Ocean Kayak Vs Lake Kayak in 2021: What’s the Difference?

Looking at the ocean kayak vs lake kayak, have you ever wondered which kayak is the best between the two? I have. Luckily for me, I have again taken my time to learn all the unique features that these kayaks have.

That’s how I finally realized their differences and similarities. Nonetheless, their unique sides have a reason to remain. As such, it’s crucial that before you choose from either of the two, you learn your kayaking needs too.

Take your time to understand which location you will be kayaking on, how you ride your kayak, and what your strengths and weaknesses are. If you do that, you should get an awesome kayaking experience irrespective of the model that you choose.

Ocean Kayak Vs Lake Kayak: The Similarities and Differences

So to anyone who has been bothered by the same, I am here to help. Please take a look at what I have for you and compare these two kayaks deeply. After which, you can easily choose a model that suits your needs.


To start us off is the length of the two kayaks. These two lengths are completely different. The lake yaks are the shortest and will start from about 8 to 14 feet in length. The oceans kayaks, on the other hand, are longer and will fall between 12 feet and 24 feet in length.


Even so, the length variations have specific reasons. This variance is what takes us to our next topic, which is maneuverability. The short-range boats favor better maneuverability around several obstacles. The longer and narrow design of the ocean kayaks will work for you when you want to ride straight in the water.

When paddling through the water with several obstacles and tightest bends, the lake kayak will be the best. However, the opposite is true when looking for a superior type of performance in the wide-open water with improved speed and better tracking.


The next thing that stands out here is the width. The ocean or touring kayaks come with narrow width if compared to the lake yaks. This makes the hull shape change due to the boat width, and that’s why the touring yaks come with angular profiles compared to the recreational models.

The narrow width again is helpful to the ocean yaks since it cuts through the water waves easily and keeps the kayaks on the straight path.

Lake kayaks, on the other hand, have a wider width. This makes them slower and helps them to ride on the top of the water waves. It again maximizes stability and allows you even to stop paddling and relax. With the lake yaks, you won’t worry about capsizing.


When comparing the ocean kayak vs lake kayak, storage is a vital factor. The ocean kayaks will want much more ample storage space than other kayak designs. The model space should again remain secured.

The reason for this is simple. Since ocean kayaks have greater risks of capsizing on rough waters, it forces the kayakers to carry several gears for emergencies. As such, the secured storage will ensure that these tools aren’t lost, irrespective of what happens.

For the lake kayaks, the storage space is not bigger than an ocean kayak. You won’t have enough space to keep a cooler or even a tackle bag. Many of these kayaks are only used to traverse along the lake and to relax – no need to store anything, really.


Finally, looking at the ocean kayak vs lake kayak, the paddling techniques again differ. The ocean kayaks need more energy when paddling since you are going against the water. This is unlike the lake kayaks that want less or effortless paddling since the water is calm.

This is because ocean kayaks have a higher risk of capsizing and thus cannot be left to rest on the water. The lake models are wider under the base and so can rest without the need to keep paddling.


From what we have seen, you’d agree that anyone who wants an ocean kayak will have to dig deeper into their pockets. This is because ocean kayaks are longer and come with complex designs. As such, they will need more materials – which cost more, and a further extended timeline to design.

This is unlike the lake kayaks, which are shorter and, as such, need limited resources to design. They again come with a less complex kayak design.

Notable Additions

Lake yaks are again called recreational kayaks. Irrespective of the materials that they are forged from, these kayaks are usually suitable for calm or often slow-moving waters. They are again the best for beginners and anglers. Thanks to their easy maneuverability and reliable stability.

On the other hand, the ocean kayak can be called the touring or even sea kayak and is suitable for the pro level kayakers. They are best if you want to move faster in water and again paddle for extended timelines. They are best for rough waters and sit at about 12 feet plus in length.


Without a problem, every kayak is made to suit a specific purpose and need. As such, and from what we have seen, a model that’s suited for a specific water body has its different set of needs.

What this means is that when choosing your kayak, your main concern should be nothing more than keeping safe in these waters. Ocean kayaks are designed for the rough waters, while the lake kayaks are set up for use on calm waters.

With this difference, making a choice should be easy. Even so, make sure that you take your time to choose between an ocean kayak vs lake kayak carefully and in line with your needs. Good luck!

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