Kayak Cockpits

There are different styles and sizes of cockpits in kayaks just as there are different models of kayaks.

The cockpit on the touring kayak is rather small, usually approximately twenty-nine to thirty-five inches to help the spray skirt when in rough water or waves and most have built-in thigh braces to help maximize control of the kayak from edging or rolling.

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Ocean kayak cockpits are smaller in size than the touring cockpit and are often round in shape, to enter both legs need to enter together as it will be snug when entering. There are no thigh braces in this cockpit as the fit is so cozy that the legs are against the sides of the deck.

There is a recreational cockpit that is made where standing on the floor is possible to sit in the seat. They can be approximately thirty-seven inches in size and one problem that may accompany a cockpit of this size is if skirted, the size can be a helping factor for the spray skirt to implode.


There are important decisions that experienced kayakers look for when they are going to purchase a kayak when it comes to the cockpit. If a kayak has a cockpit where the front is high, this makes the entry and exit easier, and there is more for legs and knees. The higher cockpit means there will be less water getting in and if desired the cockpit can be lowered by the addition of knee braces.

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In the kayak with a cockpit that is high in the back; these are found in touring and cruising kayaks that are meant for longer trips for comfort and lower back support.

In the end it comes down to personal preference, some kayakers like the snug feeling of a tight cockpit and a spray skirt, while other need the feeling of roominess in the cockpit to have a comfortable kayaking experience.