Buyers Guide


  • Paddling is enjoyed by all outdoor / water enthusiasts, the young and the elderly, male and female, families, couples and singles.
  • Let us help you to find the right boat and right paddling discipline to suit / compliment or change your lifestyle?
  • First you have to ask yourself, what do you want to do with the boat? To do this try and imagine your perfect paddling day.
  • Will it be a cruise on protected waters like dams, lakes, lagoons and estuaries?
  • Will you be paddling alone or with a partner or the family?
  • Will it be sitting around a campfire far from civilisation after touring down a river, on a dam or in the sea with all your gear in the boat for camping overnight .See Canoe and Kayak Touring Club
  • Will it be fishing for the catch of the day?
  • Will it be to use as a platform to swim, dive or snorkelling from?
  • Will it be playing in the surf, competing with the dolphins for the perfect wave?
  • Will it be for general exercise?
  • Will it be for more competitive paddling, maybe to do the Dusi Canoe Marathon etc.
  • Will it be shooting waterfalls, performing radical rodeo freestyle moves?
  • Will you be paddling in a boat by yourself or tandem with your partner or perhaps with the whole family?

Canoes and Kayaks come in all shapes and sizes and for many different purposes. Unfortunately there isn’t any one canoe or kayak that will do everything. It is very important to choose the right kayak for the right application and for the size of the paddler using the boat. Choosing a kayak is like getting clothing or shoes - it must fit. Canoe & Kayak World are the only SA retailer to offer a complete range of paddle craft covering all the disciplines, effectively ensuring an unbiased opinion and recommendation regarding the right craft for the application required.



This really depends on your application and particularly the weather conditions and water temperature of your paddling venues.

Sit inside kayaks are generally a drier ride, more comfortable and protected from sun and cold. With a spray skirt (splash cover or spray deck) these boats can be paddled in a variety of weather conditions. With the sit-insides we import having modern cockpit’s the fear of being trapped in the boat are a thing of the past.

Sit-on-top kayaks (SOT’s) Due to the fact that you are sitting on top of the kayak in moulded seat and heel indentations you are exposed to all weather conditions, great for warm weather but not so pleasant in cold or cool weather as this is a wet ride. Great for surf entries and play. The SOT concept was primarily designed for ocean use. Extremely convenient for hopping off for a swim, to snorkel or dive and for those with a phobia of sitting in a cockpit. The SOT kayak is the most popular paddle craft for fishing.



This decision should not be made until you have paddled both. Kayaking is a lot easier than most people perceive it to be from a physical point of view. Kayaks have optimum cruising speeds so 2 kayaks of the same design being paddled by a 60kg lady and the other by a 90kg man will cruise at similar speeds once the paddling technique and general fitness has been acquired. 2 singles allow for more freedom than 1 double. Doubles are however great for sharing with a nervous partner or where there is definite physical differences or if you just like being together.



In other words plastic or fibreglass / Kevlar. Plastic is definitely the material of choice when it comes to durability. Boats manufactured of this material are virtually indestructible, and some of the better quality imports have the ability to regain their original shape after impact. These boats are the most versatile and are equally suited to paddling on rocky stretches of river and through rapids and those rather rough not so well timed beach landings as they are to paddling on the sea, lakes and dams.

With the option of Wilderness Systems Duralite polyethylene kayaks now being available the weight difference between plastic and fibreglass is negligible however carbon or Kevlar construction is generally lighter and usually found in your high-performance boats at a hefty price.



These are probably the most versatile of all kayaks. They are extremely stable and require no previous paddling experience to get started. If you enjoy the outdoors and being on water, paddling a touring kayak is like back-packing on water. You get to go places and see things you would not have been able to without some form of paddle craft. You get to meet and make great friends with like-minded people. Whether you just want to do some exercise, birdwatch, go for a day paddle, multi-day trip or major expedition on dams, rivers (up to grade 4 rapids with experience), lagoons, estuaries and the sea, in tropical or artic climates these boats will do it in comfort. Canoe & Kayak World have a touring club to assist you in getting maximum use out of your boat. Transitional touring kayaks are a fairly new concept which bridges the gap between recreation and touring in performance and price. These boats are extremely seaworthy craft allowing them to be paddled fully swamped after a capsize. The question of if I turn over how do I get out and how easy is it? This is not a problem as these new boats have large or keyhole cockpits which allow the knees and legs to exit easily. Re-entry is no more difficult than a sit-on-top with a little practice. They have dry storage compartments front and back to pack all the luxuries for a 1 day or extended multi-day trip. All boats can be steered and controlled with the paddle and body movements alone. The longer boats when loaded or confronted by a crosswind or a following wind become slightly easier to keep on track with a rudder or skeg. The performance touring kayaks are longer and sleeker and offer straighter tracking. These are suited for those wanting to cover distance at maximum speed. Touring / sea kayaks come in single and tandem versions. An important factor to consider in these kayaks are the seats as you'll be sitting for a long period of time. The Wilderness Systems range of kayaks come with the unprecedented, patented Phase 3 Seating which is by far the most comfortable seating there is. It offers backrest height and reclining adjustments as well as being able to adjust the height of the seat under your thighs to give comfort and support. Another important factor to consider is the foot-pegs, they must be easy to adjust whilst you’re sitting in the kayak so you don’t have to keep getting in and out and adjusting them with your head pushed inside the cockpit first. Here Wilderness Systems comes to the fore with their SlideLock Footbrace system which make altering the length of the the ergonomically shaped foot pedals easy to adjust with control right there at your fingertips.

Sea/Touring Accessories: Paddle, Pfd, spray skirt. Optional extras include, bilge pumps, dry bags, paddling dry tops, windbreakers, booties, paddle leashes, paddle float, GPS, safety and rescue items such as flares etc.



These are ideal for a day paddle, picnicking and offer a good stable platform for nature observation and photography. Ideally suited for use on protected waters such as dams, lagoons, estuaries and flat rivers (though can handle grade 2 rapids with ease). These come available in tandem or single. Some tandems have the option of the front seat sliding back into a solo paddling position and easily adjustable footpegs, allowing you to paddle on your own when your partner is not available. Again seating is very important as you must be comfortable when sitting for long periods of time Both our Wilderness Systems tandem and solo recreational kayaks come with the very comfortable Phase 3 Lite seating offering backrest angle and thigh support adjustments which makes paddling for longer periods of time so much more enjoyable.

Recreational Kayak Accessories:Paddle, Pfd. Optional extras include roof racks, tie downs, foam board protectors/cradles, flag for transportation. Spray skirt, bilge pumps, dry bags, safety equipment.



Sit-on-tops (SOT’s) have become extremely popular along coastal areas with tropical conditions. SOT’s come in all different shapes and sizes and for many different purposes from surfing, to scuba diving / snorkelling, fishing, touring and recreation.They also come with specific weight carrying capacities to fit all shapes and sizes. The surfing and recreation SOT’s are typically short, slow but more manoeuvrable. These are primarily beach toys for playing in the surf and short paddles on the lagoons and estuaries. Ideal for holiday homes, resorts and hire companies. The longer SOT?s are more suited for sea fishing, long distance paddling, day cruising and touring. With all well designed SOT’s there should be a self-draining cockpit with ample drainage to allow water to escape rapidly after being swamped. However some seating positions on SOT’s are below the waterline meaning that you will be permanently sitting in water, this can also happen if you are too heavy for the weight carrying capacity of the boat. Make sure the boat fits your leg length and body weight with a bit in reserve. It is advisable to try these boats before purchase. Available in single and tandem. Some of the tandems like our Tarpon 130T have a ‘third?seat in the middle for solo paddling or an additional small passenger. Adjustable back-rests are also a must as SOT’s are extremely uncomfortable without one. The shorter the kayak the easier it is to manoeuvre, so a better option for surf play. The longer the kayak the quicker it is which makes it a better option for touring, distance paddling etc We have various models from various manufacturers - our most popular models are the Tarpon sit-on-top kayaks which are the “hottest selling sit-on-tops on the market?/p>

Sit-on-top Accessories: Paddle, Pfd, thigh-straps, paddle leashes. Optional extras include,roof-racks , tie downs, foam board protectors/cradles, flag for transportation. Gear Pods, dry bags, paddle leashes, safety equipment



SOT Fishing kayaks and skis have become extremely popular with fishermen the world over from river to sea and from fly to bottom fishing. Generally a longer kayak from 3.7m to 5m being more suitable for trawling. Not every SOT is ideal for fishing - and you need to establish if you are looking for a versatile fishing kayak or a specialised fishing kayak or ski? A fishing kayak is designed with a kayak shape hull for speed and tracking, whereas the fishing ski is designed after a surf lifesaving board. Both are designed for surf and sea use. The kayak hull will be faster, more stable and track straighter whereas the ski hull is well suited to surf entry and exit. Some fishing kayaks come in an extremely versatile package and can be used for snorkelling, scuba diving, exercise and even multi-day trips on the sea or rivers (up to grade 3 rapids) as well. Some models even have a flat floor for standing and fly fishing. The Fishing-ski is a very specific fishing craft and is custom made to measure.

Sit-on-top Accessories: Paddle, Pfd, thigh-straps. Optional extras include, roof-racks, tie downs, foam board protectors/cradles, flag for transportation. Dry bags, paddle leashes, safety equipment, fishing / gear pod.



Probably the most versatile inland paddle craft that you can get. As a family boat not much beats them. Traditionally canoes are operated with single bladed paddles from a half sitting half kneeling position as this is the more comfortable. Canoes can be used for bird watching, fishing, day touring, multi-day expeditions on rivers, dams, lakes and estuaries. They can be paddled solo or tandem and still have space for the kids and the dog. Some models can accommodate up to ?a ton. Canoes can also be fitted with a motor-mount and a small engine to cruise along at a comfortable 10km/h. You can also add a set of oarlocks to give you the option to row the boat as well.

Canoeing Accessories: Paddle, Pfd. Optional extras include roof-racks, tie downs, foam board protectors/cradles, flag for transportation. Dry bags, IQ outfitting for MR Canoes, safety equipment.



For the adrenalin junkie looking for pure paddling pleasure.Whitewater kayaks are designed with exceptional manoeuvrability to negotiate rapids making them the perfect vehicle for raging rivers, rocky rapids and surf. Are you a beginner or do you have experience?.If a beginner it is advisable to do a white water course prior to taking up the sport. This will give you an idea of what it’s all about. When buying a kayak you?ll find designs typically have an intended weight range, which indicates who will best fit the boat. Try to put yourself in the middle of a weight range. The 3 main categories of white water kayaks are: Playboats - used mainly for surfing waves and holes and performing tricks such as front and back surfing, flat spins, cartwheels, and blunts, and in competition you’d be marked on the variety of moves performed within a fixed time. Points are also awarded for style. Creek Kayaks - Creekboaters paddle all types of rivers, but generally focus on rivers that push the limits, usually steep creeks with tight lines, great boof spots and first descents. Safety features , non-edginess and fair amount of volume are what to look for in a creek boat. River Running - The river-running play boater usually paddles the entire river, enjoying the river and taking advantage of all play spots you encounter along the way. Key features for this boat are user friendliness, non-edginess and comfort whilst maintaining as much playability as possible.

Whitewater Accessories: In addition to your kayak you will also need a paddle, a helmet, a pfd, a spray deck. Optional extras are , roof-racks, tie downs, foam board protectors/cradles, flag for transportation. Safety equipment. Booties, dry top and paddling pants are nice to haves.



(there is ambiguity over the word canoe which in this instance is used by the International Canoe Federation to cover both canoe and kayak racing hence the reason why racing kayaks are often referred to as canoes and the races are generally called canoe marathons) You may have seen competitive paddling on the TV, spoken to someone who paddles or just decided this is something you’d like to do, either socially or competitively. You have various options available such as sprinting, slalom, wild water, surf skiing and the very popular river racing. Wave skiing is another growing discipline in the paddling industry. All these disciplines have a yearly calendar of events and in most circumstances affiliation to a club is required to compete.

Sprint Racing is one of the two Olympic events in the canoe world, and takes place on flat water over distances of 200m to 10000m. You can paddle K1 (solo), K2 (double) and K4 (4 paddlers). The racing kayaks and canoes have to conform to international standards and specifications.

Marathon racing is over longer distance, mostly flatwater courses, possibly including a couple of portages. See our Racing Kayaks and Skis in our catalogue.

Slalom is the second Olympic event which requires a great test of skill. Speed and precision is crucial as slalomists need to squeeze through a series of gates without making contact to avoid penalty seconds being added to the time taken to paddle the short distance from start to finish. See our Racing Kayaks and Skis in our catalogue.

Wild Water Racing ?This is pure adrenalin-enhanced racing through grade II to IV rapids in Down River boats. Individual runs of 15 - 25 minutes are raced against the clock. See our Racing Kayaks and Skis in our catalogue.

River Racing is the most popular discipline in SA and takes place on various stretches of river around the country, often requiring portages. The races are generally graded according to experience required to compete the specific race. The river racing calendar includes races like Dusi, Berg and Fish River Marathons. Most of these races can be paddled in K1 (solo) or K2 (tandem) racing kayaks. Various models available catering for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced paddlers

Racing Accessories: In addition to your kayak you will also need a paddle, a pfd. Optional extras are roof-racks, tie downs, foam board protectors/cradles, flag for transportation. Spraydeck, helmet, booties, paddling pants, foot pumps, drinking system, repair kits etc

Surf Ski Racing is a fast growing paddling discipline, very popular in coastal regions. It involves paddling a long slim racing craft (surf ski) on the sea with the ability to handle going in and out of breaking waves. Most common races are long distance in the open ocean. Can be paddled in S1 (solo) or S2 (double) Various models of Surf Skis available

Surf Ski Accessories: In addition to your kayak you will also need a paddle and a pfd. Optional extras areroof-racks, tie downs, foam board protectors/cradles, flag for transportation. Spraydeck, helmet, booties, paddling pants, foot pumps, drinking system, repair kits etc

Wave Skiing - paddling a small, manoeuvrable craft (paddle ski) a little like a surfboard, amongst the breaking waves of the sea or ocean, variously sliding down the face of the wave or performing tricks on the face of a breaking wave. Close affinity to surfing. The paddler sits on top of the ski and can be strapped in. Competition is based on points for tricks and style. Paddle Skis are available sized for different weight carrying capacities.

Racing Accessories: In addition to your kayak you will also need a paddle and a pfd. Optional extras areroof-racks, tie downs, foam board protectors/cradles, flag for transportation. Spraydeck, helmet, booties, paddling pants, foot pumps, drinking system, repair kits etc.



  • Canoeing and kayaking has various disciplines within the sport and remains extremely specialised. Anyone can sell you a boat, but is it the right boat. The wrong boat can be an expensive mistake.
  • Getting the best advice on your choice of boat can only come from an experienced paddler with first hand knowledge. (Robbie has been paddling for 20 years, competitively and socially and has great experience in all the disciplines).
  • In order to make sure you are given the right advice on the right boat for your application we’ll ask you lots of questions and make sure you’re aware of all the options available to you.
  • We will then go through our broad spectrum of kayaks and canoes from recreation, whitewater, touring, racing, sit-on-tops, fishing and in plastic and fibreglass with you as it is important to see, try and choose when all the options are available.
  • We advise and encourage you to join one of our regularly held on water Demo Days to try out a range of boats before purchasing to ensure your choice is the right one.
  • We also provide after-services like tuition and paddling technique as well as Whitewater trips andKayak tours to ensure maximum use of your purchase. (You automatically qualify for complimentary membership to our paddling clubs on the purchase of a Canoe & Kayak boat suited to the club
  • We send out monthly e-newsletters to keep you up to date on what’s happened or about to happen, trips, tours and social evenings, slide evenings, guest speakers and get-togethers, etc.
  • We offer a professional back-up service like repairs, warranty, etc.

Welcome to our family - The Canoe and Kayak World Family!



Some kayaking lingo you may come across:

Canoe - A canoe is an open craft with pointed ends operated by a single bladed paddle in a seated or kneeling position

Kayak - A kayak is a decked boat operated with a double bladed paddle from a sitting position

Tandem - Two person canoe or kayak

Solo - Single paddler

Deck - The top closed in area of the canoe or kayak

Hull - The bottom of the canoe or kayak

Bow - Front end of boat

Stern - Back end of boat

Initial stability -  the immediate feel of the boat as you sit in it which will have great resistance to a lean.

Secondary stability - when the boat is leaned it will reach a position that it will start resisting capsize and not want to go any further.

Best to let your salesperson advise you on the benefits and drawbacks of both Initial and Secondary stability.

Volume - Used to describe overall capacity of a given hull shape

Tracking - The ability of a boat to hold a straight course

Rudder - A foot-controlled steering device.

Skeg - A fixed rudder

Chines - the edge of the kayak; transition between the hull and the deck.

Rocker - Upward curvature of the keel line from centre towards the ends of a boat. Lots of rocker means quick easy turns.

Keel - a centre line extrusion along the bottom of the boat from bow to stern

Length -  the length of a boat clearly distinguishes touring kayaks from white water kayaks. The general rule is the longer the boat, the easier it glides and the faster it is, whereas the shorter the boat the more manoeuvrable it will be and slower.

Spray skirt - A tight waterproof cover designed to prevent water from entering the inside of a kayak, It attaches to the rim of the cockpit and the waist of the paddler.

PFD - Personal flotation device. A personal buoyancy vest

Paddle - Tool for propelling canoes and kayaks