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Discover the breathtaking beauty of Australia’s coastline like never before with a sea kayak adventure.
With crystal-clear waters and stunning landscapes, kayaking is a must-do experience for any outdoor enthusiast.
Get ready to paddle your way through Australia’s most epic coastal waters as we uncover the best sea kayaks on the market.
Our top pick?
The Bay Sports Quest 518 ABS, but we’ve also handpicked ten more of our favourite sea kayaks for you to explore. Join us on a journey to find your perfect kayaking companion.
- Bay Sports Quest 518 ABS Superlite (Best Overall)
- Mirage 582 (Best Runner-Up)
- Bay Sports Hug 5.2m Touring Kayak (Best Tandem Sea Kayak)
- Advanced Elements Airfusion Evo Inflatable Kayak (Best Inflatable)
- Bay Sports Expedition 2 (Best Budget)
- Length: 518 cm
- Width: 61 cm
- Weight: 27.5 kg
- Weight capacity: 158 kg
The Bay Sports Quest 518 ABS Superlite has just about everything you could need for an Australian sea kayaking adventure.
It’s made from thermoformed ABS plastic, which tends to offer increased abrasion resistance and more glide compared to polyethylene kayaks. This helps to improve speed for more efficient paddling.
This is built for long distances and features a rudder system for improved tracking and manoeuvrability.
This durable, Australian-brand sea kayak ticks all the boxes when it comes to space.
There’s a roomy cockpit that’s ideal for medium to large paddlers, with enough leg room to suit long legs. And there’s a comfortable padded seat that can be adjusted forwards and back to suit paddlers of different sizes.
You’ll find bow and stern hatches plus a centre day hatch. There are also deck bungees for securing additional gear at the bow and stern, and reflective perimeter lines for safety.
The multi-chine hull is designed to handle waves and currents, with a high level of secondary stability and good edging ability.
It has toe-controlled adjustable foot rests but one feature it lacks is thigh braces.
- Spacious cockpit
- Great for larger paddlers
- Fast and efficient
- Good storage space
- No thigh braces
- Length: 582 cm
- Width: 55.5 cm
- Weight: 17.9 kg (Carbon), 25 kg (fibreglass)
- Weight capacity: 100 kg (paddler weight)
The Mirage 582 is one of the best sea kayaks on the market in Australia. But it doesn’t come cheap, especially if you opt for carbon construction, which is why it’s our runner-up pick. That, and the standard seat is a foam seat pad with a floating back band, so you may want to upgrade the seat if you’re planning a long trip.
The good news is this lightweight kayak is custom-made in Australia by an Australian design team. So you can add extra features to personalise the kayak to your requirements. You can also choose the type of construction, with the heaviest and cheapest option being fibreglass – although this is still very lightweight compared to polyethylene.
This sea kayak is built for speed to cover long distances efficiently. It’s a very long and narrow kayak, so it might not be the easiest to manoeuvre if you’re a new paddler. But it is designed for all levels, from beginners to advanced paddlers.
It has lots of space for gear for extended trips, including three dry storage compartments with snap-on lids for easy access. There is also elastic deck rigging to store additional gear.
The Mirage 582 has reflective perimeter lines for safety and an integrated rudder system to help with tracking in strong winds and ocean currents.
- Ideal for long expeditions
- Suitable for all skill levels
- Designed and made in Australia
- Standard seat is not the most comfortable
- Length: 523 cm
- Width: 70 cm
- Depth: 35 cm
- Weight: 36.5 kg
- Weight capacity: 280 kg
The Bay Sports Hug 5.2 is billed as Australia’s favourite 2-person touring kayak and it’s our pick for the best tandem sea kayak. This durable kayak offers incredible value for money at an affordable price. It comes with two paddles, and two padded seats with backrests.
The Hug offers excellent stability, making it a good choice if you’re new to sea kayaking. The foot-controlled rudder system also lets you counter the effects of wind and moving water when you’re in the open ocean, helping to improve tracking.
This tandem kayak can also be paddled solo from the rear cockpit, adding extra versatility to this sea craft.
There is plenty of room for gear for a few nights away. There are two large storage hatches for camping equipment. Plus there’s a day hatch that has the added advantage of an inner bag, giving waterproof protection for small items.
You’ll find deck rigging, with reflective perimeter lines and bungee cords for added storage.
This has a good capacity for two people plus gear. However, this is not a lightweight kayak. It should be easy for two people to carry, but if you’re on your own, you may need a kayak trolley.
- Excellent value
- Ideal for new sea kayakers
- Good storage
- Two paddles included
- Length: 396 cm
- Width: 61 cm
- Depth: 28 cm
- Weight: 14.6 kg
- Weight capacity: 106 kg
The Advanced Elements Airfusion Evo is a high-quality inflatable kayak with some unique features.
This sit-inside inflatable sea kayak features drop-stitch technology in all three of its main air chambers: the floor and the two sidewalls. This, along with the aluminium frame, gives it increased rigidity so that it performs like a skin-on-frame kayak. It’s also compatible with spray skirts.
It benefits from having a V-shaped hull, which helps with speed and tracking, making it easier to paddle over long distances.
At under four metres, this is a pretty compact kayak. But it can be ideal if you want a kayak that can handle the sea as well as navigate smaller bodies of water. This could be a good choice if you want to pack it into your car or take it on holiday with you. It’s also very lightweight, so it’s easy to carry on your own.
This is not built for multi-day expeditions, as it doesn’t have the storage space to handle a lot of gear. It also lacks the capacity to hold it. But there is a small storage hatch at the stern. Plus the bungee rigging on the front deck lets you store a jacket or small dry bag.
This can be better suited to small and medium-sized paddlers.
- Drop-stitch construction
- Sit-inside cockpit
- V-shaped hull
- Easy to travel with
- Not for larger paddlers
- Storage space is not great
- Length: 515 cm
- Width: 59 cm
- Depth: 30 cm
- Weight: 28 kg
- Weight capacity: 155 kg
The Bay Sports Expedition 2 is a quality sea kayak with an affordable price tag. It’s designed with a V-shaped hull and hard chines for excellent tracking and performance on waves.
It also benefits from having added rocker to help you navigate ocean swells with ease, along with the included SmartTrack Hybrid Foil rudder system.
This is a durable kayak that’s made with HDPE plastic with a three-layer foam core for strength. It combines Swedish kayak design with Australian branding. And it comes with a five year warranty.
This budget sea kayak is designed to handle long expeditions, with plenty of space to store your gear in the three waterproof storage hatches. You can also tie additional items to the deck using the bungee cords.
The cockpit is designed with a supportive backrest and padded seat. However, you may want to add more padding to the seat cushion if you plan to paddle for a few hours.
There are also adjustable footrests and moulded knee braces for comfort and stabilisation.
The Expedition 2 includes a touring paddle.
- Good tracking
- Efficient paddling
- Affordable sea kayak
- Seat is not the most comfortable
- Length: 520 cm
- Width: 58 cm
- Weight: 20 kg (carbon), 22 kg (Kevlar)
- Weight capacity: 140 kg
The Expedition Kayaks Nadgee is built for expeditions and has even been paddled on an epic circumnavigation tour of Australia. So this kayak is designed to handle just about any ocean voyage.
This quality sea kayak is designed and manufactured in Australia and is an ideal choice for paddling in Australia’s coastal waters.
It’s lightweight, fast, and stable in rough waters. It has a keyhole cockpit designed for easy entry and exit. It’s also engineered for easy edging, bracing and rolling. However, this is not a great choice if you’re tall or large, as you might find the cockpit a bit tight.
The Nadgee Solo kayak is available in either carbon or Kevlar construction. Both options are much lighter than plastic kayaks but they are both pretty pricey by comparison.
The two oval hatches provide sufficient space for camping equipment for multiple days on the water. There’s also an easy-to-access 20cm day hatch for smaller items.
A handy feature is the moulded flat section on the deck where you can mount a compass (sold separately) for easy navigation.
This sea kayak offers excellent tracking and has the additional benefit of a rudder to combat currents and wind.
- Ample storage for long trips
- Good tracking
- Not for tall or heavy paddlers
7: Mirage 600
- Length: 599 cm
- Width: 70 cm
- Weight: 31 kg (carbon), 36 kg (fibreglass)
- Weight capacity: 680 litres (volume)
The Mirage 600 is another Australian-made kayak that is built for ocean paddling. This is a speedy tandem kayak that can be ideal for hauling large amounts of gear on an extended trip. It can also be great for two large paddlers.
There’s plenty of space for camping gear in the front and rear hatches. Plus there’s the added bonus of a day hatch and a large, high-volume (86-litres) centre hatch. You’ll also notice there’s bungee rigging on the deck where you can secure additional gear.
It has an integrated rudder system with Mirage pedal operation to help you navigate ocean waters. This type of rudder is designed to increase propulsion as it’s engineered into the hull. The hull is built for improved glide so you can paddle efficiently with less fatigue.
You’ll find ergonomic seats in the cockpits, each with a contoured seat pad and a fully adjustable back band for support.
This is a lightweight kayak for its size. As well as sea kayaking, it can also be ideal for large lakes. However, this is a pretty expensive kayak, so it’s probably not the best choice if you’re new to paddling.
- Integrated rudder
- Made in Australia
- Huge amount of storage space
- Great for larger paddlers
- Length: 400 cm
- Width: 81 cm
- Weight: 19 kg
- Weight capacity: 204 kg
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Elite is an inflatable kayak that can be ideal for sea kayaking when you’re on holiday. It’s easy to pack into your car and can be stored inside a cupboard at home. So it can be useful if you’re short on storage space.
It’s not the fastest kayak but you might find it’s easier to manoeuvre in small spaces, thanks to its relatively short hull. This means you could easily paddle into rivers and explore harbours while you’re adventuring around the coast. The short hull can also make it easier to control for smaller paddlers
One of the key features of this inflatable kayak is the drop-stitch floor. This means it has a more rigid feel than a standard inflatable kayak, allowing for improved glide and efficient paddling. It’s also stable, with hull chines to improve performance in moving water.
Another good feature of this compact kayak is the high-back seat, designed to offer support on long trips.
There’s not much in the way of storage, however. There’s a small rear hatch with a zip closure and there are deck bungees at the front if you want to carry a dry bag or two.
- Ideal for shorter paddlers and women
- Drop-stitch technology
- Compact and easy to manoeuvre
- Not much storage space
- Length: 505 cm
- Width: 56.5 cm
- Depth: 31.5 cm
- Weight: 27.5 kg
- Weight capacity: 70-100 kg (paddler weight)
The Tiderace Vortex is a durable polyethylene sea kayak. It’s built for fun in the sea and can handle surfing and rock-hopping, as well as touring.
This can be a great first sea kayak, although it’s not the cheapest boat on the list. But it’s an easily manageable length for beginners to master their skills. It’s narrow (but feels a little wider because of its length), so it can be a convenient width for rolling, especially if you’re learning.
The size of this kayak can also be useful if you’re small, as it can be easier to control. However, with the ideal paddler weight recommendation, this kayak is also great for medium to large paddlers.
This is a stable kayak that can be at home on flat and rough seas. It has good acceleration and decent speed. But it probably won’t be as fast as some of the composite kayaks out there. It’s also designed to be easy to manoeuvre, which can help if you’re surfing waves. However, it doesn’t have a rudder.
There are three hatches to keep your gear safe and dry. There’s also bungee rigging on the deck to store your bilge pump and any other accessories you need.
- Easy to paddle
- Great for beginners
- Durable construction
- High primary and secondary stability
- Not cheap
- No rudder
- Length: 488 cm
- Width: 55.9 cm
- Depth: 31.1 cm
- Weight: 21 kg
- Weight capacity: 150 kg
The Delta 16 is a lightweight sea kayak that’s built for performance on the sea. It can handle surf, wind, and rough water. So it can be the ideal craft for a multi-day sea kayaking adventure.
This has plenty of space for overnight gear with two large hatches plus a low-profile day hatch that can be easily accessed from the cockpit.
The deck rigging gives you additional storage space if you need it.
With a relatively short hull, this can be a great sea kayak for new paddlers, as it can be easier to manoeuvre and control than some of the longer ones. However, with the shorter length, you might find speed is sacrificed.
An excellent feature of this Canadian-made sea kayak is the Contour II Seat System. This padded seat features multi-position adjustment and is designed to offer support and comfort during long expeditions.
The cockpit is also ideal for all sizes of paddlers, with enough leg room for taller kayakers and enough adjustment points to suit smaller paddlers.
A rudder and skeg are optional extras. They don’t come as standard equipment.
- Comfortable seat
- High level of storage
- Easy to manoeuvre
- Great for all sizes and skills
- Rudder not included as standard
- Not as fast as longer kayaks
11: Aquaglide Navarro 110
- Length: 345 cm
- Width: 86 cm
- Depth: 36 cm
- Weight: 12.7 kg
- Weight capacity: 113 kg
The Aquaglide Navarro 110 can be an ideal option if you’re after a compact kayak that can be easily transported to and from the sea.
This is made for smaller paddlers, so it can be ideal for women and teenagers. If you’re tall, this is probably not the best choice, as the leg room is limited and the cockpit is not the most spacious.
However, the cockpit does have an adjustable seat and a footrest so you can sit comfortably as you explore the Australian coast.
This is a sit-inside inflatable kayak that can be easily carried on your own, as it’s very lightweight.
It has a drop-stitch floor to help with performance and stability on all types of water. It’s essentially marketed as a crossover kayak, so it has the ability to handle river rapids and calm lakes, as well as the ocean. The cockpit also features drain plugs for bailing.
A unique feature on this inflatable kayak is the pontoon-style hull, which helps to deliver a higher level of stability compared to a flat bottom.
This is a durable kayak that benefits from having bow and stern storage compartments with zip access to keep some of your gear dry. There is also bungee rigging on the front deck for additional storage.
- Drop-stitch floor
- Pontoon hull
- Great for smaller paddlers
- Very lightweight
- Not for larger paddlers
With many kayaks aimed at an American market, you’ll often notice that the sizes are not metric. This can be confusing sometimes but it’s important to double-check the dimensions. You don’t want to end up with a kayak that’s too short or too long for your needs.
The weight capacity will also usually be stated using imperial measurements, such as pounds and ounces.
Most hard-shell sea kayaks tend to be at least 4.5 metres long. Width can vary between solo and tandem kayaks but they are generally narrow, often between 55 and 66 centimetres.
Inflatable sea kayaks will usually be shorter and wider than hard-shell sea kayaks.
Sea kayaks are generally crafted with a large amount of storage space compared to most recreational kayaks. This is because they are designed for longer trips.
Most hard-shell sea kayaks will tend to have more than one storage hatch and enough space to store gear for several days.
Inflatable sea kayaks tend to have less available space so you may find storage space is limited to deck bungees and sometimes a small zipped hatch.
Generally storage hatches have a capacity or volume listed in litres, just like the capacity of a backpack. So this should give you an idea of how much storage space you need for the amount of gear you plan to take. Day pack backpacks, for example, tend to be around the 10 to 30-litre mark, to give you an idea of space.
Storage hatches on sea kayaks will usually be watertight. This is so that your belongings can stay safe and dry in rough water and if you have to roll your kayak at any point.
However, it’s best to have your gear stored inside a dry bag before you put it in the hatch – just as a precaution. Not all storage hatches will be completely watertight so it’s best to protect your belongings with an additional waterproof layer, especially your valuables.
If you plan to paddle long distances, a sea kayak with an efficient hull can be beneficial. As you probably know, kayaks that are longer and narrower are usually faster than shorter, wider kayaks.
Most kayaks designed for open water are usually long and narrow to help with speed. Faster sea kayaks can cover water more quickly, so that you can reach your destination with less effort and less fatigue.
Glide is also a good feature in a sea kayak, as this helps you to maintain speed and movement even while you’re not physically paddling. So the kayak can move further with each stroke.
Sea kayaks are designed to handle waves, currents, and coastal winds. Sea kayak hulls are usually engineered to have a high level of secondary stability. This type of stability is what is essential in rough water.
A rudder can be a useful addition to a sea kayak. This can help you paddle through currents and windy weather, so you can track straight (paddle in a straight line). The rudder counters the effects of moving water and wind and helps you maintain directional control.
You may also notice that most sea kayaks have perimeter lines. These lines or ropes go around the deck of the kayak and can be essential in helping you get back into your kayak if you fall out. They can also make it easier for your paddling partner to grab if you need to be rescued, or vice versa.
Almost all sea kayaks are sit-inside kayaks. This means they have an enclosed cockpit, which tends to have a smaller rim than recreational sit-insides to allow for better boat control. You can also add a spray skirt to keep water out and for rolling.
You generally have a few points of contact where your body will be in contact with the cockpit, such as thigh braces and foot braces.
However, not all sea kayaks will include thigh braces or hip pads as standard features.
Make sure you check out our guide to sea kayaking to learn more
To sum up, we think the best sea kayak in Australia is the Bay Sports Quest 518 ABS Superlite. While this may not be as light as some of the others on our list, it ticks all the boxes when it comes to features for a long-distance trip, including a padded seat, lots of space, and a stable, efficient hull. It’s also not expensive.
A very close runner-up is the Mirage 582. This has all the bells and whistles you would expect on a high-end sea kayak, offering speed, glide, and excellent tracking. And it has the added bonus of being designed and made-to-order here in Australia.
If an inflatable is more your thing, and you don’t mind the high price tag, the Advanced Elements Airfusion Evo could be the way to go. It performs like a skin-on-frame kayak but can be easily loaded into a small car.
Remember to check out the sea kayaks for yourself before you settle on one. Think about whether or not it meets your size and capacity requirements, as well as skill level. Not all of these kayaks will be suitable for all paddlers.