Kayaking is one of the most amazing water sports activity, the thrill of paddling on lakes, rivers, seas, and waterfall is simply mind blowing. You get to interact with nature in the closest way possible. In case you are considering in the kayaking, here is all you need to know about this amazing sport.
Kayaking is one of the most popular water sports in the world with thousands of kayaking spots and tours. It is mainly a recreational sport but also practiced professionally. The vessel being used in this sport is a kayak.
I decided to include fishing kayaks as a type of kayaking since it has grown in popularity. A kayak is an awesome fishing vessel. In fact, that was one of the reasons it was invented. It is great for sight fishing. Currently, there are kayaks designed for fishing.
Origin of kayaking
Kayaks were created by the Inuits (formerly called Eskimos) over thousands of years. It was the vessel they used for hunting and fishing. IN fact, the word a: kayak means hunter’s boat. The reason for this was the stealth-like properties of the boat that enabled them to sneak up on prey.
Build and design
The first kayaks were made from simple wood, animal skins, and whales’ skeleton. Over the years the vessel’s make has been modified and improved on to facilitate better performance.
In the 2oth century kayaks made of fiber glass were introduced. Currently, most kayaks are made of PVS plastics, and there is the option of an inflatable kayak which is quite easy to transport.
Kayaking vs. canoeing
These are two terms that are easily confused by many people, and even used interchangeably in some cases. However, they are two different sports that use different vessels. The canoe is a much larger, hollow vessel that can accommodate several passengers. On the other hand, a kayak is a closed vessel, very narrow and pointed at the back and front. It accommodates mostly one person, and in some kayaks two.
The other difference is in the paddles. Canoe paddles have one blade and are much shorter compared to the kayak paddle. The kayak paddle is a two-sided blade with paddles on each end. It is this paddle that makes kayaking a different technique from canoeing as a kayaker has to paddle from one side to the other alternately.
The kayaking technique is not that hard to master. It is as easy as cycling, after the first lesson you will be able to paddle your way on gentle waters. It, however, takes some time to master the ability to control and maneuver a kayak through rough waters like rafts, ocean waves, and even waterfall.
A unique aspect of kayaking is the locations. Kayaking is practiced in amazing natural land scopes that offer you the opportunity to experience the beauty, tranquility, and power of the waters. The different types of kayaking allow you to enjoy this sport in all kinds of water bodies: from small rivers and dams to the wide-open sea. Below are some of the different types of kayaking:
This is a more relaxed type of the sport. It is usually done on lakes, rivers, and dams with no obstacles on the path. It allows you to soak in the beautiful environs of the water and appreciate nature in a peaceful way. It has become popular in the last decade as a form of ecotourism. It is a particularly good way for beginners to get introduced to the sport.
White water kayaking
For those who love the adrenaline rush, this is the sport you want to experience. From bouncing down river obstacles and rafts to falling off waterfalls, this is the biggest rush you can get from any watersport. It is available in hundreds of locations worldwide. This is however limited to those who have an advanced skill level in the sport.
This is another tranquil form of kayaking. It is mostly available in areas with interesting shorelines that have beautiful land features and amazing sea animals such as seals. It is another good way to orient beginners into the sport.
Yes, you can actually use a kayak for surfing. It is an interesting way of having fun with a kayak on the sea. Take your kayak out on a wavy day and wait for the wave just like in surfing. The waves can lift the kayak up to several feet high, allowing you to ride the wave to the shore. Again, this isn’t for beginners.
Well, it is not a real sport unless you can compete against each other. This is an awesome way to spice up any of the above kayaking types. The most common way is to compete on who can get to the finish line first. It is done in normal recreational kayaking as well as professional kayaking, with the sport being one of the highlights of summer Olympics water sports. Another way to compete is by performing stunts. This is done in freestyle kayaking.
Some Kayak Accessories
Here’s what you need to get started:
- A kayak – There are several makes available depending on the type of sport. A long one with well-built in storage space is good for tour and sea kayaking while the shorter ones are made for white water and surf kayaking.
- A paddle – Get a paddle that is suitable for your height. A two-meter paddle works well for average height individuals.
- Wet suit – Don’t be fooled by the sunny weather, the waters can be quite cold, and there’s a chance you may fall into the water.
- Safety gear – A helmet and a buoyancy aid are a must have. The helmet protects you from getting hit by rocks and other obstacles as you surf. It is particularly important in whitewater kayaking. You should not compromise on safety. A spray deck is another gear that is good to have. It straps you onto the kayak.
The kayaking is an adventurous water sport that offers amazing experiences to sports enthusiasts. With the unique kayaking spots all around the world, you get to tour and experience the beauty of the rivers, waterfalls, and seas in their purest form, all while having a thrilling moment on your kayak with friends. Try it; you won’t be disappointed.