Kayak Selection & Hire


Which kayak is best?  Arguments rage for days, and no conclusions are ever reached.  Forget about which superhero paddles what boat, what is best for you depends on many factors, in loose order:

1.     Your body weight.  Be honest.  If you’re too heavy for the boat it will handle like a barge, ground out early in shallow water, and be slow.  If you’re too light, the boat will get tossed around on standing waves and the wind will take it to places you don’t want to go.

2.     Your stability in a kayak, and your tolerance for instability.  Sure, you might like the fastest boat on the water, but can you sit in it, and can you paddle it through moving water without having to brace every second stroke?  A swim will cost you 5 to 15 minutes or more, and over a one to two hour race that takes you from hero to zero.  Bear in mind there’s primary stability, which is how tippy the boat feels just sitting upright, and secondary stability, which is how much support you get when the kayak is leaned over.

3.     Your ambition.  You can probably aim a level higher if you plan to get better and faster in the sport, are prepared to put time and effort into your training, and allow enough time to acclimatise to a tippier boat.

4. Your ability in moving water, and ability to read moving water and respond appropriately.  A whitewater background really helps here, but you still need time on rivers in a multisport kayak before you buy the skinniest rocket on the water.

5. Where you plan to use the kayak. Flat water, rivers, harbours and open ocean are totally different environments that suit different sorts of boats. Some kayaks are good all-round but not perfect in any particular place, whereas some boats are ideally suited to a specific environment but hopeless in others. Think about where you're going to do most of your paddling.

This comparison chart will give you an idea of where most multisport boats fit in the speed/stability spectrum.  Use it to figure out what particular boats are, or should be, of interest, then try them out – there is no better way of finding out what really, really suits you.   Click here to download the Excel version.


Hire of Club Boats

Club kayaks and paddles may be hired by FINANCIAL Club Members.  These can be taken from the Club to attend out of town races, or for training away from Christchurch.  Please remember, club equipment may only be used on deep water - no braded rivers (Waimakariri, Rakaia rivers are a definite no no).

1.  ALL requests for hire must be made in writing.  You can either email our Equipment officer - equipment@arawacanoeclub.org.nz or our club administrator - arawainfo@gmail.com.

2.  ALL kayaks must be transported on a vehicle with appropriate roof racks and kayak cradles (no foam cradles).  Tie downs are also a must.

3.  Paddles are only hired out with craft (not separately).  Spraydecks and airbags are the responsibility of the person hiring the kayak - and will normally be a requirement of a race.  

4.  Kayaks used for Club races are free of charge.

5.  Please treat our Club equipment with respect, and hire/use gear within your paddling ability.  All damages MUST be reported.

6.  Full payment required within 7 days to confirm booking.  A $20 cancellation fee will apply to ALL hires.

Hire Charges

1.  Hypernovas are $150 per boat for a week.  Paddle and PFD included, if required.  Most people who hire these craft use them for adventure races - and generally need to collect the boat mid week, and return mid week (or $25 for a day, if you just want to take a Hypernova away from the Club, somewhere local).

2.  All other single craft are $100 for a week or $75 for a weekend (collected Friday, returned the following Monday).  This also includes a paddle and PFD.  Daily rate is $15 (if you just want to take a kayak away from the Club, somewhere local).

3.  Kayaks used for Club races are free of charge.

In the unlikely event of the loss equipment, replacement charges as follows will be the responsibility of the member hiring the gear:

Paddle - $350

PFD - $70

Single Kayak - $1500

Hypernova - $2500

The hire of equipment form can be found here -  Boat Hire Form please complete this and return this to the Premises & Equipment Officer for approval in advance.