When buying a used kayak, the buyer should look for any sort of heavy damage or patches on the kayak and find out how the owner stored it. If the kayak passes his inspection, he should ask to take it for a test ride.
The buyer should bring a portable mirror and a flashlight to help inspect the kayak. Small scratches aren't an issue for used kayaks, as they don't affect performance. Cracks or deep gouge marks, on the other hand, may reduce the kayak's lifespan.
Patches are a warning sign on a kayak, as it indicates the kayak needed a repair. The damage that caused the repair may have also caused structural damage to the kayak that the patch didn't fix. While patches may be visible, this isn't always the case, especially if the owner painted over them. To look for patches, the buyer should look for areas with paint differences or areas that aren't smooth.
The sun damages kayaks, so they should be stored under a cover or in a garage. If the buyer can't tell where the kayak was stored, he should ask the owner.
When test riding the kayak, the buyer should check that all the equipment, such as the rudder, works well and that there aren't any leaks. After the ride, he should open all the hatches to ensure that water didn't leak into the kayak.