sit-inside kayaks, on the other hand, shelter your lower body inside the kayak, making them warmer than SOT kayaks and better for adventures in cold temperatures. However, if your kayak flips, it’s much more difficult to free yourself, making them potentially much more dangerous, especially for those new to sea kayaking.
Kayaks come in a wide range of lengths. They can range from 7 feet to over 13 feet and longer. Before you buy your kayak you need to determine the amount of storage space you have because you don’t want to buy a kayak that is too long for your car rack or trailer rack. If you’re looking just for recreational uses then just about any length kayak will work for you. Keep in mind, shorter kayaks are more agile and easier to maneuver while longer kayaks are harder to maneuver and has more stability but tracks straighter in the water. If you’re going for speed then you’ll want a shorter kayak. For a more detailed article, check out our guide on how to choose a kayak.
Pros and Cons of Solo Kayaks
Undoubtedly the best thing about solo kayaks is that you have the freedom to do whatever you want and to go wherever you want! If you discover a cave and want to explore inside, you can do so. You don’t need to ask a partner if they’re up for it because, well, you don’t have one. Another great thing about solo kayaks is that they’re lighter than tandems, making them easier to load and unload.
The downside of a solo kayak, however, is that beginning kayakers are likely to have a more challenging time on the water because there’s no one in the boat to teach and/or guide them. All instructions must be taught from a separate kayak.
Pros and Cons of Tandem Kayaks
Tandem kayaks allow you to explore the wonders of our oceans and connect with your friend, family, or significant other. You and your partner will build teamwork skills, as you’re forced to work together as you paddle to reach your intended destination. One of the greatest things about these kayaks is that if one person gets tired, the other can continue paddling.
The biggest con of tandem kayaks is that you have little freedom to do what you want. If you want to paddle in one direction and your partner wants to paddle in the other, you’ll both need to come up with a compromise that works for both of you.