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What Are the Basic Parts Of A Kayak

What Are the Basic Parts Of A Kayak? – Guidelines and Understandings

So, you are fully ready to hit the river with your kayak and start kayaking! Wait, you still need to learn some basic knowledge! Yes, you might possess the best gear and other necessary equipment, but if you’re a beginner, you need some knowledge on what are the basic parts of a kayak? - Guidelines and understandings.

Each part of a kayak’s anatomy has a specific name. Perhaps, you’re familiar with some kayak parts. Anyway, you should thoroughly learn the basic parts of a kayak.

Let’s check it out -

What is a Kayak? - What Are the Basic Parts Of A Kayak?

Before entering into the deep, we should start with the basic thing. The first thing is, what is a kayak? In simple words, Kayak is a non-motorized vessel. It is portable and convenient to carry. Further, it is also one of the most popular diverse boats for paddling sports.

Kayaks were first used almost 4000 years ago by the native people of North America. Since then, it has become one of the good options for recreation. Nowadays, the materials of kayaks are highly sophisticated and well-designed.

What Are the Basic Parts Of A Kayak?

Now, we will look into some in-depth analysis of the basic parts of a kayak. Without a suitable acknowledgment of these portions, you could stumble while kayaking. Therefore, you need to know about them. Before the in-detail discussion, here’s a small brief about a kayak's most important basic parts.

Kayak Part



Frontside of the device


Rear side of the device


Top half of the vessel


Bottom half that sits in the water area

Now, we’ll assess these things thoroughly. Let’s jump -

The Bow

The first thing that came on our list is the bow. It is the front side of a kayak. When you’re kayaking in the water, the leaning of a bow will direct you to the targeted destination. Nevertheless, one thing we want to tell you.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re driving a motor-powered boat or kayak, the front end is always known as the bow.

Even, if you’re sailing through a massive cruise ship, the bow always refers to the front side. Various types of kayaks show different bow designs. All of them have a specific aim. When you select the kayak for different reasons, you’ll easily understand the difference between bows.

The Stern

This is the rear side of the kayak. In such a sense, we can say that the opposite direction of the bow is known as the stern. From a one-person kayak to a frigate, the backend of a water vessel has always been known as the stern.

Perhaps, the stern could be tapered in a direction. Just like the bow! However, it is relatively smaller than a bow in terms of size. There’s a bulkhead inside of the stern. Therefore, you can store more devices without hassle.

Remember the difference between a bow and stern when it comes to kayak parts. It will be helpful for you we can assure you.

Now, the question is which are the right and left parts is called? Well, the right part is known as the starboard, while the left part is called the port.

The Deck

The deck of the kayak is the top side. You’ll be able to see it from the top place of the kayak. Hence, the deck can be stated as the top half of the kayak’s central body part if we want to tell in short. There are two types of deck.

The two types are - sit-on and sit-in decks.

All the parts directed at the sky are the deck from sit-on type. On the other hand, the paddler’s seat and the top flat segment of the vessel is the deck.

The Hull

The kayak’s body has two different parts. They are - top and bottom. Hence, the bottom half attached to the water is known as the hull. It sits in the below section of the vessel. Moreover, the two types of kayak hulls are -

Displacement Hulls: These types of hulls have rounded or V-shaped keels. It helps them to move through the water proficiently. Besides, the tracking system of the vessel is also gets enhanced.

Planing Hulls: These hulls have angled sides with flat bottoms. Additionally, these hulls are primarily used in whitewater. They can enhance the speed of the watercraft.

The Cockpit: Cockpits are primarily part of sit-in kayaks. Paddlers sit in there. Further, the size of the cockpit is heavily dependent on the type of kayak. Generally, a recreational kayak has bigger-sized cockpits. But, the whitewater kayaks’ cockpits are pretty smaller.

There are two parts to cockpits. They are - keyhole cockpit and ocean cockpit. On top of that, you can conveniently get in and get out through the keyhole cockpit. Contrariwise, oceans cockpits keep water and wave at bay.

The Hatch

It is usually referred to as a gear storage chamber. Hence, the hatch is placed to stow cargo. Hatches are waterproof and bands of elastic coat them.

The Foot Rests

Firstly, we want to ask you a small question. Where you will keep your feet in the kayak? Now, the answer is none other than footrest! Nowadays, almost all kayak manufacturing companies produce kayaks with footrest advantage.

There are two possibilities with footrests. Kayaks with footrests either possess adaptable footrest hooks or several footrest locations cast into the hull.

The Rocker

What’s the rocker?! Is it something related to hard rock or heavy-metal music?! Hell, no! It means the banana-shaped bending of a hull. Hence, the rocker is an essential part of the kayak. The hull’s curvature defines it from bow to stern.

Moreover, it also has a significant impact on the dynamics of the kayak in the water. The rocker controls the maneuverability of a kayak.

Kayak Seat

The kayak seat is a place where you can sit during kayaking. You have to select a seat that could give you utter comfort during long trips. Besides, pick a good-sized seat that could provide adequate back support. Your kayak may have one or more seats. Usually single kayak has one seat and Tandem Kayak   has two or three seats.

The most proficient way to check out the comfortability of a kayak seat is to test it out before permanently purchasing it. In such a case, you can rent a kayak and if it is up to the mark, purchase it later. This will be an intelligent decision.


They are also known as toggles. You will understand their necessity when you pull the kayak out of the water. Additionally, kayaks are a bit heavier. So, you could face challenges while pulling them out of the water. And, that’s why toggles are crucial.

Grab handles are generally made of robust materials.

The Keel

The Keel is the middle part of the hull. It typically forms a “V” shaped figure running down the length of the kayak. Additionally, the keel should be more profound. Therefore, more water can be displaced from the vessel.

Scupper Holes

Water vessels usually contain a drainage system. Kayaks need to have scupper plugs to resist them from inverting. Hence, your kayak’s scupper hole will trench the water out of your boat.

Wrap Up

So, what’s your opinion or thinking now?! Are you feeling like an expert?! You’ve already got the idea of the significant parts and some minor segments of the kayak. For this reason, we think you’ve got enough knowledge on what are the basic parts of a kayak?

In addition, you can show off your knowledge of the basic ideas with your kayaking pals! Can’t you?! Anyway, if you have any questions regarding this article, feel free to comment in the box.

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