The Beam Is Used To Keep A Kayak From Tipping Or Flipping Over. The Greater The Width Keeps It Stable & Upright

What Is The Purpose Of The Beam?

The beam is also the length from the left to the right of the bottom hull that is used to keep you upright with support on both sides. It is generally larger for touring versions and small for white water river versions. The diameter is smaller for whitewater to stop water resistance and greater turning ability vs a touring unit which is used for speed and greater speed for each paddle.

Beam & Width


When the beam is talked about for a kayak this is the width of the model and just as the length affects how a style maneuvers and the speed, this size affects how stable a model will be along with the speed. Width of even one inch will make a difference in the craft and how it performs, along with how stable it will be in the water.

The diameter affects the horizontal stability of a model and some people feel that a wider it is makes a more stable kayak than those with a narrow beam. Some enthusiasts feel there is a downside to the stability that a wide one gives if the person is of a tall stature it can create some problems.

There are other disadvantages to a very wide one, they while very stable are also known to tip without warning, this is because with a very wide one it is the largest part of the kayak. It may also make paddling very difficult in some situations, this is due to the width of the unit and the paddles may hit or rub against it, this can also cause the craft to drag in the water.

A model with a narrow or a V-shaped beam will act unstable when first in the water; however once it is moving it will become more stable. This design may also tip easily; therefore it is wise to neither opt for an extremely wide beam nor an extremely narrow one on a model. Unless the person using the craft is very skilled and understands the problems that can accompany either design.

Often the length and the width are decided upon mathematical ratios, which should make them stable while also functional in the water at acceptable speeds. This is not always the case; some of these mathematical ratios can be misleading in the performance of the model.