For kayak enthusiasts, any body of water can provide recreation, physical fitness, or simple enjoyment. There is no doubt that sea kayaks offer a unique perspective on kayaking, providing spectacular views and ultimate relaxation.

Having a sea kayak can create a wide range of possibilities, whether paddling through expansive open water or touring the coastline. In fact, for those in coastal areas, these types of kayaks are often the best option for paddling adventures.

Since they are used in a unique environment, the form and function of these kayaks will be uniquely formatted for strong winds, wide expanses, and rough ocean conditions. Thus, the key difference between a sea kayak and a traditional kayak lies in performance.

For those who value speed, maneuverability, and efficiency out on the ocean, these kayaks are a perfect fit.

Benefits of A Sea Kayak

There are many benefits of having a sea kayak, ranging from physical, emotional, and even social benefits. If you’re thinking about purchasing a sea kayak of your own, consider these following physical benefits:

  • Increased cardiovascular fitness

Those who are looking to improve their heart health and get their blood pumping, kayaking is a great way to hone cardiovascular fitness. In particular, sea kayaking lends itself very well to this form of fitness.

With more open water to cover, using a kayak in the ocean often leads to longer, steadier, and more beneficial exercise.

  • Upper body muscle toning & strength

It’s certainly no surprise that paddling is a great way to improve muscle strength, particularly in the upper body. The act of paddling initiates muscles in the shoulders, arms, back, and chest.

Not only does this improve overall strength, but it also supports lean muscle mass, which creates muscle toning.

  • Lower body muscle toning & strength

While it may seem obvious that kayaking works the upper body, the lower body muscles are certainly not left out of the equation. As the paddle is dipped into the water, the torso rotates from side to side, improving core strength and stability.

Paddling also initiates the legs, as each movement requires bracing from the feet, which produces muscle-toning tension.

Aside from the physical benefits of kayaking, there are some important emotional and psychological benefits to be had. These benefits include:

  • Relaxation

Learning how to relax is an important skill, and it certainly does not come easily for everyone. With work weeks becoming increasingly longer and more hectic, a calming activity like sea kayaking can provide essential relaxation to help re-charge internal thoughts and emotions.

With open water and stunning views, gliding through the ocean can provide unparalleled relaxation benefits.

  • Stress relief

Everyone is different when it comes to the best stress relief methods, but kayaking on the ocean opens multiple opportunities. For some, the process of leisurely paddling through clear, open water may provide stress relief. For others, the physical exertion from covering greater distances at high speeds may eliminate stress.

No matter what category you fall into, sea kayaks can be valuable tools in alleviating stress.

  • Recreation

There is a wide array of recreational benefits that can come from using a sea kayak. From meditation, peaceful reflection, and simple enjoyment, the recreational qualities of kayaking are some of the most popular reasons that people purchase a kayak.

Not to be left out are the social benefits that can come from owning a sea kayak. These benefits are:

  • Family outings

For families that like to stay active, taking a few sea kayaks out into the ocean can be a great way to spend quality time together. Not only does it provide teaching opportunities for parents and children, but it also is a new and exciting activity for families to share.

  • Shared experience

Many sea kayaks offer tandem seating, allowing for two people can paddle together. Paddling through the ocean is an opportunity for chatting, laughing, or even simply sharing the appreciation of natural beauty with another person. Thus, kayaking is a great activity to share with friends or couples.

The Best Sea Kayaks to Invest In

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With so many different models, styles, and brands to choose from, it can be difficult to pinpoint the best sea kayak for you. This review strives to eliminate confusion and stress by taking a close examination of the top five models that are currently on the market.

Each of these highlighted sea kayaks has received high amounts of praise for their performance and their ability to handle the unique environmental conditions of ocean paddling. Using this guide will help beginners and seasoned professionals alike identify the best kayak for their needs.

  1. Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125 Kayak

Key Features:

  • Polyethylene construction
  • 6-foot length
  • 300-pound capacity
  • Ample storage space

Kayaks from Wilderness Systems are highly sought-after, and it isn’t difficult to see why. The sleek, streamlined design of the Tsunami 125 model offers maximum speed and efficiency when covering long distances across the ocean.

In terms of design, this sea kayak is perfectly suited for use in an ocean environment. The front of the kayak is slightly higher than the rest, allowing for enhanced buoyancy and control when maneuvering through choppy waters. With storage compartments in the bow and the stern, taking longer paddling trips is entirely possible.

Customer reviews rave about the comfort and efficiency of this Wilderness Systems model. Between the adjustable foot and thigh braces and the AirPro Tour seating system, this is one of the most comfortable sea kayaks on the market.

  1. Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak

Key Features:

  • Self-bailing drain valve
  • Lightweight for easy transportation
  • Inflatable spray skirts
  • PVC construction

As an inflatable kayak, this is a great option for those who value portability and ease of storage. It easily inflates and deflates to make transportation a breeze. At a total of 32 pounds, carrying the kayak from the car and into the ocean is much easier than with traditional, rigid models. This kayak also features tandem seating, allowing for two people to paddle with ease.

Although this kayak is perfectly suited for freshwater or saltwater use, what makes it a great option for a sea kayak are its added features. It comes with one self-bailing drain valve to allow for drainage. For those who are kayaking through choppy ocean water, this is a crucial feature. With a slightly wider design, this kayak also provides enhanced stability, making it a great option for beginners.

For those searching for an affordable sea kayak that also comes with great portability and performance, the Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak is a great option.

  1. Ocean Kayak Zest Two Expedition Sit-On-Top Touring Kayak

Key Features:

  • Maximum capacity of 500-600 pounds
  • Comfort Plus seats
  • Molded foot braces
  • Side, bow, and stern carry handles

Whether looking to take a quick afternoon trip or an all-day adventure, this tandem model from Ocean Kayak provides ultimate comfort, stability, and performance. With a high capacity of 600 pounds, paddlers can easily bring a friend, family member, or even a furry companion along without compromising stability.

Constructed out of polyethylene plastic, this sea kayak is made to withstand tough saltwater conditions. With UV protection and strong, durable components, paddlers can rest assured that the Ocean Kayak Zest will last through years of wear and tear.

As a sit-on-top model, this sea kayak is perfect for paddling through sunshine and warmth. For those in temperate coastal areas, the ability to stretch out and feel the sun is an added benefit to kayaking.

  1. Riot Kayaks Edge Flatwater Touring Kayak

Key Features:

  • Streamlined construction for easy movement
  • Custom-fit seating system
  • Pilot rudder
  • 5-foot length

What truly makes the Edge Flatwater model stand out is the incredibly sleek and slim design. For those who plan on covering large distances, this is a great kayak to consider. Not only does the streamlined design allow for quicker movement through the water, but it also increases aesthetic appeal.

The advanced custom-fit seating system provides maximum comfort. With adjustable foot braces, any paddler will be well-equipped to find the best possible paddling position. An added benefit comes from the pilot rudder system. This allows for maximum control while gliding through the water, increasing maneuverability.

One important consideration is the weight, which comes as a byproduct of its added length. At a total of 60 pounds, transportation may be a challenge. Still, the length certainly helps to increase speed and efficiency, which may offset the higher weight for some.


  1. Tahe Marine Wind Sit-In Sea/Touring Kayak

Key Features:

  • High speed capability
  • Rudder & skeg systems
  • Three storage hatches
  • 6-foot length

For serious kayakers, the Tahe Marine Wind Touring kayak is a prime option. Built with speed and longevity in mind, this is the perfect vessel for long touring expeditions. In fact, this kayak is so quick that it is recommended for use in marathons. Quick acceleration comes from the shadow v hull, making for an incredibly narrow and streamlined shape.

With high-speed capability, being able to control the kayak becomes even more important. With a rudder and skeg system, this sea kayak offers ultimate control and maneuverability through the water.

At 53 pounds, this is a surprisingly lightweight sea kayak, particularly when considering its added length. For users who value speed, efficiency, and maneuverability for longer treks, this is one of the best sea kayaks to consider.


There is no denying that sea kayaks are valuable additions for any kayaking enthusiast. For physical, emotional, and social benefits, these kayaks are far ahead of their competition.

Before getting out into the ocean, the first step will always be choosing the right kayak. By taking a close look at top-rated models, beginners and professionals alike will find themselves well-equipped to choosing the best form, function, and performance for their kayaking needs.

No matter what kayak you choose, the most rewarding part about picking the best sea kayak will always come from the paddling experience.