The choice of boats
See designs of several boats for the kind of water you are most probably going to face. Do not think that a particular model of kayak will perform well in all types of water. For example, a touring kayak would be very dangerous on river where water velocity is high.
Know the kayak design. White water kayaks are used for tight manoeuvring and are most likely shorter than 9 feet (2.7 m) long. Normally sea kayaks range from 10 to 22 feet (3 to 6.7 m) long. On the other hand, shorter boats are advised for beginners. This is because longer boats are not easily manoeuvred, but are the choice of veteran paddlers who look for speed, paddling comfort and better tracking.
Buy an appropriate kayak
Take out some time to inspect and paddling kayaks before you make a purchasing decision. You also need to be at ease while sitting in the boat. See the footrest, backrest and seat adjustments. Get a comfortable paddle to set apart differences in boats. Try out a number of boats for a paddle. Make sure you take along any kayak equipment you already have. Find if your spray skirt goes with any new boat you are checking out.
Examine hull state
If you are a starter, shorter moulded plastic hulls will be perfect for you. They are very durable and will withhold bumps and scraps, but are not totally indestructible. Moreover, cheap moulded plastic may not be flexible enough to provide safety to some kayakers. Fibreglass hulls are very flexible but will succumb to constant bumping and scraping. Wooden hulls are attractive but require special care and constant maintenance.
Quality of the kayak
Check out the kayak’s aesthetic qualities. A lot of people claim that a high quality fibreglass boat is better looking than the moulded plastic boat. If this is your criteria, buy a fibreglass boat, but make sure you know that they need extra care and regular attention. Also, purchase a boat with a rudder if you are a long distance paddler.