A recreational kayak is a type of kayak that is designed for the casual paddler interested in recreational activities on a lake or flatwater stream; they presently make up the largest segment of kayak sales. Compared to other kayaks, recreational kayaks are characterized by having a larger cockpit opening for easy entry and exit and a wider beam (27–30 inches) for more stability on the water and are generally less than twelve feet in length, which makes them slower than a longer boat would be, but lighter, easier to handle in and out of the water, and less expensive. Due to the wider hull, recreational kayaks will not track (maintain a straight line) as well as longer, narrower models. They generally have limited cargo carrying capacity. Using less expensive materials like rotomolded polyethylene and including fewer options helps keep these boats inexpensive.
- Stuhaug, Dennis O., Kayaking Made Easy: A Manual for Beginner with Tips for the Experienced, Globe Pequot Press, 2006, ISBN 0-7627-3859-6.