Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between a Sit-on-Top Kayak and a Sit-in Kayak?
A sit-on-top kayak is about the easiest craft for learning basic kayaking skills--and for getting hooked on the joys of self-propelled watercraft. Something like an elegant hybrid of surfboard, canoe, and traditional kayak, the boat has a sealed hull and molded seats for straightforward entry and exit. Commonly fashioned from polyethylene, sit-on-top kayaks have a large beam to bolster stability and often sport self-bailing holes to shed water splashed into the cockpit.
They're perfect for novice kayakers of any age--as well as experienced veterans who enjoy laidback, no-fuss touring--and are especially suited for balmy waters and seasons. Anglers and divers often prefer sit-on-top kayaks because of the ease with which they can slip on or off them.
One of the chief virtues of the sit-on-top kayak concerns self-rescue. For anyone unnerved by the prospect of flipping underwater while strapped into a sit-inside kayak, the sealed-hull alternative is attractive: Bailing simply means slipping freely into the water. (And, it should be pointed out, a good sit-on-top kayak doesn't easily upturn in the kind of setting it's designed for.)
What are the drawbacks? With their high center of gravity, sit-on-top kayaks are typically slower than sit-in models, and have limited storage space. The paddler's exposed to rain, wind, blazing sun, and waves to a degree a sit-in counterpart is not.
The sit-in kayak is the traditional one, going back thousands of years to the Arctic and subarctic peoples who invented these sleek boats for efficient hunting and transport. The category of course includes such specialized crafts as sea and whitewater kayaks, but here we're considering the recreational version.
A recreational sit-in is often about 12 feet long or less (basically comparable in size to a typical sit-on-top) and has a broader beam and a bigger cockpit than a touring model. It makes for a fantastic boat for
With a sit-in kayak, you usually have more room in the hull for storing equipment; while not designed for big expeditions, a recreational sit-in can still handle a short multi-day trip. You're better protected in rough water or inclement weather. Self-rescue is somewhat more complicated than with a sit-on-top, but many recreational models, with their open cockpits, are far easier to shed than a more enclosed touring kayak. You've got a lower center of gravity, which translates to better stability and more efficient paddling.
Either a sit-on-top or sit-inside kayak sets you up for loads of fun in the great outdoors. Many kayakers begin with sit-on-top models and "graduate" to traditional kayaks to explore more rigorous waters--it all depends on how deeply you want to get hooked on this irresistible pastime.
What saftey paddling gear is recommended in Malta?
Basic Safety Gear
It's simple: Paddlers equipped with protective gear face less danger if they capsize than those who go without it. The bare minimum of safety gear for paddlers includes:
Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) are essential paddling safety items. They provide buoyancy to keep your head above water if you capsize. They can also make bracing, rolling and rescues easier by adding extra upward force when your upper body is in the water. In cold conditions, PFDs also provide an extra layer of insulation.
In Malta it isn't current law to wear a PFD unless you are renting a kayak, but it is highly recommended and considered the most important saftey piece of equipment.
Flotation bags minimize the amount of water that collects in canoes and kayaks, preventing them from sinking if capsized.
Spray skirts are waterproof barriers that keep waves, rain and spray from entering a kayak. They cover the area between your waist and the kayak's cockpit coaming or rim. In all but the calmest, warmest conditions, you should wear a spray skirt. Water in your boat (whether from rain, waves or drips from your paddle) can soak your clothing, ruin your lunch and even make you unstable. This should also be considered basic safety equipment.
Of course, every paddling group should carry a first-aid kit. Paddling-specific kits are available, but your own homemade kit with the proper contents can be used as well.
Store your paddling first-aid kit in a clearly marked, waterproof bag (or box) in an easy-to-access spot in your boat. Medical emergencies demand quick responses; you don't want to have to dig through gear to find your first-aid supplies.
Even the most prepared paddlers encounter unfavorable conditions that can result in mishaps. Knowing how to rescue yourself and other capsized paddlers is essential to safe boating. Wise paddlers carry and know how to use the following rescue gear:
After a capsize, a kayaker can reenter the boat either with the assistance of another paddler or, if no one is close enough, by performing a self-rescue. A paddle float is the swimmer's best means of getting back into the boat alone.
After a paddler has reentered the boat, the water collected inside must be emptied. A means of removing water is essential safety equipment for paddlers. For sea kayaking a bilge pump is the fastest way and a sponge can help with the last of the water..
Tow lines assist paddlers who are tired or injured. One end is attached to either the cockpit coaming (rim) or the waist of the towing paddler, and the other is clipped to the boat being towed. Some tow lines are also equipped with bags that allow them to be thrown to a capsized paddler.
A paddle leash prevents your paddle from getting away from the boat—particularly important if you capsize. Leashes are typically made of elastic cord and attach to the boat in front of the cockpit. On sea kayaks, they are usually long enough to allow the paddle to be used as an outrigger with a paddle float.
Knives are necessary for cutting lines or straps. They are especially important in river rescues where a paddler can become entrapped in debris by the force of the current. The best have corrosion-resistant, stainless-steel blades. Blunt-tipped blades allow prying and prevent accidental punctures of inflatable kayaks or rafts. Knives with sheaths are easily attached to your PFD for quick access.
It is vital to have some way of communicating if in trouble. In Malta having a mobile phone in
a good protective cover that you can call through is strongly suggested. More advanced paddlers may consider VHF radios.
Flashlights and strobes can be used to attract the attention of other paddlers and other vessels, especially in low-light situations.
Flares—Signal flares are among the most effective and most commonly used "long-distance" signaling devices. Easy to use and carry, they can be used to attract attention across a wide area. They're effective both night and day, even in adverse weather.
Dye Markers—Dye markers are designed primarily to draw the attention of airborne searchers. They're effective only during daylight hours, and they can be difficult to see from the water's surface. Dye trails are also extremely vulnerable to rough water conditions.
Emergency Flags—Brightly colored emergency flags are designed to draw the attention of nearby paddlers or vessels. They are compact and easy to use, but they are effective only during daylight hours when conditions and visibility are good.
Why buy from Ritzkayaks?
Ritzkayaks have the only dedicated kayaking shop on the Island. They have literally hundreds of accessories and dozens of kayaks in stock.
The owners of Ritzkayaks have been kayaing for over 40 years and are certified BCU L3 kayakers.
What is the difference between a Rotomoulded kayak and a Blow moulded kayak?
At Ritzkayaks ALL our PE kayaks are Rotomoulded. A Rotomoulded kayak is formed in a lengthy process that ensures edges are 100% filled and make them the most robust kayaks. It may take 20times longer to make a rotomoulded kayak than a blow moulded one.
Blowmoulded kayaks as mentioned are formed in a fraction of the time and inherently have the thiniest cross sectional area near the edges of the kayak. They are produced much like typical water bottles.