But what if you don’t own one yet, or have a friend who’s willing to lend theirs on a perfect paddling day? It’s a good idea to try out a few different types and models of kayaks before you make a long-term investment in one. You’ll learn a lot in a short time about what you want and what you don’t. For instance, many novice paddlers imagine that a kayak with a large opening is more user-friendly than one that’s a tight squeeze. Not so: You don’t really sit in a kayak so much as “wear” it, and having your hips and thighs wedged tightly against the gunwales confers a huge steering advantage that greatly outweighs the ease of access of a big open cockpit.